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microsoft.com redesign

I really like it, but that's not what I want to talk about.

What really bugs me is that no matter how many blogged reviews and comments I read, I can't find _any_ talk about the actual content. It's all standards wank about how they've cut down on the tables and blah blah blah. Not a single comment on how uncluttered it looks and how you can find what you're looking for at a glance.

It's as if they could have a vomiting monkey on the front page, and everybody would be clicking on View Source so fast they wouldn't notice.

It's such a strange phenomenon and I'd expect to see it repeated elsewhere. Is there a lot of bickering about coding standards in the open source world? I know a lot of people (Linus included, I think) frown upon the GNU standards.

I suppose I should say that standards are nice and all that, and the download is lighter now.. but. I. Just. Can't. Care.

Thom Lawrence
Thursday, August 26, 2004

I dunno. I guess I'd be interested in the source code just because it's Microsoft and they're famously not cross browser compatible.

I'm looking at the homepage in FireFox now and... is that little blue box in the upper left corner supposed to be there?

Oh... why it looks completely different in IE. (I really just checked now, I'm not being sarcastic.)

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, August 26, 2004

Hmm. Yeah, it's missing the colour gradients, and one of the popular destinations boxes is poking out too. Care. :)

Thom Lawrence
Thursday, August 26, 2004

Yup, Microsoft have done it again - their page works perfectly in IE but is just slightly less polished in other browsers.

For example, look at those lovely JavaScript mouseovers on the menu down the left... oh, wait, they don't work in FireFox, do they?  Of course, the *standard* way of doing that, with a CSS hover event, still doesn't work in IE, so I guess it can't be helped.

rapidly giving up hope
Thursday, August 26, 2004

It's especially funny because once you click around, the gradient does work:

http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/protect/default.aspx

even if the green "security at home" bar doesn't show up right.

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, August 26, 2004

And so it begins...

Thom Lawrence
Thursday, August 26, 2004

Thom,

Web standards are nothing to do with Open Source. There's plenty of people who develop on windows / macs who care about web standards and aren't part of the open source movement.

James 'Smiler' Farrer
Thursday, August 26, 2004

Thom, Are you the program manager for the redesign?


Thursday, August 26, 2004

The really funny thing is that the mouseover effects in the left menu could be done in IE as it stands using pure CSS, by just applying the hover effect to the <a> tag.

But no, they make it not cross platform. And although the code might be better, it's still a complete mess.

Andrew Cherry
Thursday, August 26, 2004

Thom, I believe StopDesign has an interesting article on the two different Microsoft.com websites.  It's interesting from a standards perspective because Microsoft's designers chose to create an IE version, and an "everybody else" version - when they didn't have to.  That's twice the work for no benefit (there's actually missing information on the non-IE version).

The only way to open up that discussion is to pop the hood.  Imagine if Chevy created a pickup for US and Canada.  Now their Canadian market is much smaller, but still important - loyal buyers and all that.  But they built a special engine for the Candian buyers that, for no apparent reason, produces half the horsepower and makes really loud angry sounds when driving. 

If your mechanic came along and said, "Well, yeah, if you just take the US engine, take off this piece of crap bolt-on and put this different little piece on, it'll work fine in Canada", wouldn't you, as a Canadian, be interested?

As far as the usability discussion goes, well, it's an entirely different discussion.  And unfortunately it depends on which version you're looking at.  The non-IE version is used in completely different ways than the IE version because of affordances made for IE (that, with minor changes, work in all browsers).  So yes, it's more usable.  Yes, it looks better.  But no, there are two sites, both different from one another, and both poorly crafted from a code perspective.

Lou
Thursday, August 26, 2004

James - I didn't say Web Standards were anything to do with Open Source (I might not have been clear). I just thought that there were parallels because all HTML source is open.

Anonymous - I don't work for Microsoft or anyone else who might have be involved with the site.

Lou - there aren't two versions of the page anymore if that's the point you're making.

It's not for me to defend people who break standards or whose pages have minor flaws under Firefox, I just think it's very sad that this is now the _only_ conversation we can have about the Web.

Thom Lawrence
Thursday, August 26, 2004

"Firefox, I just think it's very sad that this is now the _only_ conversation we can have about the Web."

That's because a lot of people work for people like me.  This is the first test.  If it isn't mostly standards compatible and work in most browsers (Opera, Safari, Mac IE, Firefox) then I don't look it at it.  It has to pass that basic test first.

Car Analogy: it doesn't matter how pretty your car is if it isn't street legal. 

Almost Anonymous
Thursday, August 26, 2004

"It has to pass that basic test first."

While this is completely valid for virtually every other website (i.e. my bank had better not demand that I use IE), we're talking about Microsoft here: It is hardly surprizing that they will target their website to features of their own browser, or that their developers will be most capable developing against IE as a client. I fully antipate that when Longhorn/IE 7 comes out we'll see a Microsoft.com that will take advantage of Avalon.

This all just seems so petty - Microsoft.com offers a slightly different experience to IE users than non-IE users. W00t! Really what a total non-story.

To work within the realm of car analogies, people are griping and bitching that Chrysler came out with a great new stereo, but when they put it in their Ford it doesn't match the decor.

Dennis Forbes
Thursday, August 26, 2004

Someone once asked "if IE is 90% of the browser market, how did all these things that IE doesn't support become standards"?

It seems like there is a lot of effort put into hammering MS by any means available.

www.ChristopherHawkins.com
Thursday, August 26, 2004

"If it isn't mostly standards compatible and work in most browsers (Opera, Safari, Mac IE, Firefox) then I don't look it at it.  It has to pass that basic test first."

Why?

Thom Lawrence
Thursday, August 26, 2004

To many people, IE *is* the standard and those W3C guys, et al are just playing at academic games.

Nemesis
Friday, August 27, 2004

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