Thursday, 22 January 2009

Daft Dialog Box

As if to highlight how difficult computers are to use, my computer recently presented me with this message. 

I opened a zipfile that I'd downloaded, and dragged the files within the zipfile to my desktop. Then this message showed up.

What on earth does it mean? I want to answer "Copy", not Yes or No.  

I have no idea what zone I'm in.  Timezone? Congestion-charging zone? Twilight Zone? Wikipedia has 40 different pages for the word "Zone", none of which are relevant either. 

I don't use Internet Explorer, so maybe the message has nothing to do with me trying to copy files out of a zipfile. What else was I doing, or was my computer doing (actually, nothing).

And what on earth has the lock icon got to do with me copying files, me (not) using Internet Explorer,  or me not knowing how to answer "Move or Copy" by saying no?

It's this sort of "re-usable standard dialog box" that makes people hate computers. The text makes no sense, the options make no sense, and it's got nothing to do with what I was doing. No wonder so many people have learned just to click "yes" to every dialog box that appears on their screen - even the one that says "You are about to install a dangerous piece of malware that will murder your dog and cause your house to subside". 

Maybe it's not a dialog box, it's a monolog box... or a disinformation box.  Whatever it is, it's bad design. If computer-savvy people like me struggle with things like this, we shouldn't be surprised when our non-geek friends tell us that computers are difficult. 

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