Customer Experience Improvement Program - Microsoft Outright Lies To Customers

By tonyhughes Hughes, in , posted: 21-Jun-2008 07:35

Not just a little lie, but a big giant one.

We have all been hit by programs that ask our permission to give automated anonymous feedback to software and hardware vendors. It is usually "opt-in" - meaning that you must proactively choose to give this feedback and/or "join the program".

Don't get me wrong, it can be really valuable, and giving feedback on RTM software plays a very important role in the potential for further development / fixes for that software - whether it is your OS, your IM, MP3, RSS, BT, WiFi, IRC or other AS (Acronymed Software).

The general consensus is that this is only ever done with users permission, should be clear and unambiguous, and should DEFAULT to opt-out.

i.e. If you take the default action given, with the smallest effort, you should be opting out.

I have often noticed an 'oddity' with the Vista CEIP dialog, and lie finally dawned on me today when I opened my 8510p after letting it install SP1 unattended when I went to sleep last night:

Users who did not opt-in to the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) will be prompted again to join after installing SP1. The experience will remain the same and the default will continue to be opt-out.


I will concede the fact that the choice to opt-out is in fact selected by default.

HOWEVER - by design, you CANNOT click OK to continue!

The ONLY way to click OK is to CLICK JOIN !!!! See how the OK button is greyed out.



The moment you click JOIN, the OK button magically unlocks and becomes available to click.

"default will continue to be opt-out" - ORLY Microsoft?

Sounds like bullshit to me - if you have to deselect opt-out, and select opt-in and then once that frustration is over be presented with an OK button, then it is
 ABSOLUTELY NOT AN OPT-OUT SITUATION.

Microsoft, its stupid things like this that make even fans of your software disresepect you as a company, and make your business practices a joke.



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Comment by MrTomato, on 21-Jun-2008 16:04

Actually it's not forcing you to opt in - if you click the Cancel button you're not opted in and aren't bothered again.

The problem is that you're being confused by a spectacularly bad and counter-intuitive piece of user interface design. Microsoft used to be fairly good at clear, consistent and business-like UI design, but this has noticeably gone out of the window in the last couple of years. I'd love to know why.

If you go through Vista carefully there are quite a few of these sorts of oddities, and they've almost all been introduced since the Windows XP / Server 2003 era. The worst offender is probably the staggeringly amateurish Windows Media Player 11 UI, in which you have to click all over the place in order to find commands that aren't used often. It's also difficult to navigate with the keyboard, which many people wouldn't use or notice, but is a serious accessibility issue. And that's just one example.

If Microsoft have somehow lost their UI expertise it doesn't bode well for their future products. It's almost as if they've forgotten the huge effect, conscious and subconscious, that good UI design has on users' perception of software quality.

I could write thousands of words about this, but I think I'll just leave it there!


Author's note by tonyhughes, on 21-Jun-2008 17:21

Hmmm.... I expected 'Cancel' to mean "bother me later".

It should be three buttons:

1. Join
2. Do not join
3. Ask me later


Comment by MrTomato, on 21-Jun-2008 18:00

Yes, you're right, and that would have followed their own UI guidelines, too. An example: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/Bb545457.DialogsDC32(en-us,MSDN.10).png

For the benefit of anyone reading this in the future as a result of a Google search or whatever: The Windows Vista User Experience Guidlines (on MSDN) are well-written and pretty sensible. If you develop software, PLEASE use them, and ensure everyone in your team understands the benefits of adhering to them!

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa511258.aspx


Comment by Moyah8, on 18-Aug-2008 03:33

The way out of this is to click join and then when the OK is not greyed out click "NO THANKS". Worked for me.


Comment by Peter, on 31-Jul-2009 04:14

Having been stupid enough to opt in, I am now too stupid to find out how to opt out. Can anyone help?


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