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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
We’re running an open beta on a .NET developer tool we’ve created and I’d love to hear some feedback on our website:
Gibraltar collects data from running .NET programs for use during testing and post-release customer support. It collects trace messages, errors, performance metrics, configuration data. Lots of great stuff. And it includes great support for managing and analyzing the data too.
I’m particularly interested in feedback on how we can increase download rates for our free trial.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Great looking website!
This is just gut feeling, but I would :
- Change the download button name from "free download" to
I don't think your market is too concerned about "free", i know your app isn't free but the download button using the word "free" makes it seems like it's an appeal.
"Download this... it's free!!!"
- Remove the exclamation marks from the menu. They make it harder to read imho.
Are you able to check the page stats ? where are people falling off ?
Do they come to the front page but not the See It! ? do they come to the Try It! page but not click the download ?
I don't use .net, so it might just be me, but from the nice screen animation on the front page I still don't have a clear idea what Gibraltar actually does. Integrates, visualises, records information, what information specifically ?
Monday, May 11, 2009
This looks good however I did not understand the benefits by looking at the site.
I can use Health Monitoring + Log4net Combo to gather similar data, is visualization of the messages is your biggest feature? Sorry I didn't had time to look in too much details on your site, but bird's eye view tells me it is not something unique.
Also how do you install your product ? Do I have to hook message calls to your assemblies in between my application ?
VistaDB is a big name as testimonial, great work!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Your layouts are a little broken:
Then again, it doesn't seem like your target markets use Firefox 3.0 and Linux like me... ;)
Sam H is right. Remove every exclamation point from the Website. It's juvenile. Also put the download button in the menu. Put it right at the top where I can find it.
I hope the programming in your product is better than that in the Website. Please fix all the HTML and CSS errors.
Don't require registration to get a discount. All early adopters should get a discount. Many are loathe to give up their email addresses. Don't erect barriers to entry.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Yeah, we did cross browser testing on IE8, IE7, IE6, Firefox on Vista, Safari on Mac, but we missed Firefox on Linux.
That screenshot looks pretty bad, but it all relates to the fonts being mapped to something bigger on your machine than what we designed for. Currently, we try to use Segue (for Vista), Verdana (for XP) or Helvetica (for Mac). Might it be that none of those fonts are installed on your computer?
Also, even within the fonts we tested, there is variation in font width between fonts. So, for example, Helvetica 10pt is much wider than Segue 10pt.
We're mulling over a few approaches to address this issue, and I'd love to hear any suggestions on the best/easiest way to implement/maintain font sizing for cross-browser compatibility.
We totally support anonymous downloads. Entering an email address is not required to download the beta.
We are providing a special discount to registered beta users in appreciation for their investment of time using a pre-release product. We have not precluded the possibility of an early-adopter discount when we release, but I think it's important to particularly recognize those who contribute at this time. That's why we provide the option for folks to register if they want. Or not.
Thanks for taking time to look at our site and thank you for your feedback.
I think we have some unique value, but you're absolutely correct that need to do better at communicating our unique selling points clearly and succinctly.
Yes, we do trace logging like Log4Net (we can even function as a Log4Net Appender) and monitor perf counters like Windows Vista. We also collect details on unhandled exceptions and a ton of configuration data (see http://www.gibraltarsoftware.com/See/Analyze2.aspx)
Our biggest value over Health Monitoring + Log4Net is that we provide a complete solution for supporting deployed production apps. We manage getting the data from end-users to the support team and provide great analysis tools.
Some key values in our analysis include:
- Tracking unique error frequency across many logs
- Cross-log analysis (for example, users by O/S version)
- Time-synchronized display of messages and graphs
- Print-ready reporting
- Easy to collect and analyze custom metrics.
On the last point, for example, VistaDB used Gibraltar to optimize their caching algorithm. You can read about that in Jason Short's blog article: http://vistadb.net/blog/news/gibraltar-opens-beta-to-new-logging-and-reporting-tool/
As to installation/deployment, we install on developer boxes as a nice, well-behaved and Authenticode-signed MSI. For deployment with applications, it's a single assembly that runs in-process on a safe, low-impact background thread. We are easily initialized within the program by calling our API or configured implicitly in the app.config as a TraceListener.
Thanks for the feedback!
We've removed the exclamation points from our nav buttons and spent some time with http://validator.w3.org/ and related tools cleaning up some standard complaince issues.
I think these are great improvements. What else can we do to improve the site?
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I think the next step will be to do some user testing. Check your local library for a copy of Steve Krug's "Don't make me think!: a common sense approach to web usability." It's very good.
For a sample, see this page on his Website: http://www.sensible.com/chapter.html
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
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