Fixes & Features To Consider : Windows Live Spaces Wave 3

Since news about the new and improved Windows Live Space has been released, I can’t help but have some concerns about the improvements that are getting added to Spaces. I’m hoping Microsoft will make better changes more suited to people who really prefer to have a nice simple blogging service, have as much customizability, features and freedom as possible, without strict limits and hassles.

 

So this is my hopes for changes regarding Windows Live Spaces:

1. Ability to better customize the blog banner – I’d really like to add more “oomph” to my Blog Banner, like the ability to add graphics, specifically change the background of this particular module, and more fonts (surprisingly, Hotmail’s e-mail composer has different fonts AND 1 more font in total!). Hack MSN Spaces has a great guy, and a wonderful MSN Group where you can do much more.

2. Make it speedier & easier to customize the Space in Edit Mode – Overall, I’m pretty pleased the customizability of Spaces, but it can be very SLOW to view a preview of the effect you’re changing. I wish it could work like Microsoft Office 2007’s Live Preview feature, where you just hover over the selected change, and you can see exactly what it will look like before you apply it. Also, moving modules around the page can be just as SLOW and cumbersome. I need more speed, or else it will take me (and others) forever to preview and apply changes. I also find it problematic when you’re trying to move big modules around, or moving modules far away; the editor doesn’t scroll down/up the page well and tosses my module into a place I didn’t want. Needs better auto-scrolling. Or the ability to collapse modules so it’s more swift to move around and displays JUST the title bar, and seeing a thumbnail of the module as you’re moving it around. There also needs to be an Undo button. Sometimes I apply a change, and realize I don’t want the change. I don’t exactly remember what the way it was before the change, so I need an Undo button to revert back to the way something (like the color, position, etc.) was previously. Again, more fonts wouldn’t hurt, considering Hotmail has a few different ones as well as 1 extra in total.

3. Spam Control – This year has been the worst ever in spam. Spam is existent everywhere on Spaces. Spammers have done horrible spamming to my site, and sometimes 20+ amounts of spam every time I find it. Spam exists even on discarded Spaces blogs from Windows Live teams that rarely update, or even bother with the spam issue on their own blog. Users have been complaining for a long time, and I’m surprised that Microsoft never had any way to prevent spam, and has taken so long to fix it. My suggestions are to:

  1. Ability to block users – I’d like the ability to block a user, and have the option of deleting all their comments on my Space. If the Spaces servers notice that a particular account has so much blocks from people against it, it should automatically be smart enough to delete the account, or checked over by an employee.
  2. Ability to report users for spam – At the moment, it’s very difficult to report users. Even when you do find the option to report someone, the choices available don’t offer ‘Spamming’ as a reason. Quite ridiculous! I know it’s not just a handful of people suffering spam problems, it’s a great majority, if not all. To report a user, you have to go directly to their Space, click Report Abuse at the bottom, and fill out the information. There’s great stupidity when it ask you type the URL of the person’s Space (Hello! I just clicked Report Abuse on the guy’s Space!). Since ‘Spamming’ isn’t an option, you have to pick ‘Other’. I also dislike the space for typing in the issue, is pretty small, and they don’t use up more of the page. So you can see my frustration.
  3. Limit on the amount of hyperlinks and links (specifically: 5) – No more than 5 would be preferable. Why someone would need to do more than 5, might be a bit suspicious.
  4. Delete comments directly from the Comments on Your Space box – Such an easy feature, but still not here. If I could delete comments instantly from the Recent Comments Box, my life would be much more easier. I shouldn’t have to press 4 links, to delete one comment. Or a workaround like going to http://mobile.spaces.live.com, and easily deleting comments from my Space there. Just put a little red X next to each comment, and if I click it, the comment disappears off of my Space and Recent Comments box.

4. Tagging – I wish users could easily tag their posts, and I don’t mean Windows Live Tags. Tags to mention the keywords associated to each post/photo, and the ability to press on one, and view other posts/photos with the same tag by the user. Like if my friend adds the tag “Thanksgiving” to her post, I should be able to click on it, and view any blog posts or photos she tagged Thanksgiving. It’s called Web 2.0, Microsoft.

