Why I'm leaving outlook.com

I’d been one of the most eager users of the new outlook.com redesign. I’m a real fan of Metro (sorry, I must call it the New Windows 8 Design), and think that the correct typgraphy mixed with the correct design language should help the users in a great way forward.

Unfortunately, outlook.com is not there yet. The application was made to resemble the Windows Mail app in Windows 8, with 3 tiles per screen. On Windows, the application works in 1/2/3 width modes differently. It changes its navigational strategy to allow you to browse your emails easily. While this could have been easily accomplished using responsive design techniques on the web, outlook does not use it and loses sorely needed funcionality.

The typography of the app is horribly broken, especially in Linux. The font of choice for the app is Calibri, which is missing in Linux, and as such, uses the default system font from the browser. The font sizes are inconsistent, and the application shortcuts are horrible, even though I am using GMail shorcuts option.

The “Insert Link” option is horribly designed. It does not respond to enter keys, and has no place to add “Text” for the link either.

There is no mechanism for quoting messages properly at all. There is no such thing like Conversation View, and I have to waste large amounts of time just to figure out what was added new in the reply to my own mail. As such this becomes largely cumbersome to keep up with.

The archive option from GMail (which keeps my inbox clean) is notably missing as well. (Update: This was added later, with the ability to use archive to move to any custom folder)

The “Active View”, which seems to be a quick preview mode, only works on Windows, because it uses Silverlight. I tried using Moonlight (Silverlight’s OSS clone for Linux), but it seems that Active View uses new Silverlight features. Hence, I can only download pics from Outlook, and not browse them online (which is a huge pain-point for me).


Published on December 22, 2012