Interesting post on Case Types and Case Severity


Over on the 37signals blog, they’re talking about some of their design decisions in tweaking their support request form.


In Clarify/Dovetail parlance, we have a Case Type and a Case Severity.


It seems 37signals have gone back and forth between the two, trying to capture both pieces of data in one


I do think there are 2 distinct values – the type of issue (billing, feature request, bug, etc.) and the severity/urgency of the issue (high, low, urgent, etc.), and I think their post shows the struggle when trying to combine them into one.


I do, however, appreciate that they are focused on keeping the submission form as streamlined, tight, quick, and as easy to use as possible.


I also like the fact that the Severity is focused on how the user feels, and uses natural language. For example, “Not a big deal, just need some help” is much better than “Low”. Something to consider for Clarify/Dovetail implementations.


There’s some interesting comments on that thread as well:


Check Dreamhost support form, they also have very funny dropdown with things like “OMG! Things are broken, people are dying” for really urgent matters etc…


I love the idea of the using emotional responses


Think about saying something like “Teach me. I’m not sure how this works… Rather than “I’m confused.” Selecting an option that says “I’m confused”, although it may be correct, just makes me feel dumb.


I also agree that Radio Buttons, generally, are a much better solution that Drop Downs. ESPECIALLY when the drop down is more verbose than, say, a State or Open/Closed/Cancelled state. Radio’s let me see all options at once without having to click. And drop-downs are HORRIBLE for people without good mousing ability. If the drop-down has a scroll bar, that’s about 1/2 dozen precise mouse-clicks for one selection. Ugh.





Good topic!