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Joel on Software


by Joel Spolsky
Friday, June 20, 2003

Jason Fried likes this dialog from OmniWeb 4.5 :

(Picture of a dialog box which reads: UPDATE BOOKMARK. You have a bookmark set on http://www.mozillazine.org/weblogs/hyatt which has been permanently redirected to http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/hyatt. Should the bookmark be changed to point to the new address?

I have to disagree. I think it's a nice feature that shouldn't be advertising itself, it should just happen automatically and silently. It's a permanent redirect, that's what it means, and designers of web browsers know that a lot better than users, so why should users be inflicted with the need to make a complicated decision about something they don't understand as well as the software designers? Especially in the form of a modal dialog that interrupts whatever the user is trying to accomplish.

Unnecessary UIs like this that pop up to brag about a cool feature the developer implemented are a little bit obnoxious. Too many software developers just can't bring themselves to implement completely invisible features. They need to show off about what a great feature they just implemented, even at the cost of confusing people. Really great UI design disappears. It's a matter of taking away, not adding. Is this dialog any better than the Windows Help Find Setup Wizard?

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