My fancy GUI is just too complicated



  • I wrote this software to be foolproof, everything that it does happens automatically when the target device is plugged into a USB port. It only has one button and in the course of an ordinary day you only have to press it once at the start of the production run. I did this because it had to be used by ordinary production line workers, many of whom are temps on minimum wage.

    However today I had to tell one of our software developers how to use it, apparently telling him "Run it, load the file, plug it in." wasn't enough. With this screen in front of him he calls me back and asks....

    So many buttons!

     

     

         "But how do you load the file?"

     



  • The picture doesn't appear.



  •  Man you suck at linking files.



  •  Oh balls, seems I am the WTF. 🙂 lemme find somewhere else to upload it to ....





  •  I have now changed the app to pop up the 'load file' box startup to avoid any confusion.





  • @Juifeng said:

    http://postimage.org/image/72gzylugp/

    Does the Load File button open a dialog? If so, it should have an ellipsis at the end, as per convention.



  • @EncoreSpod said:

    ...apparently telling him "Run it, load the file, plug it in." wasn't enough.

    Well, that certainly wouldn't have been enough for me. I'd be one of those morons to ask you what "it", "the file", and "it" were. Also I'd like to know what a tool does before I operate it. Stupid, stubborn me... I wish I were smart enough to be able to know what people are thinking, so I didn't have to be that really dumb guy that has to keep asking vague programmers what the fuck they're on about.

    Having said that, that developer's question admittedly isn't very smart. I do agree with Dhromed though, there should be an ellipsis if there's going to be a dialog.



  • I would have thought "load file" could be a folder icon top-left (as well as "open" or "load" as a menu option) to bring it in line with other windows apps.

    Either way... not much that can go wrong with it.. is there?


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @dhromed said:

    it should have an ellipsis at the end, as per convention.

    @toon said:
    I do agree with Dhromed though, there should be an ellipsis if there's going to be a dialog.

    @Raymond Chen said:

    When do you put "..." after a button or menu? For example, some menus say "Save as..." and some buttons say "Customize...". What is the rule for dots?

    Many people believe that the rule for dots is "If it's going to display a dialog, then you need dots." This is a misapprehension.

    The rules are spelled out in the Windows User Interface Design Specifications and Guidelines (what a mouthful). Scroll down to "Ellipses".

    I could repeat what's written there, or I could just tell you to read it.

    I'm going to tell you to read it.

    Okay, maybe I'm going to repeat what's written there, but briefly:

    Use an ellipsis if the command requires additional information before it can be performed. Sometimes the dialog box is the command itself, such as "About" or "Properties". Even though they display a dialog, the dialog is the result, as opposed to commands like "Print" where the dialog is collecting additional information prior to the result.



  • It's obvious here that "dialog" in their posts refers to something that asks for input: Likely a File Open dialog.


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    @Medinoc said:

    It's obvious here that "dialog" refers to something that asks for input: Likely a File Open dialog.

    True, it still should have an ellipsis, but the wording used implied that the rule was "if there's going to be a dialog, use an ellipsis," which Raymond Chen calls a misapprehension. I thought I might stop the spread of misinformation by giving the correct convention. They were right, but for the wrong reason.



  • @EncoreSpod said:

    "But how do you load the file?"
    OK.  Coming from a developer that's pretty stupid.   However ......

    @EncoreSpod said:

    I did this because it had to be used by ordinary production line workers, many of whom are temps on minimum wage.
    If this is intended for production workers with minimal computer skills, why does the button say "Load File"?  It should say "Start Production" or something that is more directly related to whatever job it is that they are doing.  For many people I'll guarantee that their initial reaction to that screen is "Load File?  What file?"

    Yes, technically "Load File" is correct and makes perfect sense to a programmer, but, this is an example of thinking like a programmer rather than thinking like an end-user.  I see this a lot in software and find in quite annoying.  Especially when it is an internal application, not one distrbuted to the general public.  There are many example of that right here in this thread: @dhromed said:

    Does the Load File button open a dialog? If so, it should have an ellipsis at the end, as per convention.
    @Cassidy said:
    I would have thought "load file" could be a folder
    icon top-left (as well as "open" or "load" as a menu option) to bring
    it in line with other windows apps.
    @toon said:
    I do agree with Dhromed though, there should be an ellipsis if there's going to be a dialog.



  • OK, I'll pile on, too. (Overall, I think you have the right idea, I just think your execution needs a little work - sorry if what I write below sounds harsh.)

    I have to ask - are these regular users who usually run it supposed to understand anything the app displays? Because as a very technical person, I don't understand anything it says.

    Programming disabled until hex file imported

    Um... OK. Since there's only one button, I don't think I'm going to be doing much programming with it. And since every file can be interpreted as being in hex, can I just use any old file? Or is there a specific use for the files you'll be feeding this utility? For example, are they "production data files", or "testing commands" or something like that?

