209 – Get meaningful feedback about your product or service

Interview with James Kemp and Nathan Wrigley

DEAL ALERT – Get 10% off Simple Feature Requests using code ‘wpbuilds10‘ at the checkout!

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If you have a product or service, it’s critical that you have a mechanism for users to be able to offer their feedback. That could be comments, but perhaps more importantly you’d like to offer your users a way to help you make the product better. Give them a way that they can suggest features and vote for the features that others have already suggested. Better yet, it’d be nice to be able to display all of that on an easy to understand Kanban style roadmap. Today we’ve got a WordPress plugin which can do just that… and it’s called Simple Feature Requests.

Before we get into that let’s introduce you to James Kemp. He’s the developer of the plugin and he’s got heritage working with WordPress, so you know that you’re in good hands.

In the podcast we find out that James has been working with WordPress for quite some time. Not just WordPress though, he’s also got a history of building extensions for the popular Magento eCommerce CMS.

He started out creating software which he sold on Code Canyon. I’m sure that many of you have bought from there and perhaps still do. It has a large audience and many people can make a decent living if they manage to choose the right niche and get a good reputation and following.

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So it was with James. After a short spell working for an agency, he went freelance, selling his plugins on Code Canyon.

This didn’t last too long though and James decided that he wanted to set up hos own plugin company, which he did. It’s called Iconic.

Iconic’s strapline is:

Optimize Your Store With Our Feature-Rich, Sales-Boosting WooCommerce Plugins

Iconic Website

That’s what they do. James’ work with Magento provided a solid foundation for building up an impressive suite of plugins which will help your WooCommerce store to do more. At the time of writing, Iconic has 14 plugins for WooCommerce, each of which adds in an element which you might need, but which WooCommerce does not have out-of-the-box.

It’s things like:

  • WooCommerce Delivery Slots
  • WooCommerce Linked Variations
  • Wishlists for WooCommerce

You get the idea. Nice additions to any store.

Anyway, I’ve gone off on a tangent, but it was needed, because…

With all of these Iconic plugins, James needed a way to keep in touch with his users to get feedback about where they wanted the plugins to go in the future. What could be improved? What feature was missing from the plugin? How would they like it to change over time?

There’s heaps of 3rd party solutions for this kind of thing, but like any developer who’s curious, James decided to scratch hos own itch and build the solution himself. And what better way to do that than build a WordPress plugin so that the likes of you and I could make use of it… Nice.

It’s called Simple Feature Requests and it’s great.

It’s not got a million an one options, because, as the name suggests, the intention here was to keep it… erm… simple!

You’ve seen the interface before, it’s common and that’s a strength. Something familiar takes less energy to use.

Install the plugin, configure a few options and paste a shortcode (or use their premade pages) and you’re done. Start getting client feedback in a matter of minutes. You can see a demo of how it all looks on the Simple Feature Requests website.

The strapline is:

Manage User Feedback in WordPress. Collect and manage user feedback using your existing WordPress website. Prioritize the product features important to you and your customers.

Simple Feature Requests Website

You can get users to submit their own ideas, vote on ideas that have already been submitted, put all the ideas on a kanban style roadmap so that users are in-the-know about what the piorities are. All with a few clicks.

Because it’s WordPress all of the categries are easy to work with, and it’ll work with your theme, but it offer some nice styling options as well, so that it looks exactly like your own brand.

He’s a list of what the Simple Feature Requests WordPress plugin does / offers:

  • Validates ideas for your product
  • Helps prioritize your product roadmap
  • Unlimited Feature Requests
  • Vote on Requests
  • Filter, Sort, and Search
  • Request Statuses
  • Categorize Requests (pro)
  • Bulk Status Updates (pro)
  • Notifications (pro)
  • Limit Votes (pro)

There’s a functional free option on the WordPress.org repo, but for the full experience, you might like to look at the Pro version of the plugin. Which as you can see above adds a few nice little additions.

So in the podcast we talk about all this and what James has in store for the future of the plugin, which he decided upon using his own plugin!

Have a listen to the podcast and leave a comment below or in the WP Builds Facebook Group, where there’s always a thread for the lastest podcast episode.

Mentioned in this podcast:

DEAL ALERT – Get 10% off Simple Feature Requests using code ‘wpbuilds10‘ at the checkout!

