Feed Back Two Way Street

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irev
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Feed Back Two Way Street

Post by irev » 2004-12-07 12:16:04

I think I speak for most Nisus users when I say I want Nisus to be successful. Success equates to more available resources, creating faster development and a better product. Nisus has encouraged users to play a part in that success by asking us to send detailed reports to them when problems arise. By the comments in this forum it’s obvious that users were more than willing to do their part by taking their time to submit reports.

Sending detailed reports to Nisus, or as one person quipped “in to the black abyss” is an exercise in frustration when there is only minimal feed back from Nisus. If there are confirmed ‘Known Issues’ in Nisus, I as a user want to be able to go to a page on this site and read about them. Just knowing that these issues are identified and hopefully being addressed would offer comfort to those of us experiencing problems. Otherwise, I could and have spent many hours (days) trouble shooting Nisus and my system for not.

Openly posting NWX’s shortcomings may not favor Nisus’s immediate bottom line, but customer loyalty and trust is priceless in the long term. Would anyone else like to see an up-to-date ‘Bug Database’ of ‘Known Issues’ posted on this site?

MacSailor
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Re: Feed Back Two Way Street

Post by MacSailor » 2004-12-07 13:14:13

irev wrote:I think I speak for most Nisus users when I say I want Nisus to be successful. Success equates to more available resources, creating faster development and a better product.

Openly posting NWX’s shortcomings may not favor Nisus’s immediate bottom line, but customer loyalty and trust is priceless in the long term. Would anyone else like to see an up-to-date ‘Bug Database’ of ‘Known Issues’ posted on this site?
I think this is a very good idea. It will be akind of equal trust. We show our trust to the Nisus staff to develop a good product to be a even better one, and they show their trust toward us to let us know (if not all, but the main) which bugs are confirmed and/or acknowledged by their support team.

This way, we do not have to send in new bug reports on old known bugs. The team can be working on fixing these bugs, instead of drowning in the waves of more and more bug reports on »old» and already reported bugs.

If this is to sensitive to publish, maybe it could be arranged that only people who are registered in this forum would be able to read these bug reports? But I believe that we all (both we customers and the Nisus staff) will benefit from an open policy in this matter.
Peter Edwardsson
..............................

joao
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Post by joao » 2004-12-07 14:10:35

I'm not sure this is such a good idea from a marketing point of view. Yes, there may be bugs in a piece of software, but I think you need to remember that not all users experience these bugs.

I've been using NWE a lot since v2.0, and have experienced none of the problems with speed or stability that others have talked about. There was one bug that regularly caused a crash, but it was due to a feature I rarely used and it was fixed in a previously-released version. When I read about what is happening with other users, I'm grateful for the fact that I don't have the problems that are being reported - and wonder how many other users out there are having experiences similar to mine - which are, on the whole, more positive than tend to appear on this board. Compared to other word processors I've used (some with bugs that literally never got fixed), NWE has been a pretty stable and consistent program.

As a prospective user of NWE, I might be unnecessarily turned off of giving the product a try if there was a list of full bugs and known issues, even if there was a disclaimer stating that users' experiences will definitely vary. People would focus on the list and not the disclaimer.

For that reason, and based on my own rather positive experiences with the program's speed and stability, I don't believe this would be a good idea.

midwinter
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Re: Feed Back Two Way Street

Post by midwinter » 2004-12-07 14:14:57

I don't really think that a bug report monitor would be all that helpful, and in the end, it seems to be more a way to satisfy a few users' curiosity than anything else. If anything, such a bug list should be hidden and available only, perhaps, through an Nisus email discussion list. Or, perhaps best, a core beta testers group/forum. I'm sure Nisus has a group of beta testers, though. But a beta forum would be neat, I think, and could be a useful place to ferret out problems before they, *ahem* start a public beta thread over at MacNN. ;)

dennisg
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Post by dennisg » 2004-12-07 14:58:51

From reading the posts so far, I think I understand the pro's and con's. My personal feeling is that a good company communicates with its customers. The key word here is "customers," and not the unwashed masses who drop by the web site because they have nothing better to do. Whether or not you personally are affected by the bugs, it would be good to know what they are, so if, one day, you ARE affected, you'll know that it's an issue Nisus is aware of and is diligently addressing. When they posted a blog that mentioned they were working on the speed issue, I greatly appreciated knowing that. When Charles mentioned that they had found the crasher bug, that was good to hear.

As far as how they could communicate to us, they've already got a customer email list that they use to make announcements. That would be a good way to inform the people who have a vested interest in the future of the product. Knowing what's in store for the next release is valuable information. Being kept in the dark is frustrating.
- Dennis

"Is that your little friend in the wood chipper?"

irev
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Post by irev » 2004-12-07 15:05:31

midwinter wrote:
"I don't really think that a bug report monitor would be all that helpful, and in the end, it seems to be more a way to satisfy a few users' curiosity than anything else. If anything, such a bug list should be hidden and available only, perhaps, through an Nisus email discussion list."

