Saturday, 8 October 2011

New AUGI Wish List system

A quick review of the new Wish List system, with pros, cons and comment.

AUGI President David Harrison’s October Letter from the President introduces AUGI’s new Wish List system. I went to have a look.

Pros: New ranking system; Wishes stay in the system until they’re added to the software.

Cons: Hard to get an overview; No way to see current activity; Older wishes’ discussions are locked; No feedback on ‘wish granted’ flagging; No way to flag/merge duplicate entries; No way to see wishes’ current ranking; No ‘Hall of Fame’; Ranking separated from discussion.

So, if you go to the Wish List home page, you’ll find three buttons:

  1. My Wishes, which will take you to a list of wishes that you have submitted.
  2. Add a New Wish, which allows you to search the existing wish list to make sure your idea is new, and then submit your wish to the list.
  3. Rank Wishes, which takes you to an individual wish and allows you to rate it according to how much you need it.

Now, it’s great that Autodesk are keen to get feedback from the users, and it’s great that AUGI facilitate that and are seeking to make the process better. I’m just not sure that the Wish List system is quite there in its current form.

First, it’s hard to get an overview: How many wishes are in the system? What are the latest wishes? Who has commented and rated recently? For this sort of crowdsourced activity to take off, you need some feedback: Just basically ‘What’s going on?’

Second, there are some niggles with the interface:

One of the virtues of the new system is that wishes stay in the system until they’ve been incorporated into the software. So the wish list includes all the wishes from way back. Unfortunately, for older wishes the Discuss this Wish button takes you to the original, archived AUGI forum post. Which is locked and can’t be commented on.

Since the wish list includes all the old wishes from way back, many of them have been incorporated into the software already. There is a ‘This wish has already been granted’ button, so you can flag the wish, but the flag doesn’t appear on the wish’s page. Maybe a flag will be added when the admins have reviewed your comment, but maybe it would be more ‘crowdsourcey’ to flag the wish immediately and add the comment to the wish’s discussion page. Then others could agree/disagree, argue the finer points, etc. Incidentally, David’s article says that there is a ‘Hall of Fame’ for wishes that have been granted, but I couldn’t see any reference to it on the site.

Similarly, since the list includes all the old wishes, and the old system was that you had to resubmit wishes every year, the list now has lots of duplicate wishes. There doesn’t appear to be a way of flagging these duplicates.

Oh, and since there’s a ranking system, it would be nice to see what a wish’s current rank is, who has ranked the wish, and so on. There doesn’t seem to be a way for that to happen.

Finally, it would be nice to have a closer linkage between ranking and discussion. Currently, they’re on separate pages: There’s a link from ranking page to discussion page, but not vice versa. But I’m not entirely sure what the new ranking system gains over the forum system’s standard ‘poll’ feature.

To sum up, I’m glad that AUGI have taken the trouble to improve the wish list system, and keeping wishes in the system ‘for ever’ is a definite improvement. I’m just not sure that the current site lives up to expectations.

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