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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Examples of poor user interface design

Windows XP SP2 seems to have made some changes for the worse. I was trying to use the Find... feature to search a bunch of files on my hard disk. Imagine my surprise when I got this dialog box.

I have never encountered this dialog box before, so I'm assuming its something new with SP2. First of all, I get a totally cryptic error dialog for following the exact same steps that I had followed the previous thousand times. Second, I'm not sure anybody other than a programmer can figure out what a volume means, let alone what indexing a volume means. And why does it say Indexing Service (the words pompously starting with capital letters) ? I wanted to do a find, not indexing. If you are not a programmer, you will be hard pressed to figure out what find has to do with "Indexing Service". And worst of all it doesnt tell me how to fix the problem. Ok, I'm ready to index the volume so that I can get find to work again. But where do I find out how to do that? Whoever designed this dialog should go out and read Alan Cooper's excellent book About Face 2.0.

Microsoft has also made a change to the Windows Update program that runs in the background. The old Windows Update program would download and install the updates and then ask you if you wanted to restart now or later. If you clicked Restart Later, it would just shut up and you could restart whenever you wanted. The new one annoyingly pops up this dialog every fifteen minutes (at least it feels that way; it might be longer).

Even if I click Restart Later, the dialog box comes back in fifteen minutes. I'm in the middle of some work and can't restart the computer for another three days at least. Everyone knows that programming is all about "getting in the flow". Many books have been written about this topic. And with this dialog interrupting my work four times an hour (been going on for a whole day), I'm just not able to get any work done. Can't I just make it go away and stop bothering me ? I'm seriously considering throwing away two days of work and restarting the computer just to make the goddamn dialog go away, because there is no way I can tolerate it for another three days. Another option is going into task manager and shutting down windows update. I think I'll do that.

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1 comment:

Sachin said...

I can understand your frustation brother....