5. Better Search box – The search box currently on Spaces is crud. Search results are divided in to People, Spaces, and Blog Entries. People is dumb, since people are not going to be using their real name anyway (at least younger users won’t bother), and locating a friend on Spaces is quite a laugh if you told someone. Spaces is ok. Blog entries are more interesting though, and I hope a new improved search box will let me easily search up something, and I hope results bring up a snippet of the entry, as well as bring up any posts that contains the tag with my query. Also, the ability to view results by A-Z order, chronological, your Spaces friends items at the top, and by certain tags would be great. Ability to search within a person’s Space would be great too.

6. Fix up publishing issues – Sometimes, if I take a long time to type a comment or fix a post, when I click to Add or Publish, I get errors:

Very annoying. I don’t understand why this comes up. Several people have commented about this too, on one of my other posts.

7. Better URL naming – I hate the current method. Like this link: http://msftandthefuture.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!1CA34B674D84900!2643.entry . Obviously, not a friendly UI, right? How about http://msftandthefuture.spaces.live.com/2008/9/27/virtual-earth-gets-a-6-2-update This URL would at least include information such as the date posted, and a glimpse of the title instead of mumbo jumbo characters. Much better than a bunch of chaotic numbers and letters meaning very little, to people who hover over hyperlinks.

8. Notification on status of Friends Request – I wish Spaces would notify me if someone accepts/denies my friend request. I got a lot of stuff to do, and I don’t want to have to keep track if somebody approves or disapproves of adding me as a friend. Currently, if someone approves me, I don’t know this until I see them in my What’s New feed, or actually look at my Friends. If someone disapproves, I’m not sure if they haven’t gotten around to looking at my request, or they already did, and I just didn’t know.

9. Allow Javascript and Silverlight content – Please allow Javascript and Silverlight code to be embeddable into our blogs.

10. Ability to group friends – It’d be nice to arrange your friends on Spaces in groups. Just to make it easier to differentiate each. Maybe you could also specify which group you want to view updates with in the What’s New feed.

10. Inviting friends could use some work – I’d like to be able to easily login to my others accounts outsides of my Live ID, and invite them to join Spaces, or see if they already have their own Space so I can request to be friends. Accounts such as Yahoo!, Gmail, AOL, etc. Considering Live ID does allow you to use e-mail address such as @yahoo.com, @gmail.com, etc., then it’d be nice if I could find them out if they’re on my contacts list.11. Group bloggingAllow several accounts to be fixed to a Space, and the ability to choose which members have administrative rights, so users can blog together and have more fun!

12. Ability to prescreen and moderate comments – I love comments, but I might want to approve them first just in case (so things like spam don’t go through). Or I might feel it necessary to strike through some pretty foul stuff in a comment, or something like that.

13. Messenger Status enabled – I’d like the ability to have my Messenger Status icon enabled to any user to quickly contact me via Messenger, as long as they can’t see my e-mail. Would be great to connect with readers.

14. Status Message viewable – I wish I could also allow people to see my latest status message on the blog’s home page. The ability to also update it right then and there, and show up on my Messenger status message would also be great.

15. Customizing what’s shown in the What’s New feed – There are some updates I don’t want to view from my friends (like tacky new friends that barely have anything worth looking at on their Space) and the ability to see more of a certain aspect of the feed (like I want to see more of the updated blog post, before I click on it).

16. “Statistics” revamped with adCenter Analytics – I’d like some “real” site analysis for my blog, and statistics just doesn’t cut the butter (check out Kelley Martens blog). Instead, how about having some integration with adCenter Analytics? I know it’s all beta stage at the moment, but what a better place to test it, then Microsoft’s own Spaces users? It doesn’t have to be the whole deal either, I just want the basics, like how many accurate hits per hour/day/week/month and a neat little table and graphs, and the source of the traffic, and maybe some demographics about my visitors. Again, nothing too fancy, but I’d like a more better Statistics counter.

17. “Similar Blogs” feature – I wish there was a tool where you can request to see what other Spaces are similar to yours, where it can analyze sites that have the same words used, listed interests, location-wise, and other stuff so it’s much easier to find companion blogs out on Live Spaces.

