I was contacted by someone at Claris recently to give my thoughts on things. They were a bit overwhelmed by my response, haha (most of my comments below plus attachment) ...
... I’m attaching our list of bugs and requests for the time being, which we would sincerely appreciate Claris taking some time to review. We understand that there’s no guarantee of action on anything, but I am more than happy to provide additional details if there are any questions.
... putting this document together overall took longer than expected because I cross-referenced our list against Claris’ Community and Ideas posts, which meant reading hundreds of topics and thousands of comments, and which confirmed that we’re not alone.
The ideas board is a fantastic place to gather feedback directly from users, but it's a passive forum, too unorganized, and not functional to be useful in its current state, which is leading people to not take it seriously. There are also too many (over 3,000), and so many duplicates, that it's hard for great ideas to gain traction and stand out, meaning that the point totals fail to accurately represent the true interest in any idea.
Specifically, while scouring the ideas page, I observed the following:
- Many ideas that are now existing features are not marked as “delivered.” Likewise, countless “duplicate” ideas are not denoted as such.
- Users are frustrated that longstanding requests have been ignored with no acknowledgement from Claris and suggest that the ideas board is the place "where ideas go to die."
- Monkeybread Software appears to be actively monitoring ideas more than Claris, as evidenced by their comments touting new plugin features based on them.
- Navigating ideas is not easy, which further discourages its use:
- There is no “found" count, only a “page" count, and it’s only at the bottom of the list. This means you have no idea (no pun intended) how many results were produced from a search.
- After filtering the ideas and clicking to read one, the browser’s back button completely resets the options, so there’s no way to return to your filtered set.
- Once you’ve scrolled down to the bottom and clicked the next page button, the results update, but you are not returned to the top, so you must scroll back up.
- If you choose to read the ideas in reverse order as you scroll up, there’s no next page button at the top, so you must scroll back to the bottom again.
- Likewise, jumping to another page leaves you stuck at the bottom.
- If you type too quickly in the filter, it shows all results. You must delete a few characters and slowly retype them for it to correctly update.
Reading through so many comments, I found a common sentiment of, "everything seems so opaque" and "it feels like our reports go into a black hole." If there are design limitations that make a change impossible, users want to know, but many threads simply end with: "Design and testing are aware of this issue, and we will report back when we know more, but feel free to post it to the product ideas board." If Claris has no intention of implementing a feature, users appreciate some reason; otherwise, they'll keep expecting it.
Everyone understands that Claris has a broader, more long-term vision for the future of the FileMaker platform, but it would be awesome if they directly "engaged" with the community more and perhaps took a handful of user-submitted ideas, posted them in a narrowly focused list, hyped them to solicit feedback on what's most important, and interacted with users for clarification, all with the intent of integrating a few into the product.
... to meet the needs of our users, we wish Claris focussed more attention on fixing bugs and adding functionality that customers, developers, and users have been pleading to see for over 10 years versus building new features that no one has yet requested.
Thank you so much for your time.
I don't foresee anything coming from this, but I've at least done as much as I can ...
Bugs and Features for Claris.pdf (357.1 KB)