November 21, 2006
Choices Suck!

Joel of Joel on Software has a good read on choices = headaches as he examines the new Vista shutdown options which give you 9 different menu options to choose from as you walk away from your computer. He also goes into how choices suck and actually restrict you more (ie: notice how in the open source world there are probably 50 different distros out there, and only maybe 5 of them are "real" choices; and while there are probably 10 different window manager / desktop environments, you really only ever choose between GNOME and KDE). I also like how he takes those 9 choices for shutdown and manages to combine them down to.... well, I'll let you read the article yourself.

Posted by Arcterex at November 21, 2006 10:30 AM

What a sucky article written by someone who has no clue.

He says that merging lock, switch user, and log out is good. but each is a different utility and has different uses.

Also, he says sleep and hibernate are the same thing, which they are not.

And he proposes removing the restart function.

This guy knows not of what he speaks

Posted by: RoundTop on November 22, 2006 11:32 AM

His point is that even though they each have different functions, do you really need that many choices as a user? I don't think he was 100% serious with the end conclusion of one button, but realistically how many different things are you doing when you walk away from the computer that you'd need that many choices. Of course, part of the whole thing that was missed or ignored was other than lock and standby (or whatever the 'power off' button is) the other options are 'extra' and a person when leaving their computer would just click the 'power off' button, not click the flyout and select something from their each time unless they specifically needed logoff; restart, etc.

That said, I think his ideas of changing the way that computers shut down to allow the 'b'bye' button are good ones. Why can't I switch user from a locked screen? Why are standby and hibernate different? (Well, they're different because MS hasn't gotten the standby/hibernate to work as well as on Macs where you have pretty much instant on and instant off when you close/open your laptop).

Each different utility has different uses yes, but does the end user need that many choices or is that holding back usability?

Posted by: Arcterex on November 22, 2006 12:08 PM

He doesn't say that sleep and hibernate are the same thing. He says that most people have no idea what the difference is. He's correct.

The guy knows exactly of what he speaks. The difficulty is that he's speaking for the average "where's the 'any' key?" user. As a techie, I can handle all the different options.

Why do you need "restart"? Assuming the OS is stable (okay, a big assumption with Windows, I admit) then you shouldn't need to restart except when an application requires it for installation (due to terrible design in Windows). How much trouble is it to press the power button after a shutdown if it removes confusion among 90% of users?

Posted by: Brian White on November 23, 2006 9:23 AM
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?