Simple Feature Requests


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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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Nathan Wrigley: [00:00:00] Welcome to the WP podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your hosts, David Waumsley, and Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. This is Eric episode number 209. Entitled getting feedback about your WordPress product. It was published on Thursday, the 10th of December, 2020, my name's Nathan Wrigley. And just a couple of quick things before we begin head over to our website. WP Builds.com and there you will find all of the content that we produce each and every week.
There's quite a lot of it. If you'd like to stay in touch with what we do, then head over to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. You'll find that in the menu at the top, that link will take you to a page where you can join our Facebook group of over 2,700, very friendly and polite word presses. You can also sign up to a couple of email lists to be alerted.
As to when we produce the podcast on a Thursday and also we do a live version of the weekly WordPress news. We're calling it this week in WordPress that comes out on a Tuesday. So that's WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. We've got a [email protected] forward slash deals. And if you'd like to advertise on WP Builds, then go to WP Builds.com forward slash.
Advertise and get your product or service in front of a wider audience, a WordPress specific audience, a bit like these guys did. Do you want to set up your AB split tests in record time? Like in a couple of minutes? use a B split test. You can use your existing pages and test anything against anything else.
Buttons, images, headers, rows, anything. And the best part is it works with elemental Beaver builder and the WordPress block editor. You can check it out and get a free demo. At AB split test.com. So episode number 209, I said it was entitled getting feedback about your WordPress product today. We're chatting with James Kemp, who is the developer behind iconic WP.
That's a suite of plugins to enable you to enhance your WooCommerce website, but that's not what we talk about. Primarily today, we're talking about another plugin which has got called simple feature requests. It's a WordPress plugin to enable you to get feature requests. About any product or service that you might have online.
You've seen this kind of thing with SAS apps before you can look at a roadmap of different features that have been requested. You can vote things up and down. You can make comments and so on. It's really nice. And the fact that it's done in word press means that it's really easy for you guys to get into straight away.
There's a lightweight free version, and there's also a pro version. I've actually used it. Yeah. Which is why I got in touch with James. I think I was using his support to begin with and then decided that it would be a nice topic for the podcast. Anyway, if you've got a client that would like to gain product feedback, or perhaps you've got a product yourself or a plugin yourself, or you've got hosting or whatever it might be, this might be a nice WordPress solution just for that.
Those of you that decide to look at the pro version, you might be interested to know that James has offered the WP Builds listeners a 10% off voucher coupon code WP Builds 10 that's lowercase WP Builds 10, get yourself 10% off the pro version of simple feature requests. We didn't get into a conversation about how long ago code's going to last, but surely it will last for a few weeks after the podcast does add.
And after that, I'm not entirely sure, but once more, the code WP Builds. 10 to get yourself 10% off, simple feature requests. I hope that you enjoy the show. Hello there. Welcome to the WP Builds podcast. Thank you for making it to the interview. I am Joel today by James Kemp. Hello, James. Hello. Hi, this is James and I.
This is our first encounter. We've we've met through Facebook messenger on a number of occasions, but that's about it. So it's the first time we've spoken. I've got James on the podcast today because I want to give him a chance to talk about a plugin, which I. Bought from him, which I've used and really and whenever I buy something and I really like it, I think it's really nice to chat to the author and figure out why they did it and so on.
we'll get to that in a moment, but pretty banal question. If you don't mind at the beginning, James, just tell us a little bit about your background and journey and how you ended up fiddling around with WordPress plugins and so on.
James Kemp: [00:04:35] Yeah. so actually, Studied, music technology at university. so I spent a lot of time in studios and music studios and producing music and things like that.
and I started developing websites as a bit of a hobby, and it was in flashing at the time. when I left uni, there was nowhere to really work in the music industry. So I focused more on the website stuff. And managed to find a job, which was far away from me at the time. but I live in the Midlands now.
and they hired me on a very low salary. and it was there that I started working with WordPress. It was right at the beginning of, when it started getting popular, I guess it was 2009. So I worked there for a couple of years and then it was actually there that I made my first plugin for WordPress.
and that was a plug-in that allowed you to integrate Magento blogs into WordPress.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:39] Oh, nice. Wow. Interesting.
James Kemp: [00:05:41] Yeah. So the sites that we built there, if we did e-commerce we always used Magento, I think we're commerce wasn't necessarily a thing at the time. It was probably GIGO shop and it was probably just starting, I would imagine.
