By now you’ve had time to examine my post, “Examining the Calculator in Windows 7,” which shows some of the bad design decisions Microsoft has made in updating a simple application. It seems that Calculator isn’t the only victim of poor design in Windows 7. My colleague, Rod Stephens, examines how the same fate has affected Windows Paint in his post, “The ribbon interface: sacrificing usability for discoverability.” His take on things is a bit different from mine and it makes for exceptionally good reading. The bottom line in both cases is that Microsoft has taken relatively well-designed applications and made them harder to use for reasons only Microsoft can fathom.
As mentioned in my post, this isn’t about Microsoft bashing. In fact, Rod and I have both been staunch Microsoft supporters over the years. What these posts are about is pointing out that any company, even Microsoft, can make some bad design decisions and that the costs of these decisions are high. It’s incredibly important that you design applications with user needs in mind—not merely to meet some marketing need or follow the latest fashion trends. Both of us strive to provide good design information in our respective books. Of course, it’s always possible to provide better information. Always feel free to let me know your feelings about the application design information in my books by writing me at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.