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We'd like to gather feedback from our users after the re-launch of our website. We do usability tests and interviews but I'd like to provide an easy way to give feedback for any user.

There are tons of tools for that (uservoice.com, userrules.com, getsatisfaction.com etc.).

My questions:

  • Do they generate useful feedback?
  • Which tools work best for a non tech savvy audience?
  • Is there a danger that one group of users provide more feedback than others? (could lead to over- or underestimation of some issues)
  • Are there any other things to consider when integrating a feedback tool?
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See my answer to What is the most effective way to solicit and manage open source project UI feedback? for an overview of various tools and some tips. –  Rahul Jul 21 '11 at 10:07
    
@Rahul: Thanks, good overview. Did you ever use UserVoice? What was your experience with it? A detailed answer would be much appreciated :) –  Phil Jul 21 '11 at 10:15
    
@Phil - Thanks, this inspired me to ask a very similar question related to our desktop apps. :) We have been wrestling with this one for a while now and for some reasons I never thought to ask it here. –  Matt Rockwell Jul 21 '11 at 17:45

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

We use UserVoice for Handcraft. Before launch we looked around at various tools and were ultimately looking for something that was quick and easy to integrate, relatively unobtrusive, and really easy to use. Uservoice meets those goals because you can start voting straight away, it has sign-in integration with services like Twitter, and you can hook it into your site with one of those overlay tabs ("Feedback" lip on the left of the screen).

The quality and kind of feedback has varied. Since Handcraft is a technical tool aimed at designers, we sort of straddle two groups of users: the front-end developers who report technical bugs and features like "I want zen coding" or "pasting a certain kind of code leads to this error", and interaction designers who're looking to improve their workflow with feedback like "please add FTP support". But if your tool is more focused on a single group then you might have different results.

I find it's been useful to have Uservoice because it's been another place where people can go to drop some feedback and, more importantly, vote on others' feedback. That helps us prioritise where people want the tool to go next. Zen coding has been a feature request for a year with several upvotes, and we recently integrated it so we could go in there and change the status to "completed", which felt pretty good. ;-)

It's important that this is just one avenue of feedback, however. We also make it easy to email us, tweet at us, and have a custom feedback flow built into the first use experience so early questions can be quickly answered. So don't depend too much on it as a holistic solution.

Once Handcraft gets bigger we may move to Get Satisfaction. I think the biggest difference between something like Uservoice and Get Satisfaction is that the latter allows people to help each other. So if you have a community of users and you want to decentralise customer support a bit, Get Satisfaction is a great tool. For simple feedback purposes, you'll probably do fine with Uservoice or comparable tools.

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Great insights, thanks a lot Rahul! Unfortunately our situation is a bit different: We don't have a very specific target audience (basically anybody living in Switzerland) and I'm afraid that these tools are too difficult to understand for non tech savvy users. –  Phil Jul 21 '11 at 10:52
    
A client of ours just launched a website for "people with illnesses and their caregivers", iemandzoalsik.nl. It also has uservoice integration but is clearly not targeted at a tech-savvy audience. Something to consider. –  Rahul Jul 21 '11 at 10:55
    
Interesting, thanks. Do you know if they gather useful feedback? My fear is that we'll only get feedback from web savvy users instead of the ones that actually struggle with using the site or some features (and this could lead to wrong product development priorities). –  Phil Jul 21 '11 at 11:06
    
The site just launched so we'll have to wait and see what kind of results they get, but I just wanted to let you know as an example of an organisation that chose Uservoice. –  Rahul Jul 21 '11 at 11:10
    
Great - thanks for your time and feedback. Very much appreciated. –  Phil Jul 21 '11 at 11:13

Phil, it is definitely a great idea to gather feedback from your users after the launch of your website. Now, coming to the answers to your queries,

  1. Do they generate useful feedback? – These days just a “Contact Us” page is not sufficient for the users. They may want to share their experience from user’s point of view, share a feedback, suggest an idea or even send encouraging messages. All of these certainly help in developing an effective community management; improvise the product development life cycle, besides enhancing the user’s experience. That’s where the feedback tab comes real handy. A cost effective and easy to integrate solution will help you go that extra mile.

  2. Which tools work best for a non tech savvy audience? - Social Networking platforms are extremely popular, even with non-tech savvy. UserRules has a feedback tab that can be easily linked to any of the popular networking zones, be it twitter/facebook at the click of a button. For an administrator, there are more effective tools that integrates with Issue Trackers (JIRA, Bugzilla etc.), Automations (Business Rules), Analytics (GA), Canned Replies and much more.

  3. Is there a danger that one group of users provide more feedback than others? (could lead to over- or underestimation of some issues)? – Our product has some interesting features that can help you control the feedback mechanism effectively. Specific responses can be marked helpful/not helpful), comments (can be marked "good"), and choose to vote etc… while others, if interested can follow the same.

Also, GetSatisfaction has a different business model than UserRules & UserVoice when it comes to creating a community for companies. UserRules is a new kid-on-the-block; we take pride in empowering our customers with better course of action for feedback management. Give it a try (a free trial account is for 60 Days, no credit card required while signing up).

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Not sure what the point is of linking to that 37signals post here, as it doesn't reflect what their business model is at all. That post is several years old and just talks about something that went wrong between them and 37s. Seems a low blow to point to this post to describe Get Satisfaction's business model when you're clearly a competitor. –  Rahul Jul 21 '11 at 18:10
    
@Rahul No intention of undermining GetSatisfaction's achievement and their to-be-proud-of clientele, the article was just to describe the business model that GetSatisfaction follows to create communities for companies which is of course different from UserVoice (& UserRules too). Besides when it comes to community engagement, the company forum have same set of features (give or take a few). –  UserRules Jul 22 '11 at 7:04
    
I would post that in your answer so people don't have to click through and figure it out for themselves in between the antagonisation going on in 37s blog post :-) –  Rahul Jul 22 '11 at 8:28
    
I think an edit in our answer was in order. –  UserRules Jul 22 '11 at 18:48

From the school of Quick-N-Dirty UX:

Our site has a huge user base (millions) and tiny budget. When we re-launched the site, I wanted to get some feedback specifically about our redesign.

Here's what I did:

  • Created a survey in Google Docs (free... if I were doing it again, I'd use WuFoo)
  • Created a banner to run front & center on the homepage, asking users for feedback on the redesign (if you don't have space on the homepage, you can use an Ethnio screener)
  • Linked the banner to the survey & ran it for two weeks

I think integrating something like UserVoice is a great strategy for the long-term, but don't miss out on the opportunity to get quick, short-term feedback specifically about your re-launch. When I ran the survey, I got hundreds of responses that yielded many actionable items that we were able to quickly address & improve. And... it was simple & free.

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