July 09, 2013

What’s the most effective way to request product improvements?

In brief, tell product creators what you’re trying to accomplish, then give them a chance to figure out how to help you accomplish it.

Lightroom creator & longtime Photoshop leader Mark Hamburg puts things really well:

Lists of desired features are interesting because they let us know what it is you want. Descriptions of what these features should do are interesting because it provides clarity around how you think about the features.

But what really scores points are use cases. Tell us what you are trying to do because that tells us what problem we need to go solve.

For example:

“I shoot pictures of sunsets. Almost always this generates a lot of photos — 10, 20, 30, 100. I want to share the photos but I want to just share a few so as not to overwhelm my audience. I need Revel to make it easier to go from 10 to 100 photos down to 2 to 5 photos.”

Note that that didn’t specify particular features. It specified a problem and what it gave us was a use case that we can reference and judge features against. It sets us up to ask “how well does the image review feature work for solving the sunset problem”?

Sometimes the use case for a feature is obvious. But that’s not always true, and by couching requests and discussions in terms of use cases, we have another way to check and confirm that we are all on the same wavelength.

Posted by John Nack at 2:15 AM on July 09, 2013
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