This is not a novel concept and in know way unfamiliar to those of us that rely on professional software for our lively hood. I for one visit sites regularly to see if there are fixes for problems that I or associates are encountering. Different software companies may call them different names, but most make an effort to keep the communication channels open between them self and their customers.

Take a quick surf over to the http://www.adobe.com/support/forums/main.html page and click on any of the dozens of products listed. Right at the top of the any of the pages you will find a topic called ‘Top Issues’. Adobe is very forthright with problems, and has a loyal following as well as a very healthy bottom line to show for their consideration.

For those of you who have not had problems with Nisus, be thankful. But for those of us that have, it would have saved us valuable time (not to mention undue frustration) if we knew that they were real ‘Known Bugs’.

midwinter
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Post by midwinter » 2004-12-07 17:04:08

irev wrote:midwinter wrote:
This is not a novel concept and in know way unfamiliar to those of us that rely on professional software for our lively hood. I for one visit sites regularly to see if there are fixes for problems that I or associates are encountering. Different software companies may call them different names, but most make an effort to keep the communication channels open between them self and their customers.
Sure. And that's why sites like macupdate list "what's new" or "fixed" when an update appears. Additionally, the communication channels here seem to be absolutely wide open, considering that we're all sitting here on Nisus's forum talking with them about company strategy.
Take a quick surf over to the http://www.adobe.com/support/forums/main.html page and click on any of the dozens of products listed. Right at the top of the any of the pages you will find a topic called ‘Top Issues’. Adobe is very forthright with problems, and has a loyal following as well as a very healthy bottom line to show for their consideration.
Aren't there several threads here much like what you're describing? This is part of why I'm suggesting that a publicly available known-bugs list might be either redundant or unnecessary or both. The problem is that with this new iteration of Nisus Writer, Nisus doesn't really need to go about announcing what's wrong with its product. They need to get people in the door, either crossing over from Word (like me) or moving laterally from NW classic. The issue we're haggling over is how to keep them.

Is NWE as powerful or fully-featured as Word? No. Not at all. Word does everything. Everything. And for writers like me, that's the problem. The thing is always getting in the way, trying to anticipate my every move, correcting my words, messing my footnotes up (that widows/orphans bug took nearly 10 YEARS to get fixed), making noises, auto-indenting, and basically making me fight with it to get my words on the page.

The simple fact of the matter is that as it is, Nisus is really attractive to people who need the basics (footnotes/endnotes, styles, tables and page numbering). In other words, humanities nerds on the high end (that's me) and poor college students on the low end (that's my students). Right now, Nisus is nearly perfect for their needs, sitting comfortably in between TextEdit and Word (too expensive) or AppleWorks (which is just frankly hideous). For me, it feels a little dodgy on some things, but we're still getting to know one another.

I'm reminded of this piece by Paul Ford (and specifically the second picture down) as I type this.

I think, in the end, that Nisus is as forthright and open as they can possibly be. There are blogs by the developers (which I wish were actually done as personal blogs like Dave Hyatt's or Dan Schrimpf) which give us teasers of what's to come. There's a support forum where the developers talk to us.

For them to advertise or publicize the weaknesses/bugs of NWE would not be in their best interests as a company, and the amount of people such a list (if it were public) might serve would potentially be dwarfed by the amount of people who would look at the bug list and then go download the absolutely hideous Mellel or the funky-text-displaying Mariner Write demo.

Would I mind if this list were private? No. Would I mind if there were a special forum for it? No, depending upon how it were handled.
For those of you who have not had problems with Nisus, be thankful. But for those of us that have, it would have saved us valuable time (not to mention undue frustration) if we knew that they were real ‘Known Bugs’.
This is the case with all software that, from time to time, doesn't behave properly. You check their support forums, you send feedback, and then you move on. I'm not trying to be dismissive of your problems, which seem as though they were, indeed, frustrating. It's just that at this stage of the game I don't think it's in Nisus's best interest to go exposing its flank at the same time that it's advertising itself as an alternative to Word.

And as with all software development, we're watching the same process that OS X went through: 1) make it work, 2) make it work fast, 3) add features.

We're at the end of step 2 and moving into step 3, if Charles's blog entry about 2.1.1 is any indication.

Cheers
Scott

dennisg
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Post by dennisg » 2004-12-07 17:48:04

And as with all software development, we're watching the same process that OS X went through: 1) make it work, 2) make it work fast, 3) add features.

We're at the end of step 2 and moving into step 3, if Charles's blog entry about 2.1.1 is any indication.

