Problem graphic on the website

As some here know, I recently placed an order for additional TextBlades. While I was placing that order, the website displayed the following graphic:

I find this graphic to be problematic and frankly disingenuous for the following reasons:

  1. It shows the following months as “Sold”: Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar. That implies (though I realize doesn’t explicitly SAY) that people already have purchased the delivery capacity for those months and presumably that they will (have) receive them on those months. I don’t think anyone got TextBlades in October, so…

  2. This same graohic shows April, May and June as available. Again, this isn’t a delivery contract, but I’d argue the implication here is clear - my order would be expected to be delivered by June.

Obviously, having been active here on the forums, I know differently than this graphic implies. And I suspect this graphic and whatever logic is behind it is PROBABLY just old stuff that hasn’t been updated to reflect the fact that no one truly knows when these things will ship.

I guess my reason for this post is simply to request that this graphic either be removed or, failing that, updated to more accurately represent that everything shown is just an estimate.

-Verxion

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Good point, thigh I never interpreted it the way you did. I don’t recall when that image first started so I may have first seen after I ordered and we’ll after we already had lots of delays already. So to me it was always about when deliveries would occur if the last estimate worked out. Which, of course, they haven’t so far.

I’m not sure what the best solution would be. Have to think about it some more.

Every one I’ve shown that graphic too, and every person who purchased based on my recommendation, interpreted that graphic exactly as Verxion describes. I agree it is, at best, misleading for the average purchaser. If we were actually in GR, it’d be a sweet tool/infographic though.

Verxion - thanks for your comment.

The idea behind this graphic is for new visitors to quickly see not to expect shipments before spring, even without visiting the preorder page.

Not having this page would deny visitors that info, and they might presume it would ship immediately. So you’re obliged to cover the topic up front.

Showing this infographic from a page-one tile brightlines it, so even the casual visitor knows right away that there’s a wait time for availability.

Visually seeing that the preorder slots are already sold for some months ahead is a way for people to quickly recognize this even before reading any of the detailed text, and before starting any preorder.

It was a suggestion from some preorder customers, so we implemented it, and have maintained it beginning a few months after we announced.

We do have a direct link to ‘Shipping Status’ on that page, so people can read more detail about where we stand right now with production and shipping, and the nature of the estimate.

With any summary infographic, if you add too many words, it loses its sight-read quality.

We can look at ways to mod the labeling to make it even more clear, but it still must be kept very short so you can understand it at glance.

Already though, the Shipping Status text paragraphs are fairly explicit, and explain this topic in detail.

From the uncropped page image above, you can see the center-stage language to make clear that this is a preorder.

You can also see the link to Shipping Status to get detailed info.

At the bottom you can see the page-one navigation tiles. Availabiiity is right there so folks can jump to it right from the front page, even before reading anything about the product.

There always more ways to write something, but we do make an effort to make sure folks are informed, and of course immediately refund them if they did not understand the status.

The main dynamic that seems to drive how people read it, is that they want the gizmo now. More than any words, expediting GR is the best cure for that.

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That’s why I couldn’t see a better way of doing it. Leaving out the graphic doesn’t seem to be an improvement. If there is a better way, I still can’t think of what it could be.

I want to be clear here - I 100% applaud the instant refund, I think that is a super welcome thing and every indicatation is that you do this for anyone wanting it. Again, I think that is extremely forthright.

Further, I agree wholeheartedly that the text BELOW the pictured graphic has the pre-order text, and it was present when I placed my recent order for additional TextBlades.

My issue, primarily anyway, is with one single word: “Available”.

I will put some disclaimers here, for the benefit of the doubt:

  1. If you can assure me that there never was an “Available” listed for any month prior to right now, then my concern is unwarranted

  2. If you can assure me that FOR CERTAIN it will be available by June of next year, then my concern is equally unwarranted

I’m truly not trying to be a jerk here. I try VERY HARD as a TREG member, to view things from both sides. One, from the side of a person who has this grand product and owes it to you to test it so we can reach GR as quickly as possible.

But second, I still try REALLY hard to see things from the point of view of someone that placed an order long ago, as someone that is just now placing an order, or as someone that is just considering placing an order.

From this second point of view, unless BOTH #1 and #2 above are true, then the word “Available” is at least potentially misleading.

It looks to me like there is plenty of room to put “Hopefully Available” or “Intended availability” or “Anticipated Availability”.

