The Road Ahead for the Feedback Channels

In two earlier posts (Visual Studio Customer Feedback Channels and A Day in the Life of Visual Studio Send a Smile Feedback) we talked about the different ways you could send us feedback for Visual Studio 2015 and I shared what happens with your Send a Smile feedback once it gets to Microsoft. In this post, I’ll talk about how we’re thinking to make it easier to provide actionable feedback. We’ve also received all your input from the survey in the first post, and what you told us resonates with what we’ve heard from other customers. You also provided some great new thoughts about where to go next. Thank you!

Here’s what we’ve learned from your feedback:

  1. What happens to feedback is a black box. The system could use better status updates, more ongoing contact, etc.
  2. There are a lot of ways to give feedback. Although developers use all the feedback channels (Send a Smile, Connect and User Voice), it can be a confusing or bad experience.
  3. Developers usually give contact information. Most of you provide an email address for follow-up, and many of you also send a screenshot (both really help us to resolve your issues)
  4. Some folks dislike the smiley face. Among other comments I can’t share here, you’ve said it’s distracting with the dark theme and doesn’t feel professional.

Here are also the top five important or must-have improvements we heard about giving feedback:

Stack Rank Feedback Capabilities

Other useful suggestions include:

  1. Send my Project option
  2. Easy to start profiling on my project or issue
  3. Notification via Notification center of feedback status changes
  4. Dashboard with trending feedback

In short, having the ability to browse feedback, vote on feedback items, add data to them, and discover workaround and other solutions would provide the most benefit to you.

What we’re thinking about for future Visual Studio Updates

We are still in the planning stage, of course, and we don’t have any release dates to share, but here’s a list of our top ideas for collecting feedback:

  1. Search and voting for all your feedback: Although you can currently search for any bugs you have submitted via Connect, you can’t do this for Send a Smile feedback. We’re looking at allowing you to search for existing feedback first so you can add your vote, add additional information (comments, files, etc.), and see available workarounds or fixes.
  2. Updated status and links to fixes or published workarounds for issues: We want you to see what is happening as we work on items, and easily find and download workaround or fixes once they’re available.
  3. Simplified feedback channels: We want have one place to provide feedback without having to login to Connect or decide where to provide input. We are testing feedback options to make this simple.
  4. Make it easy to record repro steps for a problem and collect the right files and logs automatically. You all know how important repo steps are, so we’ll make it easy to record the repro for a problem and to do that even if Visual Studio is hung or a dialogue is open. We’ll automatically attach the right files so you wouldn’t need to figure out those details.
  5. Notification of status changes on your feedback or when a problem is fixed: This would appear in the notification hub potentially and would let us contact you if we need more data to resolve your issue
  6. Automatically detect when there is a problem on the system, collect the right data and ask you if you want to report the problem. This would let you decide if you want to report an issue without requiring you to turn on tracing and capture the data. This would also let you know of problems that you might not be aware of.

What’s next?

The list above is pretty big and we want to get it right. We’re planning and prototyping some of this functionality and setting priorities. Your feedback has immensely helped this process, and we’ll continue to ask for your input as we move forward on the feedback tools.

As always, if you have any questions or problems with giving us feedback or suggestions, you can reach us by emailing the Visual Studio Feedback Team, vscet (at) microsoft.com. Thanks so much for taking the time to help!

 

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Kevin Lane, Sr. Program Manager, Visual Studio Customer Team

Kevin has been with Microsoft since 2001 working in SQL, Windows Server, Office and now Visual Studio. He drives the customer feedback tools, is addicted to talking to customers and understanding what drives them crazy.