HE Features and Requests for 2022?

What are some of the new enhancements, features or bug fixes you are looking for from HE in 2022?

Some of mine:

UI Updates:
I still find the UI really difficult to use both on the website and the mobile (Android in my case) apps.

  • Some features on mobile just don't render in a viewable manner at all. Especially wider tables of data.
  • The "Done" button usage is confusing.
  • Device functions are segregated between the Devices and Settings menu functions in seemly odd ways sometimes. You add devices under Devices->Add device, but you can also see device states/data inside Devices. But if you want to look at futher details about a device (such as its zwave details like routing or security) you have to know to go into Settings->Zwave details. Why aren't all the details about a device (regardless of type) available from both places? Looking at the routing table is not a Setting, I'm not sure why its there.

Support interaction
Using email for support these days is a difficult customer interaction loop overall. Sure, its a universal gateway (no login on a site or app needed to install) but it also limits how closed loop the interaction is.

  • Creating screenshots to send to support is harder than it needs to be. For mobile, you have to save the screenshots then attach them to an email.
  • When I've sent email requests in for support, I get the generic "your case number is bla" but no method to actually check the status of the request. Does it eventually get fixed or closed? No idea.
  • Responses to bug reports (or what I think are bugs) have just gotten the boilerplate response:
    Thank you for reaching out to us. The issue you reported has been referred to our engineering team and we will reach out to you if additional details about this incident are needed.
    How do I follow up and check on it? No clue. Is it a known issue? Is it working as designed? Was it fixed 2 releases ago and I just didn't notice?
  • I've tried replying to the support update reply but who knows what happens to it. I've gotten this type of response:
    Thank you for your update. Our system does not recognize replies to this ticket, so you will not receive any further response. Support will reach out to you if additional details about this incident are needed. Support doesn't recogize a reply? So how do you follow up? Confusing and frustrating.
  • At the very least, submitting a request via email and getting a URL back with the tracking details of a bug report (and a way to submit screenshots or further details) would be a nice addition to the support loop process.

Community Feature Voting
A site (perhaps part of community.hubitat.com) where features or bug fixes can be voted on. A lot of the other products I use/follow have all implemented similar community features and it seems to be well appreciated, even if its just to placate the squeaky wheels.

Developer Documentation
I recently created a few drivers for Zigbee devices. The documentation at Zigbee Object - Hubitat Documentation is very sparse and seems like a large "TODO" at the bottom. Some time spent on documenting how to use the system objects would really help with building community drivers and apps. And with Hubitat's closed source for internal drivers, you can't even use those as working examples when you have a similar device. So documentation is even more important.

Developer tools

  • Some enhancements to the editor would be nice. For instance, you can't select text and use tab/shift-tab to change indentation enmasse.
  • Github integration for community/self drivers/apps. Having to cut/paste from github for your own drivers are extra steps. Closing that loop would make development/updates easier. The ST implementation isn't perfect but being able to see diffs against local changes and easy one click up/down syncs is very handy.

Dashboard Enhancements
The built in dashboards aren't usable at all for me. How do you show a single tile with humidity and temperature from a combo humidity and temperature device? I have no idea. The UI of setting up titles (especially on mobile) is really confusing. The third party dashboard app is much easier to figure out.

Update Hubitat Elevation Workflow
When a new version notification appears, clicking on it will show you the current installed version, the update version, and a scrollable text box with the release notes of the update version, but only at the "full release" level - not an itemized list of changes for each update. For example:


I'm on 2.3.0.113, but 2.3.0.121 is available. The release notes shown are a summary of everything between 2.2.9 and 2.3.0. But I'm not updating from 2.2.9. What is the difference between 2.3.0.113 and 2.3.0.121? In order to get an itemized list of those changes I have to come to community.hubitat.com and find the release notes subforum. Having both the 2.3.0 complete summarized list AND the same detailed changelog of each 2.3.0.xxx update being posted to the forum would help a lot.

I look forward to seeing what exciting new features and enhancements HE has for us in 2022! All the best to the community and the Hubitat Team!

