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Reflections on the User Feedback Panel or More Help, please …

Posted by Irene Polikoff on June 25, 2009

One striking difference between user input this year compared to the last, is that this year we received considerably smaller number of new functionality requests. It seems that our users are still digesting all the new features that came out in 3.0 and in the ramp up to 3.0 – SPARQLMotion, SPIN, the new TopBraid Ensemble with the end-user composable web applications, etc.

User feedback is very important to us as a key input to the product development plans. Of course, many requirements come on a regular basis through the web user forum, but in-person interaction adds different dimensions. It is immediately clear if a requirement voiced by one user is shared by the rest. You can also quickly explore requirements in more depth. For example, at the last year User Group meeting, we received repeated requests for the support of version control and governance. It took some time to fully understand the requirements and design the solution to address them, but after close interactions with several users, version control is now available as part of the new Enterprise Vocabulary Management solution.

This year most of the requests were for better documentation and educational resources – a SPIN tutorial, more videos, example applications for TBE, etc. It seems that the richer the product suite becomes, the more we need to work on providing resources explaining how to use it.

TopBraid Composer already has a pretty good help facility. However, we've learned that not all its features are well understood by the users. After returning from the conference we have created a new page dedicated to Help http://www.topquadrant.com/products/ComposerHelp.html. It is accessible from a number of places including the download page.

Other requests already in the works include a Powerpoint tour of TBC features, example TBE application for download with, probably, a video explaining how it was developed and, yes, a SPIN tutorial (once I get a chance). Help is being updated as well, in preparation for the 3.1 release.

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