The Art of Feature Requests: A Comprehensive Guide

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    Home / Product / The Art of Feature Requests: A Comprehensive Guide

    Who doesn't love a good new feature?I was so excited when Instagram stories rolled out. To this day, I cherish the first time I laid my hands on my very first Snapchat filter. You know, the dog one.

    Oh, and don't even get me started on when the hashtag became a thing.Now I could reminisce the rest of social media history, or get to my point: All these cool features were once a cool feature request.And for you to be able to leverage your feature requests and get that same kind of success, today we are looking at:

    • What a feature request is,
    • Different types of feature requests,
    • Why it matters to gather feature requests,
    • How you can get started with a feature request framework,
    • Quick tips to make the most of your feature requests

    Need a TL;DR? Here it is 👇


    • Feature Requests Defined: Suggestions by users or team members to improve or add new functionalities, acting as a communication bridge that deepens product-customer relationships.
    • Types of Feature Requests: Includes bug reports, improvement suggestions, new feature ideas, UI changes, and interoperability enhancements.
    • Importance of Gathering: Key for understanding user needs, enhancing relationships, and guiding product development prioritization.
    • Starting with a Framework: Implement systems for capturing, reviewing, prioritizing, and implementing requests, alongside communicating with stakeholders.
    • Quick Tips for Maximization: Utilize analytics, establish a public voting system, form an advisory board, integrate requests into your roadmap, and celebrate feature releases with your community.

    What is a Feature Request?

    A feature request is a suggestion made by users, potential customers or internal team members for improving a product or introducing new functionalities. Feature requests are essentially bridges between your product and your customers, which not only allow communication but also a deeper relationship and investment in the product. They are a form of feedback that can significantly shape the future development of a product, making them an essential part of the product evolution process.

    5 Main Types of Feature Requests

    Though a feature request is practically a simple transaction of feedback and action, there are different types of it that require different levels of urgency.While there are many types, the major ones are:

    1. Bug Reports

    First and foremost, the top of our list is big reports or bug fixes since they are the most urgent requests.Bug reports often come via your support team, but other channels are also viable. These especially make the developers' work easier since not all bugs can be spotted via internal checks. Thanks to the bug reports, devs can save time identifying the issues, understanding the underlying causes and implementing solutions. And if all goes well, they help the overall quality of your product.

    2. Improvement Suggestions

    While bug reports fix issues, improvement suggestions focus on improvement before there is an issue to fix.Users - and/or internal teams - who are familiar with the product or service may have ideas on how certain features can be improved or optimized. These suggestions can range from minor tweaks to major overhauls, all aimed at making the product more efficient, user-friendly, or effective.For example, there was this 2-week period Canva experimented with not letting users resize a design, and I personally requested they bring it back. I won't act like I was the sole reason why this precious feature is well and alive today - exhibit A 👇 - but well, it is back, so...That's how important a good improvement suggestion can be 🤷‍♀️

    3. New Feature Ideas

    Be it a new feature, functionality or something that operates as such, new feature ideas are the kind of feature requests that propose the addition of entirely new features to the product or service.Users may identify gaps in the current offerings and suggest new functionalities that can fill these gaps. These requests can then lead to new features that increase the product's value and appeal to a wider user base.I've been requesting a karaoke feature for Spotify; if you see it make it out of beta, know that it was me 👀

    How to get Spotify karaoke mode | The Irish Sun

    4. User Interface Changes

    Now this one is, again, a minor type of feature request. A user interface change would be a request made to modify your product's visual layout or design.Users may suggest changes to the color scheme, font style, button placement, or any other visual elements that can enhance the user experience.These changes can make the product more aesthetically pleasing, intuitive, and easy to navigate.A good example is when Apple introduced the incoming call notification, which relieved many Apple users who had to wait for their annoying auntie to stop ringing before.

