Perhaps the criticisms of Windows 8 struck nerve throughout all of Microsoft, but one thing is for certain, they are defiantly trying to listen more consumers these days. From the Windows 10 Technical Preview to the Xbox One Insider program, Microsoft is sifting through millions of pieces of user feedback and trying to implement the features and suggestions that the people claim to want.
That level of openness is not only reserved for their consumer facing products but also their cloud and enterprise projects as well. Today Microsoft is announcing Azure Preview Portal improvements based on collected user feedback. The summary of updates include:
- Improved Portal interactions
- Keyboard shortcuts
- New (and simpler) startup experience
- Added Minimize command to all blades
- Improvements in Browse
- Maximized blades only scroll vertically
- Simpler default startboard
- New setting: disable animations
- Show value of chart in X axis on hover
- More resources implementing the Essentials pattern
- Audit logs
- Marketplace improvements
- Updated New hub
- Social sharing of marketplace items
- Improved pricing tier blade
- Improved browser interactions
- Browser Back button support (preview)
- Text selection in blade headers
On their Microsoft Azure Blog, they go into great length about each piece of added feedback, but some quick notes we though we would highlight were among the top up voted pieces.
Making things simpler
Users now are met with an uncluttered splash screen which has evidently allowed for much quicker start up times. Users may also enjoy the minimized commands that are ever present in the each blade. The commands are now collapsible, similar to the Ribbon found in Office, but for power users, the blade can always be restored and is just a click away.
Along with other esthetics, the dashboard has been given a bit of a face lift. Based on the below feedback, the Azure Portal team explains the reasons for the change in appearance:
- Browse tile is the most clicked tile, so we put it in a prime location
- Many of you told us that default size of the map was too big and takes too much space, so we made it smaller. You can still make it bigger again by right clicking on the map and selecting “Customize”
- Billing tile was moved to a more central location
- As you know, the startboard is a space that is intended to be yours. You can customize it (move, resize, remove, or add new parts) to bring the resources and information that you care about front and center!
Improvements in the Marketplace
There were not only cosmetic improvements but the team looked to help with creating fluidity in creating categories, and sharing of marketplace items.
The New hub used to include list of commonly-created resources. Based on your feedback, we make our creation experience closer to this the taxonomy of products and services on the Azure website.
In the updated experience when you click on New (at the bottom-left corner of the screen), you get a list of categories as well as your recently created resource types:
In the new update, they also have enabled social sharing of the marketplace items.
Improved Browser Interactions
Lastly, the team working on that annoying Back button navigation issue. While the work in that space isn’t complete (they are expecting an update in the next few weeks), the team has introduced a rough draft of their new implementation; as you can now navigate back to the startboard with a Back button click in your browser, and a forward click takes you to previous active journal. This is all done by adding partial information into your browser URL which basically refers to the set of blades in your active navigation path.
They are a list of other details and few ‘coming soon’ projects the team have on their horizon but for today, take a quick peek over at the portal and give your feedback for the next round of updates.