Dexterity Matters

I typo things. I make mistakes in the QOD, checking the wrong box. Even in a browser at times there’s a button or hot area too close to the bookmarks bar and instead of completing an action, like checking my VSTS control panel, I’ll end up on some other website. It’s really annoying, but it’s also an issue that occurs when my muscle memory takes over with my fingers not moving as expected, or moving quicker than the system expects.

In Star Trek or media, we see these flat, touch interfaces similar to smartphones, but there’s never any mention about the missteps or mistakes that could be made by users selecting the wrong item. As we move further from hardware controls to software selections, are we worried about issues? Is this something we run into with our interfaces?

I certainly think so. No matter how often I can do something correctly, I make mistakes. Often simple mistakes, born of impatience. This is especially apparent in Azure and online interfaces where the control, or the browser, might not respond as quickly as I expect. As a result, I might click something multiple times, spawning more actions than I expect. Or I might have an unexpected action occur.

This is one of the great arguments from me for having local software. The interface interactions tend to be more reliable and expected. If nothing else, a local process can allow control of the input buffer, discarding or limiting the multiple clicks that cause issues.

As we move forward, software designers should expect that users will make mistakes and ensure there are ways to cancel or undo accidental mistakes made in an interface. This isn’t always possible, and certainly there are some actions that might not be easily undone, but as we become more dependent on software, we need to consider the potential mistaken actions that users will make and provide methods to correct issues. Especially where data is involved.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

Listen to the MP3 Audio ( 3.0MB) podcast or subscribe to the feed at iTunes and LibSyn.

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
This entry was posted in Editorial and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.