Wednesday, 12 December 2007
By Sara Bareilles
01. Love Song
Office 2007 sucks. Excel is by far one of my favorite applications. I have to admit I'm an Excel dork. I use it organize my task at work, my tasks in my personal life. I make my spreadsheets to plan my vacations and when I did my job interviews. So if they were to make any improvements to the application, I would have thought that Microsoft would have chosen people like me in their user study, and picked things that worked for me. I just installed Office 2007 on my work computer today and I found it very frustrating to use. What use to be a short click away, now I have to flick through tabs before I find anything. And I can't figure out how to customize my toolbar yet. Grrr. The interface is driving me up the wall. And the bright sharp colors are too much in my face. And why did some icons have to be four times as big as other one? Why? Do I need a giant size paste icon?
I tried the new version of Outlook too. Things are so big now, and so compartmentalized it's like there's a border around everything. All the soft touch of things... the simplistic approach to organization... that seems to be thrown out the window with the new age of Office. I would not be as annoyed if they accomplished the put the same amount of information in the same amount of space (or less). But rather... things seem to get bumped for in your face gigantic icons. Really. Do I need both a red flag AND a box to color the type of item I'm flagging. What was wrong with a colored flag? It wasn't broke. Why fix it.
I ending up late to a conference call… because I could have sworn I accepted the meeting invite, but never saw it on the calendar. Then looked everywhere for it. Turned out it was on the calendar, but because it was the third meeting in that day, and I had it on the month view… apparently it wouldn’t show up. It only can show at most two.
My roommate recently got us a TiVo for our apartment. A sweet deal where he got it for free and made $40 on top of that. It's a pretty cool machine but has one of the most annoying interfaces I have ever seen. The guy who put that together should be fired. I joked that they need to lock him up in a room without communication to humanity and be forced to preset 200 shows to be recorded on TiVo. It took me 10 minutes just to get through 2. The interface is not intuitive.
Of all the different job titles out there on a development team, I think it's highly valuable to have one guy, one sole guy purely devoted to responsibility of a user interface. Mainstream applications like these should not be like this.