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Last post Author Topic: Frustration with User Feedback  (Read 14148 times)

wraith808

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Frustration with User Feedback
« on: March 18, 2009, 09:30:14 AM »
... or lack thereof. :(

I've posted quite a few apps- all free- and have gotten very little feedback, especially on the more complicated ones.  I wrote a portable application wrapper most recently, and have *tons* of downloads (it's a good thing it's small and I don't have a lot of traffic to my sites since it spiked my bandwidth), but have had *zero* feedback. 

I do a lot of testing to my apps, and am somewhat of a perfectionist, especially since I do this to try out new techniques to keep myself on the edge professionally, so I know they're of good quality, but they aren't *perfect*, and getting no complaints about *anything* is very disheartening and frustrating.

I've thought of making them postcardware or commentware or donationware and putting nags in just to get *some* sort of feedback, but I'm not in this for the money or anything like that, or to force people to say anything.  It would just be nice if they did.

What are others' thoughts/experiences on this?

TucknDar

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2009, 09:46:59 AM »
Out of curiosity, what's the address to your website? Where can I take a look at your apps?

wraith808

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2009, 09:59:26 AM »
All of my apps have been posted on DonationCoder.com.  I'm going to get them into a more centralized location on my site, but I haven't done it yet.  :-[

justice

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2009, 10:17:20 AM »
Put them in your sig right now that will help point people throughout all the 270 posts you have made on this forum to find your discussion threads. i can't comment on the feedback if I can't find your apps  :Thmbsup:

brotherS

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2009, 10:19:42 AM »
I've thought of making them postcardware or commentware or donationware and putting nags in just to get *some* sort of feedback, but I'm not in this for the money or anything like that, or to force people to say anything.  It would just be nice if they did.
Yes. If you want feedback, ask actively for it!

Make it commentware, ask for feedback on your homepage, put a PLEASE EMAIL ME.txt (explaining the why and how) in the archive, etc., etc. ...

Getting frustrated won't change their behaviour. 8)

justice

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2009, 10:20:40 AM »
I noticed your portable application wrapper is posted under Announce your services/products - a more commercial orientated forum used to promote software from organisations rather than individuls (well that's the impression i get). I always posts my scripts under Finished Coding Snacks, this has more of a homebrew feel which maybe accounts for the difference in feedback.

gexecuter

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2009, 10:37:45 AM »
Where can i see your programs?
Mouser is made of win and awesome!

wraith808

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2009, 10:39:06 AM »
But it's not a coding snack, and I saw that other freeware things were posted under there... I wasn't really sure where to post things.  My other stuff's always been posted under a competition category, so didn't know the format for that.  

Thoughts?

TucknDar

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2009, 10:43:37 AM »
Maybe there's a software section "missing"? Something between 'Announce your Product' and 'Coding snacks', that would sound more like the line of software that wraith808 and other users posts? Or possibly rename the announce-forum? (I know I should come up with some great suggestions for a name, but I don't have them...)


wraith808

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2009, 10:45:26 AM »

brotherS

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2009, 10:54:45 AM »
Maybe there's a software section "missing"? Something between 'Announce your Product' and 'Coding snacks', that would sound more like the line of software that wraith808 and other users posts? Or possibly rename the announce-forum? (I know I should come up with some great suggestions for a name, but I don't have them...)

Easy: split the first in these two:

- Announce your commercial product/service
- Announce your free product/service

:Thmbsup:


TucknDar

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2009, 11:00:26 AM »
Easy: split the first in these two:

- Announce your commercial product/service
- Announce your free product/service
I like it :)

phitsc

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2009, 11:12:08 AM »
I can share with you my experience with YaRPNcalc, my free PocketPC calculator.

The first release was on 29th January 2006. The first user feedback was on 24th April 2006, a user reporting a (localisation) bug. The second was on 17th of December 2006, a user telling me that he likes YaRPNcalc but would prefer 4 stack lines (instead of 2). It follows about one user feedback every two months. All of them are either feature requests or bug reports (but all also mentioning that they like the SW :) ). I have no idea at all in what range the user base is. Could be 2 or 20 or 2000. I'm not sure how much download counts will tell you. People download SW just to try it out.

