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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