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Soliciting Feedback

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Contents

Problem

The site owners want to be able to collect feedback about the site, from its users.

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Yahoo! Answers has a robust suggestion board that allows users to give feedback on the product.

Use When

  • Use when you want to have a mechanism to collect user feedback about your site or service.
  • Use when you want to capture feature improvements or new feature ideas.
  • Use this pattern to help understand your users and how they interact with your site.

Solution

Provide a clear ‘Give Feedback‘ or ‘Leave Feedback‘ call to action.

On many sites, the Feedback link is relegated to the footer of the site. This means only the most tenacious people end up finding the link. If you are actively soliciting feedback, consider a different placement.

Image:Turbotax-feedbackscope.png

Allow the user to scope what the feedback may be about. This can be done through a drop-down selection or radio button selection.

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When the link is global, if possible, glean from the context of the page, what scope the user may want the feedback to be classified under as a default. For example, the feedback link on the Yahoo! Homepage is specific to that page and the text on the page refers to the scope being just the Yahoo! Homepage.

Provide a freeform field for the user to write out and explain their feedback.

Be clear about the intent of the feedback form. If no one associated with Customer Support or Help will ever see this information, say so, and give the user an opportunity to access help.

Provide a way for the user to identify themselves. This is especially important if the feedback is presented in a public forum.

Allow the user to select a method for a company representative to get in touch with them. Keep that information private.

Consider aggregating all user suggestions together and letting users browse through the comments, feedback and suggestions of the community.

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User suggestions for ReadWriteWeb, which uses the service UserVoice for feedback, are ordered based on community voting and then later used to inform new features.

Consider allowing users to rate other people’s suggestions. The highest rated feedback can be used to help inform new features and prioritize product improvements.

If the feedback or suggestion is really a bug or a help question, allow the user to filter scope in the interface, and then behind the scenes send the request, help or bug, to the right people in the organization. If a user knows that someone is listening to a channel, they will use that channel for all their issues, regardless of your intent or labeling.

Rationale

Allowing your users to give feedback and suggestions gives them a sense of ownership to the site. If the site is extremely social and houses a person’s online identity (see Identity chapter) then they already have a sense of ownership for the site. They are using the site frequently and most likely in ways that you had never predicted. Tap into that passion.

Tapping into the community is a way to gather new ideas for improvements and future features and can give insight into how your users perceive the site experience and your brand.

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