I've made a related comment here once by the way: http://www.donationc....msg132179#msg132179

mouser

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2009, 01:09:16 PM »
I'm glad you made this post wraith.  It's a complicated subject.

PREFACE

One of the reasons this site was originally started was because i wanted to have a place where i could get feedback about the software I was writing.

Perhaps those big companies making lots of money from their software find satisfaction in financial success and don't really need the feedback from users -- but i think for small developers, half the fun is hearing from users and getting inspiration from their comments, and just in general having fun collaborating with others in making a better program.  And the pleasure one gets from creating something that people appreciate is just part of human nature, and should not be underestimated.

CONTINUING

My experience has been that it's very hard to predict the kind of feedback and interest you are going to get in a program.. Very often one works hard on a program and no one seems to notice; and sometimes a tiny program that the author thought nothiing of gets written up everywhere.

More often than not, it takes some time before the people who have real use for your program stumble on it.

That's why it's important to make a web page for the program, put up some screenshots, and make a PAD file for it so that it is indexed by the software sites.

As others have said -- don't hesitate to ask for feedback! When you post, on your website, etc.  And don't let it get to you if such feedback is late in coming.  Just soldier on with what makes you happy.  Not just in software development, but in all things in life, don't condition your pride on the opinions or lack of feedback from others.  As nice as it may be, it's not the last word on your creations.

None of this is to say that you shouldn't explore alternatives and changes and ways to correct the problem of lack of feedback -- quite the opposite -- i think you should do what you are doing -- actively try to find a solution to the lack of feedback.  I'm just saying don't let feedback be the arbiter of your satisfaction with your work.

CONTINUING

Having said all that -- I do think DC should take *extremely* seriously our responsibility to be a site where authors can get useful feedback and encouragement for their work (especially freeware authors since commercial authors have other resources and rewards at their disposal).  So I think we (and I) have let you down a bit.

Let's all redouble our efforts to provide feedback to programmers and not let things like this fall through the cracks.  Perhaps one of the things we can do is figure out better ways to provide authors a place where there stuff can be seen and appreciated.

One thing that might be good idea is maybe we can find some dc member or two who would be interested in committing to doing mini-reviews of all dc member created software.. or making a blog about them -- so that when someone writes a coding snack or other small utility, there is at least one person who checks it out seriously and summarizes it for others.  I think that would help a lot.

SIDE COMMENT

One thing i want to make sure to mention is that it seems to me we are living in a world which seems to fetishize the get-rich-quick overnight millionaire success story.  We are now seeing some of the price that gets paid for this kind of attitude as the economy comes crashing down from the fraud and schemes that people have been gorging themselves on.  I think one is well advised to forget about the idea of overnight success and hitting the lottery of public opinion, etc.  Better to follow the philosophy of a slow and steady work ethic.  Concentrate on doing good work and moving forward -- but don't spend your time looking for that one golden ticket that will solve all of your problems.

MOVING FORWARD

There are a few things you can do to get more feedback from programs you write.. One is to go back in time, so to speak, and choose a program to write based on ideas from users.  That's one reason the Coding Snacks section of the forum can be so much fun.

Another big thing you could do is make some screencasts showing your program in action.. Screencasts and screenshots make a *HUGE* difference in terms of giving users an easy and fast way to see if it's something they might be interested in.  Without these people will just click on the next page and move on without giving your program a second look.  That's also why it's important to make a web page on your site about each program you make.  Any freeware author reading this who doesn't have a website, just ask us and dc will provide one -- or you can use some of the many other free website hosting services.

-mouser

mouser

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2009, 02:15:54 PM »
To this suggestion:
Quote
Easy: split the first in these two:
- Announce your commercial product/service
- Announce your free product/service

I understand the concern.. but i'm always very concerned about splitting up the site into too many different sections - i think it tends to exacerbate the problem where there are islands of the forum where no one ever goes.