Yeah. so yeah, we use magenta and I built out this plug-in that allowed you to. Bring blocks over in the blocks would be things like, the navigation from the site or the mini cart. and it allowed you to get your WordPress site and the Magento site looking similar. Nice. so a good way to put your blog or a shop into a.
merged them together.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:20] Yeah. Yeah. I remember playing with Magento, building quite a few customer client sites on Magento and it was the death of me on many accounts.
James Kemp: [00:06:29] Oh yeah, no, I sold that plugin eventually and never looked. Oh
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:33] yeah. I really almost refused to go anywhere near.
Near e-commerce after my experiences with Magento, I could never seem to find the correct documentation for anything that I needed to achieve. But anyway, that's another story. Sorry. I interrupted. Carry on.
James Kemp: [00:06:47] No, that's fine. so yeah, I, I built out that plugin as a free plugin and released it on the WordPress repository.
And I decided to try and monetize it a little bit. so I built these kind of ad-ons for it. trying to remember what they actually did. It was quite a long time ago. Now I know had, like I had a single sign on, so if you log into Magento or WordPress, you would also look into the other platform.
And I basically set up on code Canyon, which is part of the inverter network. and at the time, they would set the prices for you. So I think the plugins were between 10 and $15, essentially. Lifetime licenses.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:07:30] Yeah. Yep.
James Kemp: [00:07:32] and I did pretty well on there, so I left that job. Where I started learning WordPress.
and I went out on my own. I set up a company with a friend and we did, a lot of web design, essentially, a web design development agency, did that for a couple of years. And during that time we would, Be building a lot of sites for clients and we transitioned, like I said earlier to Jigoshop, and then over to we commerce when that became a thing.
and we would build these features for these customers and they were built in a modular way that meant I could then release them, as plugins for other people to buy. so the first plugin I actually built for WooCommerce was. A plugin called thumbs. and this was 2012, I think it was released.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:08:28] Wow. Way back. Yeah.
James Kemp: [00:08:30] Yeah. and again, I released it on code Canyon and I built up this portfolio on K Canyon of, three magenta plugins from what I was doing Magento stuff. And then I think I probably had 10 WooCommerce plugins, And like I say, it was this week. I was plug-in and we had a quick view plugin, and some other ones and eventually decided to transition away from code Canyon.
This was probably 2017. I think I started in 2016 and finished moving everything away in 2017, to eventually sell only WooCommerce plugins. on my primary site, which is now iconic wp.com and that's what I do now. Full-time
Nathan Wrigley: [00:09:16] so how did, it's interesting because I've spoken to a few people, a few people who started on code Canyon.
Envato and so on selling themes and plugins and, little PHP snippets and things like that. And, I just wondering. w was it like a wholesome experience? Did you enjoy it or was it from the outside looking in? Cause I've never communicated with anybody that's running that platform or what have you it's sometimes feels a race to the bottom a little bit.
James Kemp: [00:09:44] Yeah. I really enjoyed it when I joined, it wasn't a massive thing, there wasn't that many authors on there. So I was actually an elite offer on there by the time I left. so I never experienced the being at the bottom thing because. The bottom at the time is probably the same as the top is now.
You see what I mean?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:10:06] yeah. Yeah. I think there was a lot of people who made a very healthy living out of seemingly you know, very modest little plugins or whatever that just did a small thing, but did it really well. And it, it was The go-to place, wasn't it? That didn't seem to be less people saying up their own shops and so on.
I've certainly bought lots and lots of things off there and over the years, but so you moved away decided that you were going to just, so did you basically pull your stuff out of code Canyon into iconic WP? I'm just going to call it iconic because that's the actual name, but the website, as you said, is iconic wp.com.
Did you, are you still selling the same stuff essentially that you had on inverter? But now on the, your own auspices.
James Kemp: [00:10:50] Yeah. so we still have we thumbs. we still have most of the same plugins that we sold on CodeCanyon. we, thumbs is actually still one of our top sellers, which is interesting. So it has been, eight years since I built it's changed a lot since I initially released it.
but yeah, we're selling. The same products, plus new products that we've built out.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:11:12] It's a really, there's a pretty impressive lineup. I've just counted. Assuming that everything that you have is on there. You've got 13 individual plugins, all handling a different aspect of interactions with Wu.
and then you've got a, an option on there to bundle it altogether. Is that right? Is your, is the iconic bundle? Is that the entire lot?
James Kemp: [00:11:33] Yeah. there's actually another plugin, which I haven't published on the iconic site yet. which is flux checkout. we acquired it, earlier this year.
so at the moment it's only sold on flux checkout.com and it's essentially a mobile friendly checkout experience for WooCommerce, which is included in the iconic bundle. And the iconic bundle is. There's three different ones and they focus on different things. but the kind of key one is the all access bundle, which gives you access to all of those plugins, for 30 sites.
