The worst user interface I have seen in a long time

Yesterday my wife told me about a user interface she actually experienced, and was surprised by the violence of my reaction. It’s simply the worst user interface I can think of for a scenario in question, and it comes from a major corporation with presumably UI experts and testers, and all of that fancy stuff.

So, what she was trying to do was transfer some money from the US to Australia. The user interface was a little bit like this:

So, you’re told how many US dollars you have in the account, and then asked how many Australian dollars you want to transfer. There is no select an amount in US dollars. Oh, and if you guess wrong and have to do another transfer, that will of course cost you another set of ten dollar fees.

In summary, this user interface:

  • Expects you to know what exchange rate Citibank is going to apply
  • How much the fees are
  • Perform the exchange rate maths in your head
  • Then enter a number

Ewwww.

Alternate queries on results pages making it easier for future evilness?

John Battelle implies that the new search result page being testing by Google could make evilness easier in the future. The premise is that offering alternate queries might be useful now, but it would make it easier to insert paid listings later.

I’m confused though, and John doesn’t have a comment link in his RSS output, so I’ll post it here. Surely if Google wanted to embrace evil later, they could just direct their coders to make it happen? They already know what keywords you’re searching for (i.e. Adwords), couldn’t they just roll those into the page in a way which looks like search results? I see no real way this positions for future evil.

I’ve been keeping an eye on Google news recently, and there seems to be a propensity towards paranoia in a lot of people (for instance the gmail displaying Adwords thing). If people are bothered, why don’t they just use another search engine? You can’t tell me that MSN and Yahoo! are any less evil…

Small file open and save dialogs

It occurred to me this afternoon while driving home from discussing my broken brain with the general practitioner. Why are file open and save dialogs so small? Screen resolutions have gone up, but the size of these windows haven’t. Often I find myself poking around in a tiny little hole into the filesystem trying to find what I want. Why can they resize to say 80% of the size of the screen automatically?

This complain applies to applications on Windows, Linux, and MacOS equally.