Microsoft Gadgets range from many platforms. From Sidebar to Spaces, and many others. It’s a pretty neat idea, but the problem, as usual with most Microsoft endeavors, is that it’s not implemented well. Or done well. That’s what I’m here to blog about.
Here’s the top 5 things that Microsoft needs to work on for Gadgets:
- Gadgets or Widgets? – I think Microsoft did a doozy, by calling their mini web-app. things "Gadgets". People have already been using Widgets by now, mainly on OS X Dashboard or Konfabulator. So it would only make sense to keep calling them ‘widgets’. But nope, Microsoft had to make Gadgets look like something of their own, even when (as of now), it’s not relatively any more impressive or different from what’s been here before. Plus, when people think of "gadgets" they think of electronic gizmos, like music players, cellphones, etc. Widgets and Gadgets practically should have 2 different meanings. So they should definitely be called Widgets.
- Cross-platform – What I find surprising is that all the gadgets you find on the Live Gallery site, can’t work the same on different platforms. Like there’s this one gadget for Live Spaces, but it won’t work on Sidebar. Can’t gadgets work across ALL Microsoft areas? I can see in some spots, that it wouldn’t make sense (like an add-on for Writer, probably has no use Sidebar) but they could try that with some of their stuff. Like I would definitely expect many of the gadgets that work for Live Spaces, Sidebar, and Sideshow, to all work together. I wish they could work freely cross-platform.
- Lack of "official" Microsoft gadgets – I kind of expected Microsoft to be more behind on their Gadget platform. You know, they could get their really awesome developers to make nice gadgets for their many Windows Live/MSN properties, onto Live Spaces and Sidebar. I mean, is it that hard? It would be really neat if Microsoft could work on making some nice quality gadgets, instead of relying on developers to do so alone. Because really, developers aren’t always good at making some of their gadgets, and it’s annoying hoping somebody else would do it.
- Windows Live Gallery is too barren – I think the site that host all these gadgets is rather a bore to go with. I mean, why is it even called Live Gallery? There’s not art gallery going on! Why not "Windows Live Gadgets" or "Windows Live Add-ons" or anything besides ‘gallery’? Makes more sense to me to called the site Live Gadgets. And the site itself is rather fluff. Still uses the ugly Windows Live 1.0 flare, and the whole modular layout looks too late 90’s for me. I mean, does anyone on the team have a little taste in design? The site is rather too stark and plain to go through. And my eyes search in vain for a really big download button. The Live team really needs to go to a class in UI design, because this doesn’t cut the butter.
- No incentive to develop – A lot of other developers are more interested in going across other platforms such as Firefox and Y! Konfabulator that they don’t find any reason to bother with Microsoft’s (rather mediocre) offerings. So how about an incentive? Like a big contest to see who can make the best gadget in each area of Live Gallery? #1 winner in each area gets a new Sony Vaio with Vista on it. 2nd place gets a new Zune 2.0. 3rd place is a $50 gift card for Zune Marketplace/Xbox Live points. Who knows, just make this thing a whole lot appealing, and there’s going to be a ton of the best developers working to put their creations on Live Gallery. That would be pretty awesome.
So there you go. Microsoft Gadgets has some potential, but the way it’s implemented now, will probably interest very little. Microsoft needs to make their Gadget platform much more appealing for people to come and really do something with it.