Homepages: Apple.com vs Microsoft.com, and why Microsoft has an image problem

In today's lesson about how NOT to design a homepage, we're going to focus on Microsoft.com.

First, go to http://apple.com. Nice, huh? Alright, now compared that to http://microsoft.com.

Now let's note some key differences:
  • Apple.com looks like it was made in 2009. Microsoft looks like it was made in 1999.
  • Apple.com is sleek. Microsoft.com is...very blue and cheesy.
  • Apple uses little color, which can be a detractor. Microsoft uses way too much color.
  • Apple's navigation highlights several core products. Microsoft tries to cover everything in the kitchen sink.
  • Apple features a single product, while Microsoft tries to promote three.
  • Apple has four small boxes to promote different things at the bottom of their homepage. Microsoft throws in random links and lists to fill up space. Oh, and a random ad.

Companies pay big bucks for usability and design reviews. But because I'm such a nice guy, I'm going to review Microsoft's homepage for them for free.

(Having trouble reading my notes? At the bottom of the image, click Download full size.)

I point all this out because I am a big fan of Microsoft. Everyday, more and more people switch their allegiance to Apple, simply because "they get it." While Microsoft makes some good products, they certainly don't go out of their way to prove it.

When I visit Microsoft.com, I should be greeted by the latest and greatest, not some website clearly assembled by a marketing department to "cover all the bases." This homepage serves no purpose, other than to make sure that everybody within Microsoft is happy that they got their little share of the homepage.

Microsoft needs a leader who can communicate with the world that they are still relevant. This homepage certainly doesn't do the company any justice.