When I do beta testing, I want to achieve following:
- get to know upcoming products
- report bugs
- request features
- complain about new features\changes
- understand upcoming trends
When I do beta testing for Microsoft, I feel like I am only supposed to report bugs.
Microsoft site for beta products is http://connect.microsoft.com – however I think they should re-design it and make it MUCH easier to navigate…
BUT it is not only one way communication – it’s not only our job to report bugs, it’s also Microsoft’s job to provide some feedback. I must say that I REALLY love approach of Windows 7 team – they do not only tell us “This is how it is and it’s too late to change it”, they are also sharing information about “Why”. I am talking about official Windows 7 blog – even in case you are not interested in Win7, it’s highly recommended to read it to understand how MS works.
Microsoft should provide some (easy to use) voting system – which features got high priority for Microsoft? Which features got high priority for home users? Which features got high priority for professionals?
Anyone can submit feature requests to Connect – and most time he will get reply “We will consider it for future release”.
I would like to see information being pushed to me – beta testers would have ability to “subscribe” to particular products. Anyone could request new feature – if that feature will make any sense (and that should be determined by MS employees), feature request will be forwarded to distribution list of beta testers… Simple email, with description and YES\NO buttons (or stars for rating).
Results should be visible – after this voting round we should be able to see some numbers. As I said, there are many features that simply doesn’t make sense (for example one of most favorites Live Mesh requests is to wake remotely PC – which is technically not possible without using another PC), therefore these forwarded requests should be filtered by responsible product team first.
Second extremely important change should be CHANGE LOG, CHANGE LOG, CHANGE LOG! Why is it that hard to provide change log at least during beta phases? Right now I must investigate differences between new releases – and sometimes find small bits at 3rd party websites or blogs.