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PICList Thread
'[EE] need user submission management ideas'
2009\06\07@193412 by Dr Skip

picon face
For some reason, I can't seem to get anywhere with this project, so I'm asking
the list. I have a requirement to get feedback data on a daily basis from a
number of users (clients). The data isn't complex, and started out as a dozen
questions that I suggested they send answers on to me at end of day or so.
Compliance has been very poor.

I then suggested a text template with specific questions. Again, it started out
OK, but quickly went to minimal compliance again. The reasons given are 'just
forgot', 'too busy', and so on.

The initial methodology was to receive them by email, since I must review them
anyway, and filing such would work quite nicely in an email client like
Thunderbird. Privacy is a concern, encryption was being used over the email. It
really isn't worth a long development cycle to create an app or anything like
that, and I can't fool around with a server side app at this point for them to
do it online - sometimes they are remote enough that they can't get online.
Ideally, they should record comments several times throughout the day, as
things arise. This commenting isn't part of their regular work, so there isn't
any management leverage to be used BTW.

If you were the user, what would you suggest as a way to get comments back to
me? It has to be doable while offline, private (built in encryption or take it
from their drives when they come in or batch some way), in your face enough to
not 'forget', but not be so much of a pain that they get angry? I should note
that these are not necessarily engineers (think more salesman type), so while
they use apps, it's ones that they are used to. Engineering a simple solution
is key.

I have Open Office at my disposal BTW. There are lots of ways to do this, I'm
just having trouble getting to 'best' yet simple. ;) Is there anything that is
serverless that has form filling features out there perhaps?

TIA,
Skip

2009\06\07@195824 by AGSCalabrese

picon face
So the issue is motivation of the clients.  It boils down to carrot or  
stick.
It appears from what you said that the data is easy enough to send.
You also seem to be shying away from the stick as you say you don't want
to make them angry.  If you were to go with the stick, I would pop up
annoying messages on their screen until they comply.
From a carrot perspective, give a carrot to the most diligent  
submitter.
Also publish a list of the good submitters and the bad submitters.
Gus

{Quote hidden}

2009\06\07@205429 by Vitaliy

flavicon
face
Dr Skip wrote:
> For some reason, I can't seem to get anywhere with this project, so I'm
> asking
> the list. I have a requirement to get feedback data on a daily basis from
> a
> number of users (clients). The data isn't complex, and started out as a
> dozen
> questions that I suggested they send answers on to me at end of day or so.
> Compliance has been very poor.

Who gave you these requirements? I think it's up to them to enforce
compliance.

>From a user's POV, if you don't have a good answer to "what's in it for
me?", I'm not going to answer your questionnaire. I've done it plenty of
times, since there are too many people who want me to answer a series of
pointless and boring (from my POV) questions.

Vitaliy

2009\06\07@210935 by Dr Skip

picon face
The problem is motivation, yes. The benefits are to me, not them, and I really
have none to give. I have individual agreement to help from each, but I'm not
high on the priority list it seems. Think in terms of 'beta testers', but don't
lock into that paradigm because it's broader than that. Although, what we
'solve' here could be used there I think. As further down that paradigm,
consider it a no-budget project with no revenue potential. ;)

Considering I have the personal agreements, I just get "I'll try to do better"
on discussion. It's difficult to get past that on a dialog level, so I'm
looking to change the process perhaps, and they aren't too articulate on what
would work better. I've been thinking something that pops up with the 'form'
ready, but what approach and software would allow the capture of the answers in
what pops up, and when it gets clicked, either sends it back encrypted or saves
it locally per day, and doesn't require system mods or install?

I've seen the stick approach backfire - I can get seen as a jerk and getting on
the 'bad' list becomes a goal of sorts among them, a badge of 'honor' so to speak.

I've thought about a VB app, but it's too much. I tried a form in OO, exported
to a pdf form, but the text fields don't wrap, so that's ugly (unless text
fields in pdf forms can be made to wrap via OO). Although, if that can be
solved, I could seed a directory on each machine with date-named pdf forms and
pop up an explorer window at certain times during the day focused on that
folder... Then they just have to remember the date.... (don't even ask)...

-Skip

AGSCalabrese wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2009\06\07@222243 by Vitaliy

flavicon
face
Dr Skip wrote:
> The problem is motivation, yes. The benefits are to me, not them, and I
> really
> have none to give. I have individual agreement to help from each, but I'm
> not
> high on the priority list it seems. Think in terms of 'beta testers', but
> don't
> lock into that paradigm because it's broader than that. Although, what we
> 'solve' here could be used there I think.

