Web Site Knocks Interface Blunders

By Timothy Dyck  |  Posted 2002-05-13

Its something that unites all computer users—the moment when your software stops you cold with messages that dont make sense, windows that extend off the screen or buttons that dont seem to do anything.

The Interface Hall of Shame, at www.iarchitect.com/mshame.htm, is a roll call of the moronic things programmers and designers have inflicted on users. In-house developers should take note of the many ways error messages can leave users worse off than before and how graphical metaphors can fail miserably.

I ran into a notable gaffe in the search feature of Macromedias Dreamweaver MX. Its interface is generally effective, but this window left me scratching my head. The control is intended to let the user select a directory to be searched. I had to use this misappropriated file selection dialog box to navigate to the right folder, make sure nothing was selected, then click the Select button. A directory tree where a single directory is highlighted would be a better design choice.

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