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UI Design Question

My favorite web browser (Mozilla) does something wierd when you install it (Windows version).  It creates 3 shortcuts -- 1 on the desktop, 1 on the QuickLaunch Bar and 1 in the Start Menu.

Other programs exhibit this same behavior and I'm puzzled. 
And annoyed.

Why do they think I need 3 shortcuts that all point to the same thing?  Isn't one enough?  Is there some sort of Use Interface Design Wisdom involved that I don't understand?

What am I missing?

Newbie Programmer
Sunday, September 21, 2003

When you have a product, you try to push it as hard as you can.

And this includes always keeping it in the face of the user.

Jake
Sunday, September 21, 2003

Pure arrogance on the part of the design team.  It's totally unnecessary. 

I think the current design recommendataion from Microsoft is that programs should never automatically install shortcuts -- if the user wants a shortcut on his desktop, let him add it.  Otherwise, it's just creating visual clutter.

Robert Jacobson
Sunday, September 21, 2003

I like the installers that ask.

I also like the ones that ask *which* shortcuts to add to the start menu and where - I'm tired of

Start
    Programs
        XYZ Studios
            Our App
                App.exe
                Readme.txt

Philo

Philo
Sunday, September 21, 2003

"I'm tired of

Start
    Programs
        XYZ Studios
            Our App
                App.exe"


Me too.  I think that's really stupid.

Common Sense Guy
Sunday, September 21, 2003

"I think the current design recommendataion from Microsoft is that programs should never automatically install shortcuts -- if the user wants a shortcut on his desktop, let him add it.  Otherwise, it's just creating visual clutter."

I agree.  I'm running XP and I only have one icon on my desktop - the recycle bin.

Common Sense Guy
Sunday, September 21, 2003

Desktop? Who sees the desktop any more?

On those rare occasions that I reboot, I'm often surprised by the icons on my desktop (apps I've installed since last reboot)

Philo

Philo
Sunday, September 21, 2003

"I think the current design recommendataion from Microsoft is that programs should never automatically install shortcuts -- if the user wants a shortcut on his desktop, let him add it.  Otherwise, it's just creating visual clutter."

Where are you guys getting this recommendation from?  From my perspective, MS apps install shortcuts all over the place.  They add to my desktop, my start menu, my quick launch, my startup (office startup - puke), and the start menu quick section (above programs in win98).

It certainly sounds like a sensible recommendation, but microsoft certainly doesn't follow it.

saberworks
Sunday, September 21, 2003

>>Where are you guys getting this recommendation from?  From my perspective, MS apps install shortcuts all over the place.  They add to my desktop, my start menu, my quick launch, my startup (office startup - puke), and the start menu quick section (above programs in win98).<<

Good point.  I think this recommendation was new with Windows XP -- after Microsoft created that wretched Desktop Cleanup Wizard, maybe it figured out that the desktop shouldn't get so cluttered to begin with.  <g>

However, it is an official recommandation -- and necessary for "Designed for Windows XP" certification.  The guidelines are available here:

http://www.microsoft.com/china/winlogo/zip/AppSpec22.doc

(Word document, section 5.1)  An excerpt:

"Do not place shortcuts on the Desktop except by request of the user. If an option to add such a shortcut is offered to the user, then this should not be checked by default. Automatic installs should not place any shortcuts on the Desktop."

I'm not saying that Microsoft always practices what it preaches.  I think it's getting better with newer applications, though.  Witness the Spartan default desktop of WinXp.

Robert Jacobson
Sunday, September 21, 2003

Personally, my desktop is covered with icons and I like it that way.  Why would I want to navigate the nine degrees of GUI hell just to open applications that I use all the time?  The Start bar is just fine for infrequently used programs, but all the important apps and shortcuts to work-in-progress documents go on the desktop.  One simple mouse movement and a double-click and I'm ready.  I loathe the "feature" of WinXP that nags me to clean my desktop.

