Friday, May 1, 2009

Alibre Tries New Feedback Mechanism

Tired of sorting through pages of posts from the: enhancement request forum (http://www.alibre.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=6), wishlists, and incident reports, Alibre has developed a new means for users to vote on their favorite enhancement requests.

While not perfect, it is a good start at working towards a more robust means of finding where the user's priorities really lie and to not lose enhancement requests deep with a database. How many requests do you have in your software package dating back to 1995 that still haven't been implemented?

And with all silver linings there is a dark cloud within. No sooner was the announcement made when users started asking questions and making criticisms on how to make it better.
Here's the short list:
  • No guarantee the top voted enhancement will make it in the next release. But at least we know Alibre has put it on their list if high priorities.
  • No means to include attachment to better illustrate the request.
  • No support for localization (other languages besides English).
  • Only 10 Votes per user. Not a bad thing, but what about local VARs who speak with one voice for many users?
  • Yet one more User ID and Password you have to create when registering on this site. Where's my one-click access to Alibre's Website, Alibre Forums, and the Feedback Forum?
  • Will requests made in the forums or through incident reports still be recognized?
Now I don't want to paint a bad picture here. Overall, users are very happy with the new method of enhancement requests.
  • Users can search for existing requests and easily tack-on their request.
  • The forums are already in English and provide a wealth of knowledge, non-English speaking countries appear to have representation in the forums. (I really need to see some demographics of Alibre users to know if they are adequately represented or just have a few strong English speaking proponents talking for them. See the bullet about localization and VARs speaking with one voice above.)
  • There is a feedback method for when Development has incorporated a request, which means it should make the next release.
  • Once you register, you can stay logged in or use the "remember me" features of browsers.
  • A place to comment on existing requests.
Overall, I'm happy with the new approach. It's still too early to tell how valuable it will be. But, like anything, with more users and more feedback, I'm sure it will develop into a worthwhile resource guiding the future development of Alibre Design.

See it for yourself.
http://feedback.alibre.com/pages/16127-alibre-design-suggestions