Software Talk Pretty One Day

If you’re going to inflict your UIs on the world, please do humanity a favor and brush up on your communication skills first. Case in point…

Norton Antivirus Alert dialog box

I get what the writers of this gem thought they were saying. Our program just did its thing and everything is A-OK. But that isn’t what they said. Not even close. This alert is telling me that it has, apparently, just scanned itself—while simultaneously alerting me to that fact—demonstrating that the parent application has spawned some mind-bending new form of recursion that warps the laws of space and time as we know them. If I took this dialog box at face value I would expect my computer to disappear in a blinding flash of antimatter.

To be fair, I suspect that there’s a null value or empty string mistakenly being passed along here, but that’s exactly the sort of thing that the application should catch before it’s presented to the end user.

Handbrake useless OpenGL effects checkbox This dialog box should take a tip from Handbrake, the open source DVD-ripping app, which scores remarkably high marks in the brutal honesty department. (And yes, this is an actual screenshot from a publicly available version of the app…)