About one month ago, Microsoft has redesigned their home page, to make it more usable, to allow people a better search on their page, etc… “The new page incorporates months of research, testing, customer feedback, and refinements.” – are the (marketing) words published by them selfs promoting a “well done” work to the believers.
As it is written by the webmaster in about the new Microsoft home page, it took them about 6 month to redesign it. If it is true, then it is a very typical corporate product of not-understanding how to get things done. Has anyone expected a better visual and usable work from Microsoft ? Not me, that for sure, as i have never seen any visual presentational work, worth remembering. They are making me understand the whole meaning of the word wrapper in the worst sense possible when i look at their new home page, they are not using mouse hover status when going over the menus, creating a half second delay when passing over it, using so many types of the blue that i have even lost its count, writing a copyright above the footer – with no disrespect to disabled people, but someone, who designed this page was blind, deaf and actually testing www.google.com ?
From the web standards point of view, going “forward” to using invalid HTML 4.0 Transitional (sweet old 1995 or 1996) is such a typical waste of potential. Who are the developers ? Guys, either you are new to whole that web thing, or your bosses are nuts, and if it is so, ignore them and make some good changes to that page, for your own sake. An interesting meta tag “DCSext.wt_target” is revealing users browser and platform – Microsoft most probably has already forgotten the money they have paid, for wrong handling Opera by MSN a couple of years ago, when they were sending script with errors to disable access for people using this browser. No, everything seems to be ok when visiting this page with Opera, but it is not a good signal when i see such information as there are so many plugins to change the user agent identification string.
Not everything is bad, as the design has become more clean, more usable, no table-based design ( congratulations, it is a big step forward to the current state of the web), though i still do not understand why “developers” and “it professionals” are two different categories. I think that the most people are expecting something extraordinary when it is about some big companies like Microsoft, Apple or Google, that’s why any other result is not acceptable, because being able to choose between the very best developers and usability specialists available they could have done much better work.
Fazit: guys and girls, if it took you 6 month to redesign one page, then forget about redesigning the complete site, you will not it end until the end of this century. =O)