    How to show the full screen call interface on iPhone

    5. Interoperability Enhancements

    And lastly, interoperability enhancements are basically requests for more or better integrations.Users may suggest ways to enhance compatibility, integration, or data exchange with other software or hardware. These enhancements can increase the product's versatility and make it more convenient for users who rely on multiple systems.Now all these different types of feature requests can and will pop up, especially if you work in a product team. The important bit is to know how to handle them.And before we get there, let's also clear something up 👇

    Feature Request vs. User Feedback

    Do NOT think that these are interchangeable terms. They are intertwined, yes, but not interchangeable.While both feature requests and feedback are essential for product development, they serve different purposes.👉 User Feedback or customer feedback is a broader term that encompasses all types of comments, opinions, and suggestions from users about a product or service.👉On the other hand, a feature request is a specific type of feedback that focuses on suggesting improvements or new functionalities for a product. Plus also, it doesn't have to come from a user.If we're clear here, let's move onto...

    Where to Collect Feature Requests: Best Channels

    Now, there are a good amount of channels and platforms where you can collect quality feature requests in good quantities.Though these channels would differ greatly depending on the product at hand - For example, TikTok might collect its best feedback and requests from creator videos while Salesforce might collect it via demos with potential customers or end-user feature suggestions - there are some channels that would work for most B2B and B2C products.

    👉 Feature Request Forms

    Feature request forms are one of the primary methods of gathering feature suggestions and creating a public roadmap for feature prioritization. Though slightly archaic for most B2C products, a feature request form can be in use for B2B products as well as super big companies with a bunch of different products, like Adobe 👇

    Now, if you are looking for a feature request template, the simplest feature request form that would work for most would look like this:

    • The sender's name, credentials, their user status, etc.
    • The sender's email address, phone number, a means to reach out to them,
    • How they would improve your product, AKA their feature request
    • If you have multiple products, which product or section of the product they are referring to,
    • If possible, documents and files on the feature request to allow for further discussion

    But it is still important to know that such a detailed new feature request form would work best in internal affairs - especially if you don't want it to look as unpolished as Adobe's feature request forms. I said what I said 🤷‍♀️For actual customer requests on a customer-facing platform, there is an alternative that might work better:

    👉 In-App Surveys

    We all come across in-app surveys every day and naturally, they come a lot more naturally to users than a form they would have to fill. So in most contexts, it can be a good practice to centralize feature requests around UX elements that blend in with the rest of your product.Here's an example of an in-app survey feature request form I just prepared using UserGuiding In-App Surveys and its feature request template:

    Screen Recording 2024-03-28 at [video-to-gif output image]

    This works because:

    • It can include feature request collection in your general feedback loop,
    • It allows for better feature request management,
    • It can be triggered on specific features for better targeting and actually good feature requests,
    • It can increase customer satisfaction by showing that you care for improvements

    And all that is possible with UserGuiding. Try it for free today!

    👉 Sales

    Another solid way of collecting new feature requests is through sales, and more specifically, sales demos.A problem that can arise here is that the people requesting features might not be really familiar with what you already offer and can request an existing functionality or features that would simply not work. But at the same time, you can end up getting pretty solid requests since the leads attending the demos often know what your competitors offer and can let you know 🤫


    Online forums are especially great places to gather feature requests if you are a huge product with many users, as in the case of Spotify and Apple.They use their forums not only to offer support but also to monitor common feature requests. And before you know it, you get to see what your friends are listening to on mobile as well. I'm looking right at you, ‎ Spotify 🙃Another good example, especially for B2B, is the HubSpot community, where you can create new ideas, and they get reviewed and delivered by the HubSpot team:

    ‎Of course, if you aren't this big or GitHub-sized, forums can be slightly ineffective. It takes courage to go public with feature requests like Hubspot does.But why do we care about these feature requests so much anyways?Let's go over the main benefits.

    Top Benefits: Why do Feature Requests Matter?

    There are many major and minor benefits to gathering customer feedback and feature requests, the first being that you get to know what your users want straight from their own perspectives.But if we're being more specific, here are 3 main benefits:

    Provides Valuable User Insights ✨

    First things first, just as I touched upon, feature requests can provide valuable insights into what features or improvements are most desired by users.This, in turn, can help businesses prioritize their product development efforts and make more informed decisions about what features to include in their product roadmap.

