This is What I’m Talking About

The Gu himself, Scott Guthrie of Microsoft, wrote a blog entry yesterday about some power productivity features that people can get with a new VS 2010 update. It only took me a few seconds to find two classic examples that clearly illustrate one of the things that frustrates me about Windows: There is no consistency.

Take, for example, the following screen shot that Scott includes in his post:

Don’t those “On / Off” switches look cool?? There’s just one problem. No where else in any of Windows do options have this interface for turning things on or off. People are used to checkboxes. There was nothing wrong with checkboxes. Everyone was used to them. So while this may LOOK cooler to some people, it’s different behavior. It copies the switches iOS now. But one reason they were made like that for iOS was because people weren’t going to be using mice – they would be using their finger, which is less precise.

Next, take a look at another screen shot he included:

If you look at the little triangles, you will see that they point down when the node is expanded and they point to the right when the node is closed. But if you look back at the first screen shot, those triangles point to the lower right when the node is expanded, and appear all in black (there is no discoloration in the other window’s arrows). Furthermore, the arrows on the second screen shot are filled in gray. The ones in the first screen shot are gray outlines. Also, they’re different sizes.

I’m not commenting on the particular features that Scott is writing about, I’m commenting on how there is so little attention paid to details like consistency. Call me nit-picky, go ahead. I deserve it.