Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 03:27 UTC
Microsoft "This week marked the real launch of the new Microsoft.com home page. And as someone who has been involved on and off with the project from the moment it was conceived, I thought I'd tell you the story, albeit extensively abridged, behind the new Microsoft.com. Grab a seat." I love the new Microsoft site. It looks very clean and focused.
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Redesign
by Elv13 on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 04:34 UTC
Elv13
Member since:
2006-06-12

Apple have the same website since the first time I went there to download Quicktime. The CSS changed a few time from OS9 to bushed metal to glossy/Aqua to plan gradient to the current one, but the overall site is the same. How many time Microsoft changed their site over the years?

Reply Score: 0

RE: Redesign
by quackalist on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 04:45 UTC in reply to "Redesign"
quackalist Member since:
2007-08-27

Had a peak at the new one and, dunno, but for the life of me couldn't remember what it'd replaced...was it better, worse. I've no idea.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Redesign
by kwan_e on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 05:14 UTC in reply to "Redesign"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Apple have the same website since the first time I went there to download Quicktime. The CSS changed a few time from OS9 to bushed metal to glossy/Aqua to plan gradient to the current one, but the overall site is the same. How many time Microsoft changed their site over the years?


If Microsoft changes their look-and-feel from time to time, it's them trying too hard. If Apple maintains almost the same bland look, it's just being innovative.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Redesign
by Soulbender on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 06:15 UTC in reply to "Redesign"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

How many time Microsoft changed their site over the years?


What does it matter?

Reply Score: 5

Responsive layout
by arpan on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 06:06 UTC
arpan
Member since:
2006-07-30

I like the new design. Clean, simple and fits with their new Metro design.

Best part, the layout is responsive. Try reducing the browser width and you'll see what I mean.

I think this is one of the first major websites to have a completely responsive layout. I'm impressed.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Responsive layout
by arpan on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 06:28 UTC in reply to "Responsive layout"
arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

Performance needs to be improved.

* 60 requests
* 1.34MB transferred

That's not right for a simple layout that's supposed to work on a mobile! Responsive design isn't just about how it looks, performance is key.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Responsive layout
by arpan on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 06:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Responsive layout"
arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

Saved a couple images and ran imageoptim ( http://imageoptim.com/ ) on them. It was able to reduce filesize from 3% to a whopping 60%. ImageOptim uses lossless techniques to reduce file size, so there was absolutely no loss in quality, just a reduction in file size.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Responsive layout
by EvilMonkeySlayer on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 15:12 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Responsive layout"
EvilMonkeySlayer Member since:
2010-04-08

I'm always amazed at how large traffic sites are usually horribly unoptimised to reduce traffic/bandwidth use. Images are the first thing I always look at, putting the PNG images through pngout and optipng for example usually results in some pretty big size reductions.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Responsive layout
by arpan on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 17:58 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Responsive layout"
arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

Absolutely.

If you're using the Mac, just run ImageOptim, it uses a variety of Open source Image compression techniques, including the ones you mentioned, and uses the one which provides the maximum compression.

Reply Score: 2

Navigation?
by wigry on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 06:49 UTC
wigry
Member since:
2008-10-09

Well there are issues mainly with navigation. Once you choose for example Windows in products there is no way back to main Microsoft page. You are stuck with Windows and you have to go to address bar to get back to main Microsoft site.

Second the navigation areas seem kind of detached. Simply random columns of links and text on a white background.

So it is still confusing. Apple has it better.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Navigation?
by MOS6510 on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 09:28 UTC in reply to "Navigation?"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

You are stuck with Windows


Yeah, vendor lock-in! ;-)

Reply Score: 6

RE: Navigation?
by rft183 on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 13:59 UTC in reply to "Navigation?"
rft183 Member since:
2005-08-11

You can click on the Microsoft logo on the bottom right of the page to get back to the homepage. Though to be honest, I thought there might be an invisible navigation button on the bottom left ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Navigation?
by rft183 on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 14:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Navigation?"
rft183 Member since:
2005-08-11

