At the LDSC we used a lovely Q&A tool that those sharp ETS guys first saw in use at the Berkman @ 10 Conference earlier this year. I thought it was one of the best tools for audience interaction with the speaker because, not only did it give you an opportunity to put the question out there as they came up (instead of waiting for the speaker to finish), it allowed the audience to weight the questions by voting. The more votes a question had, the greater the number of audience members who felt that was an important point to be addressed. As a speaker, you can also quickly tell if you are engaging your audience or if you really need to redirect your focus. As we saw it demonstrated in action, we even got community engagement within the engagement, as other audience members either answered questions themselves or added to the original point. I thought it was fascinating and added incredible depth to the presentations from an audience member’s viewpoint. Now, I am starting to see this method of engagement elsewhere.
I’ve been working on reviewing third party twitter apps and mashups, mostly because this fascinates me (I’m sure you’ll see it in a post or two) and my fellow tweet peeps repeatedly ask for apps that can handle specific tasks. My not-quite-ready-for-primetime app of the moment is TweetDeck because it allows me to monitor specific subgroups when I am in overload mode, rather than wallowing through an especially busy feed. This can be essential when I am facing looming deadlines, but can’t completely disengage from my twitter stream. Additionally, it will allow me to review 48 hours of tweets, which is incredibly helpful now that Twitter has capped their history at ten pages (boo, Twitter!). Being in beta means there are things, unfortunately, the application still can’t handle. I know that it’s a work in progress, but wouldn’t you love to know what is being worked on, and which features are in the lineup? Well now, my friends, you can.
TweetDeck is using a service called UserVoice which replicates the functionality of the Yahoo Pipes application at Berkman but, in my opinion, takes it several leaps forward in terms of usability and functionality. Here’s a brief overview of the bits I like:
- A – Super easy five step “How To” that covers the process succinctly
- B – Form field that actually tells the user what to type by way of making suggestions: “enter your idea (new feature, fix bug, etc”)
- C – Tabbed lists that logically follow the process (and provide a number of items within each tab):
- Top Ideas (ideas with the most votes in order from most to fewest)
- New (recent submissions in the last week listed separately, to avoid getting lost at the bottom of the pile because they haven’t had time to gain votes)
- Accepted (ideas that are actually in progress so that you know what is being worked on at any given time)
- Completed (features that have been completed, fixed, added, whatever)
- D – My vote status. I’m given 10 votes to use as I see fit. I can cast 1, 2, or 3 votes for any particular idea. Obviously, I have used 4 of my votes: 1 for Tabbed Columns, and 3 for distinguishing between read and unread tweets.
- E – The “vote for” link changes to show my 1 vote for Tabbed Columns shows up next to the idea in question so I can track the progress of my favored ideas by a quick glance.
- F – Clicking on the comments field takes you to the single item page for viewing; otherwise, they are hidden and the main window is kept focused on the ideas.
- G – Admin responses are shown even when comments aren’t revealed; this is especially nice because it doesn’t get lost in the user comments. Admin responses are also shown on completed items, much like a close out post.
Interested in using this type of feedback forum? Me too. I can actually create my own UserVoice page for my company, group, product, project, blog… you name it, I can use it. In my opinion, this is a perfect example of the Web 2.0 movement. Open communication with those groups with which you interact can create awesome results.