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How volunteer feedback made the disconnections chart more detailed

Our volunteer feedback fuels real insights and improvements of our products. Here’s an example of how just a couple volunteers helped us make necessary changes to our disconnections chart to capture tiny sub 10s disconnections that could be freezing up your Zoom calls.

We have volunteers all over the world who are enthusiastic about improving their national broadband performance by volunteering data to one of our national studies. These volunteers also care about helping us improve our products, so as we continuously improve our tech, we actively make sure we listen to their feedback.

Here’s how a piece of volunteer feedback helped us improve our disconnections chart recently:

This tale starts with a couple of different volunteers who emailed our support team. The emails were both volunteers who thought our disconnections chart was missing disconnections that they have experienced.

When we first built the disconnections chart, we decided to filter out very short <10 seconds disconnection events, fearing that they could make the chart look like the user had a major problem with their connection, whereas in fact, you would typically never really notice these super tiny outages in everyday internet usage. But since the global pandemic, our reliance on video conferencing has made these tiny outages a big problem. A social call with your friends or family that freezes for a few seconds isn’t really a big problem, but when your call freezes in the middle of a big meeting, it can be very disruptive.

That’s why now, we’ve decided to re-introduce <10 second outages back into the disconnections chart. Volunteers using ConnectedHome and Customer Care Agents using ConstantCare will now see more detail on their disconnections chart, which could help them diagnose connectivity problems they experience - so check your dashboard, you may be able to see the difference!

This before and after shot shows how the new disconnections chart now recorded all the tiny sub 10s disconnection events.

What are the effects of sub 10s disconnections?

Again, you probably will never notice a short disconnection while browsing the web or streaming a video, but short disconnections can wreak havoc on your internet experience when a constant stream of live data is required. Small disconnections during a video conference will freeze you out of the call and make it difficult to follow the conversation. Online multiplayer games will try to mask short disconnections, but when you’re back online you may find that someone has snuck up and shot you in the head while your character was frozen… Also some devices might struggle to re-connect to the internet after only a short disconnection, requiring a hard reboot to fix.

The vitality of volunteer feedback

We’re lucky that this feedback from even a couple of our volunteers caused us to investigate, and re-evaluate our initial decisions, ultimately resulting in a much improved disconnections chart for everyone. We’ve learned that transparency and honest listening can go a long way. As well as the important function of iterating! Things like this can often be harder to test internally exhaustively, so we really do rely on external feedback to let us know when we’ve missed something. If you're a volunteer and would like to submit feedback, use our contact form.

If you would like to become a volunteer, sign up here: