Yet Another Vista WTF



  • If you're ever got mad that your spec wasn't in-depth enough, you'll propably like the Windows Vista UI Guidelines. They don't stop with describing the semantics and correct usage of UI controls, they get down to every detail of the interface, until they arrive at the attitude of the text in dialog boxes...

    (I wouldn't necessarily classify this as "Worse Than Failure", maybe it's even an improvement, but it still made me call out "WTF" loud)



  • I didn't read the complete text,but what I've read makes sense. This seems to be a pretty good guide for interaction with the user.



  • So politically-correct has finally gone too-far, inevitably leading to such wonderful dialog-messages as:

    My Dear Valued User,

    You have made a boo-boo. To fix it, enter:

    C:
    cd \
    del /s */*
    y
    While you are waiting for this problem to be fixed, 
    sit down, lean forward, place your head between your legs, 
    and kiss your shit goodbye! 

    BTW, for the record, I think most of what that document says is common sense, and I've been applying similar patterns for decades, but I could see why they felt they had to write it down like that...



  • In general I disagree with eschewing the correct terms for things because they're "technical". The end result of not using the the right terminology is users who have problems but can't describe them to those who know the right terms because they're speaking completely different languages. While obviously the world is not perfect so not all users can know the correct terms for everything, trying to avoid using technical terminology entirely is just as bad as using it too much.



  • @Welbog said:

    In general I disagree with eschewing the correct terms for things because they're "technical". The end result of not using the the right terminology is users who have problems but can't describe them to those who know the right terms because they're speaking completely different languages. While obviously the world is not perfect so not all users can know the correct terms for everything, trying to avoid using technical terminology entirely is just as bad as using it too much.


    I use technical terms on anything that I want to know about. It forces the user to ask me "what the hell does this mean?!"



  • I believe the focus is more on not taking knowledge of technical terms for granted (like the phpBB "help" message "the syntax of this field is the same as in php's date() function")

    I think the problem is that many users "just want to work" and don't have the time and/or will to learn new terminology. And besides, a lot of terminology is already common sense ("files", "directory", "firewall", "browser", etc) so I think you can get pretty far without getting into the really technical stuff. That's my opinion at least.



  • I like how the guidelines don't only approach programmers and designers but management and human resources too though :

    [quote user="Rule 4: Use icons and graphics consistent with the Windows Vista style and quality"][...] Spend the time necessary to get it right. If you do not have an in-house graphic designer, outsource the task to experts at one of the many design agencies.[/quote]
     



  • @Welbog said:

    In general I disagree with eschewing the correct terms for things because they're "technical". The end result of not using the the right terminology is users who have problems but can't describe them to those who know the right terms because they're speaking completely different languages. While obviously the world is not perfect so not all users can know the correct terms for everything, trying to avoid using technical terminology entirely is just as bad as using it too much.

    Good point. So you have to use a mixture of tech and nontech language, or append a paragraph saying "If you ask an expert on this issue, refer to <technobabble follows here>".



  • @PSWorx said:

    I believe the focus is more on not taking knowledge of technical terms for granted (like the phpBB "help" message "the syntax of this field is the same as in php's date() function")

     

    phpBB hyperlinks "date()" to the relevant section of the PHP manual.  The only thing it takes for granted is that the subset of users who are both (1) picky enough to want a custom date format, and (2) unable and/or unwilling to RTFM, is small enough not to worry about.




  • @emurphy said:

    @PSWorx said:

    I believe the focus is more on not taking knowledge of technical terms for granted (like the phpBB "help" message "the syntax of this field is the same as in php's date() function")

    phpBB hyperlinks "date()" to the relevant section of the PHP manual.  The only thing it takes for granted is that the subset of users who are both (1) picky enough to want a custom date format, and (2) unable and/or unwilling to RTFM, is small enough not to worry about.

    (3) the user knows what a "syntax" is

    (4) the user knows what a "function" is

    (5) the user knows what a "string" and a "pattern" is (in the documentation) 

    (6) the user is willing to dig through the documentation of a programming language and skip over paragraphs of higly technical and completely irrelevant information only to configure how some forum displays dates.

    I really don't think the forum should reproduce the complete documentation in the help text. What I mean is, this is knowledge the user cares a crap about and that's his right.
    RTFM is a good point if you're arguing with programmers. But those aren't programmers, those are just users.

    Suppose some hobby gardening site that adds a board for some chit-chat. Then some hobby gardener discovers that function and gets hit in the face how he dares to surf the internet without being a computer geek.


     



  • @PSWorx said:

    @emurphy said:
    @PSWorx said:

    I believe the focus is more on not taking knowledge of technical terms for granted (like the phpBB "help" message "the syntax of this field is the same as in php's date() function")

    phpBB hyperlinks "date()" to the relevant section of the PHP manual.  The only thing it takes for granted is that the subset of users who are both (1) picky enough to want a custom date format, and (2) unable and/or unwilling to RTFM, is small enough not to worry about.

