I recently read an excerpt from Joel Spolsky’s book User Interface Design For Programmers available on his (former) blog. This is a great book about designing user interfaces, with examples of bad and good ideas. I’m getting the printed version and I recommend this to all building UIs.
Now, yesterday I had a problem with Google Documents (which no longer worked on my WinXP machine with any browser, as it continuously unsuccessfully tried to download a 237 bytes file called download.gz) and I though that deleting the cache might help. So I opened Google Chrome options dialog and then the Clear Browsing Data dialog. It looks like this.
I was stunned to see the dialog started with the phrase “Obliterate the following items”. For God’s sake what is obliterating? I want to delete the cache, I don’t care about obliterating, and whatever that means. I don’t want to fetch a dictionary and look-up for the meaning of the word. Excuse me Mr. Google Programmer, that I (probably like many of the people of this world who are not native English speakers) don’t know what “obliterate” means. Yes, it does sound archaic, it does sound like J.R.R. Tolkien but it stops me doing my work. All I wanted to do was selecting what to delete and delete. Instead I spent time figuring whether that means to select what to keep or select what to delete (luckily it didn’t say purge). I had doubts so I had to search for the meaning of the word. Sure, now I know one more (fancy) English word, but overall, I lost one minute doing anything else but deleting the cache.
So, my recommendation to you Mr. Google Programmer is to read Joel Spolsky’s book. I’m sure there are things you can learn from it. And start using simple words and sentences that everyone understands.
As for what “obliterate” means, here it is:
- Mark for deletion, rub off, or erase
- Make undecipherable or imperceptible by obscuring or concealing
- Remove completely from recognition or memory
- Do away with completely, without leaving a trace