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Improvement requests category has launched - Voting open

lougallolougallo Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,940

Today we are launching a way for you to request improvements and allow the rest of the community to vote on them. The goal of this was to keep the conversation here in the forums but allow improvements to be added into our support workflow so we can continue to notify those of you who have raised a hand for a similar request.  To do this we are using the same tool we use for our support tickets which has a nice integration for voting.
In some cases you might not want to post an improvement publicly, you can continue to send in your improvements with the ? menu in Onshape -> Feedback.  Here is a brief summary:

  1. Search for existing improvements using Search in the Improvements category
  2. Vote on existing by clicking on the improvement and clicking the Vote link at the bottom.
  3. Submit new improvements by clicking on the New improvement button.
  4. Once submitted, Onshape will review and generate a ticket for it which will cross post it here in the Improvement requests category.
  5. Discussions around the posted improvements or voting on the improvement will notify you when we ship the request, avoiding the +1 storm ;-)
More details about the process here:  https://forum.onshape.com/discussion/797/submitting-improvements-please-read-first#latest

As always, let us know what you think.  If you want to be able to sort or filter by the number of votes or most recent, you can visit the Improvement engine site here:  

Lou Gallo / PD/UX - Support - Community / Onshape, Inc.


  • pete_yodispete_yodis OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 666 ✭✭✭
    @lougallo Thanks for all the work on this.
  • traveler_hauptmantraveler_hauptman Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 419 PRO
    edited July 2015
    Really excited about this!

    @lougallo do you plan to seed the list with some or all of the existing improvement requests?

    EDIT: Ignore the rest of this comment. A forum issue prevented me from understanding how the system worked.

    EDIT: I think part of the improvement system is not visible to me and the questions below are probably due to my misunderstanding how it works and not relevant...

    The submitting-improvements-please-read forum link isn't working for me, nor is there an improvements category in the search.

    I notice that the items in the list are closed for comments. Does this mean that if my improvement request is slightly different or has additional details, I should create a new one? This is a bar-fight style list? I should not only post my improvement but vote down similar improvements that don't match my exact vision?

  • lougallolougallo Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,940
    edited July 2015
    @traveler_hauptman How about now?  Can you see the list now.  A little permissions issue.  All the items in the improvement area are not open for comment.  We are hoping to keep the discussion here in the forums.  If you want to comment, you can leave comments in the forum where the list cross-posts.  I seeded some of the most popular posts but I would say if you already sent in a request then you probably don't need to vote.   As far as voting down, not sure what people will use that metric for.  Not a perfect system but they are harder to manage if they become their own separate zone.  I hope by having the discussion here and the voting there will keep it somewhat in sync with the real feeling of the community.
    Lou Gallo / PD/UX - Support - Community / Onshape, Inc.
  • dennis_20dennis_20 Member Posts: 88 ✭✭✭
    @lougallo, I second @traveler_hauptman's comments.  There are many more requests that have been previously submitted, yet they are not on the list.  Do we have to resubmit them?  I had understood that when this voting would become available they would be collected, summarized, paraphrased, and posted for a) comment, and b) voting.

    And how does the voting work?  Why wouldn't we vote for them all, even if some we would only use once in a great while.  The comments, too, are essential to help clarify and shape the suggestion.  Frankly, this would be invaluable to the developers so they better understand the nuances and really hit a home run with their implementation.

    I'm not trying to be critical as much as I want to see this really help to clarify and prioritize the wish list items.
  • lougallolougallo Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,940
    @dennis_20 No.  All the private improvements sent in are all valid.  We are not exposing the previously requested improvements and do not plan to.  This new voting list is going forward and some might add improvements to this list that you already sent in... and that is ok.  The goal is to reduce the number of improvement tickets we have to add so we can notify everyone who raised a hand.  That might have been done with a feedback months ago and others might just have voted it up.

    We have received numerous improvement requests 1:1.  We hope this allows a 1:many approach so it saves having to type. This give us another angle to look at what people are requesting.  I can imaging many will continue sending in their own tickets and others will just post and vote on the forums.  Like everything we do, we will iterate on this system but I didn't want to prolong it anymore.

