Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Brain damaged UI

In an earlier post, I described the difficulty of discovering options in a touch interface and the silliness of porting that problem to non-touch devices like laptops – and I suggested a solution.

That was a big, general problem, but there are also many small, specific UI glitches. Here are two, one from Apple and one from Microsoft to keep things even. Let's start with Apple.

I just “upgraded" iTunes for Windows. Before the upgrade, I saw a simple Refresh All button in the lower right corner of the screen. About once a week, I would launch iTunes, click that button and it downloaded the new episodes of the podcasts I subscribe to.

After the “upgrade,” the refresh button was gone and I did not see anything like it. I went to an Apple help forum, where, someone had asked about the same problem and learned that the refresh capability was still there, but one had to select the List tab then click on the unlabeled circular arrow in the upper left corner. Well hidden Apple!

Here's a UI glitch from Microsoft -- I put my Windows laptop into Sleep mode several times a day. To do so, I click on the Start button then slide the cursor over to click on the small arrow to the right of the Shut Down button, slide the cursor to the right and click on Sleep. That usually works, but since I am doing all of this with a trackpad and the arrow is small, I screw up and accidentally click Shut Down about once a month – wasting time and perhaps losing data.

Do some minor UI problems bug you? Let me know what they are in a comment.

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