1. poddie's Avatar
    As many of us long term Windows Phone users are aware, Microsoft has a "User Voice" feature suggestion page where users can create feature suggestions and assign votes to suggestions based on how badly they want the features. This is a great idea, and it's a very interesting way for Microsoft to get a feel for which of the requests coming in truly are highly demanded, versus which of them are only of interest to a select few people.

    This has been around for quite a while now. Unfortunately, it just isn't working. Progress against this list is simply glacial. Please understand, I get that MS has put a lot of work into essentially re-implementing the Windows Phone code into the NT kernel. I actually really appreciate this and believe it was a very important goal for them, and will have lots and lots of long term benefits to the users, by giving us a much more similar codebase to Windows 8. Unfortunately, this major shift is essentially considered as a "neutral" or even "negative" for the current users. They really just replaced the features we already had with features that were recoded but look identical, and sometimes are not even as functional (as with Music).

    What Windows Phone really needs in my opinion is for MS to go through and bang out a ton of these small issues that result in frustrating users experiences and "I can't believe this is not in here" comments from new users. They need to dedicate a large block of time and just try to work through all the niggling issues that drive people nuts.

    There are two issues with the Feature Suggestion page as I see it:

    (1) Nobody seems to be combining like suggestions, thus skewing the results by splitting votes for the same feature across multiple suggestions. Just look up "orientation lock" (one of my biggest pet peeves)... you will find six or seven suggestions asking for the same thing, all with votes attached. Often times you will also find the same suggestion split by OS, for example "orientation lock in WP8" and "orientation lock in WP7.5". Obviously, this makes no sense... they aren't going to go back and implement features and minor fixes in older versions. There needs to be some maintenance to merge all these into the same suggestion.

    (2) There seems to be no value placed on how difficult the suggestion is to implement. There are many, many things in Windows Phone that are completely missing, and are quite shocking when comparing to Android or iOS. These are small, simple features, as well as many small bugs. These would be VERY quick to implement... they are not "I can't live without this" features (and thus do not get many votes), but the sum of the whole creates an unfavorable impression of Windows Phone and a feeling of it being "unfinished". People move from the other OS and find these small things, one by one, that don't work correctly or are completely missing. And they start to question whether the move to WP was a smart idea.

    My personal list of these small annoyances includes, but is not limited to:

    - No global orientation lock (simplest thing in the universe to implement)
    - No call duration in call history (again, MAJOR simplicity here and really important for those of us that bill time by the hour)
    - Video cannot play anthropomorphically encoded videos properly, and stretches them vertically (very easy to fix but the bug has been there since the first release rendering some people's video libraries almost unwatchable without re-encoding)

    I think MS should have a developer team review as many of these suggestions as possible and just clear out all the small ones and fix all the minor bugs. These are not major things that take a lot of resources, like a Notification Center. They should be easy to clear away and take comparatively low resources. Microsoft can then say "we have made over 1,000 quality improvements and satisfied feature requests in this new release!"

    This would make a MUCH stronger platform, and provide a lot of polish that it currently lacks and I feel is really hurting it with users. It would also go a long way towards making the user base feel like Microsoft actually does care. Right now these suggestions are posted and then drop into the abyss.
    06-17-2013 04:21 PM
  2. poddie's Avatar
    Lots of peaceful quietness in here. I guess at least nobody is disagreeing with me?
    06-18-2013 11:13 PM
  3. a5cent's Avatar
    I couldn't disagree with you no matter how hard I tried.

    I'm at the point where I can't take the user voice site seriously. The state of that site is such an awful mess that it can't possibly be of use to anybody. Not to the average consumer. Not to enthusiasts. Not to Microsoft.

    AFAIK the user voice site hasn't been moderated since WP7.5 was released. I stopped paying attention to the site mid 2012. I suspect it is little more than a place where users can vent their frustrations, hoping they get at least a bit of attention from an MS intern, but in reality it's just a place where feature suggestion go to die in solitude.

    IMHO community feature suggestions don't play an important role in determining what goes onto MS' development schedule. At least not yet, because MS is still largely involved with OS level integration tasks.