Is there any way you could provide more details about what the questionnaire
is about, how long it takes to fill out, and what settings the "salespeople"
work in?

If they can't be bothered enough to fill out a templated email, I don't
think an app is going to solve it. It sounds like a people problem, not a
technology problem -- so you've got to attack the root.


> As further down that paradigm,
> consider it a no-budget project with no revenue potential. ;)

Why waste everyone's time, then? :)

Vitaliy

2009\06\08@072419 by olin piclist

face picon face
Dr Skip wrote:
> I then suggested a text template with specific questions. Again, it
> started out OK, but quickly went to minimal compliance again. The
> reasons given are 'just forgot', 'too busy', and so on.

In other words its a hassle, they don't want to do it, and they see no
upside for them to bother.  Nothing is going to work until you fix these
basic problems.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2009\06\08@074811 by olin piclist

face picon face
Dr Skip wrote:
> The problem is motivation, yes. The benefits are to me, not them, and
> I really have none to give.

Then forget about it.  Not gonna happen.

> I have individual agreement to help from each,

Lots of laughs.  "Yeah, yeah, sure, whatever you want to hear so that you go
away and stop bothering me".

> but I'm not high on the priority list it seems.

No ----, Sherlock.  Did you figure that out all by yourself?

> Considering I have the personal agreements, I just get "I'll try to
> do better" on discussion.

"Yeah, yeah, whatever you say.  Now go away and stop bothering me."

> and they aren't too articulate on what would work better.

More laughs.  Of course not.  They don't give a crap and have no reason to.
It's amazing to me you're still trying to persue this.  Ain't gonna happen.
Clearly they are telling you whatever will make you go away the quickest.
Give it up.  Pack it in.  Forget about it.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2009\06\08@085207 by Mark Scoville

flavicon
face
> Ideally, they should record comments several times throughout the day, as
> things arise. This commenting isn't part of their regular work,
> so there isn't
> any management leverage to be used BTW.

Without any incentive this is destined to fail. There is no way people are
going to record comments throughout the day without something in it for
them. I wouldn't. Since this isn't part of their "regular work" if I was a
manager and discovered they were spending time on this I'd probably be
upset.

> If you were the user, what would you suggest as a way to get
> comments back to
> me?

You are asking people to "steal" time from something else in order to help
you. People will not do this without some form of compensation.

> I have Open Office at my disposal BTW. There are lots of ways to
> do this, I'm
> just having trouble getting to 'best' yet simple. ;) Is there
> anything that is
> serverless that has form filling features out there perhaps?

I don't think any of this matters. As long as there is no incentive, nobody
will bother to record comments. You have two problems, first would be
getting people to record the data you seek. The second problem is to somehow
get that recorded data to you. Until you solve problem #1, problem #2 is
moot.


The only way I could see getting the data you want is to do something like
offer people restaurant gift certificates for helping with the data
gathering. Even then, you risk people just recording bogus comments to get
"free lunches".

The way you have presented this you just can't win. You need the data and
seem unwilling (or unable) to pay for it. The people you want to get the
data from have no reason or incentive to give it to you. There is nothing
personaly here, but If I was on the Client side of this problem I'd view you
as a pain in the A** bothing me to record data throughout the day.

So if I have this right... you have no budget to persuade uninterested
people to gather data for you that infringes on their regular work. Good
luck, you're going to need it.

The ONLY way I have found to gather ANY meaningful data from customers is to
call them on the phone and talk to them, or visit them in person.

This is not meant to sound harsh, it's just reality.

-- Mark


>
> TIA,
> Skip
> -

2009\06\08@102609 by Carey Fisher

face picon face
If it's only a handful of clients, could you call or visit them and ask the
questions each day? Or design an email that they can easily respond to ?

On Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 9:52 AM, Mark Scoville
<spam_OUTmscovilleTakeThisOuTspamunicontrolinc.com>wrote:

{Quote hidden}

2009\06\08@111629 by Dr Skip

picon face
Carey Fisher wrote:
> If it's only a handful of clients, could you call or visit them and ask the
> questions each day? Or design an email that they can easily respond to ?

That might be a better way, except for those that might go a day without email.
I get the idea that tabbing through an email reply might be tedious, or that
maybe their email skills might be causing frustration. Of course, it isn't my
goal to change any of that, only work with what we've got, nor do I want to
expose user skill deficiencies.