    Enhances Customer Relationship 🤝

    Feature requests are a powerful tool for deepening the relationship between businesses and customers. By actively collecting and acting on feature requests, businesses can show their customers that they value their input and are committed to improving their products based on user needs.This can lead to increased customer loyalty and satisfaction, and that, I can tell you, with no satisfaction survey involved.

    Aids in Product Development Prioritization 💻

    And lastly, by understanding the most desired features or improvements from users, businesses can set a prioritization framework for their product development efforts accordingly.This ensures that the feature request process is streamlined, the most impactful features are developed first, and resources are used more efficiently for a product that better meets the needs of its users.Now, if you're ready to reap the benefits of these benefits, let's get into...

    How to Gather Feature Requests: Actionable Framework

    In its essence, collecting feature requests and utilizing them is simple. But in execution, there are some steps to meticulously follow.Also, let me be real for a second here:An all-in-one, one-fits-all feature request template for gathering and using customer feedback the right way is not actionable.But there are, of course, some main steps we all need to go through. If you need to know the outlines of the works, here's a good start 👇

    Step 1: Capturing Feature Requests

    The first step in gathering and utilizing feature requests is, of course, capturing them.This involves creating a system where customers, employees, or other stakeholders can submit their ideas for new features. This could be a simple form on your website, a dedicated email address, or a more complex system using a feature request platform. Depending on your workflow, any method we mentioned above would work.But the key is to make it easy for people to submit their ideas and to ensure that all ideas are captured and recorded for review. I know I wouldn't send in a request if I wasn't sure it would be reviewed.So, don't leave your users guessing. Our HubSpot example above did a good job there, for sure.

    Step 2: Reviewing Feature Requests

    Now that you got the requests, it's time to review them, yes just as HubSpot claims they do.This process involves going through each request and assessing its potential value to your business. Now obviously, not all feature requests will be implementation-worthy.

    But you can't just say "nah" and scrap every feature request. So try to consider factors like:

    • The feasibility of the feature,
    • Its potential impact on your product,
    • The resources required to implement it

    If it ticks all the boxes, get to the next stage ⬇️

    Step 3: Prioritizing Feature Requests

    After reviewing the feature requests, the next step is to prioritize them.This involves ranking the requests based on a specific benchmark, often the potential value the feature can bring to your business.You might again consider similar factors here, such as:

    • The number of requests for a particular feature,
    • The potential impact of the feature on your business, and
    • The resources required to implement it.

    And again, using dedicated tools can help streamline this process and ensure that the most valuable features are prioritized.

    Step 4: Communicating with Stakeholders

    Once you have prioritized the feature requests, you can't just get your devs to code it away.You will most likely need to run it by stakeholders and team members, even if you are the CEO.Now this step could involve providing updates on the status of feature requests, explaining why certain features have been prioritized over others, and soliciting further feedback. I'm not saying go with a public product roadmap but make sure to run it by the people who will be affected by it in the long run to weed out any concerns in advance.This communication can help manage expectations and ensure that stakeholders feel heard and valued.

    Step 5: Implementing Feature Requests

    And before long, it is time to implement.The final step in the process is implementing the feature requests. This involves developing the requested features into actual features of your product and integrating them into your product or service.It's important to keep stakeholders updated throughout this process, providing regular updates on progress and any changes to the timeline or scope of the feature.After all, the customer-facing teams will need to communicate it to customers and end-users, and non-customer-facing teams will need to work on improving it.

