The 4 things about UserVoice that drive me @#$%! insane

January 26th, 2009 § 3 comments

I don’t normally blog about sites that I find frustrating–it’s generally not worth the effort. But since both TweetDeck and Twhirl use UserVoice for customer feedback, I end up using it far more than I want to, and thus the frustrations build. I must vent!

I will be making a lot of comparisons to GetSatisfaction, a somewhat similar customer feedback site. Both Twitter and Plurk use GetSatisfaction, and I’ve generally been quite happy using it. It is in comparison to GetSatisfaction that UserVoice looks especially bad.

  1. Ten-vote limit. Each user on a UserVoice board has a limit of 10 votes which they can distribute between issues as they see fit. The issues/ideas with the highest votes float to the top of the board’s home page. I understand the reasoning behind this, but I still find it frustrating. I think makes sense to limit votes for things like new features, but when the board is also used to report bugs and shortcomings, I find that I will hit the limit too quickly. In constrast, GetSatisfaction allows you to click “I have this problem too” or “I have this question too” on as many issues as you like.
  2. New suggestions/issues don’t get enough visibility because each board’s home page shows the items with the most votes, and since new users are more likely to vote for the first ones they see, the more popular items just get more popular. There is a separate tab for “new” items, but it’s an extra click away.
  3. Sixty-character subject line limits. UserVoice allows only 60 characters in the subject line. I understand the need for a limit, but sixty? That’s not even a full line on an old 80-character-wide terminal. Sometimes 60 characters is just too short to even concisely express an issue.
  4. Loss of user data. This is the one that made me want to throw my laptop through a wall. As mentioned above, each user gets 10 votes which they can distribute among the issues they feel are most important. You must have at least 1 vote to create a new idea. So far so good. But even if you have no votes left, the user interface still allows you to create a new issue and completely populate the form, which could include a considerably long description.

    It is only after you submit the form that the site tells you that you must have at least one vote left to create a new idea… but by that time it has completely thrown away everything you’ve written! And since the form is a fancy JavaScript overlay, you can’t even use the back button to reclaim your lost words. I can’t believe this made it through testing and that they still haven’t fixed it.

I think that UserVoice has a lot of potential, but as it is I see no reason why anyone would choose it over GetSatisfaction.

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§ 3 Responses to The 4 things about UserVoice that drive me @#$%! insane"

  • The key thing is that UserVoice and GetSatisfaction are not trying to solve the same problem. I know the
    “UserVoice vs GetSatisfaction” question comes up a lot but it’s sort of a false dichotomoy: GetSatisfaction is for support and UserVoice is for innovation. Some startups do use UserVoice for support as well but it is certainly awkward, as you pointed out, with the vote limit.

    To your other issues:
    #2 – We’re working on improving performance of the ‘hot’ tab so we can make that the default and generate more diversity of responses
    #4 – We’ll look into this and I’m terribly sorry for that frustration. There’s nothing worse than losing data.

    Thanks for the feedback

    Richard White

  • bunnyhero says:

    Ah, I see. It all makes sense now (that’s not sarcasm, it’s sincere)! Yeah, much of my frustration comes from the use of UserVoice for support, which I now know is not its purpose.

    Thanks for the response! Looking forward to seeing how UserVoice evolves.

  • Hey BunnyHero,
    You’ll be happy to know that #1 has been addressed to some degree. Our paid services now allow customized vote counts.

    #2 is now optional, the admin can set any of the display methods as a default, so now you could choose New, or Hot as other ways to display ideas.

    #3 has been changed, now users have up 100 characters to give a title to ideas and 65k characters to describe them.

    #4 has been solved as well.

    Thought you’d appreciate the follow up – have a great weekend!


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