An Unmitigated Disaster?

Apparently, there may be a further beta of Wave 4 of the Windows Live Essentials suite released next week. I’m beginning not to care any more, since Microsoft appear to have damaged the brand with what has already been released.

Today, for example, I went to my Windows Live Home page (if you have a Windows Live ID, you’ll find yours at http://home.live.com ). Since I last visited it, Microsoft have done a redesign, and in keeping with what they’ve done with the rest of Wave 4, functions have been mysteriously airbrushed out of the picture.

I used to be able to see upcoming events in my Calendar, my local weather, and if I had private message in my Windows Live messaging inbox. That has all gone. The red outline in the following screenshot shows where they used to be…

Windows Live Home 1

I spent a long while trying to find out where my Windows Live Message inbox and sent messages have gone. I eventually discovered that the only way to access the system was to fake a message by clicking on the “Send a private message” button in my Windows Live Space (see below).

Windows Live Home 2

This then gave me a error (since I was trying to send a message to myself), but it also gave me links to my inbox and my sent messages folder.

Windows Live Home 3

This is appalling user interface design, and a real step backwards. Microsoft should be ashamed of this crap.

Update: since posting this, Microsoft have announced that they are pulling the plug on Windows Live Spaces, so I can’t now use the workaround shown above to get to my messages. The only way I’ve found to get there is to type in the URL into my browser directly. Hardly intuitive, and error-prone to boot.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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