Joel and that shutdown menu

by Matt 29. November 2006 09:12

Joel Spolsky had a small rant about how to shutdown Vista. And since it was Joel, it's actually become an issue. Unfortunately, I think Joel should look up the meaning of the word "disingenuous".

The crux of the argument is that you have 15 options of what to do when you leave your computer. And that's too many. Certainly sounds too many when you say it like that. Shame it's not quite so clear cut.

The Start menu has two buttons, lock and power off. Firstly, these buttons will be the most pushed. My mom will use this buttons. She won't bother with the menu, which incidentally, contains 7 different actions. It's this menu that's most controversial. I'll come back to that. Other options are the four laptop fn key combinations. Really. How many people have read their laptop manual enough to know that you can turn off, sleep, hibernate and (I'm guessing) lock using the fn key? These buttons are a terrible idea, but how much would Microsoft get slated if they didn't support them? Closing the lid and using the power button are more physical, intuitive ways of shutting down your machine - they have to be supported.

The "advanced" menu is definitely a poor way of doing advanced UI, but put simply, each outcome is stilll required. And what actually is the alternative? Joel suggests combining lock with switch user. Go on - lock Vista now. Look at the screen. Is it just me, or does that button say Switch User? He also suggests merging sleep and hibernate. Great idea. Should we tell Microsoft? Getting rid of log out is probably not going to go down well with enterprises. Restart replaced with shutdown and then power on? This one might actually have legs. But that wouldn't work on a headless server box that I controlled via remote desktop and wanted to restart.

Personally, if it weren't for the video driver power issues I've got, I'd just be closing the lid and wandering off.

Oh, and the iPod does have an on/off button - hold the play button down. It turns off. When it's turned off, I have to press the select button to turn it back on - any other button doesn't work. And that's more opaque than Vista's lock/off buttons, closing the lid or pressing the power button. I get that Joel's point was that the iPod doesn't need an off button, and generally, it doesn't. But unfortunately for Joel's argument, Apple are giving the user more, advanced choices. (And was he really comparing an operating system with an mp3 player?)

Joel, really. Disingenuous. It's a great word.

Tags:

Vista

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