Normally I use Microsoft Word 2003 for my writing activities, which are relatively small. Most of my writing is done at WordPress where I keep my blog.
Yesterday afternoon I had to print an airmail envelope to send a Link Card (Tarjeta de Enlace) of Banco General to a friend in Maine. This simple task would normally take about fifteen to twenty seconds in Microsoft Word 2003, but in version 2007 it took more than thirty minutes. It was the most frustrating and irritating experience I have had with a word processing application in more then twenty years.
In an effort to increase productivity, Microsoft upgraded Microsoft Office from version 2003 to version 2007, and in the process screwed things up. They completely changed the user interface so you don’t know where to start. I tried and tried unsuccessfully to print the envelope, but just could find how to do it. The buttons and menus were totally confusing.
Finally I decided to search “Print Envelope” in the Help search box. I was surprised to find out that it took ten steps to complete this extremely simple task. It was totally unbelievable.
When I finally printed the envelope, I said, “Enough is enough” and uninstalled Microsft Office 2007 and installed version 2003. I felt relieved. A great weight was unloaded from my shoulders.
Microsoft and other companies as well, don’t understand that software should be simple and easy to use. Intuitive is a better word to describe the software that mainstream users want. I don’t care what happens in the background, I just want to get things done with my software. Is this asking for too much?
The great success of Apple’s software and products is its simplicity and user-friendliness. You don’t even need a manual to understand how a program works. You just look at the software’s layout and proceed to do whatever you want to do.
As an example of a simple-to-use software, on Sunday evening I was able to communicate via Internet with my friend in Maine using Skype. I had never used the program before. In less then 17 minutes I was viewing my friend on my computer screen and clearly hearing her voice through my headphone. I didn’t have to study rocket science to download and install the program and make it work. This is what a call a user-friendly product.
I know Microsoft is trying desperately to clean its act, but by making their software cumbersome and complex, they are moving backwards. I tried Google Docs to do the job, but it didn’t include the feature to print envelopes; and if it did, I couldn’t find the way to do it.
Sometimes it’s better to clear the dust of your ole Underwood typewriter and print the envelope or better still, use a pen. Technology in mediocre hands sucks. Good Day.