In April 2017 we sent a customer survey out to all customers who had used any web application between November 2016 and April 2017. There was also a link to the survey in the application.
Why Survey customers?
We attempt to send out customer surveys every six months to understand how you are all going and to help prioritise future work items.
What did we ask in this Survey?
We had recently released the new Archtiecture web application which included a lot of new features and content. We wanted to understand:
- How well engaged customers were with the new features
- Whether they understood what features did
- Whether the workflows were clear
- Whether the features themselves were comprehensive enough to complete important tasks
We also wanted to understand what kinds of bugs and nuisance-issues customers were experiencing as we had seen an increase in support tickets about connectivity issues.
User Responses on New Features
We asked a pretty similar question about 7 recently released feature improvements including:
- New Energy Charts and Slide Downloads
- Natural Ventilation
- Free Area Calculations
- Thermal Comfort
- Weather File Uploads
- Share Project
As Product people, it's easy to want to keep making new features. We're also painfully aware when something doesn't work because it's usually reported via our support channels. On average across all features, however, these two responses combined represented less than 5% of all answers.
The top 3 responses in the survey were as follows:
- Feature was good and provided value
- Feature had not been discovered yet
- Feature was not well understood
We feel this showed that we need to pay more attention to:
- Making features easier to use
- Helping our customers discover new content in Sefaira at the right time for them
We will continue to work on ways to make our product easier to learn and use, and importantly, easier to get full value from.
User Interface Responsiveness
We wanted to get a better sense of how many customers had issues with interface bugs. We want Sefaira to be fast and easy to use and that extends importantly to how long users need to wait between clicks and for page loads etc.
Our take-away from the survey was that we can improve in this area.
We already have some ideas on what to do here but we're going to double down and make sure we can get to a state where the application responds as quickly as it can for users, even those on slow download speeds, so you can get on with the job of doing analysis and supporting your clients.
Accuracy is a very complicated issue. We try to be as open as we can in how we do our calculations and we are happy that we recently took the time to move our entire product onto EnergyPlus so that we could continue to improve the confidence our customers have in our calculations.
By necessity, Sefaira makes a lot of assumptions on behalf of our users. We use these assumptions to make the first set of results seen by the user as accurate as possible. We also use this process to avoid the need to go through a "wizard" workflow before getting the first answer.
We asked about perceived accuracy of each of our calculations including:
- Plugin energy analysis
- Web app energy analysis
- Daylight analysis
- HVAC sizing
- Thermal Comfort
Our takeaway from the survey is that we should put the most effort into Energy Analysis at this stage. We're specifically looking at how OpenStudio defines different building and space types to see if there are ways we can improve how we define these parameters automatically at setup.
We will continue to make tweaks and improvements to the defaults and assumptions used in our calculations. Our product updates page documents all the changes that are made, when they are made.
We will be also contacting people who have issues with results to try and find out how to continue to improve the accuracy of our product. If you ever have results that don't make sense to you, feel free to tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We reserve the right to change our mind
This gives you an idea of what we're thinking about in terms of upcoming work but please do not base purchasing decisions based on this information. We reserve the right to turn around at any moment and devote our resources on world peace and craft beer (although if we do we'll be sure to invite you along!)
Thanks for your interest and ongoing support!