I've been in econversation with Atlassian's Sales about this subject - they suggested that I record comments from my company on this issue, so....
Hi - We are an existing user of Jira - currently on 3.13 with approximately 230 users in 4 continents. We've been using Jira for approaching 5 years and with our customisation, Jira has become an integral part of our infrastructure.
We've had approximately 30 key users from different departments evaluating 4.2 for a few weeks and I thought it would be worth sharing with you some of their feedback. Hopefully you'll appreciate that any negative points below are intended to be constructive and hopefully you'll take these on board to improve the product further. Up until now, our Users have had nothing but praise for Jira which is why I thought it would be worth flagging up these points for you as it's the first time I've heard of negative vibes. Also, most of our users are software developers (including web applications) or testers themselves so they appreciate the many difficulties with trying to please everyone. Testing has been undertaken using IE8, Firefox and Chrome.
Most of the comments have been about the new look and feel - especially with the main Issue screen.
With 3.13, there was clear definition between the various areas (Main Issue details, Available Workflow Actions, Operations, Changes Audit trail, etc.) using a subtle combination of shading, boxes and lines. However, with 4.2, many of our users have expressed a dislike for the new look - the common theme being that it is much more difficult to find what your looking for because the definition of areas isn't so clear.
As a consequence of the above, the main issue screen appears to be very 'busy' - especially with our customisation which has approaching 100 custom fields set across 5 tabs. This wasn't a problem with 3.13.
Few Users liked the new way that some of the drop down lists were presented - especially Operations and Workflow Actions. For example, Users preferred to see all available Operations and Workflow actions without having to click on another drop-down list of 'More Actions' or 'Workflow'. The way that these were presented before, they could see all options before deciding on the most appropriate one.
Another frequent comment is that in IE7/IE8, some of the fonts appear to be too big or an inconsistent size on a screen and there doesn't appear to be a way for the end-user to adjust them (i.e. using 'View', Text Size', 'Smaller'). I'm told that this may be because Jira uses Cascading Style Sheets to control the display effect? We did however find a way of shrinking 'text only' on Firefox, but this was only temporary for the browser session.
You'll hopefully be pleased to hear that there was also some positive feedback. Most users love JQL and the ease of adding/configuring gadgets. The look of the new dashboard(s) and filter results screen was fine.
Post Upgrade Feedback
Hi - we've been live on Jira 4.2.4 for just over 3 weeks now (upgrading from 3.13) and I thought it would be worth following up the email with some more feedback.
I must admit that I've been surprised by the proportion of negative feedback from our user community, much of along the same lines as the previous and primarily on the look and feel of the main issue form. To reiterate, users don't like:
the large, seemingly non-adjustable font (I have found that changing the zoom level to about 93 - 94% in IE8 helps a bit, but this is only good for that browser session).
the loss of definition between the labels and associated data (subtle shading has disappeared)
the loss of definition between the various sections (again, subtle shading has disappeared)
the loss of visibility for all available actions and workflow actions (users could previously see all available workflow/actions down the left hand side without having to click on 'workflow/more')
in addition, we have found
workflow actions longer than 25 characters are unreadable due to the fixed width of the drop down control. We have had to change ours with some horrible abbreviations in order to fit them in. In 3.13, long workflow action names wrapped around making them readable.
similarly, the length of the tab names is fixed meaning that we have had to abbreviate our existing ones.
In summary, users are finding that it is difficult to read/find what they want on the main issue screen and there appears to be little that system administrators can do to change the look & feel in response. All of the information is there, along with some nice shortcuts, but users just haven't taken to the change in layout look and feel I'm afraid.
I would appreciate any comments you have on our feedback and hopefully plans to make changes so that I can feed this back to our users.
n.b. I am the chief administrator for our implementation of Jira.