Symantec’s Own Lingua GUI

Yeah, I know, it’s a bloated bit of processes bogging down my PC at all times, but I’ve got a brand loyalty to Norton products going back more than a decade.  He said, justifying finding the problem he notes below.

So it runs one of its automated update processes and pops this little monologue box up on the screen:

Symantec sez....

So I foolishly simply click the X at the corner of the dialog box designed to dismiss the dialog box; however, this is a monologue box.  Suddenly, all of my application windows start closing.  Symantex has chosen to rewrite a commonly understood piece of GUI standard behavior and has turned this close button to an Apply button.  I supposed if I’d lost some actual data instead of just a collection of tabs I’d opened in an Internet browser, I’d be a little more upset.

I’ve seen a pile of that sort of thinking in actual design, not just in stupid bugs.  Designers and developers build out a GUI where the moving parts don’t behave like other applications or Web sites.  They think it makes a nice little stamp of their individuality upon it, much like they think the Apple stickers on the back of their cars identify them as individual thinkers.  But in the case of building applications and sites useable by normal people, it falls flat.

Listen, guys, I could come into the next meeting spouting hipster beatnik slang straight out of a 1950s coffee shop, complete with bongos, and give a status report that will make me feel individual but won’t do any good to anyone else.  That’s what you’re doing when you do incomprehensible or unexpected things with controls or buttons.  You make the user feel foolish or worse make a mistake of varying cost.

So, for Pete’s sake, do it like everyone else is doing it.  And me, I’m going to continue giving my status reports in gritty 1990s urban slang.  For the authenticity.

No Responses to “Symantec’s Own Lingua GUI”

  1. dsynadinos Says:

    How did you capture the above dialog (monologue?) box for display? After you foolishly simply clicked the X at the corner of the dialog box, didn’t it (Apply!) then disappear? Or do you capture screenshots of everything, at all times, in case something goes awry? Just teasing…and curious…

  2. The Director Says:

    As a matter of fact, I was a good tester and recreated this issue on different machines. On the second, I took the screen shot and saved it before clicking the X and confirming that the behavior recurred.

    I called it a monologue box in this case because the application was going to do all the talking.

  3. dsynadinos Says:

    Ha! Nice! I’ll use that in the future. Of course, attributing it to “The Director” each time. 🙂

    I discovered your blog recently and have been checking it regularly since. Good stuff…keep it up!

    -dsynadinos a.k.a “The Cog”

  4. ftdcjp Says:

    Great article, great points, all fully correct. Like I think I’ve said to you before: people with your intelligence and common sense don’t belong in IT. What you point out here no different from jackoff coding 2+2=5. But you know Norton stuff is lame anyway.

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