Dave Kinnear1-On Leadership


Annoying the Customer:

Well, okay, at least annoying THIS customer. One of my favorite vendors (there are precious few) has upgraded their browser software. The vendor shall remain nameless but frequently goes by the initials of MS. I use their operating system on my computers, and I use their office suite extensively. I avoid their cloud storage because I see it as intrusive and has been undependable. I never choose to use their search function, but they force me to use it in some cases. I have also, until recently, avoided their browser.

Pleasant Change

MS’s new browser, Edge, is very sharp, quick, and useful. It has become my daily driver. I also use at least four other browsers at different times during the workday. The screenshot above is of a new tab, which can be somewhat customized.

All in all, I am quite impressed with the improvements in MS Edge. At least for now, I see it continuing to be my main working browser. However . . .

The Bad

Several things annoy me about the browser. First is, shown above on the new tab is the default search bar. Yep, it’s Bing. I do not want that there, but I can’t remove it or replace it with another search engine. Sorry, MS, but that is not good; it is annoying. If you don’t want me to use a competitor’s search engine on this otherwise beautiful and useful new tab page, fine, but at least let me remove the search box.

Truly Ugly

Far worse is the customizable news page. That has to be the worse user experience design I have encountered in a very long time. I won’t bore you with a bunch of screenshots. The one to the right shows a personalize button. But, for the most part, this is what is the most annoying.

Usually, I would choose the topics I am interested in, and I would not see any other topics in my feed. Such is not the case here. I have zero interest in seeing anything about sports. So I


did not choose sports when I personalized my topics. Yet, my feed continuously is inundated with sports articles.

I am not allowed to choose my sources. Thus, MS pushes sources that (I assume) are paying them to put their content in front of me. Consequently, my feed has articles from “Sports Today,” “Entertainment Weekly,” or “Classic Cars.” Wait! I did not choose the topic of Sports. Why am I getting those articles?

Clean Up

To avoid getting sports, even though I did not choose that topic as being of interest to me, I am forced to click on the particular item and choose to “Hide all stories from “Sports Today.” WHAT A  PITA. The same issue comes up for other topics that are not of interest to me. I find this annoying to the max.

The feed has frequent ad content. I’m okay with that (although I think the advertisers are wasting their money). After all, the browser is free, and it is otherwise handy. And the news feed could also be beneficial. But MS has destroyed it with a horrible customization interface and logic.

After many minutes of cleaning up my feed over several days, I think things may be manageable. Interestingly enough, new unknown sources with unwanted topics frequently show up. Apparently, my clean up work will never be ending.

User Experience

This experience has made me wonder about the unintentional ways we may be annoying customers. I know we will never make everyone happy, but we might make many more people happy if we pay attention to the customer’s experience.

Are we making it easy for customers to do business with us? What can we do to improve their experience? What kind of competitive advantage would we have if doing business with us is easy and pleasant?