I know this may seem an incredibly minor point, but to me, in the best of all possible words, that word “Availability” as it is written right now is basically a “trust based” contract of availability by June. In other words, the integrity of WayTools can be measured by the truthfulness of that word there.

Perhaps most importantly, if, at some point in the past, the word “Available” was EVER written above the month of October, then that “trust based” contract was violated. That integrity was violated.

Now, I understand that that word is NOT a legal contract. I’m NOT trying to say there is anything illegal about it or honestly that you are trying to intentionally mislead people. I want to be clear about that - I do NOT think this is intentionally giving people the wrong impression!

What I am suggesting is that if (as @dabigkahuna mentioned), this has been in place in one form or another since orders opened up, then this is most likely something that was designed with the BEST of intentions - shipping soon! But I think any reasonable person would agree that if it has been saying “Available” this whole time based on the shipping estimates, then this is no longer true.

Further, I would argue that the longer (even by the DAY) that it remains saying Available, in light of the now years in slipped shipment estimates, it transitions more from good intentions to becoming something someone COULD argue was disingenuous, which I know your company well enough that this is decidedly NOT the case.

For that reason, I invite you - in fact I IMPLORE of you, that you add just one additional word there - “Anticipated” in front of the word “Availability”. In my personal opinion, those eleven (twelve if you include the space) characters go a looooong way toward having more integrity on that particular page of your website.

Just my two cents. I’m truly trying to see this from every side. On the one, I don’t think there is any bad intent here. But on the other, I can see people (ESPECIALLY people not on the forums!) to not take this as you intend it.

One example from VERY recently - I unfortunately was in a situation where my shiny new iPad Pro had BENT. Apple replaced it free of charge and without using my AppleCare+, but in the course of that I was in the Apple Store sitting at a table twice. I was working from the table both times. Both times, I had many people come up and ask me about the TextBlade as I was using it. Probably twenty or so people each time (bear in mind my local Apple store is pretty busy and typically has about 100 people in it including employees). Of those forty people (twenty each time remember), I had about ten ask me how to buy one. TEN! Well, I had to tell each of them that they couldn’t get one yet, but that they could pre-order it. A few of those people, perhaps four or so out of the ten that asked how to buy it, they were people I’d put in a class of being a little slow on the reading comprehension. I’m not trying to be mean - they were all super nice, wonderful people (as an aside, that’s what I encounter at Apple stores almost exclusively!), but even just remembering the website was difficult for them - I usually offer to text the URL to them or send them an email or to write it down. But I suspect even after my explanation, by the time those four got to the website, they would end up expecting to get it by June.

And hey, if we TRULY make June, then all the better! I’d love this entire thread to be pointless because everyone that wants a TextBlade to have one. :slight_smile:

But I did honestly feel it important to bring this issue up.

-Verxion

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“Anticipated Availability” seems like the best phrasing. I didn’t like the other two.

@Verxion - we can certainly see your point. Anything we can do that makes the subtleties more clear is helpful.

The caveat is “first, do no harm”. We have to make sure whatever change we write does not actually create more confusion. And it also has to be super short haiku for folks to get it at sight, which is always harder than a long-winded paragraph.

Apple got hauled in front of congress because of changes to their power management software. They had moved in good faith to help, but they did it so quickly that they did not think through how it might be misunderstood, which actually made sentiments worse before they got better.

Apple ultimately came up with a more refined opt-in method that resolved it, but it was surprising how a well-intentioned action at first upset their customers. So you just want to think these things through.

What you see today was actually the result of consulting with a lot of our customers to get it right.

That’s why for example, just removing the page would have actually hurt, and not helped.

Team will brainstorm some further refinements, and alternative ways to present it. We’ll plan to revise it within a week.

Thanks so much for the observations guys.

Another example of why there’s more to fielding new tech than just assembling parts.

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All those complaints about power management were silly. The lawyers probably out for a buck and their clients didn’t ever consider how the alternative approach would be worse. Apple, for all its faults, was actually making their phone be useful for longer.

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This, truly, I know is at the center of all your intentions, and I don’t say that lightly. Thank you for your williingness to make a change here - I truly think it will be better for it.

-Verxion

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I love “keeping it short”

What if you change the word “Available” to “Preorder” in the graphic? It implies that you are preordering to get in line “there” in that block, which is the part of the message I think you were hoping to preserve.

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(Putting on my marketing hat I would say “Preorder Now” to imply the blocks might continually fill up. I know it’s 3 more characters but I think they earn their keep)

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Doesn’t sound right to me - it almost sounds more like it is saying you can place your preorder ON that month rather than FOR that month.

