Monday, December 21, 2009

Add next to hide

I was just using an IDE (stands for "I'ld rather be fishing, but I am using this code application instead"), and I ended up hiding a folder that I was trying to add something to. There was no request for confirmation. No ability to undo. I tried to undo/unhide by just adding the folder again, but I got a pretty lengthy message explaining the impossibility of my attempt. BUT, at the end of the message, I was informed that there was an option under Project for showing hidden files. I accepted the message, forgot where the message said the option was, forced the message to repeat by trying to add the folder again, and this time I made sure to remember. I clicked the button, the hidden folder appeared, I right clicked it and...yes there was an option to unhide it.

Three minutes later, and completely out of the rhythm in which I had been, I came away with two learnings: 1) I have no short term memory (I just had to re-read the start of this post to remember what I was talking about); and 2) I wonder how often this happens. If this is a one time deal, I should have my license to the product revoked because I am not worthy of its utility. My hunch is that I am not alone. When two options are adjecent in a GUI, it must be expected that some user with a caffeine overload and all twelve fingers typing madly will occassionally misfire. Software should be built from the ground up to enable this kind of discovery and help the developers address the deficiency. I should not have to build this into my software, but my IDE/framework should provide it out of the box (I guess that is out of the internet).

Instrument your software so that it can help you discover its insanity.


1 comment:

  1. Don't forget these distractions: