mary’s blog

(where mary is always write)

Letting supportive users down

One of the tasks I find difficult while doing dev work is dealing with user feedback. Surprisingly, it’s not the abusive or complaining users that I find difficult to handle. It’s the super enthusiastic ones with a lot of “great” suggestions that are too complicated (or shouldn’t be) implemented in actuality.

I don’t know if it’s just the pakikisama or utang na loob culture in me speaking. I just find it much harder to turn down someone who’s been nothing but helpful and civil since day one. There’s this pressure to give them what they want in the way they want it to reward their supportiveness. But saying “yes” to their suggestion is saying “no” to a host of other things — things that you know will move the website to completion.

I’ve been lurking in the forums of some of the beta-access games I play and I see it happening there too. Users with 1000+ posts and feedback on every update sometimes get carried away with suggestions that pull the game away from its original direction and adds a ton of complexity –which further delays the originally promised features.

Ignoring these users make them feel un-acknowledged. While explaining to them why their suggestion won’t work can be effective, but usually only opens an even longer discussion where you have to explain every single decision you made and why things led to the current situation. And it ends in either “Wow, it’s really as difficult as you said” or “You guys f*cked up, it’s your fault you can’t make me happy now”. So it’s a choice between looking like an uncaring asshole or using precious dev time to walk users through your whole process which doesn’t guarantee good results.

There’s also this worry that maybe that hyper user is correct. In which case you are being an ass for not listening to them.

There’s a lot of doubt and guilt and second-guessing involved. I don’t know if other devs agonize over this situation as much. Is it a matter of self-confidence? If you trust that what you’re doing is correct, you can ignore everything else and keep inching towards your goal, sure in the thought that users will approve of the finished product. Those who don’t get it or left too early weren’t meant to be your users anyway.

I just don’t know. I feel a bit of guilt even shouting this into the void, but maybe another confused dev will find comfort in knowing they’re not alone in feeling this uncertainty.

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This tall tale is filed under Opinion.

There are 14 reactions to this story, leave yours below?

  1. I don’t have a comment but an inquiry. Can’t find a contact page which I’m sure is for a good reason. I loved the billboard schooling. Been looking for an example like this for quite some time. I would like to have the images to be responsive. I normally do that with CSS, (width:100%) but that does not work. I tried playing with the JS, however, that didn’t work either. I’m wondering if you could help me with that. I am currently redesigning my website and would like to use your example in the header.

    Thank you,
    Richard

    • Mary on March 8, 2020

      Hello, are you talking about the OMGBillboard plugin?

      I updated the js to run a check for the container’s height and width (instead of relying on a set px dimension). It’s not yet tested, but try the new version https://github.com/marymacapagal/omgbillboard and see if it works for you. This requires that the container for the billboard has a specified width and height in CSS, even relative values would do.

      • Hi Mary,

        Thank you so much for responding, however, the scripting still displays the images at or around 600px. I don’t know much about javascript coding. I’ve tried searching around the internet to see if the internet gods had a solution but have come up empty handed:(. I do appreciate you getting back to me. BTW, love your blog. Right to the point :). No gray areas with you, huh.

  2. Hi Mary,
    BTW, if you need access to my control panel to play around with it, let me know. Thanks again!.

  3. Hi Mary,

    Well, I got the images to display 100%, however, have a couple new problems. All the images are appearing when the page loads and I lost the animation, lmao. If you can help, thanks

    • Mary on March 10, 2020

      Hello! Your comments got stuck in moderation. I saw them just now. I’ve been playing with the code. Do you have a copy of the actual image you’ll use for the site?

      • Hi Mary,

        I have 3 1400 x 500 .svg I’m using. I can send them to you. I also have a similar img rotator I’m working with but no billboard effect :(. I really like that effect.

        • Mary on March 11, 2020

          Sure! You can send the images to mary.macapagal@gmail.com.

          If you have the link to the page where you’re testing the img rotator, that’d be great too. I’ll have to look at the code but another possible approach is to just add the billboard effect to that other plugin.

  4. One thing I find interesting is the void between the developer and the end game. The consumer demands simple solutions to complex problems while the developer seeks to dazzle there like with complex solutions to simple problems.

    • Mary on March 26, 2020

      I totally see that in some cases and I’m guilty of it too, sometimes. Hehe

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