This morning I had a great experience as a software user that confirmed the need for us as software developers to provide comprehensive, repetitive and eye-catching communication of new software upgrades. Each day, I read through my news feeds in Google Reader and today I was ripping through some articles from TechCrunch when I saw an entry that Google Reader had added new search functionality. Low and behold, I looked up a few inches on the screen, and there it was. I hadn’t even noticed it, but there it was just a few inches above where I was reading.
Here’s the deal: Like most people, I’m a habitual user of software. I do the same thing with Google Reader every day and my eyes don’t stray around, they focus like a laser on just what I want to get read. Eventually I would have seen the new search function, of course, but it’s better that I found out about it right away by reading about it on TechCrunch.
We need to do something like a blog just on new features for our MLS system. We add new features very frequently, and it would be great to promote them more easily to our users. E-mail doesn’t work and so it would be great if we could get people to read a blog but I’m thinking that not enough people are yet reading blogs regularly and using RSS readers to make that work. Another option Google could have tried in this case would have been to highlight the new search feature with a background color or possibly pop-up a notice. But many might find that annoying, too.
What do you think are the best methods for making people aware of software updates?