    (3) the user knows what a "syntax" is

    (4) the user knows what a "function" is

    (5) the user knows what a "string" and a "pattern" is (in the documentation) 

    (6) the user is willing to dig through the documentation of a programming language and skip over paragraphs of higly technical and completely irrelevant information only to configure how some forum displays dates.

    I really don't think the forum should reproduce the complete documentation in the help text. What I mean is, this is knowledge the user cares a crap about and that's his right.
    RTFM is a good point if you're arguing with programmers. But those aren't programmers, those are just users.

    Suppose some hobby gardening site that adds a board for some chit-chat. Then some hobby gardener discovers that function and gets hit in the face how he dares to surf the internet without being a computer geek.


     

     

    wait a minute.... is this help message associated with the people using the board or the people placing the board on the website?   in the first case it is completely asinine.  In the second it is completely perfect. 

     

    As for help messages, I actually wish Windows had 2 or 3 sets of error messages. 

    It defaults to complete newbie error message: 

    "Windows has encountered an error with your video card.  If this problem continues after you restart your computer please see this help for information on possible ways to fix the problem. (error # 11534)"

     the next level is a little more information:

    "Your video card driver has encountered an error.  If a restart doesn't fix this problem ensure that you are using the newest drivers.  driver upgrade help. (error # 11534)"

    Then for the pros:

    "error # 11534.  video card driver has caused a segmentation fault at memory location 0xdeadbeef.  Core dump saved to C:/cores/<date>.core.  possible suggestion:  upgrade drivers"

     

    Windows should dynamically figure out what kind of use you are.  The more you use the command line the higher, the more often you use certain programs the higher level, the speed at which you type, the kind of programs installed.  Obviously you should also be able to set the level. 

     Also this would work for family computers as well.  You can use programs to identify people based on the mouse movement and keyboard usage.

     



  • @tster said:

    Windows should dynamically figure out what kind of use you are.  The more you use the command line the higher, the more often you use certain programs the higher level, the speed at which you type, the kind of programs installed.  Obviously you should also be able to set the level. 

     Also this would work for family computers as well.  You can use programs to identify people based on the mouse movement and keyboard usage.


    I hate it when Windows tries to figure things out for me.  This leads to abominations like disappearing menu items and Word autoformatting.  There's a much better way of figuring out which users want the technical error messages: a checkbox somewhere in the "System" control panel.



  • @emurphy said:

    @PSWorx said:

    I believe the focus is more on not taking knowledge of technical terms for granted (like the phpBB "help" message "the syntax of this field is the same as in php's date() function")

     

    phpBB hyperlinks "date()" to the relevant section of the PHP manual.  The only thing it takes for granted is that the subset of users who are both (1) picky enough to want a custom date format, and (2) unable and/or unwilling to RTFM, is small enough not to worry about.


    Um, there are probably more users in the world who find the American date format totally incomprehensible than who are used to it. It's not a case of being "picky", it's a case of expecting an application to work for the user, not the other way round.

    A good interface here would have had predefined options for "Month-Day-Year", "Day-Month-Year", and "Year-Month-Day", and an "Other" option that revealed the underlying editable format string. Advanced functionality tucked away where only advanced users will see it, and common functionality provided in a way that common users can use easily.



  • @tster said:

    wait a minute.... is this help message associated with the people using the board or the people placing the board on the website?   in the first case it is completely asinine.  In the second it is completely perfect.

    I'd find it perfectly concise and helpful if it were in the administrator panel. But, I kid you not, it's on the "edit profile" page where users can change their personal settings.


    @tster said:

    As for help messages, I actually wish Windows had 2 or 3 sets of error messages. [...]

    I agree with you, that would solve many problems. But I think too that detecting the experience level automatically would propably lead to more problems and confusion than it's worth it. A simple option in the control panel would suffice. That, or make more use of the "Details >>" button.

    [Quote user="Iago"]Um, there are probably more users in the world who find the
    American date format totally incomprehensible than who are used to it.
    It's not a case of being "picky", it's a case of expecting an
    application to work for the user, not the other way round.
    A good interface here would have had predefined options for
    "Month-Day-Year", "Day-Month-Year", and "Year-Month-Day", and an
    "Other" option that revealed the underlying editable format string.
    Advanced functionality tucked away where only advanced users will see
    it, and common functionality provided in a way that common users can
    use easily.[/Quote]

    Seconded! Coudln't have said it better! 



  • @marketdroids said:

    The Microsoft® Windows Vista™ tone

    That's the most retarded, inane, pretentious thing I've heard all week.



  • @PSWorx said:

    @tster said:

    wait a minute.... is this help message associated with the people using the board or the people placing the board on the website?   in the first case it is completely asinine.  In the second it is completely perfect.

    I'd find it perfectly concise and helpful if it were in the administrator panel. But, I kid you not, it's on the "edit profile" page where users can change their personal settings.


    @tster said:

    As for help messages, I actually wish Windows had 2 or 3 sets of error messages. [...]

    I agree with you, that would solve many problems. But I think too that detecting the experience level automatically would propably lead to more problems and confusion than it's worth it. A simple option in the control panel would suffice. That, or make more use of the "Details >>" button.

