Just trying to make sense of things...

Kindle: Where Does My Feedback Go?

Wednesday, 12 August 2009 13:55 by jordan.terrell

I recently provided a review of my Kindle DX experience – and it continues to be a positive one.  The “screensaver” that runs on the Kindle rotates through a number of images, the last of which displays an email address that you can use to provide feedback and suggestions about your Kindle experience.  I’ve done this twice, and here are the suggestions I’ve provided:

  • Organization
    • I would like the ability to mark books/documents as read or unread.
    • I would like the ability to mark items as private or public - show only public items on power up - provide some way to navigate to private items
    • I would like the ability to apply arbitrary tags to items - allow me to filter the item list by one or more tags
  • Screensaver settings
    • Allow the user to specify the amount of idle time the Kindle waits before it enters the "screensaver mode"
    • Allow the user to change the images used - some of them I really don't like (one or two I personally find mildly offensive) and I have turn the Kindle on and then off just to change it
    • Allow the user to disable the use of images - blank out the screen and display a simple message indicating that the Kindle has gone to sleep
  • PDF Support Enhancements
    • Add indexing/searching support across multiple PDF files - I realize this will not work with PDFs are are just images of text
    • Support dictionary look up of words in PDF files that contain text

After submitting this feedback, I received the following message:

Thanks for writing about Kindle DX feedback.
I'll send your comments to our Kindle team for consideration.
Strong customer feedback like yours helps us continue to improve the service we provide, and we're glad you took time to write to us.  It is always important for us to hear how customers react to all aspects.
Thanks for your interest in Amazon Kindle.
Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:
If yes, click here:
If not, click here:
Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail.
To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our web site.

Best regards,
We're Building Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company

Pretty standard boiler-plate “thanks for submitting your feedback” message.  Now, I’m not complaining about this message – it is the expected initial response.

However, I have not a clue where my feedback has gone or what is being done with it.  Did the product team review it?  Has it been added to a backlog of feature enhancements the development team is working on?  Or is it just rotting in a database somewhere?

I don’t think Amazon has done a good job of communicating the future roadmap of improvements and fixes to the Kindle platform and devices.  Even if they never plan to add enhancements, I am in some ways I’m okay with that – I really enjoy the Kindle experience as it is today.  But by giving me an avenue to submit feedback, Amazon has created an expectation that my feedback will somehow be acted upon.

Anyone at Amazon want to clue me in on what happens with the feedback from Kindle users?

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Customer Is Not A Party

Monday, 3 August 2009 10:59 by jordan.terrell

This is in response to this blog post and it’s comments (read it first).

I prefer the usage of the term Party because I also believe it is a more common abstract term.  I will say this though: Customer is not a Party.  It is a 'Role' that a 'Party' plays.  For instance, I would use 'Person' and 'Company' as parties, and 'Customer' and 'Supplier' as roles.

This is not my own idea.  Martin Fowler does a good job of talking about Accountability patterns, which is where he references the concept of a 'Party', but that concept goes much further than the Accountability patterns.

Archetype Patterns

There is a much greater pattern.  In fact there are two patterns - Archetype Patterns.  The first is the 'Party' Archetype Pattern, and then there is the 'Party Relationship' Archetype Pattern.  Both are closely related, as the latter builds on the former.  These two Archetype Patterns are well covered in a wonderful, if not horribly named book: Enterprise Patterns and MDA (hereafter EPM).  Many Archetype Patterns are discussed: Party, Party Relationship, Customer (which more accurately models this as a Party Role), Product, Inventory, Order, Quantity, Money, and Rule.

I would strongly recommend someone looking at Martin Fowler's Analysis Patterns for modeling ideas/concepts to also read EPM.  In my opinion EPM is, in some ways, a superset of what Analysis Patterns talks about, and EPM's patterns are more generally applicable – hence usage of the term Archetype.

One final comment - with all of these patterns there are two principles that need to be applied, as Martin Fowler pointed out (Analysis Patterns, page 13):

Principle: Patterns are a starting point, not a destination.

Principle: Models are not right or wrong, they are more or less useful.