Monday, July 22, 2013

Hold on....why did they let it do that?

When we work with computer systems, we rarely imagine the people who designed them. If we do, we only think of them in their work context, abstract entities that give us their product and answer our questions about it. We don't like to think about them being dumb, or having a sense of humor. I'm not sure which of those two to chalk this
little "feature" up to.

I was working with a wiki product recently, made a few changes, and saved the document. A nice little save window popped up like you'd expect.

I moved my mouse back to the task bar when I noticed that my mouse changed when I moved it over the blue bar at the top of the window. A split second later, the page finished saving and the save box was gone. I opened the doc back up, made another change and saved it just to take a look. Sure enough, when I moved my mouse of the blue bar, I got a movement option.

Here it is delightfully displayed over the other toolbars. Why on earth does it do that? There is nothing else on that page to work with during the save. Nothing at all. There is nothing I'd be interested in looking at, nothing useful to me. There are only two possible answers to why I can move the save box:

The developers got it for free with some framework for creating pop up boxes on web pages, didn't think about the feature set available and what should be turned off. If this is the case, picture your vendor's developers like this:

Or, the developers were playing around, figured out how to do something cool and left it in there as an easter egg, in which case, your vendor's developers are more like this.

It's a subtle, but significant difference.