About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

Herman Goering



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 2/15/2019

Totals
Posts - 2547
Comments - 2596
Hits - 2,120,740

Averages
Entries/day - 0.45
Comments/entry - 1.02
Hits/day - 371

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 6:43 PM Pacific


  08:15 PM

Eric Lippert with another insightful, um, insight into the use of dialog boxes. From a comment in a blog entry about the spread of the Bagle virus:

It's not that users are morons or that they "forget" to think. Its that users are trained to not think. Users very quickly learn from experience that:
  • dialog boxes are modal. But users do not think of them as "modal", they think of them as "preventing me from getting any work done until I get rid of them."

  • dialog boxes almost always go away when you click the leftmost or rightmost button

  • dialog boxes usually say "If you want to tech the tech, you need to tech the tech with the teching tech tech. Tech the tech? Yes / No"

  • If you press one of those buttons, something happens. If you press the other one, nothing happens. Very few users want nothing to happen -- in the majority of cases, whatever happens is what the user wanted to happen. Only in rare cases does something bad happen.
In short, from a user perspective, dialog boxes are impediments to productivity which provide no information. It's like giving shocks or food pellets to monkeys when they press buttons -- primates very quickly learn what gives them the good stuff and avoids the bad.

Modal dialog boxes are in general, badness -- and you'll see that more and more products rely less and less upon them. But they are particularly heinous when security is on the line. Security questions cannot be asked on a "retail" basis. The way users make security decisions is to set their policies appropriately and then let the security system enforce their wishes "wholesale".

[Mike here again] I find the third point particularly interesting, speaking as a guy who's had many opportunities to turn:

If you want to tech the tech, you need to tech the tech with the teching tech tech. Tech the tech?

into

If you want to friendly tech the slightly less tech, you need to gently tech the happy tech with the helpful, teching tech soft tech. Would madame care to tech the nice tech?

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