UI design is supposed to improve with time.

No “design fail” type blog would be complete without some good old Vista bashing. So here’s some:

Two clicks instead of one.

Two clicks instead of one.

If you try to copy several files over some existing files, all previous Windows versions would ask you whether you want to overwrite file1 and would provide you with choices: “yes”, “yes to all”, “no”, “cancel”, so if I want to overwrite all files (which is the most common situation), I’d just click “yes to all” and be done with it. In Vista I have to first go to the very bottom of the huge dialog and check “do this for the next N conflicts” and then click “Copy and Replace”.

Clearly, this “do this for the next N conflicts” thing provides an extra useful feature – that is, rename files instead of overwriting. Cramming the same thing into the previous style dialogs would be unrealistic: the dialogs would have to have 6 buttons: “yes”, “yes to all”, “rename this”, “rename all”, “no”, “cancel”. Too much, I agree, but then again, how often do I have to rename the files, especially in the stupid default manner, like “file1(2)”? If I want to keep the files I’d rather move them to another folder, so the copy dialog could have had this new feature accessible through extra clicks, keeping the most common functionality in 1 click. For example, they could just have a “show advanced options” button and add their renaming schtick there. Moreover, that would give an opportunity to provide fancier renaming options, not just append a (2) to the file name, but something brutally powerful, based on regular-expressions.

Or I guess that’s too much to ask 😐

Your book is out there.

Bringing the buyers’ experience to the 21st century, Borders bookstores have several computer terminals scattered around the floor. It would seem the only thing accessible through those terminals is an intranet server that allows you to search for books. Great idea, isn’t it? Now I can just type in the title I want and it should tell me on which shelf that book is located!

Well, not quite:

Your book is somewhere in the store... maybe.

Your book is somewhere in the store... maybe.

Likely in the store, how helpful! Especially considering that even the non-profit local library tells you exactly where the book is. I suppose the rationale behind not showing exactly where the book is located is to make me wander around looking for it, thus possibly picking up something that I didn’t initially want. But honestly, to me it’s just another reason to go to Amazon instead 😉

And really, why not at least say for sure, whether the title is available in this store or not. I don’t think it is that hard.

Ah, here it is!

Ah, here it is!

Sorting by type: extension vs application name.

Suppose I need to open a .zip file in my downloads folder. I don’t remember the exact file name, so it won’t be easy to locate it within the pile of shit my downloads folder is, but I do remember it was a .zip file, so I can at least narrow the search by sorting by type. But not so fast:

OK, where's my zip file?

OK, where's my zip file?

Apparently, Windows doesn’t consider a .zip file to be just a .zip file, but a compressed file, hence it goes under the letter C in by type sort. And .doc goes under “Microsoft Word Document”, thus under the letter M, while, say, .msi is a “Windows Installer Package” – under W. Kind of makes the whole “sort by type” thing rather useless as I very likely would have to go through the whole list guessing where on Earth is my .mp3 file… Ah, here it is, under “WinAmp media file”.

Now, I realize that by default the extensions are hidden, but since I specifically enable them, it would be nice if sort by type took that choice of mine into consideration. And it isn’t hard to do: just stick the extension in front of the description and whatever the registered name in parenthesis, like “mp3 (Winamp Media File)” or “doc (Microsoft Word Document)”.

Because all foreign movies are the same.

What\'s it about? Duh, it\'s a foreign movie!

What's it about? Duh, it's a foreign movie!

When deciding whether to watch a movie or not, many people check out the genre first. If I like action movies, I’m not going to waste my time even reading the reviews for a romantic comedy: do not want. So, what is the “Girl Cut In Two” film is about? Oh, well, it’s a, you know, a foreign movie – that all you need to know 😉

But it is good to know that some websites do realize the problem – for example, netflix used to lump all foreign movies under “foreign”, and all pre-1980 or thereabout under “classics”, but now they do have more meaningful categories, so “Soylent Green” and “How to Steal a Million” are not of the same genre anymore.

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Internet ain’t easy.

IE 6 default start page

ie6 default start page

This is the default home page for Internet Explorer 6, otherwise known as “Internet” (that’s what the shortcut says, anyway). So the first thing I’m supposed to do is to login somewhere – but where do I search for naked ladies, WTF?

What about version 7, did they fix it? Well, not quite:

IE 7 default start page

IE 7 start page

Note that the page name is “runonce3.aspx” – but it keeps coming up every.single.f*cking.time, not just once, or 3 times – always. And saying “Welcome back” on a runonce page is oxy-damned-moronic. Well at least this one comes with a little searchbox in the corner, I can lookup boobies right away.

That’s why more and more people use firefox:

firefox start page

firefox start page

But if you’re in customer support, IE will probably give you less problems because people would just look at the start page and say, “Boy, this Internet schtick ain’t easy. Better call my grandson some time to figure it all out”, turn the computer off and go back to barbecuing. Computer off=happy support!

Paging Mr. Gore – outrageous resource waste in progress.

Humongous receipt

Humongous receipt

Here’s what happens if you obey your thirst and get a Sprite at an electronics store – you get a receipt that is larger than the bottle! And certainly, they’ll give you a large bag, too 😉

It would take just one extra field in the database to give out a smaller receipt, without all the return policy mumbo-jumbo, and to tell the cashier to not give a bag, and it would probably save a significant amount of money, nation-wide. But alas, nobody did that.