I think (I don't want to influence you) that feedback is vital. Both for the user as for the design team.
I'm trying to convince a team that they should put feedback at the core of every user related feature. At this moment, even an email will not trigger an auto-response. But there are other areas where feedback is missing or slow.
Am I mistaken when saying feedback should be 1-On time, 2-On target, 3-Proportional, or am I missing some key point?
How would you go about to argue in favor of timely feedback?
Edit JoJo is talking about user feedback. I'd like to know about feedback to users.
On my website, I have a link to a feedback form on every page. I get around 50 pieces of feedback per day. The following is based on personal experience.
Good for functional bugs
Feedback is useful for quickly finding out about functional bugs. Users are very vocal whenever they see a functional bug. It's very hard to test across all browsers with the cross product of all the operating systems. It's also very hard to figure out what users will do to break your website. Once your revision is out in the wild, it will be tested across all the browser and operating systems, and more likely than not, some particular action on one variant will break the webpage. This is when users write feedback. They love pointing out things that are broken. On the other hand, they'll less likely give praise on things that are working well. Users want something from you. They don't want to help you.
Not for design issues
Users do not complain about design issues. Over the thousands of feedback I've gotten, there were maybe only 1 or 2 messages about design. One said the site looked great. Another said the site looked too bright. I knew some parts of my website looked bad, particularly transparent PNGs in IE6, yet not a single IE6 user complained. I guess the explanation is that most people don't care about design. They only care about how functional and useful a site is.
Nearly 70% of the feedback you will receive will be illegible. It's surprising how many low-literacy people are using the web. They don't punctuate, nor spell right, nor clearly explain what they want. So you'll have to throw away most of your feedback.
Not for usability
I haven't found that feedback was of any particular use to improving the usability of a site. Users rarely comment about usability issues, except if there's an obvious feature that's missing, like search. Most people don't have the knowledge on how to fix the usability of a site. For example, they won't be able to tell you to use more white space so they can segregate pieces of content more easily. Usability is really a subconscious thing users deal with and most won't be able to articulate problems. In conclusion, I don't use feedback to fix usability. I leave that up to A/B testing.Tweet