The developers at Lunch have appeased the Gods of User Experience by asking for each piece of information just once.
Alternatively, the vast majority of the world's website's require you to "Confirm email address", assuming that we're living in some 1993 alternative reality where people don't know their email addresses. For every 1 person that mistypes their email, 999,999 others are inconvenienced which, according to one Federal study, wastes 19,934 man-hours every year .
For sites that really hate users, they go one extra step towards winning the "American Airlines Award For Despising Customers" by disabling the paste shortcut. These developers are the sort of people who wouldn't use shampoo until it had been systematically squirted into the eyes of bunny rabbits.
Photoshop is one of the best pieces of software ever written, responsible for 25% of all entertainment on the web . But for all its deserved glory, our friends at Adobe have decided to disable many of the regular Windows shortcuts, such as being able to use characters in a combo control to select items without a mouse. It's probably some pro-Apple bullshit.
We all know somebody who hasn't mentally left 1985 and still has the password "Password", so it's probably only reasonable that software has some rules to enforce a minimum level of security.
But some sites take this way too far, requiring that your password...
- Fits neatly between 8 and 10 characters - Is not a password you've used before. Ever. - Has no spaces and begins with a number or small Batman symbol. - Has numbers, punctuation and only ASCII character code that are prime numbers - Includes symbols from both the Cyrllic and Mandarin alphabets - Wouldn't feed a Gizmo after midnight
It's like the DMV decided to give everyone an LSAT test. It's also the reason I have about 1,200 passwords.
Windows occasionally chooses engineer-inspired confusion over simplicity, but one of the features that seems to get worse with each generation of the operating system is the "Sound" component.
Usually I have one of two reasons to launch sounds:
- My headphones are too loud. - My microphone is too quiet and nobody can hear my on Skype.
Windows Sound approaches this problem by showing me the 5 sets of device drivers installed, at which point I decide that my headphones will continue to be too loud and I'll have to start shouting on Skype.
Flash is another amazing Adobe technology that gives designers enormous power - but often it's the power to suck. Many intelligent people have been driven to create unnavigable and frankly strange websites just because Flash has enabled them to subvert every website rule imagine. Like this one.
There are thousands of dreadful websites on the Internet, but frequently the most common element is Flash. How do you know if your site has a Flash problem? Simple - use my checklist! Do you have...
- Music playing - An intro splash screen - Full screen video - Navigation that moves around - More than one click to get anywhere - A desire to make computers more like the way they are in the movies?
... if you said "yes", "maybe" or "hmmm" to any of the above, you're abusing Flash and I'm sending Steve Jobs over to your house right now.
CAPTCHA is clever idea designed to separate humans from computers, originally conceived by Sarah Connor to defeat Skynet. It rests upon the basic idea that script programmers who write spambots are too lazy to figure out how to programmatically read twisted text.
The good folks at Mountain View have decided it's not enough to deter bots - you have to make most humans fail the test too. In a modern equivalent of drowning someone to see if they're a witch, Google's Captcha is just baiting some smart kid to write a script that can actually read this scribble flawlessly.
Proof that 99.99% of lawyerly contributions to society never get read, the ever-wonderful end-user license agreement (the "EULA") is showing up everywhere from cell phones to navigation systems and PCs.
The EULA itself isn't that annoying - just check the box admitting guilt and move on. What is annoying is the disturbing trend towards making you scroll though the text to somehow prove you read it. What's next? A timed screen? A multiple-choice comprehension test?
Google Voice is a pretty neat little service that produces hilariously inaccurate transcriptions of voicemails for when you're bored. It never fails to produce howlers like this one today:
"Hi, James. I elf. On hand December trying fund diet cocaine pole. Bye."
It's almost like someone turned on the comedy mode, since there's no way it could derive the elf version from the original: "Hi James. Call me back."
See the full review, "This is going to be huge...".
The ribbon was unleashed on the world in Office 2007 and is a great example of how designers think users are stupid and will warm to their terrible ideas. I've never met anyone who likes the ribbon, and I'm willing to bet that a sizable portion of Microsoft's hate-mail derives from this one awful feature.
The ribbon manages to do several things badly simultaneously, which is actually hard to do if you try:
- The most common features now require more than one click to find. - It uses more screen real estate than menus. - There's no way to go back to the previous menu system.