Customer/product research at Internet scale
Months before Microsoft rolled out the latest version of its productivity suite, Office 2010, 9 million people downloaded its beta version to test the software and provide feedback. As part of the program, Microsoft collected 2 million comments from beta testers. An additional 600 people participated in Microsoft’s Virtual Research Lab, where Carlevato and her colleagues could observe how people were using new features.
In a sense, it was a massive, controlled crowdsourcing project. That’s just what you have to do to cater to as broad an audience as possible, says Carlevato, who has worked as a Microsoft usability engineer for 10 years.