7 Likes

Nice constructive effort to list your ideas. I really appreciate users doing this for everyone’s eventual benefit.

1 Like

DARK MODE for the Hub UI

9 Likes

I'm not saying that this is not a good request but I read the thread for the release to keep up to date.
I've also subscribed to notifications for updates.

3 Likes

Yes, very this. In addition to running all my software company's betas, I also manage our ideas platform hosted in our community as an add on saleforce module.

Before we had this, the requests were all a collection of tickets and users had zero insight to it whatsoever. We launched our Community: Ideas site in March 2019 and it's been wildly successful ever since. The rest of the divisions are trying to duplicate what I do.

It turned all the ideas and noise into actionable chunks that could be voted on by users. Some chunks are larger than others and maybe if there's a lot of interest in an idea but we're not 100% sure how we want to execute the idea, we will set up a focus group with some of the users who voted for it and just ask questions that we take into our design considerations.

Not every feature will need a focus group but I definitely agree in putting all the ideas out there and let the votes land where they may. We have a MUCH more focused vision of our future and we KNOW we're getting the most bang for our development buck because we have the direct feedback of customers (that's not noise).

We always pay attention to the top 20-50 most voted ideas and try to work them into the roadmap. Whenever we close an Idea because we delivered it, we make it a big fanfare so customers see that we are doing what THEY requested.

Once a quarter I put together a couple slides that show the top most voted open ideas, the ones that are already roadmapped, and the ones that we're executing/delivering on today. The customers go absolutely bonkers for it and everybody is so engaged.

2 Likes

I still would like a way to integrate the cameras without needing something like Blue Iris. I have four Iris V2 cameras. It would be great to integrate them, not only for video, but for the motion detection. I also have some Iris V1 cameras. It would be nice to be able to add them in to take advantage of the motion/temperature sensors in them as well.

I guess, I am saying that I would like to replicate the capability I had with the Iris system in that I could remote view the cameras in the event that I was alerted to something happening.

3 Likes

I agree with you, the support interaction could use a great deal of improvement. This in particular

"Our system does not recognize replies to this ticket, so you will not receive any further response."

comes across as "Go away!"

I've recommended HE to friends/family, but I've had to tell each of them to never attempt to contact support.

2 Likes

Agreed. The wording is not customer friendly.

2 Likes

I hate those uservoice sites. From the business perspective, they provide very little value since a loud minority fills them up. And from the customer perspective they provide very little value because they get ignored as a result of point #1, they provide almost no business value.

4 Likes

Lol well it takes effort on the part of the facilitator to make it work. Of course if you let users run amuck the site will be completely useless. Like with any data set, junk in/junk out. Forcing users to abide by a template fixed 90% of the issues. The rest was junk ideas where it was a customer who didn't know what they were talking about. Those are swiftly removed to where scenario 2 in your response doesn't happen. The list is constantly culled for irrelevant ideas, ones that should be linked to others, and ones that are for features already available in the software. This keeps the remaining 700 ideas clean and manageable.

I guess we have a large enough sample size to where a loud minority is not a concern to us. We're talking hundreds to thousands of votes per idea and each user can only vote once. We get VERY valuable information out of it and so do the end users. To say that it can't be done or there's nothing of value to learn is just not true. You get what you put into it.

I at one point thought this might be a good idea. But the reality is that it often serves to piss off a group of people.

Say a group votes overwhelmingly with 99% and thousands of votes to integrate (just to pick on something) MyQ. They believe this is going to happen because of the groundswell of desire from the community. But because of MyQ's policies, they don't integrate with other hubs period, end of story. So this feature cannot ever feasibly be integrated. So it gets "ignored" by Hubitat staff.

Meanwhile a tiny fraction, say 1% of the community, voted to bring in (again fictitious example) a Zooz Zen22 light switch. And it gets added in the next release! That overwhelming majority that wanted MyQ is now angry their project wasn't added, or this Zooz switch was "prioritized" over MyQ. In reality the Zwave device took little effort to add, and was a standard protocol, so it was a no-brainer to add.

