Microsoft tried to calm angry Windows 11 users. It made them angrier

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windows 10 and windows 11 parts

A good start, but a bad way to sell it?

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You can’t please everyone.

Have you ever tried it? Have you ever tried to spend even a day trying to please everyone you come in contact with?

You always, always end up boring someone. Because that’s how people are.

Microsoft, however, is coming up behind on this one. It has angered far too many people far too many times with far too little justification.

So while it has improved its behavior considerably since Satya Nadella became CEO, the company doesn’t always seem as prepared to deal with criticism as it could be.

When Windows 11 arrived, there were uproars. Many feared that the Start menu would suddenly be perched in the middle of the screen. This is not the case; moreover, it is so customizable.

Most people may have gotten used to it. Many even like it. But there is clearly a concentrated cabal of users whose feelings are swinging towards hate. Microsoft seems unable to let them.

This is what you wanted. Really.

Latest version of Windows reports that Redmond recently reached out to Windows 11 insiders who participate in the Release, Beta, and Dev channels.

The gist of the company’s email seems to be, “Yo, what’s up? You know the new Start menu was created after you all gave your opinion, right?”

Obviously, the words were slightly more formal. However, Microsoft has also attached a YouTube video explaining the genesis of the new Start menu.

An almost year old YouTube video.

Oh, maybe it smells a little like “Come on, silly. Haven’t you done the program yet?”

The video itself features many types of wise creatives explaining in wise but simple terms, how smart and creative they were.

It starts with a user researcher called Dragana reflecting, “The design process is informed by research. It’s a challenge to make sense of it.”

People don’t really know what they want. Even if they think they do, they may not always be able to explain it.

Shortly after, we meet another user researcher – how many have worked on this thing? Ashley explains, “It’s really easy to design something you like, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for everyone.”

Here it is. the everyone word. This is what Microsoft was looking for. It is the basis of pain.

Enter the designers. They talk about how they listened more. They explain how they asked a lot of questions. An example: “Should the start be left-aligned or centered?”

Of course, it could be left to you to line it up, but that, apparently, wouldn’t work for everyone.

You the people. We believe in democracy.

And then another designer, this one called Ryan, reveals what he and his team did. He says they made a big decision: “Let people tell us how they would like to put it all together.”

A dangerous maneuver, this one. Imagine if Steve Jobs had asked people how they would like the iPhone home screen to be organized. Imagine his patience sifting through suggestions.

At Microsoft, they think differently. The company’s research apparently showed that Windows users were “creating designs that matched what we were already thinking.”

I wonder if the company has recruited some.

Was it wise of Microsoft to include this video in their email? Would it have been better to include a video of real users explaining why they love the Windows 11 Start menu so much?

The year-old video had sat there, largely unnoticed. Now, however, it’s adorned with recent comments from the unfortunate.

Example: “They literally ignore everything people ask, and they do whatever they want or like. No one likes the new Start menu, let alone the taskbar.”

No one? Could this be the case?

There was more: “How can so many companies claim they hear user feedback when they explicitly don’t? Is this the world we live in right now? Pretty boring if they think that we are so stupid.”

Do corporations think people are stupid with the same vehemence as, say, politicians? I doubt.

Some people, it seems, are much happier with Windows 10.

“The new taskbar is a joke,” says one.

He was not alone. Take this: “Finally, MS got it straight from the Windows 10 start menu, so they decide to create a new menu for Windows 11 that is only for a small group of users. Do what you want, but leave the option for US to recover Windows 10 menu, even with non-animated tiles.”

Why so negative? Because you asked.

To Microsoft’s credit, it kept YouTube comments open, something Apple would never do. Well, Microsoft apparently likes to listen to user feedback. However, it must not have been easy to navigate through the plethora of negativity.

Many have pleaded for the return of customization. There were also more pungent comments.

Sample: “Don’t patronize your users. You haven’t listened to anyone who said ‘this is a fundamentally flawed design’, ‘we want the same customization options that have been around for decades’ or ‘these are already fixed issues “, and Windows is not your Instagram art project.'”

Perhaps the most compelling review was this: “How can Microsoft talk about customization and how they see people curating their apps like the[y] want, then create a boot menu that removes all those customizations.”

There are now 651 comments on this video. The disproportionate majority seems to be very recent.

As Windows 11 launched, Microsoft released more videos explaining why this new version was completely uplifting.

I’ll never forget a marketing executive’s startling revelation: “We looked at the Microsoft logo and made it blue.”

Yet I also have sympathy for Microsoft. The company tried to make Windows a bit more visually appealing. Easier too.

But why Microsoft has now chosen to push engaged and disgruntled users to speak up, I’m not too sure.

Sometimes you have to let people live with something and make their own choices. Now seems like a good time to refer to my colleague Ed Bott’s emotionally soothing column: “I hate Windows 11. Can I downgrade to Windows 10?”

Microsoft, you can’t please everyoneespecially when trying to grow as a likeable brand.

Still, I can confidently say that engineers love Windows 11. How do you know? Microsoft says so.

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