Switches and buttons


At today’s open office-hours, I had two quick questions that served as great reminders that this stuff just isn’t intuitive.

First: A laptop that couldn’t see any wireless network, though TaborSpace’s wireless was indeed up and running. Turns out, that Windows for some reason doesn’t bother to tell you that the wireless hardware is disconnected. The cure? Slide the switch on the front of the laptop to “on”. Of course, the switch is located right at the front where you’d normally find a latch to hold the cover closed. Classic example of bad hardware design meeting bad software design to leave a computer user frustrated.

Second: Another long-time computer user came to me with a pretty basic question – How to have two windows visible on screen at once. Windows has a habit, sometimes, of opening all windows in full-screen mode. (Mac OS is just the opposite – it usually doesn’t want to open windows in full-screen). A quick click on the “maximize” button to toggle out of full-screen, then drag the corner of the window to resize. Pretty simple, but certainly not intuitive.