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Saturday, December 22, 2007

User Interface enormity...guess who?

So, there I am at the office, with a mailbox in a work email account (on MS Exchange, feh) and an old friend sends me a cheery greeting. When I get home, I decide to reply to it and, instead of logging in to the VPN, Remote Desktop and all that jazz (which takes a couple of minutes to fire up and requires entry of the same password twice), I open up the POS grandly called "Microsoft Outlook Web Access". First mistake. Normally I only do this to look at incoming stuff and send quick replies, this time, I decided to compose a slightly longer reply.

'Swelp me guv'nor, I only took 5 minutes to reply, about 5 short's the family... yak...yak...

I clicked the Send button. Second mistake.

What came back was the Web Access login screen. I floundered around a while, trying the back button, logged in again, (note it says "you replied to this mail..." on the original email from my friend). But my message was gone. Not in the Sent items, nor in the Drafts. Augh!

I was, and am outraged. Perhaps I've been working too hard or more likely my standards have been raised by using professional strength web applications. Losing the user's data in this way is unforgivable. I don't care if my session timed out, or if my administrator had put too short a timer on the app. I don't care if the note was just a personal "Hello there!" to a friend. They lost my effing data!

I will never use it again...Microsoft Outlook Web Access...and I will try to forward all my work email to a proper web app. Gmail or whatever...for example, if I click away from a Google compose mail form, I get a nice courteous dialog, saying:

"Are you sure you want to navigate away from this page? Your message has not been sent."

Now that's a real gent! Helpful, kind and giving me the opportunity to at least save my data.

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