Fall 2009 Survey Results

Author: Chas Grundy

In late October, we sent out a brief survey about Conductor. It was the first of what is to be semi-annual surveys (Spring and Fall) to help us gauge the satisfaction level of our users. I hoped to share these results sooner, but I wanted to post this to the new Conductor website. So here we go.

About the Survey

The survey went out to 327 users (anyone who has a user account in Conductor). At compilation, we had 75 respondents. A few of these indicated that they never used Conductor, so these were excluded from the results.

Satisfaction Rating

Conductor Satisfaction by web development proficiency

This is the answer to the question "How would you rate Conductor as a website management tool?" The overall satisfaction rating was 67%. This isn't terribly surprising, given the anecdotal feedback we get. It seems like two out of every three people likes Conductor, and the other one doesn't. Sometimes people love it, and sometimes people hate it. It averages out to about 67%.

We then filtered this rating by responses to the question "What is your level of proficiency with websites?" and that's where this gets really interesting. Users who have a lot of experience building websites (code, stylesheets, and all) very much dislike Conductor. The highest satisfaction groups were the ones who either had no experience or some code experience. Between these two groups was a significant dip for users who were accustomed to WYSIWYG tools such as Dreamweaver or Contribute.  

Satisfaction by Feature

Feature Mean Rating (1-5)
Overall 3.24
Page Editing 3.19
Images/Files/Assets 2.91
News 3.44
Events Calendar 3.02

This wasn't a surprise to us, as it largely confirmed what we personally believed to be true. Working with assets is rough stuff.

Most Requested Features

Conductor survey results most requested features

The top choices all revolve around making basic content editing easier.

Key Observations

1. Users don't always understand the difference between their websites and the CMS.

Sometimes a limitation has nothing to do with Conductor at all - it has to do with how a website is designed or coded. Sometimes there are custom styles or designed areas that cannot be managed using any content management system. Our challenge is to help educate users and find ways to handle updates without needing to come back to AgencyND for frequently managed content.

2. Assets are a thorn in everyone's side.

People want to upload on the fly (not in a separate area), resize/edit within Conductor, and have WYSIWYG placement tools. And frankly, so do we. We need to work on improving how assets integrate with Pages/News/Events.

3. Conductor is good for building websites, but not so great for managing them.

The most requested features will work directly to improve the low satisfaction ratings for pages and assets. Conductor is great for developers, but it leaves something to be desired for those who need to make relatively simple updates on a regular basis. Users need to be able to manage their own sites. A big step to making this easier includes better documentation posted online.

Survey Conclusions

This survey confirmed many of the things we suspected about Conductor. Some of the feature requests and solutions lined up with the work we already had planned. In other areas, the survey helped us prioritize and re-order the roadmap. In the two months since doing the survey, we have already made progress toward improving Conductor's core areas of page editing (by adding a WYSIWYG, currently in beta) and deploying a quick photo gallery generator tool. We also launched this website, with documentation and resources so users don't need to come back to our team as frequently.

Perhaps my favorite result of this survey is the Project Roadmap that came out of it. With the clarity provided by the results, we were able to focus on certain features and areas to improve. Be sure to visit the Conductor roadmap page on this site to keep up.

Thanks to everyone who responded to the survey for your candor and thoughtful comments. We look forward to the Spring survey.