Joel has written an article about the amount of options related to going away from your PC (shutting down, logging off, etc) in Windows Vista.

Joel’s got a nice screen shot, which I’ll nick for the purposes of this article (I’m not near my Vista box).


Basically, you could summarise Joel’s article down to this, since it seems to be the root of Joel’s annoyance with Vista:

Every time you want to leave your computer, you have to choose between nine, count them, nine options: two icons and seven menu items. The two icons, I think, are shortcuts to menu items. I’m guessing the lock icon does the same thing as the lock menu item, but I’m not sure which menu item the on/off icon corresponds to.

I’m stunned, really – They give you two options. “Turn it off” or “Lock it”. I’m guessing if you’ve got a “Home” edition with no passwords on, it’ll get rid of the Lock option too (though, I can’t verify it).

Inevitably, you are going to think of a long list of intelligent, defensible reasons why each of these options is absolutely, positively essential. Don’t bother. I know. Each additional choice makes complete sense until you find yourself explaining to your uncle that he has to choose between 15 different ways to turn off a laptop.

Dude, seriously – tell your Uncle to hit the power button on the start menu. It’s what I do, I’ve never seen anyone (even the computer-phobic people) who has had an issue with clicking “Start” and then “Shut down” and then “OK” under the Windows 9x/2000/XP line, a simple “Start” then “Power off” should be even easier on Vista.

Yes, you get inquisitive users that’ll call you up at odd hours going “I’ve got this flashing c colon slash Microsoft thing — what do I need to use this for?”.
I don’t see Joel asking for the Run command to be taken away though.

Joel ends up asking for one giant “b’bye” button which locks the PC initially, and then uses power management to eventually decide to hibernate the PC.  Joel advocates pulling the plug if you really want the machine off right now,  and trusting in new (more expensive) Hybrid hard drives to keep all our data safe.
Because, y’know – telling a user to yank the power out at random times helps keep your hardware in good working order, and your data safe. 

I do agree on a few things though – giving users too many options leads to confusion generally. The “Just click OK” syndrome.  Which is why the power off has a hilight vs the padlock. It’s also a bit of a recognition thing – their vacuum cleaner, dishwasher, TV, and DVD Player all have that same “Power off” logo on their on/off buttons.

Comments are closed.