Nevermind. Clicking the logo isn't consistent on all subsites... On some it works and on others it isn't a link at all.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Navigation?
by franksands on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 17:22 UTC in reply to "Navigation?"
franksands Member since:
2009-08-18

You can click on "All Microsft sites" on the top right and then in the Microsft image. Not very intuitive, but it works.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Navigation?
by viton on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 21:38 UTC in reply to "Navigation?"
viton Member since:
2005-08-09

Old site was a complete mess. Usually the only way for me to find something was google search :-)

Reply Score: 2

Must everything now be about 'touch'?
by TM99 on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 08:16 UTC
TM99
Member since:
2012-08-26

It seems as if everything now has to be designed with the simple Tablet or mobile user in mind. There is so much white space. There are so many large buttons and tabs for fat fingers on touch displays. I am not really all that impressed with this from a design perspective.

And before someone goes off on my complaint as being resistant to change, it is not. Change is inevitable and yet it is also evolutionary and incremental. Well thought out changes in anything invite the new while retaining a connection to what was foundationally sound and right in the old.

This is something different. This is 'pop' design. Everyone must do it the same. So very little real innovation here, just another sad attempt to follow the market leader even if that market leader is heading for a cliff.

The one thing I can be thankful for is that humans are predictable. Popular fashions come and they go. The pendulum has swung in one direction, and it will swing back in the other direction at some point in the future. Maybe then, a nice balance can be found. We shall see.

Reply Score: 2

Victor.Drake Member since:
2012-01-11

Going even further, I want to critizise how everything seems to be only about the looks nowadays. Fashion before function.

According to the linked blog, the for tenets for the new page were all about look and feel. And it shows in the new page. It sucks at presenting my navigation options in a clear, well-aranged and structured way. Links are all over the place, and mutliple links to the same sub-pages, as it seems. Why are there two sections of downloads and two for support? Which one is the right one for me?

Obviously no one thought about the users, but all thoughts went into design. Like on so many other sites these days.

Mind you, I don't argue to go back to a left navigation frame, but pages presenting their contend a little more clearly and structured would really be nice!

Edited 2012-10-03 09:01 UTC

Reply Score: 4

TM99 Member since:
2012-08-26

Going even further, I want to critizise how everything seems to be only about the looks nowadays. Fashion before function.


Yes, I definitely agree! It isn't even form over function but just that, fashion.

I find many of the same inconsistencies as I try to navigate the site as well with various browsers.

Reply Score: 1

Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

apple filters engineered products through designers with taste before the products launch. so the end result is nice and pretty. apple leadership is responsible for this.

when microsoft leadership want something to look pretty, they hire a designer to do it for them. that's because, unlike apple leadership, microsoft leadership never understood both engineering and design. steve jobs did though.

the clusterfuck that is the history of microsoft.com design is the result of microsoft leadership having no taste. short but not sweet.

Reply Score: 1

MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

What's the emotocon for "rolls eyes"? It's needed as a response to your Apple propaganda.

BTW, your hero Steve Jobs is responsible for the tie-dye iMacs. And have you ever used the QuickTime player over the last 15 years? And how about all the fake leather and fake brushed metal and all the other "great" Apple designs? Explain that crap away before talking about what great "taste" Apple has.

Reply Score: 3

Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

it's not propaganda and steve jobs isn't my hero.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by marcp
by marcp on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 09:10 UTC
marcp
Member since:
2007-11-23

I love the new Microsoft site. It looks very clean and focused.

Yeah, and it still offers FUD, like "Bing vs Google", "Microsoft vs Linux".

How can you tell if someone is too weak, unskilled, unsuccessful in whatever he's doing? He [they] compare themselves to others, not to their previous work, not to their future plans, not to what they have actually done.
They must be very frustrated. And I don't blame them. They can't produce anything that would be both reasonably usable, cheap and interresting. ALl they produce is overblown crap, unintuitive UIs, broken "standards" and a huge bucket of arrogance to start with.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Comment by marcp
by alh84001 on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 13:44 UTC in reply to "Comment by marcp"
alh84001 Member since:
2007-08-25

You mean like Apple has done with Mac vs Pc ads, and Samsung with GSIII vs iPhone 5 ad?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by marcp
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 22:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by marcp"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Yeah, its something you do because you aren't the market leader. Not necessarily because you have a worse product.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by marcp
by marcp on Thu 4th Oct 2012 08:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by marcp"
marcp Member since:
2007-11-23

Well, not exactly.

