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Teams is the reference for bad UI. Paste a code block. Select a word in the code block. Copy and you get the whole block copied not the selected word.

I could write a page of the issues like this. Maybe it would not be so bad if you only used Teams but when you use slack at the same time it is like someone is wacking you in the back of the head every few minutes.




I was grading an online exam yesterday. You're lucky.

This program used an SPA. The core workflow is hidden and split over multiple "tabs". Tabs include: question, given answer, score awarded. That's right, none of those are available simultaneously. Yes, 70% of its window goes unused when full-screen.

Going through all students can be done in (at least) two ways. In the first, you can press a button to proceed to the next student, but you cannot go back a student. In the other, you click "save" after grading each answer. This returns you to the overview of students.

The overview displays 20 students per 'page' (tiny font, tiny rows), irrespective of your window size. There is no "next student" button, you have to click the student you want to grade. If you're grading past the first page (e.g., student #21): surprise! You're back on page 1. Clicking the student's tiny row requires more precision than you'll need the rest of your work week on modern desktops.

I could go on. I will, actually. Apparently, standard workflow is you can never go back to an already graded answer and points awarded become final; I accidentally used a workflow that didn't have this idiocy).

In short, there is no way this product's core functionality was tested. Any tester would have exclaimed "are you kidding me?!", and have walked out. Or inflict physical violence on their computer. Or whoever hired them.

In short: setting this product on fire is the best reason for bringing back floppies in 25 years.


Could this by any chance be Blackboard [1]?

[1] https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2014/01/christ-i-hate-b...


I don't think Blackboard is an SPA (it's just very slow server rendered), but it's UI really is terrible. I wrote a script to scrape my course materials when I was at uni, it was that bad.


> I wrote a script to scrape my course materials when I was at uni, it was that bad

Pass!


Blackboard has to be the worst software I ever had the misfortune of having to interact with. How come universities spend millions of dollars every year on such a steaming pile of crap?



As a student, I've never had any edtech site or "online textbook" that had good UX. It wouldn't be so offensive if I didn't have to pay $80 per semester per course for the privilege of using something that is never as good as a real textbook.


If it's an SPA, can't it be greasemonkey'd to display things properly?


I had a hiccup pressing a button once. Was kicked back to initial screen and the student was "locked" - which requires an admin to reset.

So: maybe, but the back end is probably too flakey. Official recommendation is to use IE for grading and only one grader may be logged in at any time.

Really, fire is too good for this mess.


Curious, how would you do that? Would it be a long script or is there some sort of mini Library for this?



> Paste a code block. Select a word in the code block. Copy and you get the whole block copied not the selected word.

I feel like this used to work properly until a month or so ago.

The worst bug I've seen, and this is also something that only started happening in the last several months, is select messages simply not appearing! So basically I open my computer in the morning and look at Teams and it'll have messages from overnight. EXCEPT some messages did not make it, like, at all. There was a whole thread that had replies that were simply not visible to me. I even replied to that thread and on my screen the reply appeared right after the last visible message whereas for everyone else it appeared after the 40 or so messages that came in overnight.

I haven't been the only one to run into that issue either. Restarting Teams is the only thing that brought the messages back.

Now that's what I call a critical bug! Who knows how many things I've missed.


Outlook also has had this problem of emails just not showing up. Sometimes it takes a whole day for an email to arrive. Amazingly low quality for such a wide used product.

MS in particular has the habit of actually introducing small bugs like this regularly through their usual updates. It's infuriating. One day something works the next it just doesn't. I know people who never update their machine because of this. Can't blame them. Once it works, why take the chance of breaking it with updates? It it is a certainty that at some point MS will break some functionality of your system with an update. It's just a matter of time. So turning off auto update is the most sane thing to do for most people. I recommend it myself, and if you update your Chrome or Firefox automatically it is safe enough to use an unpatched Windows for most people anyway.

Once MS started introducing new bugs rather than actually fixing old ones I knew the last MS machine I will service is a gaming machine for my family. As long as that needs to run, I will make it run. All my other systems are on linux now. Once the gaming craze is over I will ceremoniously burn the Windows license key that I used, and I will never, ever, run any software from Microsoft ever again.

Except at work of course, but I don't mind getting paid to be frustrated.


> I know people who never update their machine because of this.

HA!

I was just testing a VR app that has a Windows component when things started failing in VR. I took off my headset and noticed my test machine going through power-on self test.

"Oh crap!", I thought, "a bug caused the system to reboot".

Nope. Just Microsoft deciding it's time to apply some updates. Doesn't matter that I scheduled for a time that I wouldn't be testing.

I've NEVER been able to successfully gain control of this, despite reading up on it and doing all the recommended things.


This way has always worked for me

    %windir%\System32\Tasks\Microsoft\Windows\UpdateOrchestrator
rename Reboot files and add them as folders (you'll need to override file permissions).

https://www.joe0.com/2019/10/17/how-to-prevent-windows-10-au...