However, I agree that a good installer should let me choose whether or not I want an icon on the desktop.  Another pet peeve are installers that create icons for unrelated crap that I don't want such as when the installers for TurboTax, Microsoft Money, etc. spam my desktop with shortcuts to AOL, MSN, and every online banking webpage on the planet.

Matt Latourette
Monday, September 22, 2003

I'm using Win2k and have the shortcuts to the programs I actually use stored in a folder, which is accessible as a pop-up window from the task-bar - voila! No need to ever see the desktop again, I can open any program I need with two clicks without having to minimise anything, and any frequently accessed documents can be saved into a sub folder for equally easy access.


Monday, September 22, 2003

I suppose the rationale for installing all three shortcuts is that they're easier (especially for novices) to remove if you don't want them than to add if you do want them. Doesn't the installer give you any choice in the matter? I thought it did, but maybe it's changed in the most recent release or something.

Gareth McCaughan
Monday, September 22, 2003

> I actually use stored in a folder, which is accessible as a pop-up window from the task-bar <

I use the Start Menu like this.

Just pull things out of the "Program" folder by 1 level and they're available after clicking on the Start button. I have 1 level categories below the Start Menu, and leave the Program Files to things I don't use that often. The only problem with this is no program will install icons there, so no un-install will remove them.

Start Menu
- Windows Explorer
  (why do they put this under "Programs / Accessories" ?)
-> Editors
-> Online
-> Drives (shortcuts to all my drives)
-> Etc.
-> Programs

Also, you can have more than one quick launch bar. You can float them on your desktop and dock them on the edges. I wonder if anyone has quick launch bars on all 4 edges of the screen.

Mark T A W .com
Monday, September 22, 2003


Anybody elses uses the desktop as a real life desktop? I have mine covered with relatively current documents, temp files, and any new download goes first to the desktop, and then is moved to a permanent folder or the recycle bin.

Pretty much like my real life desktop :-)

Leonardo Herrera
Monday, September 22, 2003

(except for the coffe mug, of course :-)

Leonardo Herrera
Monday, September 22, 2003


while we're on the subject of desktop icons, can anyone explain the logic of "Arrange Icons by Name"?

Not only are apps sorted before shortcuts, but even within the apps there are multiple levels of sort.

it just bugs me...

Jason
Monday, September 22, 2003

""Personally, my desktop is covered with icons and I like it that way.  Why would I want to navigate the nine degrees of GUI hell just to open applications that I use all the time?  The Start bar is just fine for infrequently used programs, but all the important apps and shortcuts to work-in-progress documents go on the desktop.""

I used to feel the same way, but Windows XP changed all that -- now that the Start menu keeps a list of all my recently used programs with the most frequently used ones closer to the top of the list.

Combine that with my 3 or 4 most often used apps (e-mail, etc) on the "Quick Launch" menu, and I no longer have any need for icons on the desktop.

Newbie Programmer
Monday, September 22, 2003

See also:

http://blogs.gotdotnet.com/raymondc/permalink.aspx/441c4836-e2ef-4088-bc06-936d41886fbc

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, September 22, 2003

I'd actually prefer that companies install themselves as "YourCompany YourProgram" groups in the start menu and then let me play with them.  I'd love to say that WinAmp should be in Media / Players / Audio, but each person has a slightly different idea what the 5-20 folders in their start menu should be.

Flamebait Sr.
Monday, September 22, 2003

"Anybody elses uses the desktop as a real life desktop?"
Me sometimes :)
If i drug uue file onto uudecode icon it will be decoded and result will be put to desktop again :)

I think Mozilla doing all good (IMHO).  Start menu is not only for launch shortcut, but for all - readme, profile, uninstall etc. Desktop is for launchin. And still I need manually copy shortcut to root of start menu, so to start it with [Win]+[M] buttons.

Assigning key combination to shortcut also good thing - for really usefull software. And you need desktop icon to do that :)

Nekto
Wednesday, September 24, 2003

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