Friday, March 30

Microsoft IE7 horrible UI layout changes. There has been a lot of complaints that Microsoft's upgrade from IE6 to IE7 included unnecessary layout changes of the menu and toolbar. For ten years, users have gotten used to how web browsers work, with the Home and Refresh buttons near the URL input control towards the left, and the pulldown menus across the top.

But for IE7, Microsoft appears to have made some "random" changes-- now moving the Home button to the bottom right, the refresh button to the top right, and the menus under some new buttons on the bottom right.

Why would Microsoft make such a dramatic change? It is as if Ford motor corporation suddenly decided to switch the position of the brake and gas pedals, and moved the stereo controls to the passenger door.

One theory has been that Microsoft did extensive usage analysis, and redid the UI to make the most common operations easier to get to. However, that would be a dumb idea given that every already has muscle memory for controls as they are today, and given that the new IE7 layout is *not* dramatically better.

Here's another evil theory:

We've all seen that Microsoft is bleeding market share to the free Firefox browser.

But while Microsoft still has leading share, maybe they are actually more clever (and evil) than we gave them credit for-- maybe Microsoft is trying to quickly (even if painfully) retrain its large market share to use control layout of IE7, so that when that mass-market first tries Firefox (and they will), they will find Firefox the one with the "odd layout", and thus be more likely to stay with IE7.
8:47 AM; digg


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