For those who have missed me talking about it before, ILYS is a web-based writing tool that helps promote word flow. They let you set a word count goal and do not let you edit your work until you reach it. The psychology behind this is that editor-mode in your brain is more critical than writer-mode. Self-doubt, analysis paralysis, impostor syndrome... all of these things can force writer-brain into hiding. Editing can require you to be ruthless that is toxic to the actual act of creativity, so ILYS helps you build a firewall between them.
The feature that makes ILYS into a real killer app in my mind, though, is the one I see less talk about from the psychological side, and that is: it doesn't let you see what you're writing. The classic version gave you one letter at a time, which I think was important for sort of building trust? The new and improved version has a "ninja style" where all you can see is your word count, which ticks upward like a high score every time you get another word out.
It sounds kind of scary, it sounds kind of ridiculous... but man, few things are more daunting than a blank white page. You can sneak a peek at what you've been writing (useful if you get interrupted and lose your place), but while you're typing, you're not looking at what you've written, which means you're not judging it, either.
Anyway, while I was working yesterday, I noticed there was a feedback form on the dashboard that was just a box saying "Talk to us!" So I did. I explained that the multi-story saving feature wasn't what I'd hoped it would be and without the ability to re-open saved stories/previous sessions and edit them, it wasn't very useful for how I use the site.
The thing is, I've been using ILYS, but I haven't bothered with the saving feature for much of the writing I've done on the site, because I've found it easier to transfer it to an editor while it's unsaved.
Anyway, I got a reply within minutes suggesting that more robust save features were in the works but asking me if I could describe in more detail what I was looking for, so I did. Michael thanked me for my feedback and for the clear context I provided for it, and outlined some improvements he'll be making to meet my needs, which he said he would be implementing shortly.
Now, since ILYS launched their pro version after NaNo ended, I have noticed what I would call a steady commitment to improvement. Little things here and there show that people are paying attention and tightening the bolts. The one that stands out to me is that at launch, I couldn't type HTML tags (because it would automatically encode the angle brackets as their own HTML macros), but that was fixed pretty quickly.
This was phenomenal, though. The level of responsiveness and attentiveness was outstanding. It sounds like something like what I was looking for would have been on its way anyway, which I had kind of expected? But he took the time to listen to what I was looking for and then tell me what he was thinking for addressing it, and then assured me it was a priority. That is some top-notch customer service right there.
This entry automatically cross-posted from http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/6238