Scott,

That's just the point. For many of us, NWE isn't moving into step 3. It's still in step 1. They haven't made it work for us yet. I paid for the program about six months ago. In that time, I've spent about 40 hours trying to set it up and dea with bugs ... and about 2 hours doing meaningful work with it. Version 1.1.2 had a line-space bug that frustrated me every time I used it. Version 2.0 added blank pages, random indents, and overlapping printing to my documents. And 2.1 quits whenever it feels like it. So, they've made it work? For you, maybe. Six months later, I still can't use it.

I'd like to know from Nisus that they understand what my issues are with the program and that they're addressing them. I don't think that's a lot to ask. My only question is, Who do you tell about the issues, and how do you let them know? My suggestion is talk only to the people who already own the product. That way, Nisus won't subvert their own efforts to prospect for new customers.

I would assert that the degree to which Nisus communicates with its customers has a huge impact on how loyal those customers are and how many other people they're likely to bring into the fold. I bought Nisus, in large part, because of this forum. Being able to talk directly to Nisus and its customers meant a lot to me. That's why I think honesty pays off in business. As a customer-retention strategy, I don't think you can go wrong by telling your customers your plans for improving the product.
- Dennis

"Is that your little friend in the wood chipper?"

shades
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Post by shades » 2004-12-07 19:25:55

From personal experience (6 years of Nisus Classic, 1 year of NWE), I have emailed Nisus directly twice and posted on a couple of forums. Within 3-5 days there has been some kind of response that addressed my issues.

Is NWE perfect? Not quite. But like the Mellel staff the Nisus staff provide gracious feedback on the forums and in emails. I have not experienced such response and customer care with any other software company.
MBP 2.4 GHz, OS X 10.5.6
NWP 1.2, Mellel 2.6, iWork 08

charles
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Post by charles » 2004-12-07 22:42:29

Hi everyone:

This is a great discussion! I really like to read your opinions on our support and how we can improve. Please keep them coming!

I think the idea of giving you some central place to go find a list of our hot issues like Adobe does is a great idea. For really common things, like this crasher bug several of you have experienced, this would be a good place to find out about the current status of the issue, etc. This was partially what our blogs were intended for, but having an actual list might be a better idea.

-Charles
Charles Jolley
Nisus Software, Inc.

irev
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Post by irev » 2004-12-08 13:53:18

Thanks Charles for your reply and encouragement to “keep them coming.” Shortly after the release of NWE 2.0, Nisus announced that they would be directing all available resources towards improving NWE, and would not have the time to respond to individual correspondence. Great decision that I applauded then and still do today. However, that just leaves the forum as a source to gain solutions for individuals having problems.

I scour this forum regularly (daily) searching for solutions or insights into problems that I’m experiencing. Since the release of NWE 2.1, Nisus has only publicly acknowledged four or so bugs that they were working on. I would be very surprised if that comprised Nisus’s total bug data base.

If Nisus chooses to keep their cards close to their vest, I’ll respect that decision. All that I ask is that Nisus some how provide up-to date information that would at least offer comfort to those of us having problems until the next maintenance release. Whether or not Nisus posts that information publicly, is not my call. I would gratefully provide my serial number, special password or a secret handshake if needed.

Being in damage control mode 24/7 can’t be an enviable position to be in. This topic, as well as many other not so flattering ones on this forum would have never existed if this information was available. Please empower us Charles.

Peace

Todd
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Post by Todd » 2004-12-08 14:49:37

irev wrote:Whether or not Nisus posts that information publicly, is not my call. I would gratefully provide my serial number, special password or a secret handshake if needed.

Between you and me, irev, no secret handshake is needed to get the information you seek. While the bugs in NWX remain hidden from the general public, locked inside an iron vault at Nisus HQ, you can decipher the code by playing this record backwards:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... c&n=507846

irev
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Post by irev » 2004-12-08 16:55:55

Todd wrote:
Between you and me, irev, no secret handshake is needed to get the information you seek. While the bugs in NWX remain hidden from the general public, locked inside an iron vault at Nisus HQ, you can decipher the code by playing this record backwards:
Thank you for that eye opening reference. After listening to ‘Nisus’ backwards numerous times, am I to believe they are chanting ‘Spin’ makes the world go round, world go round over and over?

midwinter
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Post by midwinter » 2004-12-11 23:28:04

Todd wrote:Between you and me, irev, no secret handshake is needed to get the information you seek. While the bugs in NWX remain hidden from the general public, locked inside an iron vault at Nisus HQ, you can decipher the code by playing this record backwards:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... c&n=507846
I like that part where the song goes CHUG CHUG, CHUG CHUG NUGGA NUGGA, CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG.

And then the dragon comes in the niiiiiiiiiiight.

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