Windows Threshold Technical Preview: It's all about feedback, feedback, feedback

Windows Threshold is getting really darn close to being ready for its public release. With the 30th of September quickly approaching, Microsoft is starting to put the final pieces together to create a release of the build that is ready for public consumption. 

The preview of Threshold is going to be all about feedback. Microsoft wants to collect all sorts of input from the users as to what they like, what they don't like, which features should be changed, added or removed, and anything and everything in between. 

Mary Jo Foley was the first to grab this bit of news and since we had heard the same thing and could add a bit more, we figured we would add some color to the reasoning why they want feedback and what to expect. The short answer to why they are focusing so heavily on user feedback is not just about polishing the experience for user - it's also because the enterprise hates Windows 8.

It's not a big surprise and this is why Threshold will have tons of feedback surveys to make sure that they avoid this issue with the next iteration of Windows. So what will these surveys look like? Well, they appear in large windows and cover a wide range of topics but for this example, we will use searching as a feedback item.

At the top of the survey, it says "Please share your feedback with Microsoft about Searching". Anything related to your search experience can be entered here, whether related to the Start Menu, Cortana or a bunch of other items. The next question asks if you were successful in "Searching" and provides you with Yes, No, or Not Sure. 

You then move down the page to another area where you are asked about the following parameters: 'Ease of Use', 'Valuable to me', 'Enjoyable', 'Is it Fast?' and a couple more general questions as well. You rate these items on a scale of 1 to 5 and then send them off to Microsoft.

Microsoft will be using the telemetry data gathered over the beta cycles of Threshold to help shape the features to exactly what the user needs and more importantly, expects.

The rapid updates that we talked about in a previous post could be part of this as Microsoft very well could send different features to some users to test out. We're still trying to clarify this, but it is also possible that, depending on your feedback, different features may be made available to you to test out. Or, this could dictate which surveys you take too.

Microsoft has made a real effort lately to listen to consumer feedback and has been opening up avenues to discuss new features for some time. So it only makes sense that Windows, a core product for the company, would go down this path too. Even when they announced the return of the Start menu, Terry Myerson said it was based on feedback from users.

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There's a different regime in place, and I feel confident they learned a lot from the previous regimes failures with Windows 8.

Its much more than just the reappearance of the Start Menu. It is the entire Metro-inspired User Interface. Trying to make one UI for all users was a bad idea from the first day.

One hopes that with Sinofsky gone, they'll actually listen to the feedback. 1+ year of Win 8 feedback on the B8 blog, technet, MS forums etc was completely and totally ignored.

Almost everyone involved in Windows8 has been "replaced". ;)

Looking at how much Microsoft is listening to feedback now and making changes based on that I think they will not repeat the forced Windows8 approach.

john.smith_2084 said,
They told us Windows 8 was all about feedback and ..... you know the rest

I hope they changed the guy collecting the feedback :-)


Telemetry, telemetry, telemetry, telemetry, telemetry, telemetry, telemetry, telemetry!!!!!!

I will be deploying this as a main OS dualbooting with 8.1 on both my machines because of this emphasis on feedback, and I will endeavor to make serious feedback reports, bug reports with memory dumps and information on reproduceability, etc. I will do my part to improve Windows 9.

LEAKED screenshots please. Or are Neowin no longer allowed to under new T&Cs? If so, goodbye Neowin.

My only wish is for my 8" Intel Atom tablet to continue to have the desktop interface. It really makes a great productivity device on the go, paired with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

I heard rumours that the desktop interface would be gone for small tablets... I mean, in that case, I would much rather buy an Android tablet instead!

My only wish is for my 8" Intel Atom tablet to continue to have the desktop interface. It really makes a great productivity device on the go, paired with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

I heard rumours that the desktop interface would be gone for small tablets... I mean, in that case, I would much rather buy an Android tablet instead!

I'm sure your atom tablet has video out. What happens when a small screen device is connected to a large monitor, keyboard and mouse? I think this makes it necessary to keep the traditional desktop as an option for small screen devices, at least ones that have displayport or HDMI out.

Alright, MS had also feedback from secret users that no one uses start menu, so what happend to those users. Overall, after horrible mdss win 8, I wont even bother to install any of their bets product and I don't trust this vision less company for anything they say.

Certainly it was not the lack of feedback that made Windows 8 such a disaster. It was Microsofts attitude to completely ignore it but pretending that every decision has been made on feedback or telemetry data. Blatantly lies it is obvious now.
If Mircosoft would change his attitude, I would appreciate it. But looking at Windows Phone I don´t believe this will happen. Still there is no upgrade path from Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7.x to get data like text messages to a current Windows Phone 8.1 device. The app that pretends to achieve this are a joke as they dont transfer text messages compeltely and if, only text messages received are getting transferred.
This is a complete joke. So hopefully without Sinofsky and Ballmer this is really a new era to listen to customers instead of forcing them into something they don´t want. But I do not yet believe it.

koyamis said,
Certainly it was not the lack of feedback that made Windows 8 such a disaster. It was Microsofts attitude to completely ignore it but pretending that every decision has been made on feedback or telemetry data. Blatantly lies it is obvious now.
If Mircosoft would change his attitude, I would appreciate it. But looking at Windows Phone I don´t believe this will happen. Still there is no upgrade path from Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7.x to get data like text messages to a current Windows Phone 8.1 device. The app that pretends to achieve this are a joke as they dont transfer text messages compeltely and if, only text messages received are getting transferred.
This is a complete joke. So hopefully without Sinofsky and Ballmer this is really a new era to listen to customers instead of forcing them into something they don´t want. But I do not yet believe it.

There's no upgrade path since Windows Phone 7/8 wasn't meant to run on legacy devices, and Windows Phone 7 was a stepping stone from Windows Mobile to the current iteration of Windows Phone 8.

Windows Phone 8 features better architectural changes that WP7 devices couldn't handle.

Windows-9, with a selectable UI, will be the real test as to whether Microsoft's new leadership has learned anything from customer feedback.

@Dot Matrix, I think koyamis was talking about data migration when "upgrading" your device, i.e. buying a WP 8.1 device and transferring data from WP7 or WP8 device. There is no easy to completely transfer some data like text messages according to koyamis.

Swapnil Rustagi said,
@Dot Matrix, I think koyamis was talking about data migration when "upgrading" your device, i.e. buying a WP 8.1 device and transferring data from WP7 or WP8 device. There is no easy to completely transfer some data like text messages according to koyamis.

Windows Phone includes text messaging backup. However, it is a new feature.

Seeing as they're wanting Feedback! How about they start a general Windows uservoice site, and put a link in the OS or something.

The bigger issue (with 8 and later) is that while hardware changes (going back to 7) accelerated (due to decreasing costs for things like touch-screen displays), software support for those changes (in the Windows space) largely wasn't there. It's not that touch-screen displays didn't exist when Windows 7 launched - most of you here at Neowin know better than to make THAT assumption. In fact, how many of you upgraded your OS (from 7 to 8 or later) and found NEW features you didn't even know you had that said upgrade uncovered?

The other side of that, of course, is that how do you learn about a feature you aren't exposed to? The answer to that is quite obvious - you don't. Throw in a pressure to spend less (which ALWAYS exists in enterprises - there is never a pressure to spend MORE in terms of user training in any enterprise environment, even a government environment) and you get resistance to an even greater degree. It's why I brought up a dichotomy between Windows hardware and the OS side - the dichotomy is decidedly there, and because of a deliberate attempt to calcify the software side of Windows, will likely only grow.

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