I’m starting this thread in hopes of gathering ideas from the Makeblock community on how Makeblock can improve their company and continue to grow. The intention here is not to gripe, but to offer constructive criticism that could help drive changes.
@Makeblock team. We love your products and see the potential, but we hope you look at these problems/ideas/suggestions and act on them as we all share the vision of a growing Makeblock organization and a kit in everyone’s hands!
I’ll start off with a few examples I’ve see around and if you agree, feel free to comment or +1 the post.
- Forum signup: It’s a known issue in the community and @ Makerblock
that signing up for this forum is a challenge. It has not been
disclosed if this is an issue with the Discourse forum tool or
something else. However, the Makeblock team has said that they are
working on a new forum and possibly website.
- Defective 25mm motors: It’s been identified that 25mm were defective at some point and show specific symptoms when the robot is assembled. @Makeblock team: you could create a form for people to submit that have the defective motors and send them out new ones with a return label for the old ones. If they turn out not to be defective, they can go back into the stock pile and continue troubleshooting with the customer.
- Support Communications: Support is provided out of Shenzhen during their working hours which returns 2200-0600 in USA EST time. While this might work for European and Asia customers, this significantly delays North American customer problem resolutions as there are 1-2 email exchanges in a 24hr period spanning several days before a resolution is reached. Consider having a second shift to cover the US daytime.
- Offer phone or chat support to provide more immediate response as sometimes people are working on their bot and have the issue then. The current support model requires a user to put away their Makeblock and come back to it, re-setup when a response is provided.
- Poor documentation: There have been several posts about missing documentation or even outdated documentation in the kits. Consider posting all updated documentation and pointing customers to validate that their documentation is current.
- No documentation: In the ultimate Kit, some of the exampled robots have no documentation other than a CAD drawing which is difficult for consumers. Provide a framework/template, for customers to create their own documentation/wiki to help others.
- Software Setup: Setup should not require a hacked, outdated version of the Arduino IDE. Users learning to program with Arduino and Makeblock will want to continue their learning with other products. So no sense in setting up an outdated setup the user will have to redeploy for their new product. Set it up right the first time with the current versions, so users have a good foundation.
- Software bugs: These happen, but aside from github, there’s not an easy way to report them, nor an easy way for an average consumer to identify them. Libraries posted on github to the master branch should be validated on the latest Arduino IDE with new hardware. This is part of QA and ensuring a great user experience out of the box.
- Startup guide: The current one is OK, but as users on the forum post, there are issue and challenges they have. Suggest creating a new startup guide in an easy to follow format and validate it against new users, possibly kids, to ensure anyone can open a box and follow along. Possibly some getting started videos might help too.
- RadioShack kits: These appear to be outdated. Provide a guide specific for these kits as many US customers are finding Makeblock at their local RadioShack that’s closing. They’re buying the kits at a discounted rate and it’s their first impression of the company and product line. Ensuring they have a great experience ensures their return purchases.
That’s all I have and I hope others here take a moment and can share their thoughts in this consolidated thread.