November 21, 2006

Shut Down How?

From Joel Spolsky: Choices = Headaches. It’s all about how the Vista Start Menu has nine ways to tell the computer to log off/shut down, and how we could probably just do with one.

The biggest thing that bugs me is that the big “Off” button there really puts the computer to sleep, it doesn’t do a full shut down. And I haven’t found a way to change that yet.

Update: more from Moishe Lettvin, who worked on the team that actually built this thing:

But here’s how the design process worked: approximately every 4 weeks, at our weekly meeting, our PM would say, “the shell team disagrees with how this looks/feels/works” and/or “the kernel team has decided to include/not include some functionality which lets us/prevents us from doing this particular thing”. And then in our weekly meeting we’d spent approximately 90 minutes discussing how our feature — er, menu — should look based on this “new” information. Then at our next weekly meeting we’d spend another 90 minutes arguing about the design, then at the next weekly meeting we’d do the same, and at the next weekly meeting we’d agree on something… just in time to get some other missing piece of information from the shell or kernel team, and start the whole process again.

The end result of all this is what finally shipped: the lowest common denominator, the simplest and least controversial option.

I have no idea how much of the rest of Vista ended up like this. I think (indeed hope) my team was a pathological case; unfortunately it’s a visible one.

Filed under The Computer Vet Weblog

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