Introduction to ideas

Better ideas lead to innovation, and innovation leads to market leadership — but it's tough to actually capture ideas in a manageable way.

Ideas is a dedicated section in Aha! that you can use to create and manage new ideas, feature requests, or feedback for consideration in your roadmap. You can discuss ideas with your customers, and promote the best ideas to records in Aha!, seamlessly integrating customer feedback into your planning and development processes. 

Because ideas portal users are free and unlimited in every Aha! billing plan, you can invite or import as many users as you want. Or, empower your sales and support teams to submit votes on behalf of customers through proxy voting and our Salesforce and Zendesk integrations.

Note: This article refers to features. Depending on your workspace type, you may see “activities" in your workspace.

Click any of the following links to skip ahead: 

Create a custom ideas portal

You can create multiple ideas portals types per workspace, such as a private portal for partners and a public portal for customers. You can also configure one portal for all of your workspaces so that your ideas portal users only have to remember one URL when they want to leave feedback. However you structure your portal(s), in Aha! you can manage all of a workspace's ideas in one place.

When you create an ideas portal, you get to choose what is possible on the portal and who can access it.

  • Portal type: Select whether you would like a Full ideas portal — one where ideas portals users can submit new ideas, as well as view, comment, subscribe to, and vote on other users' ideas — or a Submission only ideas portal — one where ideas portals users can use a form to submit new ideas, but not view any ideas in the portal.
  • Access: If you have selected a Full ideas portal in the previous setting, you can choose whether you want your portal to be Public or Private.
    • Public: Anyone with a portal's URL can access a public ideas portal, so it is a good option if you want to allow everyone to give feedback, and you do not want to require the users to log in first. The Aha! ideas portal is a public portal. 

      Note: Public portals are also available for indexing by search engines, including the ideas on the portal.
    • PrivatePrivate portals limit access to a subset of users that you select on the Users tab. They also allow users to use proxy votes to vote on behalf of someone else. 

To create a new ideas portal, navigate to Settings ⚙️ > Account > Ideas portals, or Ideas > Overview. From either page, click Add ideas portal to open the portal builder. 

The ideas portal builder is a three-step process.

  • Select a Title for your portal. Click Next to continue. 
  • Select a theme Color. Your theme color affects links and buttons in your ideas portal. Click the color icon to select a color, or enter your own custom color using a hex code. Click Edit to edit your choice or Next to continue.
  • Select your portal's Access level. Portals can have Public or Private access, corresponding to the public and private types of portals. Click Create portal to create your portal!

    Note: If you would like to create a Submit-only portal, select either access level here, then change your portal's type in the portal settings. 


Customize your ideas forms

Ideas portals are not the only aspect of ideas management that you can customize. You can also create custom layouts for ideas, with the option to include (or require) different types of fields for the different types of ideas. 

To edit the custom layout for an idea — including adding custom fields! — navigate to Settings ⚙️ > Account > Custom layouts and select one of the following ideas record layouts:

Note: Looking to customize the layout your users will see when they submit an idea? Make sure you choose Ideas forms.

  • Ideas: When users in your Aha! account want to submit an idea internally, outside of your ideas portal, they use the Ideas record layout. Only users in your Aha! account can create, see, or edit these ideas. This layout is useful for ideas that apply to parts of your roadmap that aren't yet publicly visible. 
  • Ideas forms: When people submit a new idea through an ideas portal submission form, they use the Ideas form record layout. 
  • Ideas portals: When people view a submitted idea on your ideas portal, they use the Ideas portal record layout.
  • Ideas portal proxy votes layout adjusts what portal users see when they add a proxy vote on an ideas portal. 
  • Ideas proxy votes layout adjusts what users in Aha! see when they add a proxy vote internally. This form gives you the option to include fields that you might not want available to an external audience. 


Submit, comment, and vote on ideas

All ideas portal users are free and unlimited. This means you can have as many stakeholders submitting and providing feedback on ideas as you would like.

There are four ways to submit an idea to your ideas portal: 

  • Portal users can navigate to your ideas portal and fill out the idea creation form.
  • Users can create ideas by email.
  • Salesforce and Zendesk users can create ideas with an Aha! integration. 
  • Any user in your Aha! account with at least reviewer user permissions can create an idea in Aha! from the + menu in the upper-right corner of the page. 

Note: Reviewers can create, vote on, and comment on ideas, but can only edit ideas they themselves created.

