When you start a company, you aspire to make a positive impact on the world.

Oftentimes, after launching your minimal viable product (MVP), you learn that you might not be living up to your mission statement.

We can attest to that. After Matter’s MVP release, we learned we weren’t quite living up to our mission of delivering amazing feedback to our users. Thankfully, our team was honest with one another. We took a step back, spoke with our customers, and strategized ways to bring our mission to life.

Don’t worry, this story has a happy ending. We can now say we are truly living up to our mission of delivering amazing feedback, but it took some time to get there. Here’s how we did it.

The ugly truth

Learning that we weren't fulfilling our mission was a hard pill to swallow. Luckily, Francesca Gabales and Aaron Kapor from our product design team managed to identify the core issues. During her weekly chats, Francesca was able to get a pulse on how users were feeling about Matter. They voiced how they loved using our platform to gather feedback because it was lightweight and simple. However, great usability does not always mean you’re solving the user’s problems.

It was through these check-ins that Francesca and I were able to pinpoint two glaring things that impacted how users experienced feedback on Matter:

  1. Users were often confused about our rater, which at the time was an 11-pt system
  2. Even when they did get a rating, users felt the feedback was not actionable
After testing our product with customers, we learned that simplicity led to too much subjectivity. This resulted in generic and unhelpful feedback

— Francesca, Matter design strategist and researcher

For me, hearing how the 11-point scale impeded on the feedback process took me by surprise. I was convinced with research and various studies that an 11-point scale was a tried-and-true system. How can you fight that data? But our users said otherwise, and I was here to listen.

Look familiar? 👀 This is Matter’s old 11-point scale (Courtesy of Matter’s Vault)

What constitutes as ‘amazing’ feedback

Alright, I’ve been saying amazing feedback a lot, but what does it exactly mean? Here’s how we define it:

  • Feedback that is delivered constructively
  • Feedback that is exchanged with a trusted peer
  • Feedback that helps you navigate through your blind spots

When it comes to measuring amazing feedback, we send our users net promoter score (NPS) surveys to get a sense of how happy they are with Matter.

Talking to Matter users and walking through the product with them gives us much more of that raw, authentic insight we’re looking for.

⁠— Francesca, Matter design strategist and researcher

Re-imagining what we once understood

Part of our promise of delivering amazing was making sure it was actionable and constructive. So, now the question was how do we do that?

As users voiced their decision paralysis when it came to rating their peers with the 11-point system, we decided to scale it down to a 5-point system. We believed this new rater would make both givers and receivers feel less overwhelmed.

You asked and we delivered. 🙌 With this new version, users can provide a rating from a 5-point system (Courtesy of Matter’s Vault)

Of course, accurate ratings are great, but we still had to make feedback more actionable. Early in our product journey, we learned that people loved using Matter because the feedback was driven by our 30+ professionals skills. So, we decided to lean into our skill ontology and find a way to merge it into Matter’s feedback flow.

There was potential in Matter’s 30+ skills, but we couldn’t quite reach it. So, we doubled-down. That meant scouring books, drawing inspiration from research, and tapping into our own professional experiences to create more detailed descriptions of our skills.

Feedback givers can help their peers even more by selecting specific opportunities to build on their skills (Courtesy of Matter’s Vault)

Now, after a feedback giver provides a rating, they are prompted to choose from a list of actionable items to enhance a particular skill to help their peers. We learned that users loved receiving these specific recommendations.

For example, a user rating their peer on leadership would be encouraged to select actionable items from a mastery list. These items include being candid, delegating tasks, and inspiring others, to name a few.

In our previous feedback flow, the average number of actionable items recommended was two. With our new flow, the average number of recommendations is seven. That's a 250% increase! Our customers are finally experiencing amazing feedback thanks to the skill ontology and feedback flow integration!

Final thoughts

When I founded Matter, the goal was to make feedback amazing. That did not happen right away, and that’s OK. It's normal for startups. This experience spearheaded an incredible journey that led to delivering amazing feedback to our users. It was with the help of our entire Matter team that we finally landed on a new feedback flow we are proud to share with our users!

It took months of work, but we can finally declare: Mission accomplished.

We made it easier for you to experience the feedback you so rightfully deserve. You can get feedback on over 30+ professionals skills and insight into 100+ opportunities to build on those skills. You’re going to love it. 🙌


Matter: The Future of Feedback

Don’t forget to tell us what you think! Are you experiencing amazing feedback? Or does this feature need more love? Please feel free to reach out to me via Twitter at @bretthellman and @matterapp. I'm all ears!👂🥳

Cover Photo Courtesy of Matter's Super-Secret Vault