    I was worried about the two system setup but since the conversation is so active here, I didn't want to silo the improvements to another system. Discussions will happen in the forum and as the API of the Improvement engine site becomes more available, I will expand some of the features.
    Lou Gallo / PD/UX - Support - Community / Onshape, Inc.
  • traveler_hauptmantraveler_hauptman Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 419 PRO
    @lougallo Thanks for putting all this work in! It's great to have a community visible way to share our needs and priorities with Onshape.

    I think I understand how the improvement requests voting works now.  It goes a long way towards reducing duplicate improvement requests.

    Like @dennis_20 I see no reason why to not vote for most. I don't feel that Onshape will receive any signal of what is important vs what is not important from me.

    Perhaps the following two things would help:

    1) Moderate the requests, at least the ones highest in popularity or priority. Edit the first leading post for each issue to reflect Onshapes interpretation of what all the comments mean. Misinterpretation of issues happens often enough and this would help. Based on how the forum has been working, issues with high interest will have 10's of comments. Onshapes summary of the issue will both make it easy to vote on. Further, when forum post comments are all chatter and speculation with no input from Onshape I tend to stop reading and move on.

    2) Clarify what a vote means so that the results have meaning.
    * You could simply relabel the up and down arrows "High priority" and "Not a priority". Then the sum would represent the priority of the feature to the community.
    * Make votes precious. For instance limit the total votes available to a user or only allow a limited number per day or week.

    Now I think the current voting will communicate "Yes that's a useful feature for me" vs "Meh". This is not that important to me, because I'm confident that Onshape will eventually have all the features I need.

    Anyway, it's exciting to see progress on this front. I'll definitely search the improvement forum before adding a new request to reduce issue duplication for you guys. Otherwise I'm going to hold off until I feel my voice will contribute to the whole in a meaningful way.

  • lougallolougallo Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,940
    Thanks everyone for the immediate feedback.  There were some give/take with which system to choose and how to do it.  In the end, I didn't want to introduce yet another system.  Many of the things suggested I had looked at and as this voting tool gets more mature, it might align more with the overall goals.  

    As far as voting, many might vote for everything but that doesn't change the trend then.  There are labels as well that we will show as things ship.  I may turn on moderation but for now I want to test the system.  We will review the requests and only create tickets for those that have enough detail and completeness to make sense.  We might have the author add more to the request so the community understands.  

    Thanks for the support and let's continue to move the system forward.
    Lou Gallo / PD/UX - Support - Community / Onshape, Inc.
  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,459 PRO
    edited July 2015
    Improvement request for voting system (I understand this is the first public version, just to keep in mind when improving):
    - Try to implement voting into same page as comments. Instead of having link to external webpage, show that webpage there.
    - Tell me if I have already voted or not
  • andrew_troupandrew_troup Member, Mentor Posts: 1,584 ✭✭✭✭
    I too would prefer some sort of rationing, because thoughtful voting seems to me desirable, and inherently of higher value.
    Such voting could easily (it seems to me) get swamped by exuberant/indiscriminate voting.

    Simply put, exaggerating to illustrate a possible risk: if it "costs" nothing to vote, it is conceivable that everyone votes for everything, at which point the nett information value is zero. 

    In the more nuanced case, perhaps it's more like a photo taken with the aperture too large, letting in too much light: the genuine information which is captured is "blown out" by the gain. A further possible outcome is that individuals might be discouraged from voting in the face of inflated numbers.

    If rationing feels too draconian, Onshape might consider a "nice to have" category of vote which is unlimited, and a "strong desire" category which is rationed.
  • lougallolougallo Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,940
    @3dcad  if you voted, you will see an Unfollow in the button.  As far as it being in the same page, that is not possible right now.  Depending on how it goes, I might just incorporate the search to also search the improvement site and remove the category all together.  Rationed voting, all in one site, visibility in both places were all things that fell in the "nice to have" category for the first pass at this and getting something up for the community to use was the primary objective.  

    I will keep an eye on how it does and made adjustments to ensure the feedback is worth something to both Onshape and its users.  Thanks again for the feedback everyone.  
    Lou Gallo / PD/UX - Support - Community / Onshape, Inc.
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor, User Group Leader Posts: 2,099 PRO
    Great Job @lougallo
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • dennis_20dennis_20 Member Posts: 88 ✭✭✭
    @lougallo, I would like to offer the following suggestions for presenting these Improvement Requests (IR), accommodating their discussion, voting, and their implementation.  Since a picture is worth 1k words:

    We could sort by any column.  Ordinal ranking forces a prioritization and rationing.  The Avg Ordinal Ranking would be a dynamic calculation of the group's numbers.  This way we can see our ranking and where the idea ranks with the community.  This whole table is just an example of how this might all be put together in a more dynamic and concise fashion.