And. At a much reduced price.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:12:13] Yeah. Like you, essentially, by the time you've bought three of your other plugins, you're in a, you're winning by buying a bundle on you and you get another third. you got another 11 thrown in for the bargain as well. absolutely handles everything. And I confess, I had not, come across your stuff before, so it's really refreshing to come across a completely new and fully.
Fledged out, suite of things. So I'll just run through them for the sake of anybody listening. Who's not heard of iconic and what they do. there's one called WooCommerce for single variations. Obviously. I hope hopefully the name will propel you towards going to iconic WP and looking at these, this woo thumbs for WooCommerce commerce.
Attributes swatches, iconic sales boost stuff that will commerce delivery slots. But that's useful at the moment. Actually we'll come most quick. Food view will come most linked variations. I'm going to stop saying woo commerce at the beginning of everything, product configurator wishlist for WooCommerce accounts, pages, custom fields for variations, bundled products, quick tray, my word.
There's everything in there. it, wow, amazing that it hadn't crossed my radar. Is it a, is it still a growing business or you seeing an upswing, especially of late what, with all the COVID that's happened?
James Kemp: [00:13:28] Yeah, definitely. we're we're growing year on year. and like you say, in the last three months we've had our best memes.
And that's due to people buying the delivery slots, plugin, like you're saying. Yep. Yep. I suspected
Nathan Wrigley: [00:13:39] that would be the one.
James Kemp: [00:13:41] It was probably, fourth, highest seller normally. and it's overtaken everything by, double.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:13:49] Yeah.
James Kemp: [00:13:50] Yeah. see, that's doing really well.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:13:51] Yeah. yeah, essentially, although the thrust of this podcast is not that if you are into WooCommerce and you have not checked out, iconic, definitely go and check it out.
I'll make sure to put a link in the show notes, but the reason that we've segwayed and gone in that direction is to eventually pull ourselves around to the conversation that we're going to have. and that's because James decided that he needed. he needed customer feedback. He needed a bit more data on what people were wanting him to build in the future, or adaptations to the existing plugin and what have you.
And so that brings us neatly to a different URL. And I'm going to ask you to go to simple feature requests. no hyphens. No. No, nothing. Just simple feature requests.com. And over there, you're going to find his WordPress feedback plugin. So am I right in saying that? Did you use, did you build this to scratch your own itch?
James Kemp: [00:14:42] Yeah, a hundred percent. I built it specifically for iconic, and you can find it. I connect wp.com forward slash feature requests. So you can imagine with the 13 plus plugins that we've got, maintaining a consistent list of feedback was starting to get quite tricky. so I looked at some of the options that were around, I know commerce themselves use user voice.
there's Kenny. I can't think of any others off the top of my head, but they're all essentially SAS based. and they limit me or you in terms of customization, they don't necessarily fit in with the branding or flow of your own site. and the other thing is that you obviously don't own, or, you can't.
Manipulate any of that data that gets given to you via these systems? so I wanted to simplify it a bit and just make it essentially a custom post type on the WordPress site that I already had. and, save myself the hassle of logging into some different apps to see what people wanted and figure out how to make it look good.
so yeah, I built out this plugin and it's evolved since I initially built it. And you can add categories at different statuses for the feature requests and so on. and it's styled around user voice. so it looks similar in the way that it. Presents itself to use of voice.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:16:27] Yeah. The, the reason that I'm, I've stumbled across this is because I was looking for something and I was in fact courting the idea of shelling out on a monthly basis, for the SAS platforms that you mentioned.
And I was almost at the point of pulling the trigger. I can't remember which one I was looking at, but it was one of the two that you mentioned. But, but I've always want to do things like this on my own hardware. I'd rather have a WordPress plugin if there is one than pay for a SAS app.
And then for reasons, I can't quite remember, I stumbled across yours in a Facebook group. It was maybe even you mentioning it. I can't remember. And, and off we went and I purchased it and installed it on the website in question, which is over on. On AB split test. I think it's a forward slash roadmap.
There's this basically no interaction on there yet. Cause I'm still beginning that journey, but the it's so simple. You basically upload the plugin. There's a couple of shortcodes, there's a one page of documentation to read. there's may be more documentation than that, but you bang a short code into one page and call it something and tell the plugin what that page is.
And then there's another one. If you want to use the kind of roadmap feature. and you're off to the races. It's pretty simple. The idea is that people get to the site and see, a sort of filterable list of bits and pieces that your customers are wanting to give you information about. Yeah.
so tell us how it works. you designed it to look like this other system, user voice. Is there a reason why it behaves that way? Did you figure that was the most intuitive set of UIs in the industry?
James Kemp: [00:18:05] Yeah. obviously we have commerce use it and later big companies use that. So it must be working, You'll find a lot of these feature requests systems are all similar in the way they look.
