McDonalds and Microsoft: a winning partnership for bad design

I'm seriously thinking I need to start a blog that only highlights bad design. There's certainly enough content for it.

Today's episode features the instructions provided at McDonalds to connect to their free wifi. (But I'm kind of thinking if you can't connect to the wifi on your on, I'm not so sure this pamphlet will help...)

From the comments on the original TwitPic post:

Connecting to a WiFi network with a PC is the equivalent of a hostage negotiation.

- @Mikey129


Homepages: vs, and why Microsoft has an image problem

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

First, go to Nice, huh? Alright, now compared that to

Now let's note some key differences:
  • looks like it was made in 2009. Microsoft looks like it was made in 1999.
  • is sleek. 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, 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.

Yikes, Microsoft. Yikes...

Having heard a beta of Outlook 2010 was out, I decided to take a look to see how Microsoft might have improved its UI. I googled "outlook 2010" and was about to look at Google Images when I decided that Microsoft would probably have some more polished, more well-presented screenshots on their Outlook 2010 site. Boy, I don't think I could have been more wrong.

Not only does the website look very half-assed (lame design), but some elements on the page make me think they tried to use Microsoft Word to publish this site. And no, the site doesn't look any better in IE 8.

For one, check out the page borders, and how they don't extend more than a few pixels down the page:

Then I scrolled down to check out a screenshot, and this is what I find:

Check out that awesome pixelation action! Come on, Microsoft. Did you save this in Paint? I mean, I know Paint is your program, but it's okay to use this little industry standard program called PHOTOSHOP.

Oh wait, no, it looks like they did. If you click through to the Home & Business page, you'll see the same screenshot, but nicely aliased:

Microsoft, I've always been a fanboy, but when you do stuff like this, it makes me really sad.