Feedback can increase our awareness of how products and services are perceived when used in a real world context and can also show how this perception evolves over time. Processing feedback can infer further information, such as knowing how users' experiences differ according to certain social and geographical factors. More advanced processing can identify the degree of independence of the feedback providers' opinions and their objective nature, e.g. when people's opinions expressed through their feedback get influenced by others feedback.
In a globalized, open and competitive market, it may be argued that online feedback becomes a necessity rather than an option. It is becoming harder and more expensive to predict who will be using a service or a product and their various preferences and contexts of use.
Despite this need and the advances in information technology, we have not seen many advances in the way online feedback is being collected from the crowd. The classic example is the disruptive pop-up or the spam-like email one receives, typically at a random time, with general tone and format. More advanced forms are those used in e-commerce utilizing forums and social computing features, e.g. sharing and praising, but again there is a tendency to produce one-size-fits-all feedback acquisition methods and expect people to adapt to them.
In the Engineering of Social Informatics Research Group (ESOTICS) at Bournemouth University, we work on the design of adaptive and intelligent user-centred feedback acquisition methods. As part of this effort, and following a range of studies, we formed seven personas which typify the different attitudes of feedback providers in the modern platforms which, besides the basic feedback requests, use forum-like environment and social media features. These personas are:
Mark [The Independent and Stingy] . "I do not typically like to be sent feedback requests. If I'm unhappy with something I will go and write that right to them. I may still like to read other people's feedback".
Richard [The Passionate]. "If I'm passionate about something, I can't stand negative reviews about it and I would always defend it and vice versa".
Linda [The Open and Socially Ostentatious]. "It is generally fine to get genuine feedback requests. Giving feedback is a social and community experience and it makes me feel helpful to others".
Jack [The Generous and Privacy Fanatic]. "I indeed like to write feedback and help producers and other users. However, I find feedback requests sometimes suspicious. I sometimes doubt why I am invited and what they know about me".
Sara [The Incentive Seeker]. "What's in it for me? In fact, I wonder why people would give feedback for free".
Hana [The Perfectionist and Complainer]. "I'm perfectionist, If I feel a tiny thing is wrong then of course I will speak".
Amy [The Impact Seeker]. "The benefits and usage of my feedback need to be clear to me in advance. Unless I know how my feedback is going to be considered, I would find it a waste of time to give it".
A feedback "the product is great" coming from Richard should not mean the product is indeed flawless, and when coming from Sara we will need to look at the incentives she is getting. A feedback "the product has some issues" coming from Hana would mean that she has relatively acceptable experience with the product.
So which of these personas are closer to you?