Shut-down stories

December 21st, 2006

Some interesting and intertwined stories relating the issues around the shut-down menu have surfaced recently:

  • Joel on the new Windows Vista shut-down menu

    Every time you want to leave your computer, you have to choose between nine, count them, nine options … The more choices you give people, the harder it is for them to choose, and the unhappier they’ll feel.

  • One of the developers attempts to explain, highlighting some pretty awful Microsoft design-by-committee.

    So that nets us an estimate — to pull a number out of the air — of 24 people involved in this feature. Also each team was separated by 6 layers of management from the leads, so let’s add them in too, giving us 24 + (6 * 3) + 1 (the shared manager) 43 total people with a voice in this feature

  • An to complete the picture, the Apple shutdown feature developer tells us how to do it right

    I actually think that the result could have been even better than what we ended up with. I argued against including Restart, Shut Down and Sleep in the Apple menu. How often do you restart your computer, really, especially as a regular end user? On the very rare time when you need to do so, why not just Shut Down, then power up again?

It’s frightening how easy it is to lose sight of what is, at first glance, obviously the way to go. It can be very hard to go against the consensus when there is no absolute right or wrong way to develop an interface. Still, surely they user tested it?

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