I tend to favor a different kind of "divisition" where we suggest something like this:
  • Regular dc forum members who create free software can announce it in the General Software section which is one of the two main and most read sections of the forum.
  • New people who aren't really forum members but wish to simply post about their product or service and don't really intend to stick around for general discussion, or people with non-free stuff, should use the Announce Your Product/Service section.


brotherS

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2009, 02:56:27 PM »
I tend to favor a different kind of "divisition" where we suggest something like this:
  • Regular dc forum members who create free software can announce it in the General Software section which is one of the two main and most read sections of the forum.
  • New people who aren't really forum members but wish to simply post about their product or service and don't really intend to stick around for general discussion, or people with non-free stuff, should use the Announce Your Product/Service section.
This info should be put into a sticky post in the announcement forum then.  :)

mouser

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2009, 08:51:28 PM »
We should mention that elitefreeware has been spending this entire month writing about DC apps and coding snacks!  :-* :-* :-*

Target

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2009, 10:30:53 PM »
I think it's unreasonable to expect feedback on an app just because you put it out there.

It's a fact that most people only do this if there's problem.  And I mean a serious problem (your darn program X made my monitor explode... :huh:

Unfortunate, but it's human nature.

Likewise, download volumes don't necessarily mean anything.  As already stated many people (myself included) will D/L stuff just to see what it does (it sure sounds interesting), or if it's useful.  If not, it gets deleted without comment (or in my case, stored forever just in case... :-[).  If it does work, the user may quite happily use it at the exclusion of all else without ever letting you know how good it is - but they will tell their friends and colleagues

The important thing here is that this isn't a reflection on you as a developer or on the app in question.

If you want feedback you should probably ask for it in an appropriate forum (I won't limit that to DC, though it's probably an excellent place to start) before you release it into the wild

Perhaps we could even establish a pool of willing crash test dummies, or a new forum (test and feedback?) to do this for developers on an ongoing basis?

Having said all that -- I do think DC should take *extremely* seriously our responsibility to be a site where authors can get useful feedback and encouragement for their work (especially freeware authors since commercial authors have other resources and rewards at their disposal).  So I think we (and I) have let you down a bit

I don't think this is a 'failing' of DC, I think many here already take the opportunity to assess and offer feedback when asked

 

brotherS

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2009, 04:04:42 AM »
So I think we (and I) have let you down a bit

I don't think this is a 'failing' of DC, I think many here already take the opportunity to assess and offer feedback when asked

I second that. Ask and thou shalt receive thy feedback! :D

wraith808

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2009, 08:43:58 AM »
Not a failing per se, but I did ask, and didn't receive.  But maybe that was a fault on my end.

brotherS

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2009, 08:59:38 AM »
Like in business, it's not enough to ask once (or twice). I read once that most sales (not impulse purchases) are made after the 7th sales attempt, so keep asking if you want feedback.  :)

rjbull

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2009, 09:23:10 AM »
One thing that might be good idea is maybe we can find some dc member or two who would be interested in committing to doing mini-reviews of all dc member created software.. or making a blog about them -- so that when someone writes a coding snack or other small utility, there is at least one person who checks it out seriously and summarizes it for others.

Mouser, I don't think that would work.  I only look at software that may be of interest to me, and presume that everyone else is likewise.  I sometimes see "solutions" to things that to me are non-problems.  It would be hard for anyone to fairly review a software just because it's there.  For example, I've been a big fan of Horst Schaeffer's (Hoshi's) software for over fifteen years, but while I use some of his software all the time, other programs, for one reason or another, don't fit into my world.

The idea of offering a good alerting service so that people can find what, potentially, genuinely interests them, is a good one, though.  Perhaps a separate "new software releases/updates" blog with terse descriptions?

tomos

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2009, 09:39:38 AM »
The idea of offering a good alerting service so that people can find what, potentially, genuinely interests them, is a good one, though.  Perhaps a separate "new software releases/updates" blog with terse descriptions?

what we need here is a database there's so many small apps all over the place here
showing them by what's new isnt a great way for finding apps if looking for something in partcular - of course forum search can be used then I guess ..
Tom

rjbull

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2009, 11:38:46 AM »
what we need here is a database there's so many small apps all over the place here
showing them by what's new isnt a great way for finding apps if looking for something in partcular - of course forum search can be used then I guess ..

If you're looking for something in particular then some kind of database would be a good idea, but a blog for new and updated apps could still be useful, especially for updates.


mouser

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Re: Frustration with User Feedback
« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2009, 11:43:34 AM »
I think it would be really useful if we set up a kind of repository thing which made it easy for people to browse, find, and get updates on software released by dc members.  Take a look at skrommel's page and you can see how easy it is to be overloaded.  any suggestions?