Amazon.com Widgets Ten Things That Really Bug Me

Ten Things That Really Bug Me

By Nick at August 09, 2011 14:13
Filed Under: Software Development, General

I found this on my Embarcadero blog from 13 April 2009.  I wanted to preserve it here…


I was cleaning up my hard drive and I found lying around in an old HTML file.  The date on the file was from April of 2006, before I came to CodeGear.  I can’t remember if I ever put this up on a blog somewhere, but I thought it was a pretty good rant, so I’m posting it here. :-)

  1. Message boxes that ask a Yes/No question, but give you Ok/Cancel buttons. I mean, come on. If you are asking a "Yes or No" question, how tough is it to tell the dialog to have Yes and No buttons? Not tough at all, that’s how tough it is.
  2. Ok buttons that are enabled when a dialog is not properly filled in.   This is basic User Interface design. If pushing a button will result in an error message, don’t let the user push the button.
  3. Non-sizable dialogs.  Argh. This one drives me nuts. It’s especially galling when there’s a list box or something that is so small you feel like you are looking at it through a straw.
  4. Dialogs that don’t remember their size and position. Related to the previous item. Sometimes a dialog is too small, and when I size it, I want it to stay sized. Sometimes it blocks stuff I want to see. It should stay where I put it.
  5. Windows that insist on putting themselves in front when I am doing something else. This is absolutely, unequivocally the most irritating thing about Windows. I decide what I am looking at, not some shareware programmer from Wisconsin. If I am typing or otherwise working in a Window, no other application should ever be able to steal the focus, unless it’s warning me that my house is on fire or something.
  6. File directory trees the size of postage stamps. Related to the issue above. Ever get one of those slightly older applications that won’t let you size the directory lookup tree? With ever expanding hard drives and increasingly complex file directory structures, looking at your harddrive through a fixed size treeview that’s only 150 pixels square feels like being shoved in the trunk of a Yugo.
  7. Crappy error messages, especially when they are sentences and don’t end in a period. "Item not found". Great — which item? The name or even type of the item has got to be known by something in the app, otherwise, how could it be looked for?  Tell us for crying out loud! Or how about the old favorite "Error 332322". This isn’t a problem for me personally because I have, of course, memorized all the error codes for your application.
  8. CAPSLOCK keys. The person who thought putting the CAPSLOCK key above the SHIFT key and right below the TAB key should be rubbed vigorously with rough sandpaper and then placed in a bathtub full of lemon juice. [Ed:  Solution can be found here]
  9. Unnecessary modal dialog boxes that I have to click when it doesn’t make any difference. I love these. "You’ve done something really stupid. Press Ok to continue". Great. Thanks. I couldn’t have made it through the day without that totally, utterly meaningless and pointless message.
  10. Dialog boxes that have the negative answer on the left and the positive answer on the right. OK buttons go on the left. Cancel buttons go on the right. Don’t put the Delete button on the left and the Approve button on the right. It’s a gross violation of the laws of nature.
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The views I express here are entirely my own and not necessarily those of any other rational person or organization.  However, I strongly recommend that you agree with pretty much everything I say because, well, I'm right.  Most of the time. Except when I'm not, in which case, you shouldn't agree with me.