Friday, April 06, 2007

Windows usability dropping

Windows Vista, Office 2007 and IE 7 all had their user interface revamped. However, I find the new interface harder to use. In Vista, the Start button is gone. The button had been named Start so as to let new computer users know what to do after they switched the computer on. I had tried Fedora Core 2 before. The first time I started it up, I was lost on how do launch programs. There is no Start button! Only after some exploring that I realised that the "Hat" is the start button. This is low usability, and Windows had headed this way. Bring back the start button! In Office 2007, the menu had made its way for the ribbon. However, the file menu is nowhere to be found. There's no ribbon to save or open documents. Many people got stuck because of this. The file menu had gone to an unusual location - the top left corner - that used to be program icon that brings up the context menu. This is a confusing design. In IE 7, the menu and toolbar became some horrendous hybrid, mixing icons and text in a way unseen before. It takes time to find where the command you want is located. This is a departure from the consistency that Microsoft had been enforcing throughout the years. Lack of consistency increases the learning curve for using programs. I now use Firefox. Please bring back the usability, Microsoft.

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