Monthly Archives: January 2008

Microsoft relents on file formats issue…sort of

Using his best political newspeak, David Leblanc at MS explains, “We did a poor job of describing the default format changes.” You can do a lot in the name of security these days, it seems. Who needs to use those old formats anyway? Apparently, enough people for Microsoft to correct “a couple of mistakes”. As a fellow software vendor, I sympathize with Mr. Leblanc’s situation – do the right thing and take the hit now and hope it blows over soon. We had our own mini-flaps over various UI issues in re-designing Notes (see the feedback on View icons, for example). Luckily Mary Beth asked customers before we shipped the product so adjustments could be made or decisions explained. But this whole thing could have been prevented by a more open discussion of the changes coming up. I cannot believe that this was anything more than an error in judgement – no conspiracy theories here!

It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had Microsoft asked their customers publicly (say, in a blog) in order to gauge reaction to the change in default behaviors. 2 positive outcomes would have been possible:
1. The outcry would have occurred before the release and appropriate measures could be taken to either educate their users and administrators, or even to change the behavior.
2. Customers could have prepared for the changes, understood the reasoning behind it, and yes, even gotten behind MS on this one.

I applaud Mr. Leblanc’s openness on his blog post and quote him further:

“We also recognize that we have not made any of this as usable as we’d like, and we apologize that this hasn’t been as well documented or as easy as you need it to be. We’re also going to take a hard look at how we can do better in the future.”

Now that’s something I can appreciate. In the new year, we can all do better in the future.

Chris Reckling
Program Director
IBM Lotus MA UX Design Studio

Chris Reckling | 5 January 2008 10:28:07 AM ET | Home 

Genevieve Reckling online

I spent the holiday break finding a hosting service (dreamhost) and getting my mom’s website online, to show her paintings. It’s as (Now I have to get the search engines to somehow recognize it.)

This inspired herself to go out and buy (another) computer to try to learn it. We’ll see how much patience she has. 🙂