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Paint It Black
Living the American dream one heartbreaking piece at a time
Stupid computers.

Outlook Sucks -- 0 Reminders
Outlook Sucks -- 0 Reminders
So every morning after I sit down at my desk a happy little Outlook window pops up to show me what meetings I have scheduled for the day. Today, after I hit the "Dismiss All" button, this window remained. Just to let me know that I have, you know, ZERO reminders left, or something. Thank you, Outlook, for letting me know that I have zero reminders. Next time it would be nicer if you'd just make the reminder window go away once I've dismissed them all.

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Current Location: The Tallest Failure Between Chicago and St. Louis
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wolfbrotherjoe From: wolfbrotherjoe Date: November 26th, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gotta disagree with you on this one.

As a programmer, and someone who's worked a lot on User Interfaces, I have to tell you the response to just making the window go away.

"... ... ... So ... did it clear my reminders or did I just accidentally close it and my reminders are still active?"

Having gotten a chance to work with a lot of types of users out there, most users will respond to an auto-clearing window with that sort of confusion. Many will skip past the confusion and just assume they accidentally closed the window.
feren From: feren Date: November 26th, 2007 07:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

X is not Dismiss, and other fallacies.

I click "Dismiss" on the sole item, and not good old right-hand "X." I'd say that even the dumbest user can tell the difference between the two buttons (that whole "Dismiss" looks different than "X" thing) but on the other hand there are curling irons with warning stickers that say "Do not use rectally," so I can't underestimate Stupid. However, I really don't engineer to the absolute lowest common denominator. And it's obvious that Outlook doesn't either -- otherwise it'd be a lot simpler to use.

Also, if a reminder is active, you'll know it because it'll come back to haunt you again.

What further aggravates me is that "Clear and go away so you stop bothering me" seems to be the default behavior when I click "Dismiss All," so why not when I highlight multiple items and hit "dismiss" or dismiss the single reminder on the agenda? (Unfortunately I can't double-check to verify this Dismiss All behavior right now as our Exchange server vomited a lung an hour ago and thus calendaring and other features are MIA) Inconsistent behavior is a lot more aggravating on the UI side than scary.
wolfbrotherjoe From: wolfbrotherjoe Date: November 26th, 2007 08:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: X is not Dismiss, and other fallacies.

As far as UI design goes, unfortunately, catering to the Lowest Common Denominator, taken too far, makes programs harder to use, not easier. I think this is Microsoft's main UI flaw.

I did not, however, mean that people think they accidentally hit X. I mean that sometimes people aren't sure about the function of even what seems to us to be obviously named buttons, and as such, immediate and clear feedback is invaluable.

And as far as 'inconsistent user interface', that's different than the impression I got, and I will wholeheartedly agree with you there.
steelhelix From: steelhelix Date: November 26th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're forgetting the important invisible appointments. The ones that are so classified that even you can't know you'll have them. It's your destiny, and Outlook knows what it is.
feren From: feren Date: November 26th, 2007 07:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I need a Magic Hate Ball icon -- then I can somehow photoshop this empty appointment calendar into its window.
jingle From: jingle Date: November 26th, 2007 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Remember, when you reach 0 reminders, you are returned to the nearest town with half your gold.
feren From: feren Date: November 26th, 2007 08:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I figured once I reached zero there'd be some sort of Earth-shattering kaboom.

Where's my Earth-shattering kaboom?
steelhelix From: steelhelix Date: November 27th, 2007 03:22 am (UTC) (Link)
It was contracted out to Microsoft... we think it crashed.
loboguara From: loboguara Date: November 26th, 2007 06:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Outlook and Powerpoint are broken tools that should have been destroyed years ago, and replacements designed from the ground up.

Why isn't Outlook more like Entourage, even? They're from the same company!
feren From: feren Date: November 26th, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm still wrestling with that, myself. My first experience with Entourage was "Wow, this doesn't entirely suck, why isn't Outlook like this?"
loboguara From: loboguara Date: November 26th, 2007 09:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
A lot of their stuff is just...broken. I sometimes have to put Flash in peoples' powerpoints, which involves bringing up a text box and MANUALLY TYPING IN the absolute path, like C:\\documents and settings\... no browse button, even. It's that dated below the surface.

Then there's the fact that MS's "official" solution to having constant music all through the presentation is to play an audio CD in the drive.

I'm not kidding. Welcome to 1990?

ya_wot_aver From: ya_wot_aver Date: November 26th, 2007 06:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
And just to show how bad it is, you can't even hit the snooze button to be reminded in a couple hours that you have no reminders.

feren From: feren Date: November 26th, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm amazed they had the logic built-in to grey that out. It's the one pleasant surprise that I've had with this experience.
(Deleted comment)
feren From: feren Date: November 27th, 2007 04:09 am (UTC) (Link)
$EMPLOYER all hail the Company sorta dislikes it when you don't use the requisite products so that you can be assimilated included in things like Calendaring.
daf666 From: daf666 Date: November 27th, 2007 04:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey, it could be worse...

You could be using a Mac.
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