Category Archives: Interface Hall of Shame

The ugliest Wikipedian navbox yet!

Wikipedia uses, on its pages, templates with links to kindred articels so you can see the relation between them and find similar subject matter. Here is a good example.

Now, for what I found: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Template:DSLR_cameras_with_movie_mode&oldid=772927666

Hideous! It is hard to display so many different categories at once, and this is a good example of that.

An unwontedly ugly property sheet

We all know that parts of a system that are used the least are generally the worst. They get the least attention and have the lowest priority when triaging bugs. In some cases they are so rarely seen that they don’t even get bug reports written about them. Vide the now notorious Windows 3.x font addition dialog that lasted until Windows Vista.

Here is a less egregious example from Windows 10 (current version, 1511):

UglyFTPProps

Note the background color problem under the permissions section of the dialog. I suspect that it has been there since Windows 98 or something. If it was removed, this would look fine. Maybe in the next version of Windows, the anniversary update, they will improve this?

I am not mentioning the UNIX style permissions because that is a function of the FTP server, rather than the Windows FTP client.

More diversity form nonsense

While applying for a position at Fenwal, I was presented with the typical EEO form to fill out:

DubiousFenwal

As I have shown, it is bizarrely possible to declare yourself both Hispanic and non-Hispanic at the same time. Shades of the radio button confusion of PSEG. Also, for some reason, the Hispanic/Latino question is a subheading under gender. Why?

Not clear icon overlay in EU4

Continuing from my previous post about EU4, I found another interface oddity.

Some context: In EU there are “provinces”, which are similar to cities in the Civilization games. Some of these have fortifications that require you to siege them. To do this, you need to have a certain number of troops in the province. If you do not, you can’t besiege the place.

The icon for this situation is shown in the image below (the little red thing):

eu4-seige-icon

Too few troops to siege this province.

Most of the iconography in this image is apparent to the player, though possibly highly confusing to a newbie. The red icon though I cannot tell the meaning of. It just looks like a squiggle with an exclamation point after it.

Checkbox v. dropdown

When I was applying for a position at, if I remember correctly, PSEG, I had to fill out a diversity form or two or three. I don’t have a problem with that.

I did notice this UI confusion though:

Nocheckboxes

Clearly that is a drop down menu. However I would note that check boxes would actually be improper here, since the options are mutually exclusive (check one). However, if they said “click on of the radio buttons” they would be probably confusing people who don’t know UI designers jargon.

You can rename your provinces in EU4

I had posted a week or so ago about a “grand strategy” game I play. It is called Europa Universalis 4, or “EU4” for short. Essentially you pick a country (doesn’t have to be in Europe) and try and either conquer the world, conquer parts of the world, get achievements, or just survive from 1444 to 1821.

The game is notoriously moddable, but one thing I noticed that I had overlooked for ages because it is so well hidden, is that you can rename provinces you own without having to change text files.

To do this:

  1. Click the province to open it.
  2. Click the name of the province (in the upper left)
  3. Type in what you want.

The change is immediately visible on the map and also in all dialogs. You can change the provincial capital as well.

For some reason, the fact that it is editable is nowhere indicated in the UI, which is strange to me.

Two minor user interface choices on VirtualBox

VirtualBox is – as a general user I have to say – a really neat program. A free and open program from Oracle (ex Sun Microsystems) it lets you do virtualization on a reasonably powerful PC with a smooth interface and options. It’s like VMware but free.

I did spot a couple of problems with the interface when I was using it though1.

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