so there's not really any other way to make it look if you see what I mean. but yeah, it essentially means that if someone. the normal way that I would have requested it would have had some feedback from a customer is that they would email it in. and you'd even make a mental note of that or perhaps you drop into a spreadsheet.
and the issue with that was that if someone else then comes in with the same request, you've got these, you've got two requests for the same thing, then you probably aren't. Combining these requests into a number of votes for a certain request. so the thing we do know is when someone emails them with requests, we say, yeah, that sounds great.
Can you go and leave it on our request board or vote on this request where someone's already asked for the same thing? And the good thing that our plugin will then do is when I changed the status of requests. So that the default status, when a request is submitted, would be pending, which means no one, except the admin of the site and the person who submitted the request can see it.
so the admin can then go on and approve it and they would set it to published. Or, one of the other statuses, which would be something along the lines of under review, started completed, declined. I think there might be another one that's probably just published actually. so the good thing is that once it's published and other people come along and vote on that request, The, when you change the status of it, WordPress will email the author of drug, the request, and everyone that's voted on it.
and it will say, Hey, just to let you know, the request you've voted on has updated its status to complete it. whereas previously, if you're doing it a manual way and you've got this spreadsheet of people leaving requests and you don't necessarily. store that email address. and if you do, you have to then compose an email to.
20 people that says the same thing.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:20:29] Interesting. I'm just imagining a scenario here where let's say for example, that there are 8,000 people who are using my request system. I am, for some reason, suddenly enormously popular and everybody has decided they want this one feature and it's voted up to the top.
So there's 8,000 people who voted for this one feature, which then goes to, I don't know, completed. How are you shelling the emails out or are they going on a, 10 at a time? Or how does that work? I'm just thinking about the, the possible fund. You could have sending out many emails.
James Kemp: [00:21:02] yeah, they're all queued up, so it uses a custom built queuing system. and they essentially then send out via Cron. So it should prevent any overloading of the server, but
Nathan Wrigley: [00:21:15] yeah. Yeah.
James Kemp: [00:21:17] It's, it's, I've never seen a request to evade some, 8,000.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:21:23] Yeah.
James Kemp: [00:21:23] Hundreds. I've rarely seen a request that has a thousand votes on it.
Yeah. I'm more likely if you've got a fairly popular site, you're going to see, three to 500, But yeah, you can also, it uses WP mail. So if you set it up, to work with an SMT, people can, use that.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:21:44] yeah.
James Kemp: [00:21:44] To actually process and send them mail.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:21:46] so there's the configuration options in the settings.
You've kept it really nice and light. But maybe we'll get onto the road though. The roadmap of the feature requests, plugin, which is an interesting one, a bit later, but so you basically, you rock up to the site and right at the top where you install the shortcode. If you just go for the basic.
Shortcode without any parameters put in, you get the full Monte, you get the whole setup. So you get the, you get a sidebar which contains the ability to create an account or register an account with an email or a password. And also you've got the option to log in. You will also see the top feature requests with the most votes and a list of categories as well.
And then you see what you might expect to see on such a thing. Yeah. in the main area, you get a little box indicating how many votes something has received that box also serves double duty as an area where you yourself can opt vote. Quite a nice thing that you've added into the plugin whereby you can limit the amount of votes that one individual or one user account.
Get, is there a reason for that? Cause I was, when I was playing with it, I set that up and arbitrarily thought, let's just give them 10. So that means that any individual user can spread those 10 votes out. And once they've reached that ceiling, they can no longer vote unless they remove a vote from something else.
why was that in? Is it just to stop people getting trigger happy?
James Kemp: [00:23:12] in a way, it was actually a request that one, that someone wanted to be able to do that. and the reasoning is that if you, for example, I have three votes to leave on, three different requests you're going to.
Rudy cavity. Think about which three features are of most importance to you. So you get, you get a better idea of what people's actual priorities are. If they could vote on everything, then you could have the same number of eights on every request. And it wouldn't really show the priority.
People might see a request and think, Oh yeah, that'd be good click here. But they don't, They don't really care if that comes to the plugin on them,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:23:49] not having, having a site, which is busy enough to worry about that. and also not being able to test it myself, what happens, let's say that you've limited it to three votes and I try to desperately click on a fourth thing.
Is there something that pops up to tell me, you've used up your requests either go and remove a vote off something else or just live with it.
James Kemp: [00:24:11] yeah, exactly that, yeah, they get a pop-up that says you don't have any more votes left. and you can either go back to it. Doesn't say this, but you can either go back to you a request that you voted on and click it again.
