Libby’s back from New York again and picked up 3 dachshund puppies for us to foster. Gabe, Alice, and Izzy warm our hearts daily. Lily and Marshall are doing everything they can to be good big brothers and sisters.

In other news, Libby has put a great deal of work into building up the content in her website TrainaDox. She’ll be putting all sorts of training and DRNA information up there.

It should be a busy next few months including John and Angel’s wedding in Champaign in September, the Carrboro Weiner Dog Day at the beginning of October, and the Mid-atlantic Dachshund Picnic in October.

RSS feeds meet IntelliContact

As we get neck-deep integrating RSS feeds into IntelliContact, we encounter an interesting challenge. In the past, our interface was a mere repository for features, integrated through loose glue usually in the form of tabs. Each feature received its own tab–surveys, autoresponders, adding contacts, maniuplating contacts, and tracking analytics. In our wholely redesigned interface we have only four tabs. My Contacts, Create, Send, and Track allow our user to setup their lists and contacts then create, send, and track their email newsletter, survey, or autoresponder.

Where do RSS feeds go? They are a publication method, so maybe they belong under Send. But, they are targets when broadcasting a message (like lists) so maybe they belong under My Contacts. Maybe they are something else that you Create, Send, and Track therefore they go on the Create tab with hints about their status on the Send and Track tabs.

The answer may seem obvious to you, but it’s likely a different answer from that of your friends.

Most importantly, I welcome such a discussion and challenge. A victory is ours when our interface brings the simplification to a necessity rather than a desire as we improve IntelliContact.

[tags]intellicontact, ui, design, human factors[/tags]

bugs bite

This week the development team responded en masse to a few bugs that made it into the production world. The triage process takes these bugs as we receive them directly from customers or from our support-team on the front lines and gets them right into the hands of the developers. The developers step up, dropping their current sprint priorities temporarily, to respond to these critical issues. This feedback loop encourages them to value unit, functional, smoke, and regression testing because they see the result of bugs making it into the wild.

Two of the issues that bit us this past week would have been caught within 5 minutes by tests we placed near the top of our priority list at the beginning of this sprint (8/7) and are still scheduled to be completed by the close of the sprint.

On the up side, we’ve had only a handful of minor issues related to our 4.0 release. The worst problems have been a few features we didn’t bring over from the 3.0 interface such as paying for additional sends above and beyond those included with your account.

[tags]triage, qa, intellicontact[/tags]