Monday, July 23, 2007

Modal: Annoyed

I'm setting up my new laptop at work, and it's driving me nuts with silly interface stuff.

We use SMS to keep software up to date. Because it is new, SMS is finding lots of stuff that needs to be updated. SMS can do most of the updates without interrupting your work, except...

Some genius decided to make the SMS window that tells you it is doing stuff locked to the foreground--You can work on other programs, but only after you move the SMS window out of the way.

On the other hand, Oracle has the exact opposite problem--It takes a while to install. Answer a question, wait a while, answer another question. Being an impatient sort, in a case like this I'm more than likely to go do something else while this happens. The problem: Some of these questions show up in another small centered window that doesn't have a toolbar button, or any notification that the window exists. If you leave the install window on top, no problem. However, if you go to another window and then return to the install process, the window asking a question is hidden behind the main install window. All you see is an install window that isn't doing anything. If it had a toolbar button, or would sit on top of the other install window it would be fine.

Someone decided that it is important to tell me that my virus definitions have been updated, and force me to click OK before I can go back to whatever I was doing. Often a couple times a day.

I'm not an interface expert, but it amazes me how bad the interface design of even major software can be, especially when the software does complicated internal stuff well.

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