“When you're getting ready to launch into space, you're sitting on a big explosion waiting to happen.” – Sally Ride, American Astronaut
Though we are not building space shuttles at CoreSolutions (yet…), the above quote still applies to what we do. Whether it be a new software system, a new mobile app or a new website, the launch is one of the most important steps in a proper rollout of any new project. The launch is just as the quote says, “An explosion waiting to happen”. It may not be as literal as Sally Ride meant it, but the possibility of a metaphorical explosion in the development world is definitely present.
A great launch can result in great customer satisfaction and a poor launch can result in customer frustration. A soft launch can help iron out any potential problems that may arise. A soft launch (whether it be a new website, a software, a mobile app or even a hotel) is a launch that happens without any promotion or notification of change or it can be launched to a small group of users who beta test it.
Our Personal Soft Launch Experience
The CoreSolutions website was recently redesigned and one week prior to the official launch we had a soft launch. Though the website was basically complete, the soft launch gave us a week to (vigorously) weed out any bugs that were happening. This soft launch was vital to the success of the official launch that followed. Some of the issues that were resolved in this soft launch grace period included:
- The Site Speed – the site speed was slower than anticipated. This issue was quickly resolved before the new site was officially launched.
- Google Index – there were some issues with internal links and backlinks that affected the pages Google had indexed before the redesign. These links were re-organized and practically 100% fixed when the full launch occurred.
- Contact Forms – the forms on our website were custom built and needed to experience live testing to ensure they worked properly. All of our websites are built with AODA Compliancy in mind. After a few quick fixes during the soft launch, the forms were compliant and working as they were supposed to.
These issues, as well as some spelling and grammar checks, and multi-browser and multi-platform optimizing were all completed during our soft launch phase. Though users could still view our website while we were making edits, the overall experience of the website remained intact.
A soft launch is not mandatory, but it can be very helpful in determining any bugs that are present and you get that little grace period where you can make edits and changes without causing much strain on the users. We definitely recommend soft launching with any new projects or products you may have because testing in a sandbox environment will never fully replace the actual experience of a live launch – something that you may not have considered will almost always occur.
If you have any personal stories about your own soft launch or hard launch experiences, then feel free to leave them in the comments. We would love to hear!
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