I've decided to try the pdf form next, reducing the fields to a single line,
hoping that will be enough for commenting. They can drop it into a folder. The
next stage might be to pop it open at various times via a scheduler (ie, cron).
After that, I'll send it over email. One of these should work.

As for some of the other comments, there are a lot more issues to this type of
thing than just "nothing in it for me? go away." The whole point of usability
labs are to get underneath not only the process in question, but the human
factors in interfacing with the process. I pointed out that these folks should
be considered "sales types", hoping to convey that they didn't think like
engineers and might be motivated differently. Perhaps to some, even lower on
the evolutionary scale? They use the computer as a tool to get the real job
done, not as a virtual world to live in, so I suspected that this might benefit
from a process improvement. When asked if I should just just drop them from the
list and move on, each said 'no'.

I don't have resources for a usability lab, but I must assume that something in
the process is causing embarrassment or perhaps is bringing a skill shortage to
their attention and causing dissonance. Each will be different though, and no
one can be expected to stand up and say, "hey, I'm stupid".... That's why I'm
looking for unique approaches, not examples of self-centered personalities. My
goal is to minimize that gap between their electronic skills and what is
required to get the data, however simplistic it may be. To an already
annoyed-at-having-to-use-the-pc person, popups can be bad, so the solution has
to approach that gingerly.

Lastly, I might send part of it in email several times during the day, at times
when a popup would've appeared. That would make it shorter (it isn't long now,
but it might divide into 3 parts), and I could get responses via Blackberries
and such as well, although those response might have the depth I'd like. Some
is better than none....

This same set of variables would fit in a physician-patient scenario,
especially with elderly patients, or any of a number of pair groups, none of
which would be motivated by money or bosses or immediate gain. The motivation
is for something less concrete and further out, maybe esoteric. The process
becomes very important then, and 'easy' (for the target group, that is) is
imperative.

-Skip

2009\06\08@115839 by Mark Scoville

flavicon
face
> I pointed out that these
> folks should
> be considered "sales types", hoping to convey that they didn't think like
> engineers and might be motivated differently. Perhaps to some,

To my simple view of the world there are only about 4 things that motivate
people. Money, Food, Power and Sex. These four commodities are traded on a
daily basis. If you have enough of any one, you can get the other 3. I'll
admit maybe I am stuck with an engineering mentality and can't really see
what you are trying to accomplish. I would think that "Sales Types" are
motivated similarly. I'm probably missing the point somewhere.

> When asked if I should just just drop
> them from the
> list and move on, each said 'no'.

They are probably trying to be polite. Drop a few from the list and see how
many contact you and "ask" to be put back on.

{Quote hidden}

If these people are "already annoyed-at-having-to-use-the-pc", then maybe
the telephone or personal contact is best to gather the data.

Good luck to you Skip.

-- Mark



2009\06\08@132618 by Vitaliy

flavicon
face
Mark Scoville wrote:
> The ONLY way I have found to gather ANY meaningful data from customers is
> to
> call them on the phone and talk to them, or visit them in person.

I agree with Mark.

Do you have any flexibility in how you can gather the data? Why do you need
to gather it on a daily basis? Why would a one-time survey of each customer
not work? Or maybe, a survey done once a week, or once every few days? We
use GoToMeeting a lot, to receive and provide this sort of feedback, so the
user can show us exactly what they're doing, instead of trying to describe
it in words.

Vitaliy

2009\06\08@140547 by Peter Restall

flavicon
face

Perhaps something simple like a recurring Outlook reminder / meeting
appointment (if your customers use Outlook) ?  Could be very annoying to get
the popup though - people would more than likely just disable the damn thing.

Or perhaps a quick app (your side) to send an e-mail each day with Outlook
voting buttons - presuming the questions are very simple / limited in number ?
Or even an automated e-mail with some forms or attachment in it (could have
security implications).

I could be over-simplifying / over-assuming on this though.

Regards,

Pete Restall

2009\06\08@142553 by William \Chops\ Westfield

face picon face

On Jun 8, 2009, at 6:52 AM, Mark Scoville wrote:

> There is no way people are going to record comments throughout the  
> day without something in it for them.

Sounds like twitter.  There you go; wrap an anonymity layer around a  
new "social networking" buzzword and convince your clients that what  
they're doing is "cool."

