So, I’m beta testing Outlook 2007, and it’s got some really pretty “ribbons” that indicate that they’ve gone to great lengths to improve the user interface.
Today, I’m creating a distribution list from a number of people that have emailed me.
This should be easy.
Here we go…
Create a new distribution list, give it a name, and then drag the messages into it – it’s smart enough to know what I’m trying to do, right?
Wrong. No drop operation gets performed.
Okay, so maybe if I open the message up, I can drag the individual sender’s address into the distribution list, yes?
What about clicking “Add Member”, and then dragging the sender’s address into the Add Member dialog? That should work, right?
Worse still, the “Add Member” dialog is application modal – I cannot even change focus to the message to read the email address that I’m typing.
Right now, I’m resorting to dragging the address from the message into wordpad, then copying and pasting portions of the address into the appropriate fields in the “Add Member” dialog.
And I have to do this for a couple of dozen messages.
The ribbons are all very pretty, but really, Microsoft, “pretty” should always take second place to “usable”. [Yes, my own interfaces aren't exactly pretty, but I like to think that they are usable - your constructive criticism is very welcome!]
Outlook has always given me the impression that the team that writes it – or at least, the team that designs it – has not spent a good deal of time actually using it.
I may have commented before that it’s common practice within Microsoft to apologise for missing meetings by saying that “Outlook ate the meeting invite”.
[Yes, commenting on beta software is probably technically in breach of some NDA, but the useless behaviour I'm talking about here was useless before, and it looks like being useless for some time to come.]