I'm convinced the "schedule" thing doesn't actually do anything. It worked in Windows 8, and that's the last version of Windows where updating was (almost) tolerable.


I spend too much time sitting waiting for people to join meetings that have been cancelled or moved - and Outlook / Teams don't know yet. I'm connected - I know this because I'm sitting there 'in' the meeting. I'm receiving emails. I'm talking to people on Teams... Argh.


On the same note, it takes practically all day for the iOS outlook app to update my email. My organization doesn't allow for the default mail app to work anymore, so I am stuck with this worthless email app.


I've had that happen on Slack mobile so much I just don't trust it anymore. I always tell people (even if it seems counterintuitive) to email me when things are urgent because very rarely (or not, since I can't tell), it's decided not to show me critical messages.


I get that a lot. A DM arrives, there's a red blob with a number next to the sender's name, but the actual message doesn't appear.


Everyone I've talked with has experienced this, yet it's been a bug for years. I don't understand. Do Slack not use their own product?!


It absolutely did, it's only just started doing it recently. Drives me freaking nuts.


Mine is doing a variation of this now. If I’m on a call, messages stop coming through but I’ll see them on my mobile. When I end the call, they still don’t come in until I restart the app!



> While many users would at first glance conclude that the "arrow" on the topmost button is an indicator that this is the currently selected button, it is used to indicate that this is a "special" (a.k.a. inconsistent and undesirable) type of button. Clicking on the arrow causes the button to "open" (downward) to reveal a variety of folders. Why the designers chose to use an arrow pointing to the right to indicate downward movement is one of the many mysteries of this program.

And now the expand/collapse UI pattern with right/down arrows or triangles is standard (e.g. https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTML/Element/de...). Don't get me wrong, the example button is terrible UI, but an interesting example of how norms change.

On more than one occasion I have misinterpreted the upvote icon on HN to be "collapse thread".


An IBMer once explained to me that Lotus Notes was intentionally not improved; it was purposefully bad, a form of coordinated sabatoge. The bugs provided employees with an excuse for why troublesome directives or wasteful meetings were lost.

To this day, I still am unsure if they were joking.


Hah, that’s great. Maybe there’s still saboteurs inside still fighting the (good?) fight:

https://www.theregister.com/2021/06/30/ibm_email_outage/


The "Enter Password" at the bottom of that page is simply great.


So without defending Lotus Notes in any way, there was a meaning to the symbols: they were defined by some oneway function from what you were typing. So you would get used to the little symbol dance, and know if and when you’d mistyped


Wouldn't it also allow any onlookers, if they are able to memorize the symbol dance, to derive your password one character at a time by trial and error?


No because it also depended on your computer . I remember when you switched computers it would change


I seem to recall the password was client-side too. So if you had Lotus Notes in a VM and you restored from a save point you needed to remember what your password was when you did the save.


Currently used at my workplace.

A day never goes by without a delight.

Edit: IBM Notes


What the heck! What were these “designers” having when they made that monstrosity? Hahaha.


The "too many windows, you need to close one before opening another" message is also present in current versions of Adobe Acrobat.


as an ex-IBMer, tragically yes...


We've been using Teams since the pandemic started and we switched to WFH. It started off awful, and in that time, it hasn't got better in any material way.

Interactions still feel like your mouse pointer is moving through molasses. Notifications are misbehaved trash. Video calls make your CPU beg for mercy (useful if you want to fry eggs on your laptop though). Switching between multiple organisations is still miserable (although at least now you get notifications for other orgs instead of them just getting lost in the aether, never to be seen).

The funny thing is, none of these problems exist on the mobile apps, which are actually quite well-behaved. I guess that's because they have to use system APIs.


>It started off awful, and in that time, it hasn't got better in any material way.//

That's not my experience at all. It's not great, but it has improved a lot.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/what-s-new-in-mic...


Perhaps saying it hasn't got any better was uncharitable—thinking back, when we first started using it I don't think you could even have more than four people visible on a call at the same time.

But the basics—the things that I mentioned in my previous comment—have remained all but unaddressed for the lifetime of the product so far, and it's utterly miserable to use because of it. They're just piling new features on. I understand why, it's just frustrating.


Yeah, Teams is notoriously bad for software engineering related messages. It wastes a shit ton of horizontal space and every code block/log snippet that you send is horribly displayed with big font and scrollbars. Of all the things compared to Slack this infuriates me the most.


My the most favorite one is when someone pastes link in a chat to MS Office document on Sharepoint/Onedrive. It is opened in Teams and when you close the document you might naively assume you will be back in the chat you came from but no, you end up on the main screen and you need to search for the chat window again.


Which is impossible because it throws meetings with chats all in the same list so you have 3000 things going on. Not to mention that meetings that ended 3 weeks ago still have active chats. Or if you were invited once now you’re forever attached to the chat of all the meetings that come after, even if you’re not invited.

Teams started ok, but it has become worse than Skype, which is something I didn’t think was possible.

