Alpha testing period is finally over!
I’m excited to share some updates with you on how my team has been progressing, since collecting fresh insights and feedback from our alpha testers — Nugget’s internal team.
As the senior back-end engineer on Nugget’s development team, I work in the backdrop to make the app what it is. By ‘backdrop’, I mean Nugget’s Application Programming Interface (API) and base code that works to sync users’ bank transactions to plan a budget.
In essence, I ensure Nugget works as promised. Key features include successfully syncing your bank account with the app to providing accurate numbers (weekly budget, actual savings, and logging the right transactions), and producing insights and tips. These will help you, our user, to manage your money efficiently.
The road to beta is a long and challenging one.
Feedback from our community keeps us going. Also, free Nespresso!! Thank you SPECTRUM 🙏
Discovering Nugget’s weaknesses during alpha testing
We prepared for alpha with fake bank accounts to simulate user interaction with the app. Those accounts were primarily used to identify bugs. A number of things were tested: screen loading time, and more importantly, whether the budget and savings numbers were accurately reflected.
But by the time alpha testing rolled around, and our internal team began syncing with real bank accounts, we discovered that Nugget had a lot of room for improvement.
Issues and bugs were reported left and right. The app crashed unexpectedly at times, causing errors syncing with the bank...
What do developers and pest control have in common? We crush bugs. ZAP!
The error that caught us off guard
A major error was reported during the alpha test. It happened when our tester overspent the recommended budget.
When we built Nugget, we already expected some users to overspend their recommended budget. What happened here is that the algorithm attempted to keep the budget a positive amount, but overspending returned a negative budget. What should have happened was the budget running to $0 – meaning you don’t have any money to spend (yikes).
That... wasn't supposed to happen.
We’ve always known from the start that no one’s personal finance situation is identical to another. After all, we don’t pay the same bills or save money for the same goals.
So when things like that happen, the development team got to work and rewrote Nugget’s API, meaning the code had to undergo a makeover. We split the work into two parts:
(1) Working separately on bank transactions and categories reflected within Nugget;
(2) Fine-tuning Nugget’s connection to the user’s bank accounts.
The primary function of our main algorithm is to give users their set budget for the week. It takes into account their income, savings commitment, and existing bills. Also, it identifies the number of days left in a month, before recommending the budget accordingly.
We want Nugget to be able to cater to people with different financial habits and quirks. So that’s what alpha testing helped us to understand better.
The post-alpha game plan
The development team is currently focused on fixing bank syncing issues, refining loading time, and to also roll out new features.
One of these new features include push notifications that give users insights on-the-go about their spending habits and personal finance. After all, good personal finance management is not just about long-term planning, but also day-to-day expenses, like your bubble tea drinking habits, perhaps.
With every iteration of Nugget, we want to provide more intuitive and helpful features for a better user experience.
We anticipate working on our fixes and new features over the next 4 weeks. If there’s no major hiccups, we’re on track to launching beta mid-April.
All of us at Nugget can’t wait for you to start using Nugget to start saving effortlessly. Things aren’t perfect right now, but we have high hopes for what will come next!