    Once an idea is implemented and we had it in our ranking then we should be notified of such and encouraged to revisit the list and update our ranking.  The June 15 implementation date is just an example, but I think Bi-Directional Extrude was implemented around that time.  If OS really wanted us to salivate you could put comments in the Date Implemented column such as "In work", "Being validated", or even provide an ETA.

    There should be a button to submit a new idea or to submit a sub-idea to further clarify the primary IR.  OS personal would field these submissions, discuss them with the submitter if necessary, paraphrase them to represent the majority description and then place them in this list in the appropriate location.

    There should be a column (not shown) with a count of the number of comments and a hyperlink to let us go there and participate in the discussion.

    There should perhaps be a column or a note somewhere indicating our ticket number that has been associated with these ideas, just so we know it has been included.  Maybe this could be indicated in the discussion section instead.

    Further, I respectfully request that OS add to the list (however you implement it) all of the previous IR's that have been submitted via ticket numbers so that we don't have to resubmit these ourselves.  From the start these ideas were intended to be shared with the community.  I am certain that OS already has these listed and collated so it should be a simple matter to add them to such a table.

  • lougallolougallo Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,940
    @dennis_20 You can see a list similar to this on the Improvement engine.  You can see your own requests in a similar fashion in the ? menu -> View Support tickets.  Previous tickets were submitted to us directly and not for posting publicly.  We will review how this is working and make a decision if this is sustainable.  
    Lou Gallo / PD/UX - Support - Community / Onshape, Inc.
  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,459 PRO
    @lougallo If I send a new IR ticket using ?-menu in program - will it be private or public for voting?
    I usually like to send also screenshot to explain why/where the request is needed for better understanding.
  • lougallolougallo Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,940
    @3dcad it will remain between you and Onshape.  The improvement voting system is different than tickets specifically.  One is not replacing the other.  
    Lou Gallo / PD/UX - Support - Community / Onshape, Inc.
  • andrew_troupandrew_troup Member, Mentor Posts: 1,584 ✭✭✭✭
    lougallo said:
    @3dcad  if you voted, you will see an Unfollow in the button...
    Doesn't appear to work that way for me, Lou.

    "Follow" does not seem connected to voting, as far as I can see. Please correct me if I have this wrong. 
    I've been trying to decode what the various controls and counters do, and I'm frankly struggling.

    The only way I can infer whether I have voted for a particular request is to click on the up-arrow (it would be helpful if there was the word "Vote" nearby!) and see if the counter increments when I do so.
    If this does increment, revealing that I hadn't voted, but I didn't want to vote, I can then click the down arrow to cancel the upvote.  However it's hard to have any confidence in this inference, because in at least one case, when I click once to add or subtract my vote, the associated counter toggles directly between two and zero.

    I have to say I find the voting interface confusing and a bit cryptic. Initially I took it that it was sufficient to click on the "Vote for this improvement" button in the Forum interface, which I realise might sound pretty stupid to anyone (unlike me) familiar with social networking .... but in my defence, the place that button took me to had nothing which invited me to place or confirm a vote. 

    Having eventually realised I had to take further action, I mistakenly thought until now that "Follow" constituted a vote.

    This was partly as a result of your post I quote above, together with the absence of any "Vote" label.

    As a trivial aside:  I'm guessing (but wish I didn't have to) that the counter alongside "Follow" represents the total number of suggestions I'm currently following?
  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,459 PRO
    I can see unfollow button only in my own suggestion. I think it would be very important to see if I have voted or not in the list of improvements (not in forum list, but in zendesk (https://onshape.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/topics/200052150-Improvement-Requests).

    @lougallo What if you turn things a bit around:
    - link 'Improvement requests' in the forum takes you directly to zendesk list. There you would see what you have already voted and could see other requests and votes on them
    - for each request add comment/discussion link which would take you back to the forum to post a comment on that particular thread

    I find the zendesk list better to follow requests than forum, it is nice to see what is raising up and sort list as needed.

    I would also like to see if there is new requests from the forum front/main discussion page.

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