David Housman

Feedback Done Right

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It’s a delicate balance to make feedback forms short and sweet, while still getting the information you need. In my previous post [link to first post] I talked about what not to do when gathering feedback. In this article I’ll cover the basics of what should go into a feedback form.

The Must Haves

At the bare minimum, feedback forms should do three things:

Enable the user to give you feedback easily and flexibly. This can be as simple as an open text field.
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Clarify the feedback. Feedback forms should also ask follow up questions to help you flesh out an issue:

  • How do you feel right now? => What made you feel that way?
  • What kind of problem are you having => When did the problem start?

Some solutions capture contextual information behind the scenes, just like web analytics platforms. Access to the context of use provides an additional dimension to interpret feedback. This data “freebie” is sometimes overlooked. I love it because it doesn’t impact the user experience, and can make the difference between confusion and clarity.

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The Nice to Haves

After covering the “must haves”, here are some feedback features that are “Nice to Have”:

  • Categorization can help you route feedback or trend how often a problem happens. It’s nice for higher traffic websites, but isn’t necessary in all scenarios.
  • Support resources can help expedite problem resolution. A feedback form may be a good place for a hotline that users can call when they need help, or a link to the FAQ.
  • Close the loop. Sometimes you may need to clarify the feedback you’ve received or resolve negative experiences. Good contact forms leave the door open with a way to reach out to the customer. But remember each field you add reduces the number of completions you will receive.

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