Feb 17, 2010

Vodafone usability mistake

Use Vodafone Mobile Broadband software with my USB modem to connect to the Internet when I work in café (I usually write something in café in the morning). Every time when I plug the modem, this software pops up and prompts me to connect. The software is cool, beautifully designed and very friendly. All is cool except one small detail. Have a look at the picture:

As you see there is a prompt to connect (I wish it just could connect without asking!). Two buttons are selected in some way: one has full glow, another has outer glow. It means that one of the will act on space key, the other – on Enter key. Which one will act on what key? This question always makes me stop and think. Remembering excellent Steve Krug's book named "Don't make me think", I see such selection as a usability mistake by Vodafone. Obviously I wish to connect if I plugged in my modem! But how do I do that without pressing wrong button and without using mouse? I have to think for 10 or more second and guess that Enter key will probably apply the fully glowing button. May be it will, yeah. May be... What if not? I never try to remember such details because they take my brain's RAM and they are not what I should be thinking of. My experience should be different in this case: the program should provide a single selection, which is the most appropriate and desired by the user. Which one? Obviously to connect! Why else would I plug the modem?
This kind of mistakes quite common. It comes from the programmer's wish to give more choices to the user. Good wish but wrong. It makes people think to make the choice to the obvious one.
Don't make me think, Vodafone!

7 comments:

  1. Hi Dmitry,



    I can't reproduce your problem. I'm running version 4.00.03.00. I can go to settings->general->notifications. There I click 'disable notifications' and the connect message does not show.



    If I do let is show, it is displayed by Growl on my system.



    The possibility to control dialog boxes using the keyboard is a feature that is switched off by default. You willingly turned that feature on. You are therefore expected to know that the outlined button can be hit using the space bar. You should not have to think about that.



    Otherwise, I of couse fully agree that software should work intuitively out of the box. Good point!



    Get a newer version of Mobile Connect here: http://www.vodafone.nl/Vodafone/software/supportanddownload/Vodafone%20Mobile%20Broadband%204.00.03.00.dmg

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  2. Michiel, I can't replace this version because generic versions do not work with my modem. I can use only operator–provided version. I have 3.04.10.00. When I check for updates, it tells me that no updates are available.



    Regarding the keyboard: I did not turn anything on, all my settings are OS X defaults.



    Regarding notifications: they are disabled in VMC settings ("Do not show notifications" is checked).

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  3. Hi Dmitry,



    I like Steve Krugs Book also very much and I don't want to wrote about the key-problem (I don't know mac too). But I don't find that this is a usability mistake.



    Me in opposite would like to get asked before get connected.



    If I start preparing my Laptop I may connect all later (!) needed adapters but without wanting that all combined services are started automatic.



    And if you dont't have a flat-rate that means that you pay without wanting to.



    I have a O2-day-flat, meaning one second of unwished connecting costs me one day-flat-rate.



    So, I am not perfect and this dialog-box helps me not making an error.



    Regards

    Erdal

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  4. As Michiel says, this is a part of OS X's keyboard shortcuts.



    Have a look at Settings -> Keyboard -> Keyboard Shortcuts -> In the bottom of that screen you can select if you want "Full Keyboard Access" in windows and dialogs.



    This means, that when you have "All controls" selected, any window/dialog with a decision like this will give you the possibility of deciding using the Keyboard only. The full glow version will always be ENTER and the bordered one will be SPACE. The developer of the program can decide which buttons should have which state, when presenting the dialog.



    I never think about it anymore. Border means SPACE and "full glow" means ENTER.

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  5. Lars, you wrote exactly what I wrote :) The developer can decide what to glow! So why did they glow Cancel button in this case? This is a question! I never plug in my modem just for fun of plugging it in. So if I plugin it in, I have a clear intention to connect. Why do I get a window where cancel button can be pressed even accidentally? This should not happen.

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  6. My Vodafone USB modem stick doubles as a 4GB drive due to the mini SD slot, so don't always want to connect. I have to say the post is an example of another common programmer mistake - i.e. thinking that all the use cases are determined by their experience.

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  7. My Vodafone USB modem stick doubles as a 4GB drive due to the mini SD slot, so don't always want to connect. I have to say the post is an example of another common programmer mistake - i.e. thinking that all the use cases are determined by their experience.

    ReplyDelete