Getting and managing user feedback on apps?
We’re launching a news app soon that will be core to our business, but don’t really have a customer feedback system in place more than e-mail and Instant Messaging.
I’m hesitant to invest in something like Get Satisfaction or FogBugz, because this is in garage mode-funding right now (i.e.: 0), and I don’t want to invest very limited resources unless I have to.
One thing we would really like to do is capture feedback on current features and, maybe more importantly, possible features, as well as more general feedback, bug reports, etc. etc.
Any suggestions on what (preferably open source, fingers crossed) is out there that would be good for this?
UserVoice and Google Moderator are ways to get one kind of limited feedback, ie: a user is frustrated enough with your product to go write up a complaint/feature request. Only a small percentage will be so motivated.
As Daniel mentioned in the comment above, analytics with user sessions can be a better way to see more how people are actually using your product, watching what gets clicked on when.
But the best way to get really extensive feedback is usability testing. It can be cheap too -- just ask neighbors or friends to try out your site, give them some common tasks to do, then watch and have them talk out what they're thinking. That's the richest type of feedback to help you spot more problems and create better features. I don't usually take the time for usability testing, but always wish I did. The one time I've done it I got a lot of value out of that view for the nominal amount of $ it took to cajole participants.
To record the session I used the nice mac app Silverback (free unlimited for 30 days, $70 thereafter). You could also use any screencasting software, Jing is a free example. On this topic, Coding Horror has a crib sheet of info from Steve Krug's seminal book Don't Make Me Think. The most relevant chapter is available as a free pdf.
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