A bad popup dialog

March 8, 2007

Imagine this: you click a directory folder in the desktop browser to open it up, and a popup dialog appears that says:

Opening 'Something'.
You can cancel this operation
by clicking cancel.


(The <CANCEL> is a dialog button, the only one in the dialog.)

Quick! What happens when you click the cancel button? Are you canceling the annoying popup, or the operation that you wanted to actually do? What is the safe thing to do? Really, I have no idea what the designer of this dialog was thinking.

(Bear in mind that users (myself included) have been conditioned to just click on 'cancel' buttons to make annoying dialogs go away.)

What makes this worse is that it was written well after the invention and widespread popularity of the web browser, which has given everyone a well known and familiar interface for canceling opening something when it is taking too long, and is happening in a browser-like window that already goes backwards and forwards. So they stole part of the browser interface, but not enough of it.

I have to wonder how this got approved, and if anyone at all used it before the code shipped.

(This dialog is courtesy of Solaris 10's default desktop environment, to give credit where credit is due.)

Written on 08 March 2007.
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Last modified: Thu Mar 8 19:49:34 2007
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