    Instrument assigned number, #0

    What's an instrument (like a guitar or something?), and why do I need to know you assigned it a number? And I'm glad you've written both the word and the symbol for number, just to be sure. Also, starting your numbering at 0? Is that a science thing?

    Instrument #0 is done!

    That sure is exciting! Glad you added the exclamation point! I still have no idea what it means!

    Programming disabled until hex file imported.

    We've been over this one. It needs some sort of file...

    Programming re-enabled.

    Oh, wait, no it doesn't. Huh?



  • @EncoreSpod said:

    I wrote this software to be foolproof
     

    Firstly, nothing is foolproof - fools are ingenious.

    Secondly... you may want to read up a bit about UI design. I think Blakey posted some links in the past, but a few of his rants highlight how the front-end is designed by a programmer for a programmer, and not for someone unfamiliar with the package. I mean, perhaps just some numbered onscreen instructions showing the steps they should be following and which one they're currently on is better hand-holding, or even better labels/titles and not looking as threatening or bare could improve perceptions of the utility.



  • @Cassidy said:

    @EncoreSpod said:

    I wrote this software to be foolproof
     

    Firstly, nothing is foolproof - fools are ingenious.

    Secondly... you may want to read up a bit about UI design. I think Blakey posted some links in the past, but a few of his rants highlight how the front-end is designed by a programmer for a programmer, and not for someone unfamiliar with the package. I mean, perhaps just some numbered onscreen instructions showing the steps they should be following and which one they're currently on is better hand-holding, or even better labels/titles and not looking as threatening or bare could improve perceptions of the utility.

    Ding ding ding. You win the prize. That programmer spew is unforgiveable, what's the point of that? How does it help the user to whom its displayed? What is a "Multimagatron"? There's no Help menu or icon. Why does it have an icon that reads "HO"? (Or HD maybe?) Why the almost-randomly-generated file name in the window title? Just to confuse people? If there's "zero devices" as the program claims, why would I expect "Load File" to do anything at all? There's zero devices to load from. (And if that's the case, why isn't the button greyed-out to indicate it can't be used at this time?)

    What's the point of showing a blank instrument list? Hell, what's the point of showing anything since there's only one possible button to hit? Just show the fucking button, nothing else matters. I also find it hard to believe that all the user has to do is click "Load File"... once its loaded, then what? It's either loading a file and then doing something to it, or it's loading a file and doing absolutely nothing with it and you're wasting everybody's time.

    Using my psychic UI powers, I presume either "Load File" copies a file from the device to the PC, or from the PC to the device. But there's no visual indicator of this, nor is the terminology correct. ("Import/Export to Device" would be much better. It's not like you don't have room for a long button caption. Or a visual hint with an icon of the device and a arrow pointing towards/away from it.)

    This UI is maybe a C- effort. And that's without even going into nitpicky things like the lack of ellipsis, or mentioning that the caption "Instrument list" is redundant since it's obviously captioning a list box, and inconsistent since its partner to the left is plurized and it should just be named "Instruments" and both list box captions should be followed by a colon but that would be nitpicky.

    If you really wanted something better, you should create a program that can auto-detect when the "multimagatron" is plugged-in, and do its process at that point automatically without user intervention. Then you wouldn't have to write a UI at all. (Or maybe a single window-with-progress-bar, is loading the file takes some amount of time.) If this is a driver, have it act like a driver. It's obviously not a regular application with only a 1-button UI. Go back to start, rethink what you're trying to accomplish and what the best way of doing that is. For example, if my psychic UI powers are correct and this is intended to allow the user to move a file from their PC onto the device, why not just have the device show up as Mass Storage in the first place? Explorer already has a pretty good UI for moving files around.



  • @Cassidy said:

    I would have thought "load file" could be a folder icon top-left (as well as "open" or "load" as a menu option) to bring it in line with other windows apps.

    Either way... not much that can go wrong with it.. is there?

    And what about drag & drop?



  • @joe.edwards said:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2004/05/17/133181.aspx

    BTW, Windows guidelines are Windows guidelines, other OSes have their own set. For example, in Mac Classic, the ellipsis did literally mean "this command brings up a dialog box" and therefore it would be correct to have one behind "About" in that OS. Don't just assume everybody does the same thing as Windows, that's a source of many, many WTFs on Macs.


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    It does appear to be a Windows application (based on the screenshot).

    Despite that, in the comments section of the same page I linked, we find:

    @Raymond Chen said:

    Raymond Chen 17 May 2004 9:09 AM #
    (By the way, Apple http://developer.apple.com/documentation/mac/HIGuidelines/HIGuidelines-84.html and Java http://java.sun.com/products/jlf/at/book/Menus2.html appear to have the same rules for ellipses as Windows.)

    The first link appears to be dead, though.


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