The ability for ideas users to vote and comment on ideas is especially important because it adds the users as subscribers. Subscribers are automatically notified when status changes and admin comments are made. This makes it simple for you to engage interested stakeholders for further feedback on an idea as well as easily notify stakeholders when their idea has been shipped. Ideas portal users can one-click unsubscribe to portal email notifications if they do not want to receive notifications.

Users can edit their own ideas in the portal after they have been submitted. If they locate an idea in My ideas that should be updated or refined for better context, they may select Edit idea and edit the idea name, description, or custom fields for the idea.

If a user adds a proxy vote to an idea, that user is subscribed to the idea — not the organization they were voting on behalf of. The portal user can then keep track of updates to the idea, and notify the organization or contact of important developments. 


Idea visibility

By default, an idea's initial visibility is determined by the type of user that submitted the idea. For example:

  • Ideas submitted by public users will be visible to anyone on the public portal.
  • Ideas submitted by an Employee will be visible to other employees.
  • Ideas submitted by a registered Aha! user will be private by default and only be visible to other Aha! users in your account.
  • Ideas created via a Zendesk integration will inherit the default visibility from the idea portal's visibility settings. 

However, you can override these defaults if you choose so that all new ideas in your portal are:

  • Not visible in portal
  • Visible to employees
  • Visible to all ideas portal users

Note: You can also change any idea's visibility individually.  

It is important to understand that these visibility settings do not just apply to an ideas portal. Ideas can be visible and searchable in multiple ideas portals, so Visible to all ideas portal users means that the idea is visible to any public or private portal enabled in a given workspace. 

For this reason, if you have an internal private portal, we recommend setting the default ideas visibility as Visible to employees

To change the default visibility of ideas in a portal, open your ideas portal's settings (from Ideas > Overview or Settings ⚙️ > Account > Ideas portals), then navigating to Content > Ideas. From there, adjust the Visibility of new ideas setting. 


Hide portal user names

If you need to, you can choose to make your ideas portal users' names anonymous. While we believe transparency in the ideation process is important, sometimes you need to provide customers with anonymity. This option makes it so users in a public or private idea portal cannot see the names of other users.

Ideas submitted by others will show up as submitted by an anonymous user while ideas submitted by the user will still display to them as an idea they submitted.

Aha! users viewing the idea within Aha! can still see full details on who submitted the idea, so teams will not lose visibility into where requests come from with this setting enabled.

To hide your portal users' names, open your ideas portal's settings and navigate to Users > Privacy.


Change the idea submitter

At times, it is helpful to change the idea submitter. For example, if you are still receiving ideas through email or in discussions with customers, you might want to submit the idea on a customer's behalf. An owner or contributor can set another user as the submitter by editing the idea and setting the new user as the idea creator. If the customer is also a portal user and the idea is made visible to them, they will be able to see that idea under My ideas.


Manage and promote ideas

To manage ideas, navigate to the Ideas tab. 

Note: If you do not see the Ideas tab, you may have to customize your navigation to enable it. 

Aha! users have three different views (Overview, List, and Chart) to manage submitted ideas. You can use the Change view type dropdown on the List and Chart pages to analyze the same ideas from two different ways without removing any filters you have added. 

Note: Filters you add yourself will transfer to a new view. Page filters — filters associated with the original view that cannot be removed — will not appear on the new view.

The key to idea management is that Aha! users can easily review ideas, engage stakeholders who expressed interest in the idea, and then promote an idea to an initiative, epic, or feature.

Once promoted to an initiative, epic, or feature, a link is created between the idea and the newly created record. Then the idea votes total becomes visible on the record, which provides a helpful reference during prioritization. The idea will automatically be marked as Planned in the ideas portal after the record is created and all users on the idea's notification list will be notified. At the same time, any Aha! account users watching the idea will automatically become record watchers within the system. This way, when the conversation moves from ideas to an Aha! record, the original interested parties on the team can automatically continue to follow the conversation.

When the initiative, epic, or feature gets completed and marked as shipped, the idea automatically updates to reflect the completion. All stakeholders are notified that the record has been shipped.

This also works in the other direction for epics and features. An existing epic or feature in Aha! can have an idea created from it through the More options button (select Create related idea). This is especially useful if your backlog needs to be trimmed and you want to move epics and features back to ideas. It is also helpful when you have an epic or feature planned that you want to present in your portal so that people can follow its status.



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