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Getting lost in MS Outlook 2010 is easy

June 24, 2013

Just spent 15 minutes trying to turn off attachments preview in MS Outlook 2010.

My sighted office colleague and I struggled to make sense of the way the ribbon and menus worked. I have never come across such a seemingly crazy set up as this before!

I found I needed to use every keyboard navigation trick I’ve ever learned –tree expanding and collapsing, descending list, horizontal list, tab panel, combo drop down, and I’m sure there was even a combo pop up explode collapse disappear thing in there too– a real mish mash. I just could not form a mental map of what I was doing at all and without this, I was geographically lost – it’s official!

It’s made me think about “audible architecture” something I am familiar with when I’m working with urban street design people, but does it exist in software interface design?

A web search reveals all sorts of software architects and I guess someone did “design” the way the Outlook 2010 menus work, but it sure doesn’t strike me that there is any audible design logic in there, or if there is, it doesn’t make sense to me!

if the designers have invented / ended up with yet another audible contortion tangle around a visually optimised design approach, then I will happily direct them to the nearest purveyor of straitjackets and invite them to try out living their life with that on and see if they think that is inclusion…

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