Learning from our mistakes

This has been quite a week.

I’m convinced I have at least a dozen more grey hairs than I did on Monday, the coffee pot’s been working overtime and there’s a small mark on the wall where a few of our heads may have accidentally been bashed against it.

So this week we saw some amazing things on Shareagift. We’ve been helping with a charity campaign to raise over half a million pounds to help save the lives of children with a fatal childhood disease and this week it took off and went viral. We had literally hundreds of members of the public contributing thousands of pounds to the Sharegift Pages for Jack and Bobby and we were run off our feet helping with press enquiries and television broadcasters who loved the story.

But then we realised we had a problem. We originally designed Shareagift to be used by groups of friends collecting money together online to buy shared gifts. As such, we included a notification system that updated contributors each time their friend left a message or made a contribution. Suddenly we had hundreds of people getting updates from people they’d never met, and cluttering up their inboxes.

So this week for us has been about listening to the feedback from those contributors and trying to respond as quickly as possible. We’ve now built an option for contributors to public pages (e.g. for charitable causes) to leave the Gift Page once they’ve made a contribution and remove themselves from updates. It needed some rapid re-wiring of some of our system by our brilliant CTO, Jon (who has had his own hair turned grey by my rushing around panicking to get it fixed), and it didn’t solve the experiences of those early contributors, but it’s now given us a better system for everyone.

To those who flagged up the issue with us I thank you. We apologise for your early inconvenience and sincerely appreciate your patience and your feedback. We’ve been in touch with most of you personally and have had some really kind responses in return. We’re learning as we go – as always from our users, and I’m always amazed at how generous people are with their time and input. And finally, we’re happy we can take some real positives away from this – we’re excited to have found a new way that people are using the site, with phenomenal success, and we’re really pleased to be learning how to make it better for them every day.

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