    Step 6: Following Up on Feature Requests

    Your feature is out; what now?You guessed it, run it by stakeholders!This basically means seeking feedback on the new feature, providing updates on any further developments, and thanking stakeholders for their input.This follow-up can help ensure that the new feature is meeting expectations and can provide valuable insights for future feature development.And if you want to create fans out of your users, you might as well let your users know that their request has been implemented.I know I'd go crazy if Notion finally implemented one of my many feature requests 🤭Now, as I said, this is a basic outline of how the process works. You can add steps, change the order of events, or completely scrap some steps. It's between you and your product after all.But in doing so, there are still some cool tips and best practices that can keep you afloat in case of emergency.Let's take a look ⬇️

    What's Next? 5 Quick Feature Request Tips to Take It Home

    1- Leverage Analytics for Insightful Decisions

    When working with feature requests, there are some set standards to consider, like the number of requests for a specific feature and how viable it is to implement it.But we know better than to follow our gut instinct in the age of data-driven growth 🧠Beyond just collecting requests, you will want to track product analytics to understand how users interact with your product.This data can highlight areas where users struggle or features that are underutilized providing a quantitative backing for prioritizing certain feature requests.And that can be a lot more sensible than just going, "let's do this!"

    2- Create a Public Voting System

    Now this isn't for everyone, but hear me out.Implementing a public voting system for feature requests can democratize the prioritization process, which can yield results that you might not really like but that still doesn't change the fact that that's what your users actually want.This approach not only engages your user base by letting them have a say in a public roadmap and workflow but also gives you clear insight into the most popular and demanded features very clearly.It can also help in prioritizing features - you will soon find out this can be the toughest part - that will have the most significant impact on user satisfaction and product improvement.

    3- Establish a Feature Request Advisory Board

    Now this one, again, might not be your jam. But if you have people voluntarily taking place in your feature request process, they might want to be active - and actually helpful - in how to navigate the implementation.So, form an advisory feedback board consisting of a diverse group of users, including power users, new users, and even churned users, if possible.Now it sounds crazy, but stay with me for a minute because this board can accomplish A LOT.From providing in-depth insights and feedback on proposed features to helping to validate the necessity and potential impact of these features before development begins, this feedback board structure can turn even your churned users into your champions.Beyond being a two birds one stone situation, this proactive engagement can enhance user investment in the product and refine the feature development process.

    4- Integrate Feature Requests into Your Product Roadmap Transparency

    Next up, make your product roadmap visible to your user base. To some extent, of course.This transparency builds trust and sets realistic expectations about when features might be implemented. Additionally, it can reduce the volume of duplicate requests and support tickets asking for updates on requested features.Now our new feature, Product Updates, can come in handy here. It is a complete hub where you can share your latest features and updates, but also how you're faring in the feature request process, managing feature requests and receiving in-app feedback.

    ‎Plus, it can even be where you get feature suggestions as well, thanks to its in-app feedback function that allows for effective product improvement and closing the loop of feature requests.Check it out and start your free trial today!

    5- Celebrate Feature Releases with Your Community

    Now this one is a relatively small tip, but it can work wonders in creating your community that will keep the feedback loop rolling and reviewing customer requests in your feedback board.So, when a user-requested feature is launched, celebrate this achievement with your community. Be it on social media, via email, or in-app, make sure to announce and celebrate it.Take a step further and thank your users who requested it, if your community is fit for that.Acknowledging the role of user feedback in your development process will naturally reinforce the value of your users' input and can turn regular users into product advocates.I'm talking champions 🌟Some quick ideas for how it can go:

    • Sharing stories behind the feature development,
    • Including challenges and how user feedback helped shape the final product,
    • Doing webinars to launch the feature,
    • Rewards for the users who've requested the feature,
    • Promoting use case articles and good practice content for using the new feature,

    And a lot more. The whole point is to be one with your community for a better, improved product.

    Wrapping Up

    To sum it all up, tapping into feature requests is like unlocking a secret level in product development. It’s not just about meeting the mark; it’s about blasting past it.When you’re all in on gathering and acting on these insights, you’re setting the stage to not just please your users but to wow them.This strategy turns your product into something that’s not just built for your users but with them, making every update a step closer to what they’ve been dreaming of.The result?A boost in satisfaction and loyalty that’s hard to beat. In the end, feature requests are your ticket to crafting a product experience that’s anything but ordinary—it’s downright remarkable.

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