First of all: we're talking about Microsoft here.

But if you really want to escape into the realm of other companies, then ok, I will follow your escape from the main topic.
Yes, indeed, others do it too, just like Microsoft. The thing is that this type of behaviour is closely tied to lack of self esteem and lack of faith in your product.
You see, companies are almost like humans, in a way. They have people in charge, too. Thus, they 'behave" just like humans. And now, think for yourself, without escaping to conformistic "facts about the reality", "the way things are": do you really need to bash others when you have a really great product you are proud of? do you have to fight others if you are absolutely sure that you created something great and uncomparable to other products? do you need to sue others? do you need to band others from selling their products? do you affraid of "copying" in such case? the answer is simply: NO.
You need to be unsure of your product. You need to feel that others have something as equal to your products as it gets. You need to feel ... threatened. Now, you get it?

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by marcp
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 4th Oct 2012 13:56 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by marcp"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

And now, think for yourself, without escaping to conformistic "facts about the reality", "the way things are": do you really need to bash others when you have a really great product you are proud of? do you have to fight others if you are absolutely sure that you created something great and uncomparable to other products?


Yes, you do need to advertise it as an alternative to the market leader. I don't think android would be in in its current position without those first motorola/verzion commercials emphasising that Droid Does.

do you need to sue others? do you need to band others from selling their products? do you affraid of "copying" in such case? the answer is simply: NO.


Correct. You don't need to do that.

I thought we were talking about the advertisements that directly compare your product to the competition. That's not a sign of weakness in your product, that's a time proven marketing strategy. Even Market leaders sometimes do that in a market segment that allows exact copies of the product like laundry soap or over the counter pharmaceuticals.

Reply Score: 2

Meh.
by r_a_trip on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 09:18 UTC
r_a_trip
Member since:
2005-07-06

The new design is ok from a functional perspective. Can't say it makes me exited. My first impression is that it looks like those little, glossy booklets hardware manufacturers sometimes include with their hardware, which are basically a useless advert for the product you happen to have already bought.

I'm also not enamored with the big, information sparse "Metro" tiles. Then again, I'm absolutely not enamored with "Metro" type interfaces in general. I have eyes and a brain, so give me information density. I'll sort out what to use myself.

That the site is dynamic is a nice touch. Overall an ok site, but I'm not the target group.

Reply Score: 3

It's OK-ish
by PieterGen on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 11:01 UTC
PieterGen
Member since:
2012-01-13

Quick 5-minute analysis:

- The front page looks nice & clean.
- Navigation is sub-par. No breadcrumbs, "site map" is not a site map, impossible to get back to microsoft.com once you're in, say Windows.....
- I wanted to open an animation ("See how Win8 works") and it started to download an MP4-file (wtf?) This is on a Linux box with Opera browser
- several inconsistencies (different menus, different search boxes, different typefaces and so on)
- front page is in English, when I continue the deeper pages are in Dutch (based on my IP address I suppose - so why is the front page not in Dutch?)

- search box on the front page (which in itself is a good idea) let's me choose "Search Microsoft.com" or "Search the Web" - this is a silly choice, of course I want to search in Microsoft.com

- the navigation is confusing. Look at the home page.
Top bar: Products, Downloads,Security,Support,Store

If I want to buy (and download) a version of MS Office, do I go to Products (MS Office), Downloads or Store?

This goes on... look in Store: Shop now, Microsoft Store, Windows software, Office software, Xbox, Volume Licensing, Find Store locations

Where do I go for that copy of MS Office? It is from Microsoft, right? So, Microsoft? Windows? Office? Or...do I have to find a store location (hey? I thought I could buy HERE??). Or do I go to Shop Now?

