Sunday, March 05, 2006

Time-out SUCKS

This was the subject of an email that I got from one Engineering Village user. And the student was absolutely right, if I were in his place I would have sent similar email.

Below you'll find some of the correspondance ( with his permission) that I had with this Student.
I think one of the beauty of this open conversation is at the end the customer who was initialy upset with your poduct is telling you how to enhance the product. In graduate school one of my proffessor's used to emphasize that we should "trust the process", my motto in product development and business has been "trust the customer, they will tell you what is right and wrong and help you to create a better product.

Another lesson for me: We all talk about "workflow" (and sometimes we abuse the term) and about integrating our products into the "workflow" of our customers. I wonder how many of us thought that lunch break was in the workflow of our customers.

Dear student, thanks again teaching us something new.

Here is some of the correspondance:

Hi there,
Sorry about the title but I'm a bit more than frustrated with the timeout window. After spending 1 hour going through 400+ articles the damned thing timed out when I took a break and I came back and they are all gone. Seriously, I can understand a timeout but how about something more than 10-15 minutes. How about an hour or two?

I sent him an email explaining that after 20 minutes of inactivity user's session expires:

Hi Rafael,
Thanks for the reply. How about a check box that extends the timeout
period? Leave it for the default 20 minutes if not checked and extend
it to 1 hour if checked. That way the user is forced to make a conscious decision and only they can be held responsible for the extended timeout.
Just a thought,
Here is part of my response:

Thanks again for the excellent feedback. I'll check with our developpers to figure out how we can customize this. I'll let you know the outcome. Do you mind if I use these e-mail correspondace (without giving your name) in my blog as an example of having an open conversation with customers and how users can enhance products. If you have other areas that you feel SUCK in the product please let me know. We love getting these feedbacks to improve the product.. A question for you: Currently we provide RSS feeds and Blog This feature in the product......Thanks Regards
His final responses
Yeah, that would be fine but PLEASE don't use my name - admittedly, I was a bit harsh with my words.
Yeah the RSS feed and the Blog This feature would be pretty cool.

Nice work. I appreciate anyone that can keep an open mind and deal with the issues as opposed to viewpoints and politics.

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