Joel writes about a canonical Windows UI mistake: ‘unequivocally the most moronic ‘wizard’ dialog in the history of the Windows operating system. This dialog is so stupid that it deserves some kind of award. A whole new category of award.’ It is, of course, the Find Setup Wizard dialog:
The first problem with this dialog is that it’s distracting. You are trying to find help in the help file. You do not, at that particular moment, give a hoot whether the database is small, big, customized, or chocolate-covered. In the meanwhile, this wicked, wicked dialog is giving you little pedantic lectures that it must create a list (or database). There are about three paragraphs there, most of which are completely confusing. There’s the painfully awkward phrase ‘your help file(s)’. You see, you may have one or more files. As if you cared at this point that there could be more than one. As if it made the slightest amount of difference. But the programmer who worked on that dialog was obviously distressed beyond belief at the possibility that there might be more than one help file(s) and it would be incorrect to say help file, now, wouldn’t it?
It’s a great article; there’s also some fantastic examples of stupid UI tricks that shouldn’t be possible, like detachable menu bars. Read it here.