I really don't think the voting will work like you think it will. I am sure that Hubitat staff, who are very involved with this forum, are very aware of the long running requests. They most certainly watch for when certain devices or apps are discussed here. And I am sure they as a company have discussed what projects they can, and cannot tackle.

5 Likes

I think this was an "improved" wording at some point. Previous to that, it just said something like "Our system does not recognize replies to this ticket" without that qualifier at the end. I understand this to be some limitation of their ticketing system that doesn't allow incoming replies.

Any suggestions how to make this wording better, yet indicate to customers to not send emails that will bounce back or never get to their destination? To me, not having that qualifier " so you will not receive any further response." while maybe not the most elegantly worded sentence is succinct.

Perhaps add., "Our system does not recognize replies to this ticket, so you will not receive any further response. If you feel this is an improper response, please submit a new support ticket"

  1. Is it a ticket really? I can't see my ticket, although it gave me a case number is that the same as a ticket? Confusion of terms.
  2. The email actually says:

##- Please type your reply above this line -##

Hi there,

Thank you for your update. Our system does not recognize replies to this ticket, so you will not receive any further response. Support will reach out to you if additional details about this incident are needed."
So type your reply above this line but it doesn't recognize replies. Which is it? Thank you for your update - but we don't recognize replies - so did it append my update to the details of the support request? Or was it ignored. Very confused.

Just like anything else, I think its how Hubitat would manage the expectations.

In your MyQ example (high vote count but impossible to complete for whatever reason) Hubitat would just indicate that its a non starter for whatever reason they wanted to spell out. It could continue to get votes, whatever - but as its not marked as being on a roadmap anywhere, no one gets their hopes up. At the same time as a new user I don't wonder "hey why doesn't Hubitat integrate with MyQ!?" and search the forums or submit support requests. Clearly everyone wants it but it just isn't in the cards.

At my last company we used to group user requests into difficulties/time to complete (Very Hard, Hard, Medium, Easy) and impacts (High, Medium, Low). Easy difficulty and High impact always got priority and that was understood by everyone regardless of the number of "votes".

It also depends on if Hubitat is open (or wants to) to publish a roadmap. It's understood why they wouldn't/couldn't, but its also appreciated when companies/communities do. Inovelli has an interesting model they follow and it seems to work for them - even when things get pushed or cancelled.

Just interacting in a forum (answering questions, engaging with customers) is a pretty big step that a lot of company management won't, don't or can't do. I see the reasons both ways.

Agree.

Managing expectations is part of customer management and we have to do it too. Theres 1000 reasons why we might not do something even though its popular.

If a customer wants to press one button that signs all their physicians orders without reviewing them, we are going to politely tell the customer that this request goes against the philosophy of our software, there's 1000 reasons why we won't do this, they all start with Medicare and here are the specific reasons why your idea will not be considered and why it's being removed from the platform.

If a customer requests some functionality that we know will cause another functionality to break, we will explain that in the rejection before its removed.

Let a customer be butthurt about an idea with 5 votes when they can clearly see the ideas that have 700 votes. Can they provide evidence on how their idea is more beneficial to all customers as a whole? If so I will gladly consider it for roadmapping. The reality is, the voting provides enough of a spread where you can manage expectations and prioritize the requests without them just being noise.

We answer to "why aren't you doing my idea?" Every day. Not letting BS ideas get to the top is part of keeping the queue clean and is the best defense in this situation. Squash the ones that need to be squashed early and give the reasoning. Making it all open and clear sets the appropriate expectation for everyone.

Whatever doomsday scenario anybody can give as a reason to not do this, I can give 10 examples of how it can be done well. I've been doing it professionally for 3 years; it can be done....with some effort.

I'm not saying this is the situation with Hubitat, but ponder this...

If you already have a development list 3 years long with the resources you have, or are going after specific markets that already use ~100% of your development team, what point is there in having customers vote on "feature requests" that won't get done - other than maybe placating them?

