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Re: [agile-usability] Re: Request for best practices/lessons learned on launching "work in progress" to the public

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  • William Pietri
    ... I have one minor follow-up, an interesting real-world example. A NY Times blog mentions that Time is creating Netflix for magazines:
    Message 1 of 10 , Jul 2 11:02 AM
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      Susan Campbell wrote:
      Some really helpful directions here.  Non-interactive screenshots, additional coming soon messaging, and integration of side-features might be a good combination for us. I'll run it by our team.

      I have one minor follow-up, an interesting real-world example.

      A NY Times blog mentions that Time is creating Netflix for magazines:

      http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/02/a-netflix-of-magazines/

      It's called Maghound, and he linked their name to this page:

      http://subs.timeinc.net/timeinc/construction.jhtml

      I clicked through and immediately tried to search for a couple of magazines and to look at their plans. I kept getting the same page. My initial impression was that their site was badly broken. Not a good first impression.

      Turns out that they just put up a non-functional prototype with live interface elements. And some text at the bottom saying somewhat obliquely that the site doesn't work yet.

      I'm an atypical consumer in so many ways that I hesitate to generalize from my experience, but I suspect I'm not the only person who will end up with a first impression that's more negative than it needs to be.

      William

    • Jared Spool
      ... Hi Susan, I would think the real question you want to be asking is: Why would your users care about features that are not here yet? Is there value to them
      Message 2 of 10 , Jul 2 7:07 PM
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        On Jun 27, 2008, at 12:51 PM, Susan Campbell wrote:

        > Questions we're asking ourselves:
        > 1) Is it reasonable to expect that our site visitors will understand
        > the notion of "work in progress"? Or will it just be confusing to
        > them and leave a negative impression.
        > 2) How can we best convey that we're sharing "work in progress" and
        > that there is more to come in the first major release (early fall).
        > 3) What else should we be asking ourselves/ accomodating for?

        Hi Susan,

        I would think the real question you want to be asking is: Why would
        your users care about features that are not here yet?

        Is there value to them knowing that at some unknown point in the
        future, new functionality will appear?

        Usually, the answer is no. They want to know what they can do right now.

        One exception is if (as might be the case for your foundation) they
        are investors and want to know if their money is being well spent.
        Another exception is if the functionality is critical and you need to
        communicate that it *isn't* available *today*. (Though, in that case,
        the fact that it will be available is not really that helpful.)

        If it were me, I'd be looking to watch users interact with the site.
        If they aren't showing interest in the not-yet-implemented features,
        I'd not clutter the design with them until they are ready.

        That's my advice (which is worth exactly what you paid for it).

        :)

        Jared

        Jared M. Spool
        User Interface Engineering
        510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
        e: jspool@... p: +1 978 327 5561
        http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks
      • Susan Campbell
        Thank you all again for the thoughtful feedback and examples. The maghound example was really interesting to experience, because I too, just started clicking
        Message 3 of 10 , Jul 7 8:36 AM
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          Thank you all again for the thoughtful feedback and examples.  The maghound example was really interesting to experience, because I too, just started clicking away to see how it worked. Completely missed the small wrapped text describing it as a prototype. I'm going to share this example with the team - as learning by doing is sometimes the best way to communicate the issue :)
           
          Tailoring our survey to focus on the available features is a great idea and will help us get usable feedback on complete items.
           
          Re: Do our users care about features which aren't available yet? Good questions to ask ourselves. We've heard from users that the content is highly desired, so we'd like to foreshadow that we're working on it.  But at what cost? Our team will meet on this to discuss.
           
          Thanks again to the group for sharing insights,
          Susan Campbell
           
          On 7/2/08, Jared Spool <jspool@...> wrote:

          On Jun 27, 2008, at 12:51 PM, Susan Campbell wrote:

          Questions we're asking ourselves:
          1) Is it reasonable to expect that our site visitors will understand the notion of "work in progress"? Or will it just be confusing to them and leave a negative impression.
          2) How can we best convey that we're sharing "work in progress" and that there is more to come in the first major release (early fall).
          3) What else should we be asking ourselves/ accomodating for?

          Hi Susan,

          I would think the real question you want to be asking is: Why would your users care about features that are not here yet?

          Is there value to them knowing that at some unknown point in the future, new functionality will appear?

          Usually, the answer is no. They want to know what they can do right now.

          One exception is if (as might be the case for your foundation) they are investors and want to know if their money is being well spent. Another exception is if the functionality is critical and you need to communicate that it *isn't* available *today*. (Though, in that case, the fact that it will be available is not really that helpful.)

          If it were me, I'd be looking to watch users interact with the site. If they aren't showing interest in the not-yet-implemented features, I'd not clutter the design with them until they are ready.

          That's my advice (which is worth exactly what you paid for it).

          :)

          Jared

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


        • Jared Spool
          ... There are other treatments that allow foreshadowing. Don t diminish the value of good copy. A well written, well placed paragraph can really set
          Message 4 of 10 , Jul 7 9:22 AM
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            On Jul 7, 2008, at 11:36 AM, Susan Campbell wrote:

            > Re: Do our users care about features which aren't available yet?
            > Good questions to ask ourselves. We've heard from users that the
            > content is highly desired, so we'd like to foreshadow that we're
            > working on it. But at what cost? Our team will meet on this to
            > discuss.

            There are other treatments that allow foreshadowing. Don't diminish
            the value of good copy. A well written, well placed paragraph can
            really set expectations properly, including what's coming down the pike.

            Hope that helps,

            Jared

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