Effective Feedback – Make it an Experience

Can you remember the last time you ran into a problem or saw a bug in the software and actually filled out the feedback form? Have you done it more than once? The last blog post was about removing barriers, letting people easily submit feedback. This post is about how to encourage people to finish the feedback in a way that your users wants to do it again.

How to demotivate for feedback

I found an example how to demotivate people to give feedback again and I’m not surprised that it is Microsoft. I just wanted to see how different vendors encourage people to submit feedback and the first application I picked was Word. It was very easy to find the feedback option in the menu. I pressed the button and was directed on a webpage. Well that is still OK, but I left Word for that… so it’s not good in terms of context switching. The feedback form is very simple: Select product and version (even though this could be done automatically) and write feedback. But it is so demotivating for the user that he has to tick the box “I know that I will not be contacted by Microsoft in response to my feedback”. Now the user asks themselves what happens with the feedback? Will somebody from Microsoft have a look at it at all? Why is it so hard to reply to the user with a follow up ticket number or a short comment that there’s somebody looking into the feedback? There will be not many users submitting feedback more than once, if they never hear anything, that Microsoft received it or even will do something about it.

What you want

You actually want people to submit feedback. It is the best way to get an idea, what you’re users are doing with your software and what they are missing. You do want them to come back and submit feedback a second and a third time. So you should make it an experience and help the users wherever you can. Make it fun, so users come back and love to go through the feedback process.

Good user experience

Wikipedia encourages users to rate pages. You can very easily rate how trustworthy, objective or well written a page is. You just need to decide how many stars you want to give each criteria. That’s it. The same applies to rating applications in the App-Store and books at Amazon. Let people rate the usability of your software and other things, that you would like to have feedback for. Don’t get in the way of the user and put annoying pop up windows on top of the application. Make it a side task.

Great user experience

The real fun comes with Google feedback. If you want to provide feedback to Google, you have to enter a sentence, then you can add a screenshot and highlight or blackout data. This way users don’t have to explain too much. It’s fast to give feedback if you just say: “I want to be able to add pictures to my comments”, highlight the comment area and press submit. Google is adding data automatically like OS, browser version, installed plugins,etc. That way it is fun to submit feedback and I definitely want to do it again.

At Atlassian we use Bonfire for getting fast feedback with a great user experience. Bonfire comes with a browser plugin that needs to be installed. That way you get a lot of possibilities to annotate the screenshot with circles, text and blur effects. Bonfire was developed by our QA to help and encourage internal users to submit issues when actually working with the tool. No context switching and you get addicted by the cool annotation features.

The same surprising effect has JIRA Mobile Connect. It’s actually similar to Bonfire, but runs on an IOS device. The best thing with this tool is, that your developers can write messages directly to the user who gave feedback. This way the user knows, that somebody cares about his problems.. not like Microsoft.

Make it fun

If you want to have lots of feedback for a new product, make a funny competition. Ask people to give feedback and let a jury or the community vote for the 10 best improvement advices. Give away some t-shirts. Let people send feedback via twitter and give a free license each day. Use your own imagination.

 The feedback experience

Care about the experience during the feedback process. Make the user feel good and get in contact with your user when they submit feedback. Even if it’s just a ticket number to follow up. If the user has fun giving feedback he will come back. You should care about your feedback experience if you seriously want to improve your software.

Effective Feedback – Blog Series

This is part 3 of my “Effective Feedback” blog series. Here are the currently released articles:

Part 1: Effective Feedback: No barriers 

Part 2: Effective Feedback – Fake it before you make it

Part 4: Effective Feedback: Involve Developers

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