Backchannel is a tool for creating a community inside your beta, by solving a long-standing problem in running betas: what’s the best way to collect feedback?

As app developers, we’ve solved this problem with email. A feedback form in the app turns into an email, which lands in a developer or project manager’s inbox, which becomes an item to be prioritized, which may or may not end up on the backlog … you get the idea.

This approach is sorely lacking in some crucial ways:

First, your testers have no way of determining if a bug has been reported already.

Your users use the data they have: if a bug seems common, they might think it’s been reported already, and they might not report it at all. This chilling effect puts a damper on the feedback you receive.

With Backchannel, all the feedback is organized into threads. Users can quickly scan them to see if their bug has already been reported. When they can’t find the thread, they’ll know that they should report the bug.

Second, users can’t build off each other when they email their feedback directly to the developer.

With traditional feedback mechanisms, all of the conversation is locked inside of direct tester-to-developer emails. In short, your users can’t work together to find tough bugs for you. Using Backchannel, if a user posts some feedback, a second user can chime in and build on the report to make it more precise.

Finally, users don’t know what will happen when they send that email.

Will they get a response? Will they be ignored? In Backchannel, all the feedback is visible (even without logging into Backchannel!). Testers can see how responsive you’ve been to feedback, and they won’t be able to wait to join the conversation.

Backchannel is a discussion tool designed to make the benefits of reporting feedback apparent to your testers. The more feedback you get from them, the better your app will be.

Get started with Backchannel today, create an account at backchannel.io, and use our easy, drop-in SDK to start getting great feedback, and build better apps.