It will unveil it. and then you can go and use that elsewhere.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:24:28] Just live with it.
James Kemp: [00:24:30] Yeah. Or, yeah, like you say,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:24:32] to go with it, the capability to filter things is pretty nice. You've got the, by default, you're looking at like the latest ones. I presume that's the default, because it's what I'm looking at on your website at the moment.
And then there's the option to click a little button next to that, which says top on that then, as you might imagine, Push pushes the filtering such that the one with the most folks goes to the top on your website currently with 15 votes, conditional logic is the one that's, is the most requested thing.
And then you've got the option to filter by the status of it. So you want to only see things that have been completed or declined or under review, and then you've got an arbitrary set of categories that you can set up. in the same exact way that you would set up WordPress categories, you can set up these so that, and then they appear as little badges, little, little with a nice little background color, just at least stand out in the UI.
and then once you've done your filtering and you've decided what it is that you want to click on, you then just click on it and you go to, a single page, which has got. Is it just normal WordPress comments you've got on there. You've got the actual thing itself. who decided to share this. So in this case, it's got your little thumbnail image of your avatar and then some open comment system.
James Kemp: [00:25:47] Yeah. The, the comments would just inherit, whatever your theme uses.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:25:51] Yep. Yep. and so that's how it works. And then if you go back, there's a breadcrumb, obviously just to keep you on track. And then if you go back to, I don't know if that's part of the plugin, actually, I don't think it is.
Is it? That's probably just on your website. I'm not sure. then if you go back to the main page, you can then start typing it. And this is quite nice. I really liked the way you've built this. If you start typing into the box where you can submit your own requests, then all the other fields.
A payer where you can basically give it a description, add a category and then submit it. So what happens? what's the sort of journey that I would go through as a, in this case, let's say a plugin developer or theme owner or whatever it would be, and I'm receiving requests. And somebody comes to my website types in a request.
How does that work flow work? What do I need to do to make it appear on the website and give it the appropriate, place on the website?
James Kemp: [00:26:44] Yeah. So the flow would be the customer would come to your site. They would type into the search box, like you say, to start submitting that their own request. and what that box does is it searches the existing requests to find any that are similar to what they're entering.
and it gives you the choice. It says. You can either vote on one of these five requests or you can continue and submit your own. and that kind of filters out one round of emails that you would usually get, someone's emailing to you to request something that's already been requested. They can just find it in that list.
and you don't have from them other than having, the value from what they were trying to. Give to you, silently added to your site. but if they choose to proceed an add a feature request, it essentially submits the request, to you and it creates a new, paste. It's obviously a custom paste.
in the backend of WordPress and it sets the status depending. So when the user submits the request, they'll get redirected to the single request page and it will say your request is pending. it will be accepted soon or declined. and you as an admin can then see this request. you'll get an email that says, someone's submitted a request, and you can see this list of requests in the backend of your WordPress.
much the same as if you were looking at a list of posts or pages on your site. so from there you can, then you can either go into the individual requests to edit it and you can change the status in there. it's On you, wherever you choose to publish it or decline it, you just, you read whatever the person has submitted and make your decision.
and at that point it will then be visible to anyone who comes to the site unless you declined it.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:28:41] Okay. and then in the sort of admin area, you, the typical WordPress admin area, the it's exactly, as you might expect, you can see if there's a comment count, you can see the number of votes is that field sortable.
You can sort by it. Yeah, it is. That's nice. see the status of it and then obviously you can click in and yeah. Fiddle with the post itself, change its status or what have you, are we able to the state just that it comes out the box with, or at least I believe this is the safest that it comes out of the box with, because I haven't fiddled with these.
You've got, as you said earlier, you got pending published on the review. Planned, started, completed declined. Are you able to add or take away from those if they don't fit or are they just hard coded into the plugin?
James Kemp: [00:29:25] you can add to them. Yeah. so when I built the plugin, I built it in a way that meant it could be very easily customized.
so if you look at the code base of the plugin, there's a lot of filters and hooks that you can hook into. so yeah, you can hook in, you can add your own statuses. you can change, or the default status is you can add your own taxonomies. say obviously by default you can filter by category.
