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A year ago today, we introduced the preview of Outlook.com. It was the first step in our mission to reimagine personal email, from the datacenter all the way to the customer experience. As we said then, the launch of the preview was just the start. It represented an opportunity to learn together as we rolled out and scaled this new service. It's been an exciting and feature-packed 12 months since then.
You've been a tremendous help in making Outlook.com a better service for all of us-and the world's fastest growing email service-so we want to take a moment to say thank you. Your feedback has been key to delivering over 600 additions, changes and improvements, packaged in 34 feature releases in the last year.
In the past, we've talked about how we believe in an email service that's personal-one that's designed for the type of email you receive, keeps your address book updated with your people, works with the services you choose, and puts you in control. Another very important aspect of email that's personal is that your feedback and input are a core part of how we designed and continue to update Outlook.com.
Of course, we do a great deal of research and testing throughout our development process. But just as important is the feedback we get once you're using the product. We started by changing how we collect feedback, making it far more prominent in the UI. In fact, the average number of monthly feedback submissions for Outlook.com is about 50 times what we received with Hotmail. This alone has been huge in getting a wealth of information about what you'd like to see to improve Outlook.com. This is in addition to all the things we hear through focus groups, research, events, and of course on this blog.
All of this feedback is triaged daily or weekly to provide a list of what we're hearing, the current status on investigation, and the plan for what we're going to do. Some feedback is pretty clear, like "can you add <feature>?" When feedback is less clear, we'll often reach out directly to the person giving the feedback, to understand more about what they're asking for. We also work very closely with our support team to parse this info, because one person's feature request can be another person's support issue.
Some of the feedback is asking for major, prominent new features. But more often, it's for a whole range of smaller things that might not be as noticeable, but when you add them all up, become a huge part of what makes Outlook.com the email service that's truly personal.
In terms of the size of the feature, here are the top twelve that have been delivered based on your feedback.
We know there are 1 or 2 big ones you've asked for that we haven't quite gotten to yet. We hear you and we're working on it.
While all of those big features are what people often notice most, one of the things that we believe is key to Outlook.com is a real pride in craftsmanship and attention to detail. This means that any piece of feedback big or minutely small is important and we work hard to ensure that every feature and scenario is polished.
For example, when it came to the header, we thought a lot about whether to put Mail, People, Calendar, SkyDrive and other header links as persistent visual items or go with a drawer-like option where they only appear when you want them. We have a strong focus on content over chrome, giving you more of what you want and less clutter, so we opted for the drawer. Like other UI elements, we had the drop-down option only appear when you hover over it. But a piece of feedback we heard often was that people were having trouble finding their calendar. So we made the drop-down caret persistent rather than being enabled on hover. A simple change that dramatically reduced the number of people having trouble finding their calendar.
Sometimes it's not even about changing the feature, but just ensuring you have a choice. For example, while most people want to go to the next message after deleting or moving a mail, there were some who wanted to return to their inbox. So we made that an option that you could configure.
There are many more changes that improve usability, save you a click here or there, provide more flexibility, speed up performance, provide more fluid animations, and improve discoverability.
In the last 12 months, we've made over 100 updates to help improve performance, reliability and stability. Sometimes, it's about better compression, network routing, or other similar things that speed up data flow. Other times, it's about smart caching or adding intelligence on how your experience works to improve performance. For instance, as you're reading a message, we'll be caching the message before and after so if you hit Next (or Previous) that message can load a lot faster. Other times, it's about UI that helps improve the perception of performance. For example, when a file is uploading, having a clear progress bar helps make people comfortable that things are moving along. However we attack a problem, all of this investment is geared to ensuring you have a high-performing and reliable service.
That said, we had some bumps over the last year and there were places where our performance hasn't met the high standard we set for ourselves. A few months ago, we had a temperature spike that impacted one of our data centers and caused some customers to suffer a service outage for about half a day. And over the past few weeks, we've had a few periods where performance for some customers in Europe was unacceptably slow. So while there's a lot to be proud of in the last year, we are not okay with these types of issues. We've fully investigated and fixed those specific items and made sure they don't happen again. We take performance and reliability very seriously, so if you ever think there's a problem, visit your service status dashboard to see if we're aware of an issue or visit our support center for more help. We'll absolutely continue to invest a ton in performance and reliability to ensure you have a stellar experience that keeps getting better.
It's been a pretty busy and exciting 12 months (and less than 6 months since we came out of preview on February 19). Thank you all for the hundreds of improvements you've helped us make, and for choosing to make Outlook.com part of your daily lives. We're excited about where we are today, the world's fastest growing email service-and there's still a ton more to come. So keep letting us know what you want to see next and how we can deliver an amazing personal email service for you. You can always leave comments on the blog or by using the feedback tool in the product. Just click on Feedback from the options menu in your Outlook.com inbox.
