Ways to annoy me, a public service announcement
Posted by Jason Baker on December 14, 2008
I seem to be noticing a lot of very good pieces of software doing a lot of needlessly stupid (and more to the point annoying) things. So I figure that these companies must have good people working for them. They just may not know that some of the stuff they do is annoying. Thus, I’m posting this in hopes that someone will learn something new and never commit these travesties again.
Most of these boil down to one rule: make your app a good and courteous citizen of my computer. So without further ado, here are my current top annoyances:
- INSIST on installing shortcuts to my desktop, quicklaunch bar or dock, and start menu. Sure, I can just delete them once the installer’s done. But is it really that difficult to add an option to not have these shortcuts installed? Of course, I’m sure that a lot of this is done to get some marketing exposure (this means you, Adobe). But just about the only people that leave these icons are the ones that have hundreds of icons scattered across their desktop anyway.
- Install an unnecessary background service to my computer. Really, this one isn’t that big a deal as long as that service doesn’t eat up too much of my system resources and doesn’t make itself blatantly apparent. The bad ones are the ones that remind me of their presence constantly. Hardware manufacturers seem to be the worst about this. I don’t need a “control center” that’s accessible from my taskbar at all times just to install a device driver for my video card.
- Make your application blissfully unaware that there may be other programs running at the time. Symantec Endpoint Protection’s LiveUpdate is terrible about stealing focus from whatever program I’m using every 5 seconds. It’s enough to make my computer temorarily unaccessible.
- Use “hidden” windows. This is by far my biggest gripe with Windows (especially XP). How many times have you been configuring something in the control center, switched to another application, and then had to go through and minimize each window untill you found the one you were looking for because it wasn’t in the taskbar?
- Use Growl/Windows Notification area. I don’t have Growl installed on my MacBook, and I’d uninstall the notification area in Windows if I could. Seriously, there are 3 reasons to distract me like this: 1) I explicitly told you to. 2) You have good news (Oh, hey! File X is finished downloading!) 3) I need to run for my life because my computer is about to explode. Beyond that, there’s not much reason to pester me with pointless notifications.
So those are the main things that you can do to annoy me as an end user. However, if you value a good end user experience, you would probably avoid these things!