CMXtraneous: I Really Hate Outlook

Right on the edge of useful

I Really Hate Outlook

Posted Friday, August 27, 2004 5:17:44 PM by Kim


Alright, who's the Iron Curtain refugee who designed this piece of work? Man oh man. I was kvetching about Dreamweaver and Fireworks earlier this week, but for truly awful user interfaces in a major software product the award has got to go to Outlook.

I have to use Outlook in my new job, and that's not going to change anytime soon. At an enterprise level there's really no competition. So I've been plunging into the depths of Outlook attempting to kick out the cobwebs in my brain and make myself use it. And you know, I don't think it's me. I've used Apple's Mail program, in addition to Entourage, Outlook Express, Eudora, Netscape, Mozilla, and Thunderbird at one time or the other. No problem.

But Outlook. All I can say is "Oh my." Somebody must have hidden the usability manuals when that thing was put together. And removed all the letter "I's" from their keyboards just in case someone wanted to make a note about how intuitive the program should be.

So what's got me all riled up? Simple. I need a personal file to archive the many many many many e-mails that I get. OK, got it. In there I have an exact duplicate of everything in my "regular" folder. Including my calendar which I have been posting to when I have appointments out of the office--as I'm required to do. But hey, guess what? I was posting to the wrong one, the "personal" folder instad of the regular "Outlook" folder. And when I came back to the office this afternoon our secretary gave me The Look and let me know that I needed to get my head out of...well, you know the rest. She needs to see where I am and she can't do that when the appointment is in my personal folder.

So, my bad and all that, but what a stupid construct for program design. Why give me duplicates of everything? How about asking first huh? And why put the personal folder in the same level of the document tree as the regular one? Shhesh!

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. It seems that every blessed thing I want to do is found in some obscure path through multiple clicks and arcane tabs into an area of the interface that I'll never remember how to get back to. I bet the Outlook engineers were really good at memory games when they were kids.

But me, I'm sure having trouble getting my head around that puppy. Maybe when the magic Longhorn version is released Outlook will become simpler and easier to manage. I'm not holding my breath.

Category tags: On the Personal Side