I hate this thing, you might know that I hate the Microsoft Store. I've written about it multiple times. As we head towards a world where Microsoft is pushing its app store more and more, across Store-locked versions of its operating system, and via major Store exclusives like the upcoming Sea of Thieves – the fact that it's still a generally bad user experience is something that soon won't just exasperate random bloggers, techies, and gamers, but also those pesky "normies" as well.
If the Store is truly here to stay, Microsoft, you need to make it good. Let's take a look at some of the feedback in the Windows Feedback Hub that is currently waiting to be actioned.
1. Add an option to uninstall currently installed apps
Currently, the number one most-upvoted piece of Microsoft Store feedback is the ability to uninstall apps via the Store. I was pretty surprised to discover that this fairly simple feature request wasn't available after sitting at the top for several months, but alas, here we are.
When an app is installed, visiting its page on the Microsoft Store only gives you the option to launch, or pin to start, with the ability to share and pin to taskbar hidden in an ellipses menu. As if the abundance of different context menu types on Windows wasn't confusing enough, the fact that some of these options were hidden away in a separate menu when the app page is full of wasted space just seems odd. But I digress.
To uninstall apps from Windows, it's a fairly simple process of finding them via search, then right-clicking. But all other modern app stores include the ability to manage apps via their respective stores, so why not Windows too?
The number two piece of requested feedback which has been sitting around at least for a few months is a simple wishlist system. On Steam, Android, and various other modern app stores, users can create a wishlist to save apps and games they may want to purchase later. Steam even provides handy notifications to let you know when an item on your wishlist is on sale, saving you a few bucks in the process. The fact the Microsoft Store doesn't have this, still, is plain weird.
3. "Last updated" date
While I'm sure Microsoft has philosophical reasons for not including this feature, this is the third most requested feature as pertains to the Microsoft Store. Funnily enough, I'm pretty sure the Windows Phone 8.1 app store had this feature.
Stores like Android, and Steam, tell you the last time an app or game was updated by the developers. This is a great and useful way consumers can figure out if they're downloading a dead app, like the Windows 10 store's UWP Twitter program, which is thoroughly broken. Thankfully, a quick peek at the user reviews details how dead some of these apps are, but it would be nice if Microsoft forced developers on its platform to be a little bit more transparent, rather than hide the ugly truth... that most apps aren't really being updated anymore.
4. Deleting apps from the library
Microsoft has sorta actioned this, by allowing you to move apps from the main list into a hidden section. The implementation is the issue. The way our content library is cataloged on the Windows 10 app store, particularly if you're a long-time user, is pretty awful to manage.
To hide apps, you have to go through one ellipses menu to find the library list, then select "show all," then select filters, then click on another ellipses and select hide, for each and every individual app. One of the great things about Windows, particularly if you're a power user, is that you can use the mouse and keyboard in combination to perform complex commands. Why can't I shift highlight the whole list and select hide? Or control click individual items to hide all at once? Why is "show hidden items" a random text link off to the side, amidst a pile of wasted space?
It all just reeks of poor design, planning, and low priorities. And maybe there are good reasons for that, but when you're competing with stores like Steam, particularly for gamer's affections, something needs to be done here.
To be fair, I was expecting tons of unanswered requests when I began browsing the Feedback Hub's Microsoft Store section, and found that Microsoft has been working fairly diligently to action the most pertinent requests. But it isn't enough, and Microsoft must know that.
If the Microsoft Store is set to take center stage in the Windows Core OS and Polaris worlds of the future, it has to become a higher priority and look to other storefronts that have become popular for inspiration.