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The Good, the Bad, and Everything Else

In a recent discussion about the use of surveys during beta, many of the participants felt that surveys at the end of a task really lost the feelings and emotion that were happening over the course of the action. The question becomes, how do we capture those emotions quickly? How can we get feedback almost instantly after the emotion is felt?

I think Google+ has instituted the most innovative way of capturing user feedback. If you aren’t familiar with it, I highly suggest that you go through the interface and see that they really put an emphasis on the experience. I appreciate it.

I like the thumbs-up/thumbs-down measure for actions and interfaces – it is a quick and dirty way to get an impression from your user. By quick, I mean it is very easy for a user to choose whether they like something or not, and being able to do that easily means (generally) that more people will do it.

The concept has a flaw, though; what if you dislike something because it doesn’t work? Then what? Thumbs down? What does that tell the researchers and developers? It could mean many things – maybe you really don’t like that salmon color. We need a way for users to like, dislike, or expand on their feedback. Here’s my approach:

Very simple – thumbs up and down that everyone is (getting) used to, and a plus button. I think it’s rather obvious what the first two buttons do. The plus should allow the user to expand on why they liked or disliked something, or perhaps, tell you that it didn’t quite work as expected. The form that is presented should be fast and easy to fill out, with context about what was happening when it occurred. It’s kind of like a stack trace for your interface.

These make sense after actions – they also make sense when incorporated into a design. You could use this concept more than once on a page during A/B testing to get even more feedback. I know that I’m definitely giving this concept a shot and incorporating this concept into the code architecture on my next project.

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