Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Choosing settings

Just exactly when did it become the norm to only display the "other" setting that I can get by pushing a button and not the setting that is current. Far too often I have noticed that many web sites, subscriptions, and such offer you the choice to change your setting to something new without appropriately telling you what the current state is. Apparently it is implied that you are in the opposite state: on vs. off, subscribed vs. unsubscribed, however I find this to be a very irritating way to display information. Perhaps I simply want to look at my settings and review them, which is exceedingly difficult with this futuristic view. This permeates the web, video games (see below) and car functions (my radio in my car is frustrating to all get out) IP Phones (Cisco phones being especially irritating in this).

Programmers should be aware that when there are two settings On/Off, simply setting one of them to a color that is somewhat different than the other is not indicative of anything in particular. Perfect example of the is the F1 game on Wii, settings are on/off and indicated by Red vs. White - problem is it isn't clear which is selected. Perhaps a display that simply showed the current state and some method for choosing between the current state and the other state would be useful.

CNN take note of the above - by now many people know that the "yellow" score is the winning or leading team - however without pre-knowledge looking at two things - one yellow and one white - it would not be clear what was supposed to be indicated.

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