When you’re starting a new site, especially something like LockerPulse that doesn’t fit into an existing category with an existing set of “rules” (like say e-commerce), you really have no idea what people are going to love about your site and what they’re going to hate, what they wish was better and what they wish was the same. Studying analytics is one part of the conversation, but equally as important, maybe even more so early on, is just talking to users.
The problem becomes how to go about talking to your users in the most authentic manner. I want to engage with users right when they visit our site for the first time, people who are power users, and everything in between. Early early on in the planning of LockerPulse, I stumbled upon the site EveryBlock and was enamored with a box that they have in their footer:
Maybe that would work. It’s so easy and so simple that it drastically increases the chances that you’ll type out some quick feedback compared to just having a “contact us” link that brings you to a bulky contact form.
When we built LockerPulse without a standard footer we had to get a little creative to keep that box accessible. You can get to it a bunch of different ways – by clicking the X in the upper-right of a story, from the “more” button in the lower-right, and by clicking various links we have scattered throughout the site that solicit feedback by saying stuff like “Are we missing a great news source? Let us know!”
I wasn’t sure if that would be enough. Now that we’ve had a nice spike in traffic and registrations courtesy of the Google Chrome team, I’m somewhat surprised to say that we’re getting far more people filling out that form than I would have expected, and that the quality of the feedback is much higher than I would have expected.
Every time I open my email I’m responding to multiple people’s feedback. I absolutely love it. I always try to start a conversation with them and ask them as many questions as I can think of. This feedback is priceless. Sometimes it’s not easy to hear, but it’s really really important that we hear it.
The one common theme that we’ve had throughout the life of the site has been people suggesting the features that are next on our list. Prior to having college sports, everyone wrote in asking for us to add their favorite college team. I always wrote back that it was coming soon, and then asked them if they had any great sites/blogs that they currently read for that team. You know what? A lot of people replied with really good sites, which saved a ton of time when we had to start researching 73 new teams.
Now that college sports is live, we’ve been getting suggestions for fantasy player tracking, following athletes on Twitter, and incorporating video highlights…every one of which is on the top of our list for features. Since it’s still so early, and since we only have limited data to work with, and since the potential scope of LP is so vast, we’re basically adding features in the order that we want them as users so it’s validating to hear our users suggesting the very same things.
And finally, maybe the best part of having a box like this is the satisfaction of reading positive comments from people who genuinely benefit from using LockerPulse. I got both of these yesterday:
I think it is the best it could be. I don’t see any way you can make it better.
I love this app, I’ve been looking for something like this, it’s everything I need in one!