Teams is First Product to Use New Portal, Which Replaces User Voice
Update November 10: The feedback portal is now available for a bunch of other Microsoft 365 apps (OneNote, SharePoint, Stream, Planner, Yammer, Viva Topics, etc.. Exchange is a notable exception for now.
Much to customer dismay, Microsoft announced its intention to stop using the User Voice platform in March. Today, the Teams product group announced the preview of a feedback portal for Teams (aka “a community feedback experience”). Given the very active use of User Voice by the Teams community to suggest and press for product improvements, this is a welcome development. According to Microsoft, User Voice input has resulted in over 500 features and improvements since 2017, so it’s obvious that customers are listened to, even if they sometimes think this isn’t the case.
The new portal (Figure 1) also supports Edge, but that section isn’t as well populated as the Teams content is. Over time, you’d imagine that the portal will evolve from preview to become the central point for feedback for the entire Microsoft 365 ecosystem, assuming things go well.
Built on Dynamics 365
The new portal is built on the Dynamics 365 customer service technology. In the past, Microsoft has looked outside to replace its own technology with third-party code, notably when the Yammer-based Technical community was replaced by Lithium as the basis for the current Microsoft Technical Community. It’s good to see Microsoft eating its own dogfood here. Hopefully, the experience of handling customer feedback and feature requests through the new portal will inform future developments in Dynamic 365.
Data from User Voice
To ensure that the information from User Voice is not lost, it looks as if Microsoft has done a good job to populate the feedback portal with idea and comments already submitted by customers. The Teams product group has updated a bunch of requests with responses to tell people about the progress of ideas and suggestions, so if you’ve been missing out on wanting to know if Microsoft is going to do something, you can head over to the portal to browse ideas and responses (Figure 2).
Some responses address well-known recent developments, like quoted replies in chats (released in preview on September 17), while others are still being worked by engineering, like the request to sign-into the Teams client with accounts from multiple tenants. According to some tweeted comments by Rish Tandon, Teams VP of development, support for multiple accounts will come when Microsoft releases an enterprise client based on the Teams 2.0 architecture sometime next year.
Given the use of Dynamics 365, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you need to sign in to create a new suggestion (following Microsoft documentation on that point, naturally). However, the portal is available to all to browse without sign-in.
By the way, Live components in Chat are now available for preview users (here’s the official announcement). I mention this to illustrate that not every new feature developed by Teams will appear in the feedback portal. Live components are a good example of an interesting new technology coming from within Microsoft that has the potential to change the way people collaborate.
Overall, the new portal seems to work well. Give it a try. There’s no point about complaining about deficiencies in Teams or other Microsoft technologies if you can’t be bothered to provide feedback.