[A picture of private offices at Fog Creek Software] Alert! This ancient trifle retrieved from the Joel on Software archive is well-past its expiration date. Proceed with care.

Joel on Software

2001/05/29

by Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, May 29, 2001

Jef Raskin: "On the day I resigned, I made a last attempt to be helpful, suggesting that the CEO use her full name, 'Patti. Hart,' in her email address, because the form she was using had an unfortunate pronunciation. The reply said that my note would not be passed on because Ms. Hart was accepting 'revenue generating messages only.' Until she left to become CEO of ExciteAtHome last month, she still used her old 'phart' email."

By the way, whenever usability experts point to Microsoft Office products as an "example" of horrendous usability, they are usually being disingenuous and just pandering to the crowd. In my opinion they're just attacking the products with the biggest market share because most of their listeners will have experience with some Microsoft UI problem. The dishonest part is that they never seem to offer any specific improvements. Designing UIs for a program as complex as Word or Excel is extremely hard and the very best designs are still often difficult to use, and that applies to any program with a reasonable level of complexity. Before you hand-wave about a bad UI, explain what you would do differently and tell us why that would be easier to use. When Jef says "... everybody knows that Microsoft Word, Excel, and other popular programs can be maddeningly frustrating ..." he reminds me of Scott McNealy telling really stupid jokes about Microsoft at Sun developer conferences because it never fails to win applause. Good for you, children. Now say something interesting without just making fun of the fat boy.

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