how to position a new "beta" feature -- examples?

25 Apr 2008 - 3:49pm
5 years ago
6 replies
535 reads
Meredith Noble
2010

I imagine this might be a tough one, but you IxDAers never fail me, so
here goes.

Can anyone think of any sites that are currently offering two versions
of a particular *feature*, classic and beta?

To be clear, I'm NOT looking for:
- brand new sites that are still in beta testing mode
- existing sites that have an entire beta replacement site to try out
(e.g. Gmail's Older Version / Newer Version)

Instead I'm looking for sites that have, say, two different searches
available - their old search, and a new search that they're testing. The
feature doesn't have to be a search - any sort of discrete tool WITHIN a
website will do.

I'm just trying to pick up ideas of how to position such a beta, and how
to transition people in and out of it. It seems easy but my client has
some unusual limitations, so I'm in idea-gathering mode.

Thanks as always,
Meredith

Comments

25 Apr 2008 - 4:31pm
Oleh Kovalchuke
2006

YouTube login used to be a link to login page. Now it is either drop-down
widget (from the same link), and/or a separate page. I think, they might be
doing A/B testing.

--
Oleh Kovalchuke
Interaction Design is design of time
http://www.tangospring.com/IxDtopicWhatIsInteractionDesign.htm

On Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 2:49 PM, Meredith Noble <
meredith at usabilitymatters.com> wrote:

> I imagine this might be a tough one, but you IxDAers never fail me, so
> here goes.
>
> Can anyone think of any sites that are currently offering two versions
> of a particular *feature*, classic and beta?
>
> To be clear, I'm NOT looking for:
> - brand new sites that are still in beta testing mode
> - existing sites that have an entire beta replacement site to try out
> (e.g. Gmail's Older Version / Newer Version)
>
> Instead I'm looking for sites that have, say, two different searches
> available - their old search, and a new search that they're testing. The
> feature doesn't have to be a search - any sort of discrete tool WITHIN a
> website will do.
>
> I'm just trying to pick up ideas of how to position such a beta, and how
> to transition people in and out of it. It seems easy but my client has
> some unusual limitations, so I'm in idea-gathering mode.
>
> Thanks as always,
> Meredith
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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25 Apr 2008 - 11:07pm
Dante Murphy
2006

I had assumed that you meant two ways to do the same thing visible at the same time...am I right?

Not sure if this fits the bill, but the "upload" process on www.kodakgallery.com has a high-speed widget you can download, or a more traditional web-based upload. Both are displayed under the same functional header, and the slower one is not really described in detail...it seems like they are pushing the faster one. Check it out, maybe this will give you some insight.

Dante

________________________________

From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com on behalf of Meredith Noble
Sent: Fri 4/25/2008 4:49 PM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] how to position a new "beta" feature -- examples?

I imagine this might be a tough one, but you IxDAers never fail me, so
here goes.

Can anyone think of any sites that are currently offering two versions
of a particular *feature*, classic and beta?

To be clear, I'm NOT looking for:
- brand new sites that are still in beta testing mode
- existing sites that have an entire beta replacement site to try out
(e.g. Gmail's Older Version / Newer Version)

Instead I'm looking for sites that have, say, two different searches
available - their old search, and a new search that they're testing. The
feature doesn't have to be a search - any sort of discrete tool WITHIN a
website will do.

I'm just trying to pick up ideas of how to position such a beta, and how
to transition people in and out of it. It seems easy but my client has
some unusual limitations, so I'm in idea-gathering mode.

Thanks as always,
Meredith

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

28 Apr 2008 - 8:32am
Meredith Noble
2010

Ha, evidently it is a toughie! :) Thanks to all who replied. To answer
some questions, as of Friday afternoon, my client was *not* planning on
A/B testing... they wanted the use of the beta feature to be opt-in.
This was, I thought, easy enough - I designed something much like Martin
describes below - but things started to get complicated when they told
me about certain things they *weren't* willing to change as part of the
beta. I was worried these omissions would confuse users.

Anyway, about 30 minutes after I mailed the list I got an email from the
client saying they were planning on using A/B testing after all, and
they're going to make those other changes that were previously out of
scope. I think they just needed some time to realize that the previous
scheme just didn't make sense!

So yes, I don't think I need any examples after all now that we're A/B
testing, but thanks to everyone who wrote back. And Martin, I think I'll
try to track down that podcast, it sounds quite interesting! Thanks!

Meredith

________________________________________
From: Martin [mailto:martin.polley at gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, April 26, 2008 3:01 AM
To: Meredith Noble
Cc: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] how to position a new "beta" feature --
examples?

Hi Meredith,

I remember listening to a podcast not too long ago (by Luke W via UIE,
IIRC) that talked about how eBay made incremental changes to its design.

If memory serves, when they changed their "sell an item" page, they
added a link from the old page to the new page, with some text
explaining why it would be a good idea to use the new version.

I know it's not current, but maybe a similar approach would work here?

HTH,

--
Martin Polley
Technical writer, etc.
+972 52 3864280
<http://capcloud.com/>

On Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 11:49 PM, Meredith Noble
<meredith at usabilitymatters.com> wrote:
Can anyone think of any sites that are currently offering two versions
of a particular *feature*, classic and beta?

28 Apr 2008 - 12:11am
martinpolley
2007

Hi Meredith,

Can anyone think of any sites that are currently offering two versions
> of a particular *feature*, classic and beta?
>

I remember listening to a podcast not too long ago (by Luke W via UIE, IIRC)
that talked about how eBay made incremental changes to its design.

If memory serves, when they changed their "sell an item" page, they added a
link from the old page to the new page, with some text explaining why it
would be a good idea to use the new version.

I know it's not current, but maybe a similar approach would work here?

HTH,

--
Martin Polley
Technical writer, etc.
+972 52 3864280
<http://capcloud.com/>

28 Apr 2008 - 1:36pm
martinpolley
2007

Hi Meredith,

And Martin, I think I'll try to track down that podcast, it sounds quite
> interesting! Thanks!
>

The podcast was actually from a presentation by Christian Rohrer, not Luke
Wrobleski. You can get it
here<http://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2007/05/21/podcast-christian-rohrer-%E2%80%94-ebays-transactions-on-a-massive-scale/>,
along with the slides.

Best,

Martin

29 Apr 2008 - 4:00am
John Gibbard
2008

> Can anyone think of any sites that are currently offering
> two versions of a particular feature, classic and
> beta?

Microsoft's download service is currently being offered-up in two
flavours with a pop-up/overlay inviting you to try the 'enhanced'
version.

Just in time for XP SP3 :-/

J.

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