new features

23 Jan 2008 - 9:15am
6 years ago
7 replies
361 reads
Mark Schraad
2006

If your are introducing a new feature on a consumer web site, does it always need to be overtly called out? Particularly if it a catch up feature (your competition already has something similar). I am wondering if there is benefit in letting the user discover a cool feature (any behaviorists out there?) - as opposed to directing their attention to it? Has anyone had this conversation or have insights to the issue?

Thanks -Mark

Comments

23 Jan 2008 - 9:21am
SemanticWill
2007

Mark -
I would say that if it's a potentially disruptive new feature - then call it
out in some way - if it's a catch up feature - let it soft-launch because as
you intimate - it draws attention to the fact that you are a latecomer and
playing catch-up...
This actually just happened to me last night when I realzies that my emails
in gmail are automagically getting labeld "Inbox" with a little (x) for me
to remove or re-label the message. I thought it was cool - but so minor
there was no reason to call it out, but when I discovered it - I thought to
myself, "Self - this is pretty cool - because most people don't even use
labels with gmail - so perhaps this might improve more users experience with
the product.

Not really insightful - just my thoughts.

On Jan 23, 2008 10:15 AM, Mark Schraad <mschraad at mac.com> wrote:

> If your are introducing a new feature on a consumer web site, does it
> always need to be overtly called out? Particularly if it a catch up feature
> (your competition already has something similar). I am wondering if there is
> benefit in letting the user discover a cool feature (any behaviorists out
> there?) - as opposed to directing their attention to it? Has anyone had this
> conversation or have insights to the issue?
>
> Thanks -Mark
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
~ will

"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"
-------------------------------------------------------
will evans
user experience architect
wkevans4 at gmail.com
-------------------------------------------------------

23 Jan 2008 - 9:49am
SemanticWill
2007

Another example of horrid User Experience leading to digruntled customers -
Apple (believe it or not), announce that iTunes via Wifi would be available
to all iPhone customers in select Starbucks. This was pretty cool and I got
amped to try it out. I went into a starbucks and there was a song from a cd
playing in the store that was decent - so I thought I would give it a shot.
I hit the iTunes button on my phone - low and behold - they had not worked
out the kinks related to the fact that Starbucks wifi is T-Mobile -- iPhone
uses At&t, and of course the only way to get a song would not be through
wifi but through the slow as molasses moving as glacial pace uphill in
January...
The launched it - I got excited - they advertised it in the store - and it
didn't work - and frankly that pissed me off.

On Jan 23, 2008 10:43 AM, Julie Palmer <jpalmer at smc3.com> wrote:

>
> Another reason to soft launch, at least initially, it is to see how your
> systems perform, to gather feedback from users who discover the new
> feature (if you have a tool for that) and to give yourself an
> opportunity to roll back to the previous version of the product quietly
> if unexpected problems arise.
>
> I used to work in the airline industry, and my company completely
> believed in the benefits of soft launch...nothing every got announced
> until we knew it was in and performing well. We gave ourselves several
> days to discover problems before we made any announcement.
>
> Some of our competitors would do huge announcements prior to launch
> ("Come look at our great new <insert product here> on <insert date
> here>!") The benefit would be the customer interest it generated, but
> the risk was overloading a product that had not adequately been user
> tested or a system that had not been properly load tested. From our
> perspective, it was amusing (in a sick, sadistic sort of way) to see
> their entire site crash on the big day. Not only did they wind up with
> egg on their faces, but they lost revenue and inconvenienced customers
> when their self-service products were brought down with the rest of the
> site...a sad situation that could have easily been avoided by a
> soft-launch approach.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of W
> Evans
> Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 10:22 AM
> To: Mark Schraad
> Cc: IxDA
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] new features
>
> Mark -
> I would say that if it's a potentially disruptive new feature - then
> call it
> out in some way - if it's a catch up feature - let it soft-launch
> because as
> you intimate - it draws attention to the fact that you are a latecomer
> and
> playing catch-up...
> This actually just happened to me last night when I realzies that my
> emails
> in gmail are automagically getting labeld "Inbox" with a little (x) for
> me
> to remove or re-label the message. I thought it was cool - but so minor
> there was no reason to call it out, but when I discovered it - I thought
> to
> myself, "Self - this is pretty cool - because most people don't even use
> labels with gmail - so perhaps this might improve more users experience
> with
> the product.
>
> Not really insightful - just my thoughts.
>
> ______________________________________________________________________
> This email has been scanned by the MessageLabs Email Security System.
> For more information please visit http://www.messagelabs.com/email
> ______________________________________________________________________
>

--
~ will

"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"
-------------------------------------------------------
will evans
user experience architect
wkevans4 at gmail.com
-------------------------------------------------------

23 Jan 2008 - 9:30am
Ari
2006

it depends on the nature of your product. i think it's especially important
for products that are either mission critical and/or where financial
transactions are involved.
for example:

we're constantly deploying enhancements to our product every 2 weeks with
changes that touch UI to behind the scenes functionality.

because of this, we decided to deploy a basic 'news' admin that allows us to
highlight these updates on each user's dashboard so we can announce these
updates, changes, tweaks, etc. to our various audiences.

we provide links to these news items, which provide more information as well
as a counter that shows how many news items have been added since one's last
login and even an RSS feed if one is so inclined to subscribe to it.

furthermore, our system works universally for all users of our product -
advertisers, partners and internal staff, which allows us to target
different messaging to these different users.

the same system can also be used to display crucial system notices (e.g.
scheduled maintenance) but more prominently.