From the company that made MSN messenger it’s hard to believe they didn’t have any lessons learned


Ahh, but MSN messenger was not the best of all chat clients in its day either. I remember advertisement aplenty, spam, terrible "candy bar" UIs and a password reset system that basically let others steal your account easily. I think I used the official client maybe twice at an upper limit.

Honestly, the best UI Microsoft ever invented were always those inside their video games. I still think AoE2 is hard to beat.


I mean it was pretty cancerous but it was stable and simple to use. A list of your chats sorted by last activity. Towards the end you could even play games. Voice messages, gifs, etc. It was a free ms product from the early 2000s, in 20 years we should’ve gotten much further ahead, instead we went backwards


And don't even think about looking at the document and commenting something about it in the chat, and then looking again... because it seems impossible to have the document and the chat open at the same time.

I tend to just ignore the links and download everything because of this.


We had network issues the other day and a few minutes into the meeting we realised my audio stream was delayed by a whole minute. There was no indication on the Teams UI this was happening. I'd hear a question about a window I'd already closed on screen share, type a response, and they got it a minute after asking. As someone who uses Discord at home, Teams is pain.


LOL. I wonder where that data was physically sitting for a whole minute.


I don't really know how these things work but it was quite crisp while my outgoing was very choppy so I hung up the mic and resorted to typing. I was assuming a lot of packet loss and it was rebuilding a little behind the times, the network was very slow that day in general but the voices were clear.


You can check your packet loss in the call health info I think.


Paging Animats... Animats to the HN courtesy desk...


At Rest.....


One thing that always bugged me in MS Teams is that when you do the shortcut for :thumbs-up it always presents 20 thumbs-down emojis first instead (due to alphabetical order)... but people are way more likely to use thumbs-up! Why not put that first!!!

A small thing, but one that would annoy me almost every day...


This reminds of something that aggravates me to no end and cannot turn off: emoticons / emojis. I never use those but it keeps offering those by switching typing focus to the popup.

The issue comes from my main language being French. And in French, for some reason, there has to be a space between the word and the colon.

But in Teams, and even Outlook Web, whenever I put a space and colon to introduce a list on the line below, so I type <space><colon><enter>, I end up with a freakin' smiley, so I have to go back, delete it, and put a colon in again.


This floored me: when the app decides you typed an emoji, you can undo (ctrl+z) to get back to what you actually typed. That never would have occurred to me to try, simply because the mental model I have of "undo" pertains to things I did, not the app.


Anyone tried quoting a message in a reply in teams? For a messaging client, this should be the most important since everyone in the group wants to know which message you are replying to... But ofcourse msft has to screw it up.. https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-teams/quote...


"48,477 votes Reply to specific message in chat on desktop app" Now that is a quotable quote when it comes to being told something has a bad UI and choosing to do nothing about it.


stupid teams chat doesn't even have a 'reply with quote' but yeah, it's got lots of edgy emoticons and gifs.... stupid.


> stupid teams chat doesn't even have a 'reply with quote'

Don’t worry guys, it’s on the roadmap for this month! https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/roadmap?featur...

Next maybe we can fix issue where if you have the iOS app, you randomly appear available for hours?


Amazingly, the mobile app version does!


Consistency, the one weakness of MS. Like when their own official OneNote app for Windows Phone 8 had fewer features than the Android version.


Because why would your app have consistent functionality for such basic features between web/desktop versions and mobile!


Even worse than Teams is Teams on GovCloud.


I think the success of Teams was a surprise to MS. It was ingenious to copy slack and push it on enterprise users though.


It's no surprise, that was classic MS strategy. Sell the thing everyone actually needs (Office, because they smothered the competition), but bundle it with something sticky which will also hoover up data about your workers - no need for the product to be any good, execs in charge of purchasing won't have to suffer with it for a fraction of the time employees spend. Oh also, I happen to have $200k of Azure credits here for you - no pressure but if you do start using Azure we'll make the bill for all this productivity software go away...


I feel like this aligns with the cartoon of big tech in my head, which goes something like this:

- Apple is the designer: I want to make everything beautiful and perfect. Sometimes that pesky messiness of reality gets in the way, but if that's the case, it's reality which should change.

- Google is the engineer: Yeah cool this project sounds good, let's replace that old technology with this new thing that will be so much better! We'll release the prototype in a month, and six months from now we'll have the whole thing done. Hmmm 4 months later, some of those details that took years to refine in the old version are actually pretty tricky, and these weird users like actually want to keep them... Yeah details are hard, let's put this project on back burner because now I'm excited about new project!

- Microsoft is the MBA: Products don't matter! They're just interchangeable widgets the grunts working below me have to concern themselves with. The important thing is what I can sell to upper management with my power-point presentation. We're data-driven, so as long as my KPI's improve, that means I have made the morally correct decision. If I can leverage or trick users into using the product the way I want, it means I'm good at my job!


Pro tip: don't press Ctrl before release mouse button

This is annoying.




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