My post was about the painful interface to multilevel lists introduced in Word 97 which has been through some minor tweaking and improvement over subsequent versions. I have since decided that a more constructive approach would be more useful, so I started planning a how-to post for people wanting to use lists without tears.
Meanwhile, to my great surprise I got an email message from a Microsoft PM (that means program manager, I think) called Stuart Stuple. Stuart has taken the time to reply to some of the issues I raised. More needs to be exchanged there before I can report.
But being able to rant and rave in public and have direct contact from someone in Microsoft is a huge and very welcome change from the treatment I got in 1997 when it seemed that you had to pay for a support call to report a bug.
When Robert Scoble says that Microsoft is listening then I can tell you that’s true. He says “we watch blogs for the harshest commentary and see if we can get straight answers for you”. I wonder if it was this comment of mine about Word’s list galleries which qualified as harsh I said:
This is one the worst bits of interface design in the history of computing.
I’ll correspond with Stuart and see if I can get the straight answers I want. We have made a good start, though. As part of that discussion I’ll write up my ‘how to’ for lists in Microsoft Word.