On 1/23/08, Mark Schraad <mschraad at mac.com> wrote:
>
> If your are introducing a new feature on a consumer web site, does it
> always need to be overtly called out? Particularly if it a catch up feature
> (your competition already has something similar). I am wondering if there is
> benefit in letting the user discover a cool feature (any behaviorists out
> there?) - as opposed to directing their attention to it? Has anyone had this
> conversation or have insights to the issue?
>
> Thanks -Mark
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
--------------------------------------------------
www.flyingyogi.com
--------------------------------------------------

23 Jan 2008 - 10:29am
Gloria Petron
2007

The downside to this approach is that you basically turn your customers into
an extension of your QA team.
If something's not working, they'll be inconvenienced regardless, but their
complaints are far less likely to be publicized.
(We've had to use this approach where I work as well, and it has it's good
and bad points.)

On Jan 23, 2008 10:43 AM, Julie Palmer <jpalmer at smc3.com> wrote:
>
> > I used to work in the airline industry, and my company completely
> > believed in the benefits of soft launch...nothing every got announced
> > until we knew it was in and performing well. We gave ourselves several
> > days to discover problems before we made any announcement.
>

23 Jan 2008 - 9:43am
Julie Palmer
2007

Another reason to soft launch, at least initially, it is to see how your
systems perform, to gather feedback from users who discover the new
feature (if you have a tool for that) and to give yourself an
opportunity to roll back to the previous version of the product quietly
if unexpected problems arise.

I used to work in the airline industry, and my company completely
believed in the benefits of soft launch...nothing every got announced
until we knew it was in and performing well. We gave ourselves several
days to discover problems before we made any announcement.

Some of our competitors would do huge announcements prior to launch
("Come look at our great new <insert product here> on <insert date
here>!") The benefit would be the customer interest it generated, but
the risk was overloading a product that had not adequately been user
tested or a system that had not been properly load tested. From our
perspective, it was amusing (in a sick, sadistic sort of way) to see
their entire site crash on the big day. Not only did they wind up with
egg on their faces, but they lost revenue and inconvenienced customers
when their self-service products were brought down with the rest of the
site...a sad situation that could have easily been avoided by a
soft-launch approach.

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of W
Evans
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 10:22 AM
To: Mark Schraad
Cc: IxDA
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] new features

Mark -
I would say that if it's a potentially disruptive new feature - then
call it
out in some way - if it's a catch up feature - let it soft-launch
because as
you intimate - it draws attention to the fact that you are a latecomer
and
playing catch-up...
This actually just happened to me last night when I realzies that my
emails
in gmail are automagically getting labeld "Inbox" with a little (x) for
me
to remove or re-label the message. I thought it was cool - but so minor
there was no reason to call it out, but when I discovered it - I thought
to
myself, "Self - this is pretty cool - because most people don't even use
labels with gmail - so perhaps this might improve more users experience
with
the product.

Not really insightful - just my thoughts.

______________________________________________________________________
This email has been scanned by the MessageLabs Email Security System.
For more information please visit http://www.messagelabs.com/email
______________________________________________________________________

23 Jan 2008 - 8:31pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Jan 23, 2008, at 10:15 AM, Mark Schraad wrote:

> If your are introducing a new feature on a consumer web site, does
> it always need to be overtly called out? Particularly if it a catch
> up feature (your competition already has something similar). I am
> wondering if there is benefit in letting the user discover a cool
> feature (any behaviorists out there?) - as opposed to directing
> their attention to it? Has anyone had this conversation or have
> insights to the issue?

Hi Mark,

I've written about this topic too. (This week feels like revisiting
my entire publication library!)

Designing Embraceable Change
http://www.uie.com/articles/embraceable_change/

Curious what you think,

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jspool at uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks

24 Jan 2008 - 8:51am
Mark Schraad
2006

Hi Jared - and thnx,

I remember reading this article. In fact it helped to crystalize some thought I had regarding measuring product and feature utility and reconciling it against effort (the hurdle) of change. I almost redirected my thesis in this direction but that would have been a monumental timeline catastrophe.

Maybe I can clarify my two concerns:

1 When introducing a new, non mission critical feature, is it worthwhile to call this our overtly on the page? Obviously you would want this to be a one time display... I think the notion presented by Will, "if it's a catch up feature - let it soft-launch". I think it can be even more specific - based upon whether it is new or a catchup feature to your specific audience. That puts the emphasis on the user's knowledge and less on brand positioning.

2 Is there benefit in the user's discovery of the feature? Much like management wanting buy in from staff for some decisions (having a role in the decision process helps assure investment in the outcome) will the feature stick better if we tell them about it, or if they discover it. The later would acknowledge that users are subject to more than pure utility.

Mark

On Wednesday, January 23, 2008, at 09:32PM, "Jared M. Spool" <jspool at uie.com> wrote:
>
>On Jan 23, 2008, at 10:15 AM, Mark Schraad wrote:
>
>> If your are introducing a new feature on a consumer web site, does
>> it always need to be overtly called out? Particularly if it a catch
>> up feature (your competition already has something similar). I am
>> wondering if there is benefit in letting the user discover a cool
>> feature (any behaviorists out there?) - as opposed to directing
>> their attention to it? Has anyone had this conversation or have
>> insights to the issue?
>
>Hi Mark,
>
>I've written about this topic too. (This week feels like revisiting
>my entire publication library!)
>
>Designing Embraceable Change
>http://www.uie.com/articles/embraceable_change/
>
>Curious what you think,
>

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