One of the regular things I do is ask people to post their ideas about Microsoft improvements on UserVoice. If it’s not a feature and it’s not a defect and it’s not on the roadmap, well it’s an idea. That is an important function of UserVoice, or at least it has been in the past.
Microsoft has partnered with UserVoice, a third-party service, to communicate with customers and collect feedback. We will be moving away from UserVoice feedback sites throughout the 2021 calendar year on a product-by-product basis. We will leverage 1st party solutions. Customers can continue to communicate with Microsoft and provide feedback through a number of different channels.UserVoice Pages – Microsoft
I noticed a tweet during Microsoft Ignite, almost throw away, that UserVoice is on the way out. Discussion on Twitter has slowly grown. A few industry articles have emerged on the topic, but at this stage other than 1st party solutions, the fate of UserVoice and all the content there is not super clear.
With multiple ways to provide feedback on product performance and ideas, I have no doubt that the Microsoft product teams are keen to streamline it and make it easier for them to sift through and prioritise. But, at this point in time the advice from Microsoft is that we can continue to use the available UserVoice sites if we choose, or start to use the feedback options in:
- In-product experiences
- Windows Feedback Hub
- Microsoft Community
- Microsoft Tech Community
- Microsoft Store
- Microsoft Q&A
Many of the Microsoft UserVoice instances are still active, but one that has garnered some attention is the Office 365 UserVoice forum which has a lovely bright banner with some subtle text reading ‘This site is not currently active’.
While tools like UserVoice have their critics, we have seen evidence of UserVoice feedback coming through from the platform, into the roadmap and to delivery. To lose that would be a huge shame. I would certainly miss it as a customer and as the product owner for Microsoft 365 platforms in my organisation.
As a product owner I want to know I am putting my feedback in the right place. And that I can provide my team with a clear and reliable path to feedback. Up until now, UserVoice has been my go-to.
With an absence of clear information about what things will look like in the future, I like to think about what might be. What do end users need?
Where do I put my question, idea, my feedback, my complaint. And who to? Is my local IT team the conduit? The process should be easy, should be intuitive, should be clear. The list above gives too many options, experiences, processes. The in-product experience has significantly improved in recent years, but is it where it could be.
The people using a system want a voice. They are invested and how well it works affects their productivity. They also know it well and have valuable things to say about improvements. The Voice bit is not just about where to put it, but also about the confidence that it is seen, heard and shared.
The path to resolution. Is there a quick answer to a question? If not an answer, can I be clearly led down an escalation workflow? Or, if it’s an idea how do I know someone is looking at it…. or not looking at it?
Not everything has a quick resolution, and if effort has been made to provide feedback what is the mechanism to close it out. If there is no closure, then we jump back to Trust. How is someone compelled to share feedback again.
While I rethink my position on how I advise teams to provide product feedback, I hope for a neat resolution to the absence of UserVoice. I don’t think a lift and shift is the answer. My hope is that the leveraging of 1st party solutions will see a neatly integrated feedback loop which is easy for everyone to use.