User feedback examples from the past and non web professions

Charles Dickens: novels released by chapter

Charles Dickens books were originally written and published in weekly installments in newspapers. Readers of the 'novel' would write in to him and he would incorporate the feedback into his work. For example, readers loved "Mrs. Gamp" in the novel Martin Chuzzlewit, so he wrote more and more scenes for her. George Eliot, Thackeray and Gaskell all wrote in serial (as it is known in literary circles), and this is believed to part of the reason for their mass appeal (Source).

Lesson: early user feedback = profit and widespread critical acclaim.

Sexual assault kits

I only know the Canadian history here, but I suspect the American and European is history is similar. In the 1980s, feminist groups began to organize crisis lines, and part of the work they did was to accompany women to get a sexual assault kits done. Getting one of these is pretty awful, but it used to be much worse. For example, male doctors used to perform them, pubic hair would be plucked, and the process was not in the control of or understood by the victim. Thanks to the tireless activism of feminists and the direct user feedback they received from the women they accompanied to the hospital, they effectively lobbied hospitals so that: only female nurses and doctors perform sexual assault kits, pubic hair is cut instead of being plucked, and each part of the kit is explained. Women are also told that they can refuse any part of it, and the hospital no longer calls the police without the victim's express desire to involve the police.

Lesson: consistent user feedback + feminism = a painful process made less painful.

Luluemon's Digital Engagement Team: Responding to user problems

This is kind of guesswork, but I suspect that Luluemon's digital engagement team provides feedback to the design team based on the direct user feedback they receive. I suspect this, because they email users would leave negative reviews on their products - particularly around quality and fit - directly. I would be pretty surprised if they were going to this much effort to only to facilitate returns. I strongly suspect that they provide reports to the designers who then incorporate the feedback into the next design iteration.

screenshot of Luluemon's digital engagement team responding to a negative review Back to top