but you could add any number of other taxonomies that you wanted. and yeah, there's this later stuff like that. The whole templating system is based around hooks as well. So you can, remove any aspects of the template and you can move it or you can override it. And so it's pretty flexible for developers.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:30:18] Yeah, it does. the status serves double duty. Doesn't it? In some cases, because obviously if it's pending, then it's pending and nothing's much as happening, published. I presume, literally means that it's available to see on the website, but yeah. Basically not giving it any, I'm not necessarily going to do it.
I might not thing. Yeah. But then you've got these other ones where you've got under review planned, started completed, and some of those tap into something which you haven't yet mentioned, which is that there is a, there's a kind of roadmap layout built into the plugin as well. So do you just want to tell us how the status is if affect the way that the roadmap looks and in fact, what the roadmap does look like.
James Kemp: [00:30:58] Yeah. So the roadmap is essentially another shortcut that you can use. and it will let you list the default is three columns, but you can list any number of columns and each column reflects a status. I think
Nathan Wrigley: [00:31:15] the
James Kemp: [00:31:17] columns by default are. I don't know if you can see
Nathan Wrigley: [00:31:22] I'm going to quickly pull up mine and I'll tell you what I'm looking at, as soon as I've done that.
it is okay, Oh no, I've only got the started up, so
James Kemp: [00:31:32] yeah. so it's under review planned and started that's it. So they're the three stages. So under review would mean that you're, assessing this request, deciding whether it's. worthy of adding how you might add it. and then once you've decided that yeah, we are going to have this, you can add it to the, you can change the status to plan.
and then obviously once it gets to the time that you're going to start developing it, you can change it to the started. so by default, you've got those three columns and. It essentially gives people or customers the chance to have a quick overview of where your product is heading. wherever the features that they're looking for are going to be added into the product.
and yeah, again is a method of reducing the number of requests. That you might get asking the same thing where you could just present this information to your customer, and have them see it without, it saves them the hassle of sending you an email and you're saved for you to house, to live.
Responding to the same email over and over again.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:32:38] Interesting. whenever I find myself accidentally lurking around in places like AppSumo, which you may or may not have come across the, this is the thing that everybody wants to know. They really. Desperately keen to see, obviously in a lifetime deal scenario that they're wanting to see what future value the product has for them.
But the ability to see the roadmap is really on the top of everybody's minds. It would seem, they want to see this and your plugin just completely auto creates it based upon, by default, the three categories that you've just highlighted.
James Kemp: [00:33:16] Yeah, exactly. it's definitely. A popular thing that people want to see.
and as well, if you get a message that says, what are you planning to add to the plugin? And you can just direct them to this page.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:33:30] Yeah, I find more and more that people are putting these kinds of things in the footer of the website, along with, the copyright notice and so on and so forth.
There it is, the, the affiliate link and the link to the roadmap or the feedback. That's certainly what I've done. I've just put a roadmap just called it forward slash roadmap and forward slash feedback. I think it is on our site for the feedback and the roadmap respectively. Are there any, Are there any customization options?
So you mentioned that, you can, if you are prepared to dig in a little bit and fiddle with WordPress hooks and so on and so forth, you can do that. Do you have any customization options in there? So for example, how can you make it look like the site? Does it just inherit things that come out of the theme or are there options to, I dunno, change font, colors, font sizes, the way the backgrounds of certain things look or indeed if they're not there.
Oh, they are they on your roadmap?
James Kemp: [00:34:23] so the plugin inherit your site styles. mostly. So we inherit, the font family, the sizing of headings, link colors, and things like that. The actual layout of it is all predefined. And the reason I do that is to avoid overloading people with too many options.
what I would say I actually do in the future is to add different themes that is, Predefined layouts, rather than allowing people to customize every individual part of it from the settings. if you did want to customize it all, then the option is there to do it via code. but I don't think I would ever add that.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:35:07] Yep.
James Kemp: [00:35:08] Yep. That level of fine grain detail to the settings.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:35:12] Okay. One of the, one of the things that when I look at these roadmaps, that the word that comes into my mind is like Kanban. They've got this kind of channels, lanes or whatever the right word for that is. And, and one of the things that I'm used to doing on things like Trello and what have you, is.
as a logged in user, I'm used to being able to say, I want to move that from started over to completed by the, with the mouse, clicking and dragging, at the moment, you've got to actually log into the task and change the category. And so on again, there's just interest from my part, whether that's the sort of thing you are thinking of doing or no,
James Kemp: [00:35:46] it's not, it's never been mentioned before, but it's definitely, a cool concept.
