When I was first starting to use computers, I kept MSN.com as my homepage, since that’s what was the default in Internet Explorer (and of course, technology has progressed so much since then!). I’d use to glance at the headlines and the weather, and maybe even new e-mails right from MSN.com. I was all right with it at the time.
Enter 2008, and I just can’t see myself looking back at MSN.com anymore (at least the homepage). I think that whoever that designs MSN.com has made it turn progressively worse. Now the homepage is cramped with links, headlines, typical stock photos, ugly design, etc. and makes MSN.com awful than the way it was back around, say, 2003-2004. I see little reason to use it as a homepage, or even visit it. Period. Here’s what I grudgingly despise about MSN.com in 2008:
1. Too much links! – Seriously, has the team never heard of dividing content into tabs? Not everybody is particularly interested in seeing everything all at once. In fact, I think most people find seeing every single link to stuff you might not even care about makes MSN.com look all cluttered and messy-like. It’s awful from a design point of view. Little organization, and overwhelming.
2. Custom left pane is dumb – Ever since this addition, the page feels even more bloated. I don’t even find this pane entirely useful. The Hotmail module’s only use it to see what new messages there are, but you can only see a glimpse of the dumb subject. You might as well head straight to http://mail.live.com to view messages. Video highlights are pretty meh, and the other personal stuff : Horoscopes, Weather, Stocks, and Local News are rather small potatoes and I could always find better content somewhere else. To me, the left pane isn’t customizable enough, and the things you can customize are pretty meager.
3. 7 spots of advertisements – There’s one on the very top bar of the page, the flashy banner square, and even a section called Advertisements with 5 links. I think there should just be 3 or less places of advertisements.
4. MSN Highlight player getting kinda old – It’s barely changed. A super tiny play/pause button was added, but that’s it. Having a ‘Next’ and ‘Previous’ button is pretty old school. Also, a lot of the panes that flash by are pretty boring usually, because there’s so much generic stock photos revolving round and round. Spice it up a bit, add better controls, and a bunch of other tweaks.
5. Color clash with the header – Such a glaring absurdity, but MSN.com continues to have the ridiculous header at the top, that clashes with the color in the page margin. The left portion looks like it has a special shine on it, but it immediately touches the margin and clashes. Really stupid designing.
6. Icons need a major update – Talk about needing a facelift. The icons on the MSN page are pretty ancient. It’s like they never changed them. I notice that if you zoom in closer to the page, the logos quickly get pixelated. It’s also not up to snuff with today’s more extravagant and better icons. The icons on MSN.com need a major refresh.
I’m just a bit frustrated Microsoft has done little to spruce up MSN.com, besides adding a new header (which isn’t that great btw) that also clashes with the color margin. Is this the best Microsoft can do? If so, they might as well toss MSN.com out. It’s just plain trashy. Yahoo! on the other hand, has made their home page much better, cleaner, and swifter to go through. Also, MyYahoo! beats the stuffing out of MyMSN. As the web moves on, MSN.com will be further irrelevant unless they make some big and better changes. I still can’t understand why the heck Microsoft is way behind when it comes to the web, in cases like this.
Does anyone enjoy visiting the MSN.com home page? Or surfing around any MSN content? Comment your thoughts please!