Why is MS asking me to help improve PartnerSource/CustomerSource?

When was your last time facing this screen?

Mine was last week. And then I took the screen shot and decided to write a blog on it. Or actually, I had even decided on that way-before as this "feedback" screen keeps on appearing every now and then. Even those days-after every time I dutifully did "help".

I guess I can cope with that Usability Sciences stalker. I can cope with the fact that for every search I do on PartnerSource I have to relearn how to find what I am looking for. Fortunately I am using it daily. Also fortunately for my colleagues who often refer to me when they have to use PartnerSource.

So when I give feedback I can positively answer all questions as I do find what I am looking for; and, yes, I am using it frequently; and, yes, it makes sense to use it; and, .... And PartnerSource stays as it was.

I have no proof, but it seems to me PartnerSource hasn't changed since it started as PartnerGuide. Probably it has, but not much. At least is doesn't make me happy. Ick!

It's all so inefficient, counter-intuitive, so opposite to the user experience of MS product. No

Create a Support Request

Just a small example. Ever created a support request? If you select Support > New Support Request you get to a screen with this section:

So I push the blue (NAV) button. And on the next page I will push this button:

Which lead me to the start of my new support request.

I select the company and click next.

Didn't I select NAV already? Hmm


Am I wrong assuming that all I am writing about PartnerSource also applies to CustomerSource?

Update 2011-01-30

Want to share your experiences, judgements and suggestions: write them below, MS seems interested; they contacted me on this!

Update 2011-06-16

The above example still hasn't been improved. Sad

Update 2011-10-11

The above example still hasn't been improved. Sad

MS seemed interested though. Crying

Update 2012-10-14

More than 1 year passed and still the above example hasn't been improved. Sad

  • I can't count the number of times that Partnersource / VOICE has died at a critical time during an upgrade. Just this morning, the navigation bar for VOICE was offline as I'm trying to pull new registration keys for a client's upgrade that we did last night. "The document cannot be found"...for the navigation bar! It's enough to make you want to chew your own foot off.

    We got no love a few years ago at the Partner summit when we suggested in a feedback session that they switch the search engine underneath to Google's....

  • I must say that it's realy amazing how a company of the size of Microsoft is able to create a website this bad. I mean you really have to struggle in order to create something this complex. If there would be a an award for the most complex website i'm pretty sure Microsoft partnersource and all there in would be the absolute nr 1. There's no website on earth that can make me as mad as the ps website. Even on MS/Voice it's completely unlogical. I can imagine that if you use it everyday you'll learn how to find everything. I've sent a couple of complainte to ms telling them to write down some tasks and let a 15-20 year old who's never been on the site to do the task. And the same goes for the microsoft partner network.. why on earth have two different websites for partners anyway? It's like have a webshop with a login for purchases and another website containing information on the product!? It's so messed up that I would seriously have a physchological breakdown if i was the one who created the website.. and i'm a pretty sane and calm person normally.

    Feels good to get this off my shoulders! Thanks!

  • Another issue: I think PartnerSource is the Site where I encountered the most deadlinks. It happens very often that you click on a link and get a "document removed" or something like that. Not to speak of the terrible search engine...

  • Partner source does not make me happy, either. I think what they missed, when designing the system (and I fully agree, that nothing of import has changed) was to ask a question like: "why do people come to this website".

    I would guess, there are some different roles, like ordering licenses, asking for support, etc. Find out what these roles are, and then ease their way in the system (e.g. how many clicks does it take (does it have to take) to order something). And yes, please clear away all the marketing rubbish.

  • They stalk us because users tell them frequently that the site has horrible usability but MS has no employees available who know how to build (or the responsible people are not willing to listen to the ones who know) user friendly websites.

    So they decided to stalk us until someone tells them the genius hint how to build user friendly web sites.

    My first hint: leave the marketing stuff away.

    Most visitors already bought the stuff and need info how to use the products.

    But I'm sure no one will listen to users either.