Microsoft claim that their UAC secu­ri­ty prompts in Vista are designed to annoy you. I’m try­ing hard to take them seri­ous­ly and to not laugh them off… but did they real­ly think it’d work? OEMs and users have been dis­abling it in droves. Oth­er users have prob­a­bly taught their mus­cle mem­o­ry to auto­mat­i­cal­ly click the Continue/Allow but­ton with­out the slight­est acknowl­edge­ment or thought. I think Microsoft need to get their act togeth­er when it comes to UIs. Some of their recent efforts have been frus­trat­ing­ly incon­sis­tent.

A major rea­son giv­en by Microsoft in their UAC scan­dal was to encour­age devel­op­ers to avoid priv­i­lege ele­va­tions as much as pos­si­ble. A noble cause, espe­cial­ly in the secu­ri­ty-inex­pe­ri­enced world of Win­dows devel­op­ment, albeit poor­ly exe­cut­ed. It reminds me of Apple’s per­pet­u­al oppo­si­tion to the mul­ti-but­ton mouse. One stat­ed rea­son is to enforce more ‘sane’, ‘usable’ and con­sis­tent UI design, and over­all I think they’ve done well. They don’t ban mul­ti-but­ton mice (‘XY-PID­Ses’?), but giv­en the sim­ple one-but­ton default there’s less need for them. I might pre­fer using a con­ven­tion­al 3‑button scroll mouse, or even Apple’s own Mighty Mouse (a clev­er­ly-dis­guised mul­ti-but­ton mouse), but I don’t lose any func­tion­al­i­ty by not using them.

It goes to show how much the graph­i­cal inter­face can be influ­enced by its phys­i­cal input, some­thing a lot of us don’t acknowl­edge in today’s world of >100-key QWERTY key­boards, mul­ti-but­ton mice and mul­ti-fin­ger touch­pads. The real inno­va­tion in that space seems to be hap­pen­ing in the mobile and embed­ded sec­tor, the iPhone being a good exam­ple. Play­ers of games on both desk­top com­put­ers and games con­soles might notice the dif­fer­ence in ‘look and feel’ between games designed for keyboard/mouse ver­sus con­trol pad. Par­tic­u­lar­ly for action and strat­e­gy games, ports from desk­top to con­sole (or vice ver­sa) often aren’t suc­cess­ful. The soft­ware was designed with the assump­tion of par­tic­u­lar input devices, and any­thing that devi­ates from this will also alter the feel of the game.

LotD: Your Win­dows licence fees paid to make this

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