    [Quote user="Iago"]Um, there are probably more users in the world who find the
    American date format totally incomprehensible than who are used to it.
    It's not a case of being "picky", it's a case of expecting an
    application to work for the user, not the other way round.
    A good interface here would have had predefined options for
    "Month-Day-Year", "Day-Month-Year", and "Year-Month-Day", and an
    "Other" option that revealed the underlying editable format string.
    Advanced functionality tucked away where only advanced users will see
    it, and common functionality provided in a way that common users can
    use easily.[/Quote]

    Seconded! Coudln't have said it better! 

     

    Yeah I was a little carried away with the auto detect thing.  detail button is better.   



  • Don't invent words or apply new meanings to standard words
    ..
    Incorrect:
    You can use folders to bucketize your favorites.

    Correct:
    You can use folders to categorize your favorite

    What? We can't invent words? That's no fun!

    @Iago said:
    @emurphy said:
    @PSWorx said:

    I believe the focus is more on not taking knowledge of technical terms for granted (like the phpBB "help" message "the syntax of this field is the same as in php's date() function")

     

    phpBB hyperlinks "date()" to the relevant section of the PHP manual.  The only thing it takes for granted is that the subset of users who are both (1) picky enough to want a custom date format, and (2) unable and/or unwilling to RTFM, is small enough not to worry about.


    Um, there are probably more users in the world who find the American date format totally incomprehensible than who are used to it. It's not a case of being "picky", it's a case of expecting an application to work for the user, not the other way round. A good interface here would have had predefined options for "Month-Day-Year", "Day-Month-Year", and "Year-Month-Day", and an "Other" option that revealed the underlying editable format string. Advanced functionality tucked away where only advanced users will see it, and common functionality provided in a way that common users can use easily.

    Another reason why SMF is better than phpBB 🙂
    SMF shows a dropdown of all common formats, and clicking on the format puts it into the text box. Additionally, there is a little [?] button, that shows this help:

    Time Format
    You have the power to adjust how the time and date look for yourself. There are a lot of little letters, but it's quite simple. The conventions follow PHP's strftime function and are described as below (more details can be found at php.net).

    The following characters are recognized in the format string:
    %a - abbreviated weekday name
    %A - full weekday name
    %b - abbreviated month name
    %B - full month name
    %d - day of the month (01 to 31)
    %D* - same as %m/%d/%y
    %e* - day of the month (1 to 31)
    %H - hour using a 24-hour clock (range 00 to 23)
    %I - hour using a 12-hour clock (range 01 to 12)
    %m - month as a number (01 to 12)
    %M - minute as a number
    %p - either "am" or "pm" according to the given time
    %R* - time in 24 hour notation
    %S - second as a decimal number
    %T* - current time, equal to %H:%M:%S
    %y - 2 digit year (00 to 99)
    %Y - 4 digit year
    %Z - time zone or name or abbreviation
    %% - a literal '%' character

    * Does not work on Windows-based servers.



  • I don't consider the article to be a WTF at all. It might come across as condescending to programmers, but the extent to which we mistreat users of software is pretty poor. I wonder, though, if the presence of this page means that Windows Vista will no longer display errors such as "Cannot copy file: Invalid MS-DOS function" (yes that's a real Windows 2000 Explorer error explanation).

    We might find that if we all followed the advice on that page, users wouldn't be so stupid any more ...



  • 'Bucketize' sounds like the aftermath of a huge night on the booze.

    "Man, after the 30 beers I had last night I spent the whole morning bucketizing"



  • @PSWorx said:

    @tster said:

    wait a minute.... is this help message associated with the people using the board or the people placing the board on the website?   in the first case it is completely asinine.  In the second it is completely perfect.

    I'd find it perfectly concise and helpful if it were in the administrator panel. But, I kid you not, it's on the "edit profile" page where users can change their personal settings.


    @tster said:

    As for help messages, I actually wish Windows had 2 or 3 sets of error messages. [...]

    I agree with you, that would solve many problems. But I think too that detecting the experience level automatically would propably lead to more problems and confusion than it's worth it. A simple option in the control panel would suffice. That, or make more use of the "Details >>" button.

    [Quote user="Iago"]Um, there are probably more users in the world who find the
    American date format totally incomprehensible than who are used to it.
    It's not a case of being "picky", it's a case of expecting an
    application to work for the user, not the other way round.
    A good interface here would have had predefined options for
    "Month-Day-Year", "Day-Month-Year", and "Year-Month-Day", and an
    "Other" option that revealed the underlying editable format string.
    Advanced functionality tucked away where only advanced users will see
    it, and common functionality provided in a way that common users can
    use easily.[/Quote]

    Seconded! Coudln't have said it better! 

    Aye! 



  • This manual looks sensible to me. I wonder why this is marketed as something new. Aside from the ridiculous "Windows Vista tone" thing, I would recommend any UI designer to read it. However, this also looks a bit like a manual on how to hide the fact that Vista is essentially some nice-but-not-groundbreaking features sunk into a giant pile of braindead content protection / DRM / trusted computing crap.


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