November 19, 2011

Telerik: Best tech support response ever

I was playing around with the Telerik WPF controls the other day and I ran into an issue.” It wasn’t a bug, just a bet peeve of mine, so knowing that two friends of mine, Stephen Forte and Doug Seven, both work at Telerik, I thought I’d report it. I created an account on their support web site and dropped in the following message:

From: Chris
Date: 11/17/2011 10:59:38 AM

when I’m choosing setup options in the Telerik installer, I can select options by clicking on the little, tiny box but I cannot select options by clicking on the wide, giant checkbox label. I’d really love to be able to do the latter as well as the former. thanks!

Within 24 hours, I got the best developer tech support response I’ve gotten in 30 years in this industry (damn, I’m old):

From: Telerik Admin
Date: 11/18/2011 8:09:42 AM

Hi Chris,
A very valid point indeed, thanks for sharing your opinion!
The thing is a bit tricky in terms of UX actually and I’d love your input here. Let me add some details:
The idea is that the click on the label is used for highlighting the item (thus change the displayed images) and the click on the checkbox is used for checking it.
Now, there are three approaches (different than the current one) of which I like none (maybe prefer the third actually):

1. The label click both highlights and checks/unchecks the checkbox. I don’t like this one for two reasons: 1) if Telerik’ve set an item to be checked by default, we don’t want the customer to uncheck it mistakenly and 2) if the item is unchecked by default, the customer might just want the original stuff and he’d need a second click to uncheck it back.

2. Use double-click on the label to check/uncheck the checkbox. Don’t like it for it’s not intuitive and noone would use it. As an example, the Windows Platform Installer has such a feature and we discovered it a year after its initial release - when we started checking it deeper.

3. Only check/uncheck a checkbox on label click if the item has already been highlighted. The drawback of this approach is that you would need two clicks to have the item state changed the first time you’re on it. But still, this one seems kinda reasonable.

How do you find these?
Erjan Gavalji
the Telerik team

Explore the entire Telerik portfolio by downloading the Ultimate Collection trial package. Get it now >>

I have since learned that the Telerik developers support their own software and the benefits are obvious:

  • The reply was not wrapped in advertising chrome. There was a small Telerik plug at the bottom, after he’d addressed my issue.
  • The reply was not a canned response that we’ve gotten your support request.”
  • The reply was not a canned response that didn’t address my issue.
  • The reply made it clear that I was understood and acknowledged my issue as valid.
  • The reply came from a real person — Erjan — and he was willing to put his name on the email and take responsibility.
  • Erjan laid out the possible options he thought of to fix the issue and asked me which I thought I would like best.

Erjan from Telerik — you’re my new hero. Thanks for answering my question so thoroughly. I have confidence that you’ll take my initial feedback and my reply to this email (show selection when you click on the checkbox label like the VS2010 installer does) and make the product even better.

It’s no wonder Telerik is an award winning software vendor. You have to love a company that’s willing to be open with their developers.

Update: as of a few days later, a new installer was posted that included my fix suggestion. Wow!