--Dick Craddock, Group Program Manager, Outlook.com
Thanks for the feedback. If your feedback is about our mobile web experience, that's an issue we're aware of, and are considering improvements for a future release.
We also offer the EAS protocol to have good support on most mobile mail clients. For instructions on how to set this up, go here: windows.microsoft.com/.../outlook-to-go
How come outlook.com app on Android is only available in English?
It's available in multiple languages, what language are you looking for?
I REALLY, REALLY DO NOT LIKE how Outlook bundles emails together. I don't want or need that feature. It should be an option. Users should have control over some features with the ability to pick and choose them at any time. If I send an email to different people, I want it to remain that way in my inbox or sent messages so that I can easily locate them. I do not mind if I get 23 responses to 1 BCC email I sent to 37 people and they are separate. For the phone ok, but for my home computer I don't need to "save space".
Just give me the power to customize my email features.
Also, if I send a BCC email to 23 people, I want to be able to see the "sent to" list later.
IMAP of course, how about EWS, will Mac users ever see this? Also, will Live Domains and Outlook.com ever support email aliases (distribution lists), i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org that will forward to multiple recipients?
All, please can I have the moon on a stick. :)
I really like Outlook.com and I am happy about the service. BUT I am unhappy how Outlook.com und Outlook 2013 work together. Although I bought Outlook 2013 a while ago, I migrated back to Outlook 2010.
There is NO syncing of Reply- / Forward-States at Emails. This is a key feature of Exchange Active Sync 14.0 and I realy need it! Why is this not supported though both are microsoft products? Where is the the power of Outlook 2013 behind my Outlook.com email?
Congratulations on the first Outlook..com anniversary.
It has been vastly improved in a year. Although it has improved as well, the android app lacks some essential features. Please condider the following suggestions:
1. Send email from aliasses & “send-and-receive / send-only” accounts from within the app
2. New mail notifications (notification panel) should display the Name of the sender and subject. Also make use of Jelly Bean's Extended notifications (display the full text of new mail) and Actionable Notifications (Reply or delete from notifications - without the need to open the app)
3. Add new widget (1*1 icon only) that shows number of new messages on top of outlook icon
4. Make existing widget resizable (so we can enlarge it) and contents scrollable
5. Custom notifications for new mail from specific contacts / folders (especially useful when using Rules / Sweep) and option to notify only for specific contacts / folders
6. Add Tasks sync
7. Option for black background (instead of white) which is more energy efficient on AMOLED screens
Thanks for the suggestions for the Android app. We're always looking to improve.
The only complaints I have:
- Server-side SSL encryption needed
- Ability to add photos to contact info independently
I like <a href=" www.outlookexpress.es/">Out look</a> in my ipad
Couple a UI/UX things would really be brilliant.
1. Auto complete email addresses for people who are not in the address book, but who I have had email contact with. There are lots of people I want to write to but who I don't have on the book.
2. Figure out some way to have 2 emails open at the same time so I can copy and paste/compare when composing. Yahoo does this with tabs, which is pretty good. Gmail with the pop out compose box, which is OK but badly positioned for desktop users.
"1. Auto complete email addresses for people who are not in the address book, but who I have had email contact with. There are lots of people I want to write to but who I don't have on the book."
Are you talking about this?
Inbox>Options>Advanced privacy settings
2 different Microsoft online support consultants have provided me with no resolution to my problem. They have just given me links to other support pages which I had already explained to them I have unable for 2 weeks to successfully post to those forum pages because my account seems blocked from submitting questions/discussions.
I asked both consultants to transfer and escalate my concern with a copy of the detailed chat transcripts to the department /people who would be able to rectify the issue I have been having and neither of them actioned this request. In the middle of conversation both consultants terminated the chat/live help session without having provided any resolution. I have a copy of both chat transcripts saved for your review and would appreciate it if you could action fixing the problem I have and also provide me with feedback as to why these help desk staff resources were unable to provide any assistance at all.....
For a really long time my hotmail/outlook.com email account has been enforcing a limit of 5 attachments per email.
I am even encountering this problem when I have zero visible/separate file attachments but there are invisible embedded images in other peoples signatures further down the email chain that I am trying to either reply to or forward.
If someone could please tell me how to quickly rectify this problem it would be very much appreciated.
Thank you very much.
I would also appreciate knowing how to turn off the bundle related email feature if anyone has the answer?!