I think about design all the time

I’ve decided to open up the focus of this blog a little bit, especially since I think I’m largely talking to myself.

I think about design all the time. It can be a little maddening, so here’s my outlet. I can get the design thoughts out of my head if I post them here. I’m going to rationalize it by saying that I started this blog to write about knitting and mistakes. Expanding the focus to include design of just about anything and mistakes isn’t that big a leap.

Microsoft gives me ample opportunity to think about user interface design. Today, I wondered how many people are kept gainfully employed due to Microsoft’s mediocrity. Thousands? Millions? I know I’ve earned a fairly large chunk of money resolving web display bugs in Internet Explorer 6. Perhaps I shouldn’t despise Microsoft quite so much. They’re doing wonders for our economy.

Today’s complaint about Horrible UI* design from Microsoft.

The Task: I need to create a bunch of sample files in formats produced by Microsoft Office 2010. We’re testing how electronic discovery tools process the files. (Stay with me, I promise this will get funny.)

I need to create an archive of my files from my Microsoft Outlook account.

I poke around all the usual places I’d expect to find an “export” command. No go. The interface for Office 2010 is different enough from previous versions that I can’t find anything.

I turn to my favorite companion: Microsoft Office Help. I type in the query “export as PST”.

After several clicks, I arrive at the help page I need: Export Outlook items to an Outlook Data File (.pst)

I’m happily following the instructions when I get to this gem:

Note: The Import and Export Wizard can also be opened by clicking the File tab, clicking Open, and then clicking Import.

Oh. Okay. No wonder I couldn’t find it. In order to Export, I have to click Import.

Thanks, Microsoft.

* User Interface

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