Recently I spoke to Iain Dodsworth of TweetDeck who’s been a UserVoice client from the beginning of his project. Iain has been a vocal advocate for us, so I wanted to find his secret for success…
UserVoice: “Iain, I was wondering how things were going with your TweetDeck development. Would you care to share your experience so far with UserVoice?”
Iain: “The most obvious experience I’ve had using UserVoice is the benefit of not having to keep track of all the suggestions people make about the application. This benefit comes in two parts, the amount of time saved and not being overly distracted when focusing on development. It also seems that having a suggestion written down in front of them, encourages some users to comment on suggestions – so not only do I get the original suggestion logged but I also get possible refinements to that suggestion (via the comments) pretty much without having to lift a finger. In fact the only thing I have had to do is set up the page in the first place – which was essentially a few introductory lines of copy, a logo and a few suggestions of my own to get the ball rolling.”
UserVoice: “Any idea what percentage of your users have engaged your UserVoice page since you’ve been pushing it?”
Iain: “As an incredibly rough estimate I’d say it’s around the 15-20% mark.”
UserVoice: “So you’re saying that of all your users, 15-20% are active on UserVoice? That’s amazing!”
Iain: “Actually I’m saying around 15-20% of the total user base HAVE been active at one point or another – I doubt they are all active on a general basis.”
Statistically speaking, this truly is outstanding. Consider this graph of Community Engagement I found via Jeremiah Owyang’s Web-Strategist blog:
If the average involvement of contributors is 3-10%, how the heck is TweetDeck arriving at such an astounding level of 15-20%? I had to ask the obvious question…
UserVoice: “Alright, so you’ve got all of this rich feedback – How are you priming the pump as it were to get people involved?”
Iain: “The thing I’ve done, and this is rather vital, is drive users to the TweetDeck UserVoice site in order to add their suggestion. I’ve done this in two very simplistic ways:
1. Add the UserVoice tab to the TweetDeck homepage.
2. When someone makes a suggestion via Twitter, I ask them to add (or vote on if already suggested) this to the site.
I haven’t yet had a single person refuse to do this – every single person I’ve spoken to has been more than happy. People who make the effort to suggest a feature or tell you what’s wrong with your application actually care a lot about it or they wouldn’t bother – so getting them to commit their ideas/criticisms to the UserVoice page is a very natural thing to do. And of course, it is the opinion of these people who use TweetDeck and care about its continued development that I hold with most importance and LISTEN to.”
UserVoice: “Has implementing a UserVoice feedback forum had an effect in the way you are developing Tweetdeck?”
Iain: “It’s worth pointing out that from day one I have had a vision for TweetDeck, I know exactly where I want it to end up, what functionality it will eventually have. Whilst I agree that an application “designed by committee” will become a Camel (as opposed to the horse it should be), not listening to the TweetDeck users/community – and blindly following my own path will lead to a superb application that no-one but I will want to use. There has to be room for new ideas. And who is arrogant enough to profess they’ve had all the best ideas and know the best way to implement all the features? This is why I’m sticking to overall vision for TweetDeck, but the route we take to get there is definitely being defined by the suggestions found on the UserVoice page.
This way, I know exactly what TweetDeck users want next – by virtue of the voting for each suggestion, and we work towards that together. And of course, along the way the community let’s me know of any new bugs that creep in. Without UserVoice I’d have been left with a whole wall of post-it notes and been overloaded with data – which would have been a bit ironic since that is exactly the situation I built TweetDeck to solve.”