Yeah, that would be really cool to see. I guess the thing we'd want to try and avoid is having, This, that level of customization on the front end.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:36:03] Yeah. But also you, depending on how many things are on your roadmap, how many of those channels you've got it, doesn't actually cover all the categories necessarily anyway.
So it may just end up confusing you where's that one gone, or, it's a really sweet plugin. It does this one thing. Which, which we've obviously tried to outline. It will get you feedback from your customers without you having to interact with them too much. And hopefully it will alert them to stuff which has already been requested again, avoiding you the headache of having to do that via email.
And then it will show it on a nice, handy roadmap, which as I said, seems to be at the top of everybody's minds when they're investing in something, what's the, what's the pricing model that you've got on this then?
James Kemp: [00:36:48] so we do have a free version of the plugin, which is on wordpress.org.
And it's you get a working feature request board. but it's limited in features. So you don't get the categories. you don't get some of the bulk update stuff that you can do in terms of updating multiple requests at the same time. So if you want all of the pro features, it's $79 a year.
yeah. Which is, a lot cheaper than what you'd find for any SAS style product that offers the same.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:37:19] Yeah, it really is. I was really quite surprised at how expensive the SaaS ones were, per month. Yeah. Yeah. what it does
James Kemp: [00:37:28] shows the value of getting, feedback.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:37:30] Yeah. Yeah, indeed. So $79 pro is there a limit limitation on the number of websites you can put that on or is that just $79?
A single
James Kemp: [00:37:39] site? license? Yeah. Okay. I haven't added it to the site yet, but there is a multi-site there is multi-site pricing, available. but I've found that most people that use this have, one product in mind for it.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:37:53] And, as you may, expect it is being used. Upon itself, which is very bizarre.
James is using his plugin to find feature requests about the plugin in question she's just really intriguing. Yeah. Yeah. You've got, that was the word I was looking for. so you can go and check it out. You'll be able to instantly see. So if you go to simple feature requests.com forwards, and then just click feature requests in the main menu at the top, you'll see the layout as we've been trying to describe it.
And then next to it, if you click roadmap, You'll see that Kanban, board layout, which inherits the status that you give it. And there's a documentation page, as well as James said, $79 per year, for a single site license. It's great. until you've started doing stuff like this and needing feature request.
So you assume that you can get away with email until one day. I think you realize that. This is just a mess. I need something much more automated. And so this will do the job nicely, James, sadly, we're out of time. before we knock it on the head though, is there anything you would feel that we left out or maybe a URL that you want to plug something else that you're up to?
Anything the floor is yours.
James Kemp: [00:39:06] As a couple of things in terms of this part about, about what's coming to the plugin in the future. so we're working on adding guest guesstimating. So at the moment you have to have an account to be able to leave request or vote on a request. We're also working on the ability to have multiple boards.
So you could have a feature request board for a specific product. So on iconic, for example, I can have a board for each plugin that we offer an iconic. and the other thing is more for the admin where we would offer. Some more reporting options. and the ability to give each request, value and the amount of time that it would take you to develop that.
And so you can get, a more statistical understanding of what would be best to prioritize. Oh,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:39:53] nice. So the roadmap for the roadmap is really good. Yeah. Really nice. Whoa. Really good. Good. You got some things on the website, under review at the moment, add option to display users remaining votes. Ah, there you go.
dark mode and allow users to downvote or to wall controversial, or have users to downvote to request. There you go. That's interesting. So there you have it. Simple feature requests.com. There'll be links in the show notes to everything that we've talked about, but, James, thanks for joining us so much today.
James Kemp: [00:40:23] Thanks for having me. It's been good.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:40:25] I hope that you enjoy that. Always very nice to chat to talented developers, such as James, doing fun things in WordPress. Go over to the show [email protected]. Search for this episode is episode number 209. There's an archive in the menu at the top, and you'll be able to find all of the links to the products and services mentioned in this episode, namely iconic WP and simple feature requests.
The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by AB split test. Do you want to set up your AB split test in record time, then you AB split test plugin for WordPress. We'll have you up and running in a couple of minutes. You can use your existing pages and test anything against anything else, buttons, images.
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Join us at 2:00 PM UK time. WP Builds.com forward slash live for this week in WordPress. And also look out for the newsletter that will be coming out on Tuesday, which will cover the posts that we can in that live. You can subscribe and find out more about all of this WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe.
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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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