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August 18, 2005


Joe Hughes

Great observation, Jan--you've nailed the problem and the engineering mindset that leads to it.

Tom Z.

I don't agree. Why lock out even 1% of users from being able to use your software by creating a 99% UI? Workarounds are very ugly at best; not possible in many cases.

How do you explain the decision to customers who call to say this is a problem for them? That they can't do what they want because the UI is optimized for the 99% of cases, and therefore, that customer's case is not possible?

Having guts is one thing, but this would not be a smart decision, IMHO.

At a minimum, there would need to be an additional "Advanced" UI to handle the 'n' case, but I don't think the additional complexity is justified.


I have seen Telephony Servers with up to 20 "Virtual" modems that all show up as indivual listings in this box. While a system like that has better modem admin tools - You still require this space in the listbox.


I think a good way to handle such a situation is to have a list that can host N items, but instead of using the Listbox with one line per item, use much more vertical space per item and put controls for the main properties on there right away. Every item can also have a button "Advanced..." that opens up another dialog for the obscure situations where you need to change one of the rare settings (which most users probably never use anyways).


Thank god you're not in charge of anything important... It's people like you who made Windows XP the piece of junk that it is. Please Microsoft, go back to the mentality that brought us Windows 2000.

Steve Ball

Bleh: pretty lame anonymous comment. It's useless feedback like yours that is an ironic example of that which you criticize: you offer nothing actionable or insightful. I can't even disagree with what you say because it is a meaningless (negative) opinion, but I can certainly disagree with your rude hostility.

Steve Ball

Which reminds, me; I did come to these comments for a reason. The idea that it is possible to design UI/UX in a way that simultaneously anticipates the needs of and serves all possible users in a world where you may easily have 10, 1000, or 1M customers over a 1, 5, or 10 year period, is unrealistic. I really love this site in that it gently expresses the non-trivial challenges that exist in UX design with real examples rather than simply spouting subjective theories about design. Great job, Jan.

Peter Arrenbrecht

I agree with Dave. HTML makes this easy, Win32 and WinForms et al do not. Avalon might be the thing that is going to help a great deal here. (We wrote our own UI layout and replication framework for just this reason.)

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