Helping us to help you

Some time ago, we posted about the Progenesis Improvement Program (PIP), specifically about the reason why you should opt in:

“Because it’s in your interest; you’ll get better, faster software as a result.”

That’s a pretty ambitious claim – one lots of software companies make when trying to persuade you to participate in their feedback programs – so we thought you might like to know exactly how we’ve been using the data from ours to improve the Progenesis experience.

But first we’ll run over how the program works…

How it works

Without collecting details on the data or results of the analysis, the PIP starts collecting information as soon as the software is launched and stops once it is closed. Information collected includes how long is spent on each screen, what actions were carried out on the screens and, for some actions, how long those actions took to complete.

Since each event is time stamped, it generates an accurate audit trail of how people are interacting with our software and how the software is responding. This information is then sent to us periodically, and securely, in a bundle to analyse at a later date.

So, what do we do with this data?

How we use the data

1. Support cases

Data from the Progenesis Improvement Program can – and often is – used to assist with support cases. We can use it in conjunction with error reports to pinpoint where issues were encountered and the steps that led up to them. Since this can help us to determine the exact area of the software that’s affected, and quickly, it can help us to resolve issues more quickly.

2. Promote awareness of infrequently used features

Sometimes the data shows that only a small percentage of our opted-in users are using features we’d anticipated being more popular – features that are often the solution to a support query. This information can help us to reconsider our UI design, but sometimes a bit of promotion is necessary. Did you know about the following features?

  • The Go To Location tool: Want to manually align using a known standard / spike? Want to quickly validate your peak picking by zooming in on a known spike? This tool is the answer!
  • The Clip Gallery: Want to export figures or tables from Progenesis without generating an HTML report? We implemented the Clip Gallery which allows export of figures and tables throughout the software with the option to caption each “clip” which is perfect when it comes to writing up your study.
  • Creating custom compound fragment databases: Can’t find a suitable fragment database to identify the compounds in your sample? Want to start creating your own fragment databases using known standards? Progenesis QI to the rescue!

3. Software development

This is arguably the most important use of the data collected from the program. Here are some examples of information we’ve been using to assist the development of Progenesis:

  • The range of screen resolutions in use, so we can make sure our software looks great on whatever hardware you’re using.
  • How long it takes to move from one stage of the workflow to another, which is great for determining how well Progenesis is performing and whether we need to improve this (we’ve still got work to do here).
  • How many runs per experiment people are analysing, so we know what size of studies people are doing with our software to ensure we’re able to keep up with demand (as expected, this is on an upward trend which is guiding us to look at how we can improve the handling of larger data sets).
  • What features are and aren’t being used – sometimes we find that features we’d predicted to be less helpful are the ones that prove most popular, and without this “inside” knowledge, it’s possible we could have (incorrectly) changed or removed a feature. We actually used some PIP data recently to confirm that the changes we made to the Review Proteins screen in v2.0 of Progenesis QI for proteomics were helping people to be more efficient. 🙂
  • What order stages of the workflow are being accessed as well as which screens are used in tandem and the screens that aren’t being interacted with; this helps us to determine whether our assumed workflow is correct and where we can move features to be available in other screens.

Want to take part?

If, after reading the above, you want to participate in the program, but initially opted out, have no fear: you can change your preference at any time by selecting the Progenesis Improvement Program… option from the File menu above the list of recent experiments. Thanks for helping us to continue improving your analysis experience.