We Asked Stuff; You Told Us Even More Stuff
elizabeth tobey
13414

Elizabeth,

I wanted to thank you for starting/continuing this conversation. This post is extremely comprehensive, and the transparency about the responses and forthcoming actions is encouraging.

In a past life, I was, amongst many other things, the community manager for a tech startup and I know all about soliciting feedback from people who are extremely passionate about a community/app/platform etc.

Because of this, I know that the balancing act of trying to incorporate user feedback to fit within design principles and technological constraints (not to mention aligning that feedback with the opinions/tastes/biases of the decision makers inside the company) can be challenging and, at times, frustrating. Having presented many user suggestions to designers, developers, and decision makers on the inside, I know that it is often not as simple as just “doing what users want,” even when what they want is a great suggestion.

I learned that though it may seem like incorporating feedback is easy, there were usually many different ramifications to design principles and code bases that needed to be taken into consideration before any changes could be made (I’m not at all technical or particularly well versed in design principles but I spent enough time around people who were to eventually understand that a lot of time, planning, work, and testing is needed before any substantive changes are seen by the end user. And I also know that, generally, the bigger you get, the longer changes can take).

But regardless of the technical and aesthetic concerns and parameters that surround any website/mobile product, I found that listening and engaging in conversation with people who are passionate about what you’re building is an incredibly valuable thing to undertake. And it’s clear that you’re a big proponent of this as well.

I used to find it ironic when, in the middle of their feedback to me, someone would say something like: “I hope you realize that you’ve built something great here,” because of course we realized that what we were working on was great (or at least had the potential to be great). Because of my experience receiving that kind of feedback, I won’t say that about Medium because you already know that what you’re working on is great.

Instead, I’ll just thank you again for reaching out to the people who use Medium, and I’m excited to see where things go from here.

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