18. Better ‘Lists’ – Having a ‘Lists’ feature is nice, but I really wish you could drag-and-drop items in the order you want (instead of the dumb numbering reorder), ability to include a thumbnail, and specially customize the looks of the list. Here’s a current iteration of the List, with’ it’s annoying method of arranging by numbering:

18. Better gadgets suited for Spaces – I’d like a better Poll module to conduct polls (the current one I’m using is ok, but Microsoft could make such a better one, and include demographics chart based on Live users), or maybe some official ones from services like Twitter or Flickr that can embed my latest status or photos. Stuff like that. Wouldn’t hurt to make the gadgets more better-looking too.

19. Messenger on Spaces – I think Microsoft should expand Web Messenger not only to Hotmail, but also Profile and Spaces. I mean these are the main areas where you interact with any of your contacts in the web browser, so it’d make sense to have a Web Messenger available in Hotmail, Profile, as well as Spaces. In fact, I found a snippet showing that Live Spaces was originally suppose to have Web Messenger, but decided to skip it:

The site is still amazingly up, because Microsoft isn’t good at updating it’s sites like it should be.

20. Improved ‘Spaces Community’ site – I’d really wish they’d bring back the ‘Interesting Spaces’ feature, where it’d show 4 cool Spaces worth checking out, and hopefully the team will update this monthly, and maybe add more than 4. Maybe display some Tips & How-tos from the Windows Live Clubhouse, a Tagspace that display frequently used tags from posts, a weekly poll, a list of all the great features of Spaces, a more prominent area to market the usefulness of Windows Live Writer, and other stuff like that, that’s more interesting and useful.

21. Star ratings and other blog post tools – I wish each post on your Space could have : Star rating, Bookmarking/Sharing Tags, Print, E-mail, IM to, Translate (Live Translator?), Listen To (ReadSpeaker?), and other tools at the top of each blog post (when viewing an individual post).

22. Ability to make money off adCenter ads – I wish Microsoft had a similar program to Google’s AdSense, where people can embed text ads into their site, and maybe have a chance of getting at least a little revenue. If Microsoft does, I hope it’s really simple to set-up and be just text ads.

23. Better photo slideshows – I know Live Spaces will have a somewhat new Slideshow viewer, but I want some more styles in the transitioning between photos, the speed, and maybe it’d be nice to have a little soundtrack playing.

24. Better support for other web browsers – I tried editing my site in Safari one time (after IE, kept crashing), but every setting was almost dumbed down, that I couldn’t try it. Please Microsoft, allow users to better access and edit Spaces from almost any web browser.

25. Allow OpenID users or other users to comment – Since Microsoft has joined in with OpenID, I hope Microsoft will allow accounts associated with OpenID to be able to comment on Spaces. Or allow just anyone with an e-mail account to comment and the ability to add their own site URL hyperlink in their name.

So those were some of the thoughts that came into my head, as to how Microsoft could really beef up Spaces much more better, to fit bloggers’ needs and wishes. Anything else I should add? Comment!

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9 thoughts on “Fixes & Features To Consider : Windows Live Spaces Wave 3

  1. Very good list.  With the seeming timeout for long comments or post revisions, I have been copying the text before clicking add.  If it doesn\’t add, click cancel, leave the site, go somewhere else on Spaces briefly, and then come sneaking back to paste the comment in the text box.  That has worked for me almost every time I get "the pink stripe."  I would like Java too, but that would mean some unscrupulous person like me could get AdSense onto our Space.  Keep up the good work.  This is a great set of "suggestions" for the Live team.Peace, Doc

  2. Great list! Your spam opinions are great. I especially like 13, 14, & 23. They really should put drag-and-drop for lists, I don\’t know why it has to be so difficult. Keep up the good work Quikboy!

  3. I just spoke to the PM for the whole live experience, he gave me some emails. I will be in touch with them regarding the spam issues and other things.Will give your blog link ;)later!

  4. Hi,Nice Questions & suggestions!! you mentioned somewhere that "Considering Live ID does allow you to use e-mail address such as @yahoo.com, @gmail.com, etc., then it’d be nice if I could find them out if they’re on my contacts list.11"what you mean?any one with yahoo or gmail ID can sign in to view my live space blog? that would be nice, actually several of my friends have other email ID\’s?? please reply.. to my kumabi@msn.com

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