11/08/2006

11-08-06 - 3

TiVo dropped a software update on me which has done some awful thing where it now collapses episodes of the same show in a folder. This is yet another instance of their software sins. First of all, the modern phenomenon of self-updating software is god awful and I wish it would end, though I know it won't. Software doesn't get old or wear out, there is no particular advantage to getting newer versions, it should be up to the user. Second, they have broken one of my basic design rules : don't change something in your UI unless there is a significant benefit. Users get familiar with the UI. This familiarity has a huge amount of value. In order for a change to be good it must have greater value than the familiarity. Making small or neutral changes is extremely foolish, and yet major software packages do it all the time. Photoshop seems to completely reorganize its menus with each version and even renames common operations. Visual Studio does that and also changes te default keyboard shortcuts!? wtf. I feel tempted to write a manual on software design, but plenty exist already and the fact is that people making these design errors wouldn't read it anyway.

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old rants