I Just Want to Delete the Cache

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

2 Replies to “I Just Want to Delete the Cache”

  1. For a regular user, delete operation may indicate a “move to recycle bin”. While obliterate means something more than delete. Permanently delete.

    But of course, this is something that Mr. M$ didnt’t teach you.

    So instead of taking this attitude of criticizing Google, just explore other spaces. I’m glad you took the first step and use Chrome, and not IE. Keep practicing.

    And you’re using a browser that has UI written in English. If you’re not comfortable with English, switch to a browser that has the UI written in Romanian.


    PS: I bet you do not know what HTH means

  2. Without wishing to start a I-hate-Microsoft-I-love-open-source vs. You-M$-brainwashed flame, I just want to say that you complete misunderstood the point. The point is not about Chrome, IE or others, it’s not who built it (Google or Microsoft) it’s about some simple UI principles. Now, you probable too the term “Mr. Google Programmer” as an offense, though it was not meant that way. Trust me, if this was in IE (which is a browser I seldom use) I would have said “Mr. Microsoft Programmer”, so this is not about MS or Google.

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