Introducing ‘Suggest a Feature’ in Developer Community

Customer feedback is a critical input to help us improve Visual Studio. Up until two years ago, the Visual Studio customer feedback system left room for improvement – customers could use the “send a smile” feature in Visual Studio, but this would result in only coarse-grained feedback such as “I like this” or “I don’t like this.” The feedback we got through this UI then went into a database our team accessed, but didn’t leave an easy way for customers to see the feedback that other customers were giving so they could say, “I have that problem too!” More than that, the back-end system that gathered feedback was separate from the engineering systems we use for tracking bugs and features, crash reports, hang reports, and telemetry. Without a unified system on the backend, identifying the most impactful issues could be an error-prone job.

In Visual Studio 2017, we introduced a new system for reporting issues. From within Visual Studio, users can Report a Problem; the issue is tracked in a public system at https://developercommunity.visualstudio.com, and the public issue is integrated directly into our engineering system. Thus, a bug on Developer Community is a bug in our Azure DevOps work item database, and votes from the community would give items additional weight.

Since introducing this system, we have received over 70,000 issues from more than 24,000 customers. We have resolved over 13,000 of them, and in over 5,000 instances of issues customers have unblocked themselves quickly using the solutions and workarounds contributed by Microsoft and the larger community of developers.

Until now, we’ve focused the system on issue tracking, but that’s left a gap in our understanding of what customers want from us and developers need: the ability to ask for features. Today, we’re announcing that the same system that we use for reporting issues will work for feature requests in one convenient place.  If you have an idea or a request for a feature, you can now use the new Suggest a Feature button (shown below) on Developer Community and make your suggestions.

You can also browse suggestions from other developers and Vote for your favorite features to help us understand the impact to the community.

If you are wondering how feature suggestions are considered for inclusion on our product roadmap, please see our suggestions guide that clarifies the states used to track progress and what each state represents in the journey.

As part of this work, we will transition from UserVoice as the primary means for our customers to request features. The reason we’re moving from UserVoice is very similar to the reason we moved away from the old “send a smile” system: we want customer feature requests to be directly integrated into our core engineering system so we have complete line of sight into the feedback customers are giving us.

Moving off UserVoice is a big job: It tracks 32,000 feature requests and more than 24,000 points of  feedback. In unifying our system under Developer Community, these massive number of requests will benefit from a strong systems to help us analyze and track these important requests.

Over the coming months, we’ll be migrating many existing UserVoice items from UserVoice, starting with a few hundred, although tems with relatively lower vote counts and items that are exceptionally old may not move over. Please see these frequently asked questions for more details on how UserVoice votes and comments are being handled.  I recognize that may cause some frustration and I apologize in advance.  I’d simply ask you to sign into Visual Studio or go on the web and submit the item again.

Thank you!

Suggest a Feature on Developer Community is aimed at providing a single convenient place for all your Visual Studio feedback, improve your engagement with product teams and have a greater impact on Visual Studio family of products.  We are looking forward to hearing your suggestions.  To reiterate in closing, please visit Developer Community and send us a suggestion.  We also encourage you to learn more about suggestions to get the best out of it.  Thank you for the valuable feedback you provide in Visual Studio and participation in Developer Community!

John Montgomery, Director of Program Management for Visual Studio
@JohnMontJohn is responsible for product design and customer success for all of Visual Studio, C++, C#, VB, JavaScript, and .NET. John has been at Microsoft for 17 years, working in developer technologies the whole time.