- Security, Downloads and Support is not once, not twice but 3 times ! on the home page

Conclusion: the beauty is only skin deep

Reply Score: 2

RE: It's OK-ish
by BluenoseJake on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 11:05 UTC in reply to "It's OK-ish"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

It's not impossible. just annoying, you can scroll to the bottom and click on the microsoft logo in the lower right corner. Hardly intuitive.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: It's OK-ish
by rft183 on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 14:11 UTC in reply to "RE: It's OK-ish"
rft183 Member since:
2005-08-11

And it doesn't work consistently. For instance, the Office 365 product page and the Security home page...

Reply Score: 2

Tried it, didn't work well
by jessesmith on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 11:29 UTC
jessesmith
Member since:
2010-03-11

I went on the new site and, using both Opera and Firefox, attempted to purchase a copy of Windows 7. Neither browser was supported enough to allow me to enter my information and confirm the order. Firefox faired a little better, but not by much. Haven't tried the site with Chrome/Chromium, but it seems to me that Microsoft designed their website to work with recent versions of IE only. Not a good plan if it blocks people from purchasing their products. Navigation of the new site seems a little better than it was, but not by much. MS still has one of the most awkward websites to navigate I've been on and it takes far too long to load some pages. From a technology company I think we could expect better.

Reply Score: 6

I'm not all that impressed
by rain on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 16:07 UTC
rain
Member since:
2005-07-09

My initial impression was that the site is nice and clean. And the responsive design is very well made.

But when I pretended to be a visitor interested in their products I quickly lost interest in being there.
The navigation is, as mentioned by others, pretty messy. And the information isn't very well laid out. And there's actually too much information and too much irrelevant information on the pages of interest.

If I choose to "Explore Windows" from the main site I want to do exactly that, but the main thing presented to me is where I can buy a PC or other addon products. The same thing happens when I click "Explore Windows" on the actual Windows site.

Sure, it's a good thing that it's easy for me to find a new shiny PC if I decide that I want to use Windows. But they don't exactly bother to tell my WHY I would want to buy one.

Now, taking apple.com as mentioned by others. It presents the products in a VERY compelling way from the start. They present the main features without any clutter but they also allow me to dig deeper and find more information with easy navigation.
Their call to action is still easy to find but it doesn't get in my face.

In short, the message I get from MS is that they don't have a lot to offer but they would be happy to take my money.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I'm not all that impressed
by MollyC on Fri 5th Oct 2012 08:18 UTC in reply to "I'm not all that impressed"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

Apple and Microsoft are very different companies. Apple is totally consumer oriented, while Microsoft has consumers and business and developers to deal with. (Apple has developers to deal with too, but their website fails badly in that regard, for it's a pain in the rear to get to developer.apple.com from apple.com's main site.)

So of course Apple's gonna put a big iPhone5 front and center. Microsoft has other sites for its consumer products like Xbox.com. They don't dedicate their main site to be a 99% consumer target site, nor should they.

Edited 2012-10-05 08:20 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: I'm not all that impressed
by rain on Sat 6th Oct 2012 23:59 UTC in reply to "RE: I'm not all that impressed"
rain Member since:
2005-07-09

Sorry, but I fail to see how that has anything to do with what I wrote.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous
by judgen on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 20:43 UTC
judgen
Member since:
2006-07-12

I think microsoft schould do a Visual C runtime redistributable that has 2005, 2005-sp1, 2005-atl, 2008, 2008-sp1, 2008-kb (issue fixes available from windows update) 2010, 2010a, 2010-sp1. In an al in one package for x64 users with both the x32 and x64 libs in them så i do not have to download 20 files (10x32 10x64) and install from their nowadays awful download site to get basic things working.
Also an unified installer would not hurt for that package either.

edit: clarification.

Edited 2012-10-03 20:44 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Thu 4th Oct 2012 06:36 UTC
Luminair
Member since:
2007-03-30

the terrible fall of microsoft illustrated. web design like bingo cards. from one page to the next, different interfaces and art each time. old microsoft logo here, new one there. navigation at the top here, on the side there, on the bottom elsewhere, and duplicated right next to it over there. the fall of microsoft illustrated. this company needs a lobotomy.

Reply Score: 1