    If you really want to see a comprehensive list of what WP users want most, I find our own list much better than what the user voice website offers:

    [REF] Possible OS Improvements
    06-19-2013 12:46 AM
  4. thegooner's Avatar
    Really good post, the thing I'd add is that from my perspective, MS are not being very communicative about their future plans. We have no idea whether they are intending to act on the suggestions or have even acknowledged them.
    Optimistic users of this site often engage in speculation along the lines of "well it makes sense they would add feature X into the next release", however when that does not happen, the cynical amongst us will think" I knew it, MS don't have a clue" etc
    One final point from me (and this is kind of OCD of me, please bear with me, it's not a criticism of you) - I think the term you're looking for, with regard to video aspect ratio, is "anamorphic" ;)
    All the best.
    06-19-2013 01:38 AM
  5. a5cent's Avatar
    MS are not being very communicative about their future plans. We have no idea whether they are intending to act on the suggestions or have even acknowledged them.
    Yeah, no kidding. They appear to be taking their "shut up and ship" motto quite seriously. I think that is another grave marketing mistake. IMHO MS doesn't need to go into details about particularly competitive or unique features, but they do need to sell us on a vision and a timeline. That vision must define an identity. Most people know what Android is good at. Most people know what iOS is good at. The only thing most people know about WP is that it lacks apps. WP isn't where it needs to be, so MS must at least tell us where WP is going. When and how will it be better than BB10 in the enterprise? When will it be just as stable and reliable as iOS? What will WP excel at (there are some things it already does really well, but they aren't marketable)? Who is it for?

    Beyond the 3-screens concept, which we've been hearing and fantasizing over since WP7.0, there isn't much to look forward to. I would gladly sacrifice the user voice website for a MS that speaks more to these issues. MS needs to start showing us that they have a plan.
    thegooner likes this.
    06-19-2013 01:56 AM
  6. GCrane1982's Avatar
    They need to give the UserVoice forum to an intern for a week to simply clean it up and merge all the duplicate entries so it provides an accurate wish list of the user base. Once they have done this the need a team of their WP devs to review the list and rate each item on complexity to implement. Then they can assign two teams the list, 1st team to work on as many of the smaller quick fixes (I.e. Rotation lock and seperate volume controls) as they can for each quarterly update, the 2nd team work work on 2-3 of the big ticket items (i.e. notification centre and Xbox music) for each quarterly update. This way each quarterly GDR update would have massive improvement, consumers would be happy and the ecosystem would be moving in the right direction.

    I would much prefer for MSFT to spend their time fixing these issues rather than modifying the core OS so that it supports 1080p resolution and octacore processors which i feel is not required on <5inch device
    Simon Gregory likes this.
    06-19-2013 03:49 AM
  7. Simon Gregory's Avatar
    All great points, maybe we should post this suggestion on uservoice and get it to the top!
    06-19-2013 04:37 AM
  8. poddie's Avatar
    One final point from me (and this is kind of OCD of me, please bear with me, it's not a criticism of you) - I think the term you're looking for, with regard to video aspect ratio, is "anamorphic" ;)
    All the best.
    Sorry, that was an epic spell check error!
    thegooner likes this.
    06-19-2013 07:41 AM
  9. Simon Gregory's Avatar
    Sorry, that was an epic spell check error!
    I thought asking them to encode every video using human attributes was a bit of a stretch!
    thegooner likes this.
    06-19-2013 11:33 AM
  10. JJohnson1701's Avatar
    I agree with you quite a bit. Just look at the list of features on User Voice, and my own blog, in several past posts also. Some have been implemented, but the vast majority haven't. Some are more eye-candy than others (such as parallax backgrounds on the lock screen), but quite a few are very useful (week view in the calendar, start the phone app in the dialer, etc.). If Microsoft could sift through User Voice and combine duplicates while preserving their comments and votes together, and sort through a few dozen to a few hundred and put those in its very next release, then that would go a long way to showing their new concern for user feedback.
    02-10-2014 04:46 PM

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