Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 07, 2016, 12:17:31 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: UI Roast #1: cruel but harmless fun!  (Read 3054 times)

tranglos

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,079
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
UI Roast #1: cruel but harmless fun!
« on: September 19, 2011, 12:48:00 PM »
...and if we're lucky, maybe even constructive and useful to present and future programmers who care about their users' sanity.

The image below shows part of the main menu of a macro program named "Quick Macros". Just by looking at the screenshot, how many things that are utterly, horribly wrong with this menu can you name? How many are "just wrong" or "really poor usability decisions"? Would you consider using an application that welcomes you with this menu?

qmMainMenu.png

Laugh, cringe or cry?

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,406
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: UI Roast #1: cruel but harmless fun!
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2011, 12:52:08 PM »
What's in the other menus if this one is so... overcrowded to be nice?

tranglos

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,079
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: UI Roast #1: cruel but harmless fun!
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2011, 01:06:16 PM »
OK, here's my list. But post your own before you look!

Don't look yet!
This is a "File" menu, so you would expect it manages files that contain macros. But not quite. You have the expected "File Properties" command, but also a "Properties" command in the same menu. Whose properties does the latter command edit?

Does the Delete command delete the currently open file, since it is located under the File menu? (No, it doesn't!)

Windows has some really well established keyboard idioms. Alt+F4 exits an application. Ctrl+F4 closes the current window, if the application supports multiple windows. This program however decided to be adventurous: to exit, you press Alt+F3. To close the window, press Alt+F4. So the keyboard shortcut you'd expect to exit, doesn't.

There is a "Close" command. How does it differ from "Close Window"? And how about "middle click" as the keyboard shortcut for this command? (Many wheel mice are incapable of middle clicking).

There is a "New" command, but no "Open". Isn't that weird? Well, you can deduce that, even though the command sits on the "File" menu, it does not create a new file at all. It creates a new macro in the file.

To open a file, use the "Open / New file" command. Interesting way to merge two totally different operations (and potentially very dangerous, because performing New instead of Open could overwrite an existing file with a blank one).

In 99% of application menus, "Exit" is the last command at the bottom of the File menu. But that's just boring! It's more fun to add a "More" submenu just underneath it, where you least expect it. And to put important commands such as Save in the submenu, which takes more careful clicks to open and navigate.

OK, so now that we know some commands here operate on files and others on macros, find all the commands related to creating, opening, saving and closing of FILES. It would be just gauche to keep them all together, wouldn't it?

Mmm, Cut and Paste commands on the File menu! What do they cut and what do they paste? And where's Copy? This intrigues me. (The Cut, Copy and Paste commands also exist under the Edit menu, which you can't see in the screenshot. I'd guess maybe they cut and paste different things, but their keyboard shortcuts are the same, so they apparently perform the same function. Go figure.)

« Last Edit: September 19, 2011, 01:51:09 PM by tranglos »

tranglos

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,079
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: UI Roast #1: cruel but harmless fun!
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2011, 01:06:52 PM »
What's in the other menus if this one is so... overcrowded to be nice?

Yeah, the other menus are simpler, but they also have their moments. Like "Show Help (F1)" under the Edit menu, even though the expected Help menu is right there too.

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,296
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: UI Roast #1: cruel but harmless fun!
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2011, 01:19:49 PM »
Tying Ctrl+S to Save All ... Cringe. Save current sure. But all?!? Oh the (incredibly huge) messes that could make.

rgdot

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 1,879
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: UI Roast #1: cruel but harmless fun!
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2011, 01:38:31 PM »
Undelete option by itself without shortcut, as with the delete probably not undeleting what you think

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,406
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: UI Roast #1: cruel but harmless fun!
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2011, 01:52:00 PM »
What's in the other menus if this one is so... overcrowded to be nice?

Yeah, the other menus are simpler, but they also have their moments. Like "Show Help (F1)" under the Edit menu, even though the expected Help menu is right there too.


Well, I guess that I ask about that because a lot of the edit menu options (Cut, Paste, maybe even Clone) are on this menu... which leaves me to ask... why is there an edit menu at that point?

To add my others offhand...

There are several standard file manipulation entries that are scattered all over creation.  They should be grouped.  There are several macro related entries all over- they should be grouped.  Exit should be the last in the menu, and if you need a more, then your menu is too big!  ALT+F4 by convention exits the app.  It's been re-tasked here for no good reason.  Save File As, and Save All Now, but no Save?  If you don't need a Save (i.e. you always save all now) then why not use save instead of save all?  Very confusing...

tranglos

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,079
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: UI Roast #1: cruel but harmless fun!
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2011, 02:34:45 PM »

There are several standard file manipulation entries that are scattered all over creation.  They should be grouped.  There are several macro related entries all over- they should be grouped.  Exit should be the last in the menu, and if you need a more, then your menu is too big!  ALT+F4 by convention exits the app.  It's been re-tasked here for no good reason.  Save File As, and Save All Now, but no Save?  If you don't need a Save (i.e. you always save all now) then why not use save instead of save all?  Very confusing...

That earns you just about the max score, Wraith :)

I've been looking at several macro apps, and I really did a double take when I saw this menu. The syntax of the macro language invented for Quick Macros seems similarly opaque. Example: a single leading space marks a comment line, but a tab indent defines a block like in Python.


But I'm not out to rag on QM here. I've made a hobby of collecting stuff like this. Here's a quick one - priority list from the popular freeware ToDo List app. It always gives me a chuckle:

todolist.jpg

Lashiec

  • Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 2,374
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: UI Roast #1: cruel but harmless fun!
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2011, 02:42:49 PM »
Badly labeled commands, no separation between commands that operate on different (file/macro) levels, strange shortcuts (drag... to where?), the impression that both vertical and horizontal space is at a premium... you don't encounter many programs that encourage you to shoot your foot just by aiming the gun.

Ah, a new challenger appears! Only 10 levels of priority granularity? Outrageous!

tranglos

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,079
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: UI Roast #1: cruel but harmless fun!
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2011, 02:53:51 PM »
Ah, a new challenger appears! Only 10 levels of priority granularity? Outrageous!

Hey, it's as pretty as a rainbow :) But it's an upside-down rainbow, too! To pick the highest priority, you've go to look down...

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,406
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: UI Roast #1: cruel but harmless fun!
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2011, 02:55:25 PM »
Ah, a new challenger appears! Only 10 levels of priority granularity? Outrageous!

I agree!  Everyone knows you need 100 levels of priority granularity...

zridling

  • Friend of the Site
  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 3,292
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: UI Roast #1: cruel but harmless fun!
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2011, 03:09:02 PM »
tranglos, I've one reaction looking at that menu screenshot:

donotwant31.jpg

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: UI Roast #1: cruel but harmless fun!
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2011, 04:00:13 PM »
Wow! Reminds me of this guy I went to high school with. He was the worst dancer of any of us. (And that's saying something since none of us could dance to save our lives.) What he did looked like a cross between a grand mal seizure and a man falling down three flights of stairs.

He was quite proud of the fact he made up all his own 'moves' on the dance floor.

***

So...I'm guessing this coder's first language was Perl and his second was php?  :P

tranglos

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,079
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: UI Roast #1: cruel but harmless fun!
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2011, 04:46:10 PM »
So...I'm guessing this coder's first language was Perl and his second was php?  :P

Love that!  :Thmbsup: