Feature requests

Managing feature requests.

I have been slowly giving up on sending websites or software companies with feature requests to improve their product or service.

Reasons:
– they probably drowned in such requests, or don’t have proper processes in place to file and deal with them.
– if I ever send a feature request, I prefer to send it by e-mail rather than at it to a long list in a forum. That way they end up in the mailbox of somebody who cares, rather than a long forum thread that is hardly ever read.
– the company picks what they want to implement based on high-level strategy and features that give the highest ROI. On this front, existing customers come after new customers. In other words, implementing new features is higher on their priority list than improving current ones. That is, until reputation gets hit due to the amount bugs and complaints…

Implications for design

A good interaction designer listens to user needs as well as business needs, and balances these in the design he created and features that design has. Listen to your customers, ask them (…) , gather feedback from customer-service representatives, search on forums what users (of similar products) are complaining about. What is on their wishlists?

Tools

You should consider using a voting mechanism such as:
http://uservoice.com/features?referer_type=ad

Laterthis.com is using it, and it seems to work well.

I’m curious to know: how does your company deal with feature requests?

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