Live QnA finally gets an update

I thought Live QnA would be discarded someday, but the team actually game through. They gave the site a whole new look.

                                                                

The new look is kind of good. Simple, yet pleasantly aesthetic enough. I’m really digging this new UI from Live.

So here’s what’s new:

  • New look – of course this is the main thing. The UI is now very much simpler, aesthetic, and just better to work with. Very clean and organized. Though I might have kept the same site layout the same as the previous one with the refreshed look, this one isn’t too bad. I just wish more space could be filled instead of being left blank (you see this more on the right column). Though I heard they’re going to put advertising later. Overall, I like it.
  • Emphasis on tags – You can’t go pass a page without seeing a tag space box. I love the tagging. I like how they made them look better.
  • Q&A Pane on every page – Just like tags, there’s pretty much a Q&A pane on every page. It’s at the top of the page where you can "Ask a Question" or "Answer", and you can just select from there. Pretty handy.
  • "Comments" section in user profile – Now you can view spots where you added your latest comment. Can be useful if you need to check back.
  • "Top Reputations" and "Top Scores" section in Superstars – There’s now 2 different ways to view how the users in the community rank. Top Reputations shows the users who contribute a lot to QnA, have many stars, and are found very helpful by other users. Top Scores is whoever gets the most points in the monthly/yearly period. It’s a way to get the competition going.
  • Top Contributors – Users who participate a lot, and are also helpful get a "Top Contributor" logo on their user profile picture. Helps identify who’s very active and reliable.
  • RSS – There’s more opportunities to get a feed on something, like the question’s status, new questions that appear under your favorite tags, a specific user, etc.
  • Live QnA is now Live Search QnA – In what I thought was pretty dumb, the Live team decided that QnA should fit more closely to the search experience, so it’s now Live Search QnA. Just like Live Search Maps that could simply be shortened to Live Maps.

The newer things are great, but I felt QnA missed and dropped a few things with this new update:

  • No points for just voting – I used to vote a lot because I liked help picking what I thought was the best answer, and at the same time getting a point. Now there’s NO points rewarded to people that vote. I find that pretty sad. Giving users the incentive to vote, will allow the community to pick better answers to the top. With no incentive (or points), users will find this as a waste of time and probably find some other way to contribute. You still get 4 points if the answer you pick also got picked by many users as best, but I still want that one point.
  • Text box – It’s still not WYSIWYG like Yahoo! Answers is. You have to double space for blocks of texts to have a space between them. Text box input tools (like bold/italics/underline, bullets, hyperlink, etc.) are still not available, which would be a great help and feature on QnA. There’s a spell check button, but that should be included with IE! Overall, QnA should really revamp the text input system to make it rival that of Yahoo! Answers. Mediocre won’t do the job anymore.
  • No friends mini-network – You can’t connect with many users personally on the site, like you can with Y! Answers. Having the ability to have a mini-network for friends on QnA would be great. You can find out what you’re friends are up to (without needing to find them), and help answer questions they might have. It’s a win-win.
  • No deleting/editing questions and answers – There’s still no absolute way you can edit/delete questions and answers if you don’t like them. They stay there permanently. You could add comments to suffice, but it’s not the same. You can edit the question right before an answer appears, but that’s a pretty small time frame. How hard is it to include this function?
  • No way to block users – Suppose you don’t like this pesky user. You should be able to have protection from such things. If you could block really nasty users with a single button click, that would be nice.
  • Search could be better – It’s kinda improved. I just wish there were more ways to filter out results. Like making the open/voting more noticeable and let you search through a timeline or specify how far back you want the results.

Anyways, those are my main dislikes against Live QnA. Overall, the new update is good. If you want to simply get answers to a question from REAL people, Live QnA is a good site for this.

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2 thoughts on “Live QnA finally gets an update

  1. I found your blog in a search for information for my blog… I hope you take a moment to check it out.  Great information here and I enjoyed the read!!! There is something you stated that I might be able to address regarding friends and mini-networks that you indicated are a downfall.  Live Search QnA is integrated with Windows Live Spaces so you can create a network through Spaces (which contains a friends feature to connect your profile to other Spaces that belong to QnA\’ers or Spaces members who share your interests).  It is simple to connect with all of your friends that you have met on Live Search QnA and you can email them privately with Spaces email from the same avatar that you use for Live Search QnA.  The Spaces email format protects privacy as you never have to reveal your actual email address to another participant and you can communicate freely.  The avatar also permits you to add your favorite QnA participants to your Live Messenger and chat on the side about QnA or whatever you have in common. You can also have alerts sent to your Hotmail, Live Messenger or cell phone so that you know a question has been posted that is in your field of interest or by a person you enjoy interacting with.
     
    By clicking on "Spaces Home" when you are logged into your Space you can obtain updates about what your favorite QnA participants are doing on their Spaces and what they are blogging about and who they are now friends with.  Modules titled "Questions I have asked" and "Questions I have answered" are available as addons to your Spaces so you can login on your Space and navigate to your QnA material directly from from Spaces rather than having to login to several sites you have only one login.
     
    Another feature you might wish to try are the private Message Boards specifically for Live Search QnA and the links can be found on the About QnA link on the home page.
     
    Admittedly I am not that familiar with Yahoo Answers to compare feature for feature but I think you have a fair assessment here of what the Community is expressing and the feedback that the Live Search QnA Team is considering in regard to their next round of updates.
     
    Mindy D\’Amico – Windows Live MVP – Live Search QnA

  2. @Mindy-QnA-MVP : Thanks for the comment.
     
    I see what you mean about integration with Live Spaces in that retrospect. However, I was hoping to see my QnA friends ON QnA, NOT Spaces. Wouldn\’t it make more sense to have the ability to easily view all your friend\’s QnA network all in one place? Instead of checking every single profile to see what\’s up? The newsfeed on Spaces Home is nice, but it also contains data not associated with QnA, and I don\’t want to have to scan the entire list for QnA updates.
     
    Also, not every QnA user utilizes Spaces. I hate to say this, but Live Spaces needs to be more community driven, than the approach it currently does with "just me and some friends". And setting up a Space and customizing it is not fun.
     
    Thanks for you thoughts Mindy.

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