 :-;
BillW

2009\06\08@205516 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Mark Scoville wrote:

>> I pointed out that these folks should be considered "sales types",
>> hoping to convey that they didn't think like engineers and might be
>> motivated differently. Perhaps to some,
>
> To my simple view of the world there are only about 4 things that
> motivate people. Money, Food, Power and Sex.

Didn't you forget pain? Can be a pretty good motivator, for example for
going to a dentist appointment. It doesn't give you any of the four you
mention, and you even lose one of them.

>> I don't have resources for a usability lab,

I also think that's the killer... normally people get paid for
participating in one. Or they are highly motivated to participate
because they get to participate in the outcome, and either expect it to
help them or their boss puts pressure on them to participate because he
expects it to help him. Maybe you can create an angle around this.

Gerhard

2009\06\08@212318 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 2:25 AM, William "Chops" Westfield<.....westfwKILLspamspam@spam@mac.com> wrote:
> On Jun 8, 2009, at 6:52 AM, Mark Scoville wrote:
>> There is no way people are going to record comments throughout the
>> day without something in it for them.
>
> Sounds like twitter.  There you go; wrap an anonymity layer around a
> new "social networking" buzzword and convince your clients that what
> they're doing is "cool."

This kind of cool things cool down very fast if there are no tangible
benefits. ;-)

And there are many people who do not pay any attention to
"social networking". I use them (Facebook and Linkedin) but
only once per week. It is nice to catch up with friends there
and see the updates.

Twitter seems to be too intrusive, like all the other IMs.
Even at work, we have Lotus Sametime but most of the
engineers do not use it.


--
Xiaofan http://mcuee.blogspot.com

2009\06\08@230833 by Marechiare

picon face
> ...To my simple view of the world there are only about 4
> things that motivate people. Money, Food, Power and Sex.

Which from the list was your motivation to email the message to the
list? You were not paid, you were not offered Food and Sex. Was it
Power? No, you even did not call anyone "bozoo" or "stupid" :-)

2009\06\09@000441 by Marechiare

picon face
> I have a requirement to get feedback data on a daily basis
> from a number of users (clients). The data isn't complex,
> and started out as a dozen questions that I suggested they
> send answers on to me at end of day or so. Compliance
> has been very poor.
>
> I then suggested a text template with specific questions.
> Again, it started out OK, but quickly went to minimal
> compliance again. The reasons given are 'just
> forgot', 'too busy', and so on.

Consider some server side app to send SMS. Each SMS should be a link
to a web app. A user selects the link in his mobile and then is
getting through a set of very simple forms, each form is one queation
and a number of reply options - radiobuttons or checkboxes - should
work well on a mobile under Opera browser.

Create a forum to discuss the processed data and invite most active
this list's members to participate in it. Give a user a possibility to
analyze his stored data to make it useful to him too.

2009\06\09@085915 by Mark Scoville

flavicon
face
> Which from the list was your motivation to email the message to the
> list? You were not paid, you were not offered Food and Sex. Was it
> Power? No, you even did not call anyone "bozoo" or "stupid" :-)

How can you be so sure? Maybe my wife offered me sex, $20, and a pizza to
send the e-mail :-)

-- Mark



2009\06\09@120052 by AGSCalabrese

picon face
>
> On Jun 9, 2009, at 7:59 AM, Mark Scoville wrote:
>
>> Which from the list was your motivation to email the message to the
>> list? You were not paid, you were not offered Food and Sex. Was it
>> Power? No, you even did not call anyone "bozoo" or "stupid" :-)
>
> How can you be so sure? Maybe my wife offered me sex, $20, and a  
> pizza to
> send the e-mail :-)
>
> -- Mark
>
Mine offered me twice that
Gus

2009\06\09@122232 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 12:00 PM 09/06/2009, you wrote:
> >
> > On Jun 9, 2009, at 7:59 AM, Mark Scoville wrote:
> >
> >> Which from the list was your motivation to email the message to the
> >> list? You were not paid, you were not offered Food and Sex. Was it
> >> Power? No, you even did not call anyone "bozoo" or "stupid" :-)
> >
> > How can you be so sure? Maybe my wife offered me sex, $20, and a
> > pizza to
> > send the e-mail :-)
> >
> > -- Mark
> >
>Mine offered me twice that
>Gus

If you're interested in outsourcing the work please sent a high-res photo
of the two pizzas.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
speffspamKILLspaminterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com



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