Improving Jaiku by providing feedback

Here’s a feedback e-mail I sent to Jaiku’s support. Update: Wow, they really take user input seriously over at Jaiku! I already received an enthusiasted response from the support, and it looks like they’ll definitely tackle the issue I’ve described below.

“Hi there.

I thought I’d share my recent experience of activating my mobile phone number for SMS posting and notifications. I feel there’s room for an improvement which is probably small from Jaiku’s developer perspective, yet could be significant for users attempting to do what I did.

For background, I recently took a day-long train trip across Finland and thought it would be nice to be able to post Jaikus using my cell phone. My phone is rather old; its most advanced feature is the ability to send text messages, so using any fancy mobile solutions such as Java clients was out of the question. I already had a working account with Jaiku by the screen name of ‘uusijani’, and was under the impression I had already associated my phone number with this account. However, as it later turned out, I was probably thinking about some other service, so in reality the number was not associated with my account.

Since I was already on the train and had no Internet access, I asked a friend of mine to find out the number I could use to post Jaikus through SMS. I got the number (+467374940501) and fired off my first Jaiku (beginning with the word ‘Testi’, meaning ‘test’ in Finnish). The SMS service immediately replied with the following message: Welcome to Jaiku! To confirm you’d like to receive SMS updates, reply yes. Jaiku is free. Other charges may apply.

Now remember, at this time I still thought my number was already associated with my account, so with this reply I figured the service just wants my confimation for receiving the updates on my mobile, from which I believed to have opted-out previously (in reality, of course, I hadn’t even had the choice since my number was not in my settings). So I replied with the ‘yes’, and the next message I received from the server signalled I was now all set for posting — with the screen name ‘Testi’!

It was only after the trip, when I got online again, that I was able to fix this screw-up from my part, by logging in with the unintentionally created screen name ‘Testi’ and then deleting that account, thus freeing my mobile number to be associated with my true Jaiku account. (I then proceeded to do just that, and this time with better luck.)

But here’s the critical part: because the service’s response to my test posting sent from a previously unassociated number was so vague, I failed to see that what I was about to do by replying ‘yes’ was, in fact, to create a new account instead of just receive SMS updates from my existing account (as it seemingly indicated). I believe this could be easily fixed by making the response less ambiguous, perhaps even as simply as by mentioning the name of the account about to be created, e.g. Welcome to Jaiku, Testi! At least in my case this would have triggered me not to go ahead with the ‘yes’, thus saving me the trouble of having to figure out how to free my mobile phone number from the wrong account.

Thank you for an otherwise cool service!”