Tuesday, March 22


Dear User Interface (And Other) Developers

When you change the user interface, unless it was obviously broken before, 90% of the time 90% of your users will hate the new version.  It doesn't matter if you think the new way is right.  Your users will hate it.

Since you collectively seem to have all the user experience intuition of a dead possum, you should always always always provide an option to revert to the previous behaviour, even if - no, especially if - you think the previous behaviour was buggy, broken, politically incorrect and caused rats in laboratory cancer.*

Since the Minx user interface is entirely driven by the Minx templates, and completely user-configurable, I can't break it without breaking Minx itself, so I'm relatively safe from this disease.  But only relatively safe.

* Today I'm ranting about the "switch to tab" idiocy in Firefox 4, but it's always the same:

Devs: Look at our great new feature!
Users: We looked at it and we don't like it.  How do we turn it off?
Devs: You can't.  You should love this feature.  All of us love this feature.  What's wrong with you that you don't love this feature?
Users: You suck. 
User X: Here's a patch that turns it off!
Users: Thank you user X!
Devs: Why would anyone want to turn this feature off?  It's a great feature.  We all love this feature.  Oh, and anyone know why our market share is in free fall?

This problem is hardly limited to the Firefox developers, of course, or even UI developers, as witness the great swappiness=0 debate. Though I guess that was an inversion of the trope, with the users jumping with glee on a feature the developer thought was a bad idea.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 07:24 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 289 words, total size 3 kb.

1 I just installed FF4 and I do not see anything different in tabs. What is this about?

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Wednesday, March 23 2011 02:36 AM (9KseV)

2 If you try to open multiple tabs to the same URL, FF4's awful bar will switch you back to the first tab instead.  I guess that could be useful if you had a hundred tabs open and had lost the one you wanted, but I'm much more likely to want to open a second tab to a site than I am to get lost in that way.

The real problem is that (a) you can't disable this behaviour, and (b) the developers appear think that the new behaviour is right for all people and all circumstances and shouldn't be disabled, ever.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, March 23 2011 10:15 AM (PiXy!)

3 That indeed seriously sucks. It's none of their business how many tabs I have open or what they point to. Man, no wonder you're peeved.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Wednesday, March 23 2011 11:48 AM (+rSRq)

4 I just tested by opening 3 tabs to zaitcev.mee.nu. It works just fine, I have 3 normal tabs with the same URL.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Wednesday, March 23 2011 12:27 PM (9KseV)

5 OK, I suspect you are talking about selecting one from the history drop-down. It appears to be the one and only place where FF4 directs you to pre-existing tab. Any other navigation gives you a new tab as desired.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Wednesday, March 23 2011 12:32 PM (9KseV)

6 Yep, I should have been more specific.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, March 23 2011 02:10 PM (PiXy!)

7 They could've at least created a right-click menu with "open in new tab" or something.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Wednesday, March 23 2011 04:41 PM (9KseV)

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