Make Facebook, Yahoo, and Google Products BetterBy: Chris Crum - March 3, 2009
We live in an age of great communication. The world is literally at our fingertips at the click of a mouse or the stroke of a key, and that puts the companies behind the products we use everyday right within our reach.
What this means is that we often have the power to make a difference in the efficiency, usability or general usefulness of these products because we can leave feedback. Obviously our ideas aren’t always going to make the difference, but companies care what customers think about their products (though there are certainly exceptions), and will listen to what users have to say, often leading to the implementation of suggestions.
A couple of examples of this our currently being hilighted on company blogs. A post from Christina Holsberry on the Facebook Blog discusses creating "the best experience" on Facebook, and doing this through the open communication between users and the company.
"At Facebook, we think it’s important to listen to the people who are using the site, since you are our biggest fans, experts and critics," she says. "We’re dedicated to making sure your feedback is incorporated into the decisions we make in order to create the best experiences for you and your friends on Facebook."
– emails from users
– product testing sessions (they take people to their offices and observe how they use Facebook [they even use eye tracking])
– Advisory board – trusted group of people who routinely provide thoughts on features
– feedback pages
Talk about new features on blogs, forums, Twitter, etc. Companies have people keeping an eye on what is being said about them. If they find out many people feel strongly about certain things, there is a chance they will acknowledge them.
The second example comes from a post at the Yahoo Mail Blog. Here Rick Pal shares user feedback and Yahoo’s responses. Feedback has influenced features like:
– social updates
– the movement of news over connections and suggestions
– new address book
How many Google products do you use on a regular basis? That is another company that is constantly seeking user feedback. Andy they have plenty of ways for you to share it. You can find email links on their blogs, use Google Groups, and like I said before, talk about your thoughts on products and features in blogs, social networks, forums, etc.
The point is that they’re listening. There are so many ways to communicate with companies and potentially influence tools that make your life and lives of others easier every day. Don’t be shy. They want to know what you think. They might not always respond, and your ideas will not always be implemented, but you never know until you try.