State of the Windows UX Taskforce

The Windows UX Taskforce is now feature complete. In the past 7 days, I’ve implemented all the features I had originally planned (and much more) to facilitate the community Windows user experience feedback site I require for world domination. If you haven’t already checked it out, then head over to www.istartedsomething.com/taskforce.

For those who like numbers, here’s some interesting stats from the past 7 days.

  • 18,128 votes casted (average 100 per hour)
  • 449 submissions posted
  • 1,633 comments written
  • 573 registered users
  • 159,000 hits since its launch

The amount of quality submissions received so far is pretty amazing. There’s a few submissions entirely off-topic and the occasional “Save XP” banter, but I must admit I’m really impressed by how much attention to detail some users pay to the Windows user interface. And I thought I was picky. Of course, all of this wouldn’t mean much if none of these are ever addressed by Microsoft.

Speaking of that, I’ve heard some encouraging words from in and around Microsoft that none of this is going by unnoticed. The details are sketchy but apparently people in the Windows Experience group who are responsible for the Windows user experience are well aware of the site and have even browsed through the list of feedback thoroughly. This leads me to the next step.

Ideally, I want Microsoft designers and developers to be a part of the conversation. I’ve already implemented the necessary functionality to allow them to ‘respond’ to the feedback via a status update and explanation (in a very cool AJAX manner I might add). Knowing the situation at Microsoft, this will probably take some effort but I’m going to try to get them involved in some way or form. Until then, keep those submissions coming and know that it isn’t a lost cause. And if you are a Microsoft employee (or Steven Sinofsky), my email is in the profile page.

On a side note, I’ve received tremendous feedback on the PHP application as well. In case you were wondering, I didn’t use any frameworks – all coded from a blank file. I’ve implemented a number of optimizations in the past few days so it should feel a little snappier than it was 7 days ago. I’ve also had a number of requests to deploy the same website/application for other Microsoft softwares and even Mac OSX. All of which are under consideration, but I might need some extra incentives. ;)

P.S. If anyone tells you not to edit code live on a production server, tell them they haven’t lived life on the edge. Having said that, if you’ve edited your profile on the Windows UX Taskforce in the past 12 hours and haven’t been able to login, that would have been my fault. Please proceed to reset your password. :)

35 insightful thoughts

  1. Good job!
    I read this site almost from the start, and I can say that it’s unique

    why don’t you double the UX application so that we can ask for non tecnical request/implementation?
    es: I’ll really love to have multiple item in the clipboard, like office, across all the OS
    or be able to customize key shortcut to action and application

    sorry in advance if my english isn’t good
    Fehu

  2. “Ideally, I want Microsoft designers and developers to be a part of the conversation. I’ve already implemented the necessary functionality to allow them to ‘respond’ to the feedback via a status update and explanation (in a very cool AJAX manner I might add). Knowing the situation at Microsoft, this will probably take some effort but I’m going to try to get them involved in some way or form.”

    How is this ever going to work? AFAIK, all information about Windows 7 is under tight wraps and only dispensed in a very controlled manner. A MS employee mentioning if something if going to get fixed, or is fixed, or won’t be fixed is technically the same as releasing information about the UI to the public. Won’t they be unable to respond in any way until the first public beta, at which point we can see for ourselves if it was resolved or not?

  3. Sterling work! Well done. Here’s hoping MS hire you off the back of it. ;)

    Looking at Secret Geek’s post, someone at MS might just be interested in this…

  4. Long, just out of interest, how many Taskforce RSS subscribers do you have? There’s no “chicklet” like there is on your blog, it’d be interesting to know.

    :)

  5. @Frank: Well, I would agree with you although I hope we can come to a middle ground where they could just say something like “this will be addressed in Windows 7″ or “this applet is entirely removed in Windows 7″. I don’t think these things are state secrets anyway.

    @Michael Mc: Very few actually. Less than 50. I don’t think a lot of people have seen the RSS feed yet, or are simply not that interested. Fortunately for me, the RSS feed was very easy to implement.

  6. Great work on the Taskforce site. You’ve done such a great job in a little amount of time. I’ve concentrated on voting up those UI anomalies that I felt you were really striving to fix before you created the site, and that would be a great thing if MS could fix all of these little, but niggling issues.

    What I found really amazing about the site is that New Jersey Transit just implemented a very similar program to track user, excuse me, rider, suggestions. For something that they probably spent big money on, they have none of the aesthetics that you have, and don’t have nearly as many features. If you’re looking for some paid work, you should give them a call ;)

  7. @Long Zheng: you’re obviously omitting the fact that we’re living in a world of human mentality full of jealousy, where someone doesn’t simply want to appraise some others work. No one can deny the great job you did here, but the guys at Microsoft y probably are envying you or either hating for being first to initiate some sort of this great movement.
    Again, Bravo!

  8. how do you know it’s really the team at Microsoft that’ll be giving updates on whether the problems will be fixed?

  9. Great job, Long!

    Here’s the question: maybe it makes sense to create similar tools for other most controversial MS’ products like Office, Live and IE? I know that you maybe do not have contacts with devs from those departments, but at least users will make a noise and some of the ideas will get noticed? It’s like “Save XP” campaign, which no matter how silly it was, made a lot of noise and got even Ballmer’s attention.

  10. I work at Microsoft, and I think this is great. I can’t speak for the Windows folks, but I certainly hope they choose to take advantage of this resource.

  11. This is by far the best thing that could have happened to Microsoft in a (the) long (Zheng) time. Having said that, I wonder why did Microsoft not come up with something like this. An Indian forum which is backed by some Microsoft employees started a similar initiative, where they requested users to submit bugs they find in Windows. Apparently, it was siad that the threads were submitted to Microsoft, as it was moderated by MVPs and had MS employees as admins.

    The point I am trying to make is that, your site has probably got a response un-parallel to any such initiative.

  12. I hate Prillo.
    He always bitches about this sort of stuff.
    His was so Web 1.0 (well actually, kinda is – yours is 2.0).

  13. How does one change the status? I’ve seen the latest Windows 7 builds and know if some of these issues have been fixed or not. How to I update the status? I’ve logged-in, but it only allows me to add comments…

  14. @Joe: Only administrators and moderators can do that. I’ll need to manually assign Microsoft employee accounts as moderators. I’m assuming you are not :P

  15. I am an one, but would prefer to stay anonymous, so I guess I’ll just add comments to the posts with the status. I understand that you can’t trust anonymous feedback. Just know that this website HAS gained attention in the WEX org, bugs are being filed as new suggestions are posted, and many are even being FIXED for beta. I’ve been surprised at how many good, detailed bugs have been found; even features I own had bugs from Vista I wasn’t aware of. Keep submitting posts everyone! Screenshots are really helpful too. There are “real” ways MS takes customer feedback, including newsgroups and MVP forums, but this is one of the few “everyday user” sites I’ve seen that is really simple and straightforward. Great work, Long! :-)

  16. @Joe: Hey Joe, I assume the email in your comment is fake or you have an unfortunate name. Please send me an email (in my about page).

  17. Are you able and willing to implement some long tail features? The submissions list is now 17 pages and counting. Takes a long time to scroll through. Maybe a tagging option? And a related submissions thingy?

  18. I learned as an editor of my college paper that photographs and pictures must ALWAYS face the content, to encourage the viewer to focus on the content.

    Thus, head shots on the left should face right and vice versa.

    Windows icons are on the left, and logically, they too should face right. This COULD actually have added to the negative reaction to Vista.

  19. The icons would look well in Hebrew and Arabic versions :).
    We write the right way.
    I didn’t check my Hebrew vista version as I’m refusing to move to from XP..

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