Saturday, October 29, 2005

Human nature

This is a story from before Windows NT, and before Windows 98, and before Windows 95, and before Windows 3.1, but I think it has a timeless message. In the old days, the last word in user friendliness was to have a start screen on your computer listing numbered options which started the various programs. My computer at work had ended up with a lot of options which either didn't work or led to removed programs, so I tidied up the menu page text to create new options. For obscure reasons, I found I couldn't remove or edit one of the numbered options, only change the text label: people could press it but nothing happened. To discourage them from doing so, I re-labelled it 'Self Destruct Device'. One of my colleagues used my computer one day, and came up to me afterwards. "You know that self-destruct option on your computer?", he said, "It doesn't work!".

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