As an investor in a number of smaller and/or startup-maturity tech companies I know of a number of companies that this is the situation. If you can't (or won't for other strategic reasons) implement the "wish list" then it is better to not make the "wish list" at all (my opinion form the investor side of things).

Will companies doing that possibly miss good ideas? Maybe! Could they grow disconnected from what their customers want? Maybe! Could it work out fine if they have a good vision? Maybe!

EDIT: That said, as a customer of Hubitat I would love roadmaps, a stewarded feature request list, etc. Doubt it will happen, but in a perfect world I would like it.

4 Likes

Hubitat benefits from community developed items (apps and drivers). Having a wish list helps those developers know what is needed as well. The couple drivers I've written so far were just for my own devices but I would be willing to write something for a device in need, including purchasing the device and testing it on my own dev hub. For a closed product (say, Control4) that is never in the cards and you don't have owners who have the want (or ability) to add to the product in any way. HE does and its a good thing!

Fair point. And our dev plan is planned at least a year in advance. And when we launched it, we had ZERO plan to develop the ideas. I THOROUGHLY resisted putting all this out there without a plan to do something with it once it was all visible.

It took a year just to collect enough ideas and votes to even start making decisions so there's that. Next, we grabbed anything that was in areas we already planned to work in the next year. Next we grabbed any pieces that were part of screens that were either scheduled for overhaul or decommission.

That alone gave us at least 15 ideas on the board that we were "doing something about". A terrible start but a start nonetheless.

Then as I mentioned we roadmap a year in advance over time with a quarterly review of the roadmap and these ideas we were able to incorporate more and more of them into the go forward plan as "voice of the customer".

To date, we still don't have a target budget that we allocate to this, its just as we can and as things fit within the roadmap. No ideas are executed on from aug to Jan because that's regulatory season and our developers are dedicated to making whatever regulatory deadlines are needed for the upcoming year and this is well communicated and known amongst our customers.

One thing I mentioned in another thread was the possibility of a slide worth of roadmapping once a quarter so the customers could understand the breadth and scope of things to come or where their request might fall in the grand scheme of things and I was immediately shut down with the very notion of publishing a roadmap even in the roughest of capacities. I get it, our CEO resisted it for years.

I'm simply saying that we had these same exact issues/complaints and its stemming from the lack of customer visibility and expectations. If customers have no view into the roadmap nor the enhancements, how can you expect customers to be bought into your long term solution?

We've now swam far enough upstream with sophisticated customers where they demand this. They won't sign a 3 year contract to not have any visibility into the next 3 years of the product whatsoever and that's reasonable.

Footnote:
The danger now is, HE is leaving the roadmap and enhancement perception up to the user's imagination which could be wildly unrealistic or worse yet, lead users to think they're not doing anything or don't have a plan for the software (which they rely on for daily use).

Leaving ANYTHING up to the customer's imagination has burned us every single time because it will always be something unrealistic that we can never attain. Setting appropriate expectations at every turn has been the most helpful thing to combating this. It's simply education and visibility. Part of that is having a basic grasp of the next 12 months of roadmap and knowing where enhancements fall in the grand scheme of things.

I have at least 3 major enhancements that I've refrained from even asking about because I know just based on what I see in this forum, HE has bigger fish to fry on that front. But I'd still like to get them on that list and see where they fall.

I took the approach of starting up HA just to get the functionality I need into HE because I knew it was an easier path than asking/waiting for an enhancement. That's not shade that's just the reality of all the requests I see they're getting (and I'm sure there's plenty I don't see).

Making it all publicly visible eliminates all those questions,myths, and imaginative expectations.

One more:

Duplicate Hubitat Apps


Why are there two apps both labeled Hubitat but with slightly different icons? The one on the left is the Android app that lets you connect to your hub, view the built in dashboards, etc. The one on the right is just a wrapper around community.hubitat.com. Strangely the icon used on the right one is what's shown on the app store for the left one.

Download the Hubitat app