@dabigkahuna now that you mention it, I agree with you about my Preorder idea. :frowning:

It’s a good example of why I was having trouble finding a solution. Words can be tricky things!

@waytools

That availability item on the website definitely needs changing - I’d start by eliminating the “season” heading as it serves no good purpose and can cause other problems since it means things only get changed at the end of a season, which isn’t always appropriate.

So, I’d start with these premises (assuming I was at WT and knew what was planned):

  1. At some point, we actually approve GR. That’s not the same thing as actually shipping. Only that you now move ahead with mass production so you can ship.

  2. You certainly have some idea of how long it will take for shipping to start and you have some idea of how long it will take to fill all existing orders.

  3. You also have some idea now of how long to get to the point where you approve GR. Might be very undependable, but you have to have something to say “Fall” on the status page.

So, let’s play with some made-up numbers to show how I think this availability should work.

A. The “Fall” estimate would be, at best, late September. That means your chart would not even show any months prior to that! You can have sold out a month that hasn’t even shipped.

B. We’ll assume that Fall estimate includes the time to ramp up manufacturing so shipping really is happening by late September.

C. Obviously you aren’t going to fill all pre-orders that month, so September is listed as “sold out”. But you have enough orders that you don’t expect to fill new ones for another two months. So October and November would also be listed as “sold out”. That would mean December would be the first month for new orders to possibly be filled.

This could be updated, very quickly, each month manually. Or it could be structured with basic variables for the estimate to start shipping, how many you can make a month compared to how many have been ordered, the present date, etc, so nothing shows a past month as sold out when that is impossible without delivery and it is updated automatically.

Some quick insertions here

They could use the word Booked instead of sold out, it would help a lot.

One thing that I do not swallow well is the estimated delivery date be the same for everyone, I mean, people who bought like us in 2015 and people who bought in 2018 has the same window of delivery (“Fall”)?

I agree with @dabigkahuna when he says those are minor updates that would increase a lot the experience and understanding of the page.

Understandable comments, and no words satisfy like getting your goody, but for clarity, a couple points -

1- Verxion said it came down to one word - “Available” shown in the quarter forecast window.

His notion was that someone might read that as a known date for general release. We agreed with his reasoning, and did change it last November within a week of his post, as promised.

It was revised to read “Estimated” so that it couldn’t be interpreted as a date certain. Once General Release has started, we’ll update the language again to reflect the certainty.

2- A lot of folks have talked about ‘Sold-Out’, but that’s not what it says either.

It reads ‘Sold’ so that people can see that there’s at least two quarters of slots already spoken for, that we must fill before we get to a new preorder. This is explained in detail on the Shipping Status link in the lower right.

Notwithstanding whether any two orders may show the same 90 day window, we will definitely ship in order of priority date for when each order was placed. So if you were earlier, you could get it say, 3 months earlier even within the same estimated window.

That means earlier orders will clearly get theirs sooner. We’ll tune the page again with more detail once we’ve started general release and have good visibility on our delivery flow rate while we’re shipping volume.

Just a quick note, to clear up the confusion points.

Right now want to keep focus on completing our tech update.

Thanks all.

Well, “estimated” is an improvement, but whether listed as “sold” or “sold out” (I just couldn’t recall the exact wording), you haven’t “sold” April, May, or June for sure.

After all, what does “sold” refer to? It only makes sense in reference to when deliveries have been or will be made. “Will be” can be missed since it would be an estimate, but the past is a matter of absolute fact. So, for now, all “sold” references should only be based on when you think it will start to ship and how long to get caught up with existing orders. Thus no past months as that implies GR was already going on.

Sold refers to the preorder purchases already made.

So for example, preorders we’ve booked through to today, have now already taken all fab capacity we have during the summer, hence that capacity is marked sold.

By analogy, Tesla has sold their first production of founders’ series 2020 Roadsters, at $250K each. Those are prepaid preorders, and they are sold from their allocation of the first of 1,000 cars. Those founders series preorders get some special bennies, (perhaps the SpaceX cold gas thrusters that deliver 3G’s of acceleration from 10 vectored nozzles).

To your point - We’ve found that almost any semantical presentation may get some diverse interpretations, but getting the package into your hands is not confusing at all, and then the words don’t matter.

So you try to do something short and simple in a chart to see at a glance, and you also provide the shipping status link if they want to read more detail. And if somehow someone still didn’t understand how it works, it’s really simple to just undo the order with a few clicks. So it sorts out ok.