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Interesting article Defeated By a Dialog Box
by Jakob Nielson about dialog boxes that cause user confusion. Good reading about "usable information technology".
Lately I am seeing this more and more on the web -- AJAX controls that take accept data, process it and the user simply closes the window and resumes the previous activity. A "Close Window", (or worse an "X" in the upper right corner), just doesn't give users the same feeling of being in control that "OK" or "CANCEL" do.
Clicking an "X" or "close window" link after you enter or modify data feels as wrong as clicking START on a Microsoft Windows OS to shut down a PC.
I agree with you regarding the rather lame 'X' in the upper right corner not providing the same sense of control afforded by 'OK' and 'CANCEL' buttons
However, I'm not exactly impressed by Jakob Nielson
Although he is touted as an expert, I have often wondered why
Whilst I concur with much of his writing, I find that most of what he says is nothing more than 'common sense' - the sort of insight that comes easily without a PhD
For a so-called (self-proclaimed?) Internet expert, he comes across as a total noob
The offending software shall remain nameless; it's a nice piece of shareware that I enjoy enough to have paid the fee. Also, a single developer serves as both the programmer and interface designer on the application, so it would be unfair to pick on him.
And then he posts a screendump of the FREEWARE interface... one that will be readily identifiable by any one of the 1000s and 1000s of people all around the whirled have been using it for years, an application that weighs in at less than 1.2MB and works 10 times faster than any proprietary package, for free... or an optional €10
Rather than bashing out yet another pile of 'expert opinion' to bolster his lofty pedestal, he could have flicked the developer an email (try that with adobe!) and/or visited the Bugreports or Feature Requests forums
You want 'accessibility' Jakob? The squeaky wheel gets the oil
I know most of the ways interaction designers can confuse or annoy users. I've seen it all before
It strikes me that Nielsen's "33 years' experience using computers and 25 years' professional experience analyzing bad designs" hasn't really paid dividends
Despite all this experience AND an application that will make any image screen-friendly, Nielsen uses a 42kB thumbnail as a link to a 63kB png file...
Do as I say, not as I do?