Former Microsoft designer Jensen Harris published a series of posts on Twitter, in which he criticized the company's current approach to its products. Harris is unhappy with the design of the Start menu and the built-in ads for their own products.
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Harris said he tried to find the Googel Chrome browser on the Start menu and noticed the design of the menu. The former employee said the left side of the interface looked good and didn't raise any questions, but the right side reminded him of the toolbar icons in Internet Explorer from 2008 that he worked on.
The designer noted that the first thing the user is greeted by is an advertising banner for the Bing Wallpaper app. According to Harris, this is an outdated approach to product advertising that stretches back to the Web 1.0 era, and large companies should not use such things in their products. The designer also emphasized that the banner itself is ineptly made. Its right side is straight and the left is rounded, and if you zoom in, you can see that the rounding is uneven.
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Harris also said that the user interface design should help you complete tasks faster and navigate the system. Instead, Microsoft fills all the free space with ads for its own products. For instance, after the banner with the offer to try Bing Wallpaper there comes another banner advertising Microsoft Edge browser.
At the same time, the designer paid attention to the Open results in browser button, which covers two of the other four buttons. It covers them so much that the user can't even read what's written on them. The big button also stands out from the overall design, using a different font and size.
At the end of his reasoning, Jensen Harris noted that design is important in products, and especially in iconic parts like the Start menu. He said that at one time Microsoft designers developed a special font so that the "S" and "t" in "Start" would look harmonious. Now, in his opinion, the company has paid less attention to detail. Harris also wrote that he doesn't like the new location of the Start button in Windows 11. He believes that users have gotten used to the location of the button over the years, and Microsft didn't take that into account.
In mid-August 2022 Microsoft began showing Microsoft 365 ads inside the Office 2021 app. It is noted that users have paid for the application itself and it does not provide a subscription.