Three ways the Microsoft Outlook Web App interface sucks

Speaking as an end-user, not a Microsoft Exchange 2010 administrator:

1) In the default theme (apparently unchangeable by the end user), highlighted messages are displayed in a way-too-subtle shade of blue/grey. Unless you are looking at your LCD display exactly front-on, the highlighting tends to disappear. Result? Needless straining of peepers to see exactly what message you are looking at in a long list.

2) The end-user can apparently only switch the reading pane to the right-hand side (not the bottom) of the display. Thanks Microsoft, for assuming everyone using your products has access to a wide-screen display.

3) The sign-out button is nestled way-too close to the “Open Other Mailbox” drop-down arrow at the top-right of the interface. Result? Needless button-clicking to close a window inadvertently opened when attempting to log out.

Outlook Web App interface issues

Oh, and while it’s nice to finally have decent support for Firefox (gee, I guess all that marketing about premium browsers was a load of hooey), it also sucks that it’s limited to Linux, Mac and Windows platforms. Seriously, the little-known Sun Convergence email web app ran rings around this, and was totally cross platform to boot – although I’m sure Oracle are busy at work making the Java System Messaging Server prohibitively expensive as I type 🙂


9 thoughts on “Three ways the Microsoft Outlook Web App interface sucks

  1. Sandra Reedy

    It sucks for so many more reasons. It freezes periodically when I try to send email (no other website is having this issue, from comcast – which ALSO sucks – to Google Apps, which is wonderful). It won’t let me create rules to let emails from certain people go to certain folders, thereby leading to a very messy inbox. Did I mention that it freezes up a lot? It does.

  2. Dave V

    Honestly! It freezes way too much. It only freezes when your about to send an email. I can’t believe my college has invested money on this garbage.

  3. Scotterh

    I agree with all the other comments and add one myself. I can’t get the source and topic to go on just one line. What the hell?

  4. Kurt

    It amazes me that such a well-funded product has ignored basic principles of usability: white background with light orange, light blue, and barely perceptible gray fonts; superfluous gradiants that confuse rather than enhance; a non-intuitive conversation grouper; headers and labels with no consistent spacing or font standards, etc. Do they even have a graphic designer involved?

  5. Keman

    I have more reasons why it sucks.
    You can’t attach files if you’re using Chrome. That’s absolutely ridiculous.
    Threading is terrible. That’s also ridiculous.
    There is apparently no spam filter at all.
    The way it scrolls through the list of e-mails is terrible – jumping down each message instead of smoothly moving down the list.
    Some options are only possible through right clicking, and ever worse, sometimes you have to double click – Ha, it’s like 1990 all over again.
    It ignores my request for plain text messages.

  6. Pingback: Microsoft Outlook: UI designers on drugs | Dave Koelmeyer

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