GUI Bloopers

Have you ever heard of the book GUI Bloopers?  WordPress is a treasure house of GUI Bloopers, problems that can arise in the creation of “graphical” user interfaces. Graphical just means pictures, like the one on a TV screen. The opposite is “text”, like the way computers used to be when they displayed green words on a black background; remember that? On a black matrix of 24 rows and 80 columns, you’d see the character, one among 128 or 256 or so possibilities, in the memory of the computer devoted to the video display. Editing that area was fun. But it was the nature of 128 characters, as opposed to lots of pixels of lots of possible colors, that made it logical. Pictures can get awfully indecipherable, especially when buttons “apply” nothing, but they’re there, not for a good reason, but because education is hard, hard! So are help systems! Clever icons are utterly inscrutable; readers are dazzled, but perplexed about what to do. What’s going on all over this “Add New Post” screen, for example? I find it atrocious, its inventors’ nightmares’ chef d’oeuvre. Somebody likes it, maybe. Or maybe it’s the MHz Networks phenomenon all over.

Do you see “Post Tags” over on the right? It’s breakfast cereal. Don’t hover your pointer over it, or you’ll be sorry.

I’d rather be typing in my old familiar typing-in program, not surrounded by distractions, not prevented from using my favorite tricks, like macros, spell-checking, making characters cycle through variants of accents applied to them, deleting columns, rows, or both. I’d rather not be stuck with my touchpad uncovered, to manipulate a tiny pointer just so, for a commonplace task. I might (and do) touch it! I’m ashamed of WordPress, and surprised it isn’t getting better fast. Where are all the complainants? Asleep at the wheel? Cowed by dummies, by inertia in some direction? Wake up, fury. Time to get up now.

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