I found yet another entrant for the mouse gymnastics the other day. Before the animal rescue league gets on to me, I should clarify that by mouse gymnastics I mean interfaces that require a high degree of dexterity and mouse control. As you will see, mouse gymnastics is not a good thing.
I was working on a borrowed machine. One of the start-up applications threw up (I chose my words carefully) the following interface:
Where’s the problem? Well when you move towards the close button (X), if you do anything other than approach it from the top or right, the interface expands as follows:
It turns quiting the application into a test of mouse skills. By the time I finally hovered my mouse over the close button it was a good 100 pixels higher on the screen. If at any time I overshot or moved out of the hover zone, the expander shrunk back and I had to move my mouse 100 pixels down the page to start again.
Why oh why would anyone ever design an interface in such as way? I can only guess that they saw the Apple Dock and thought that this was a good idea. But there is one key difference between this and the Apple Dock. The Apple Dock is centred and thus when magnified and expands in two directions.
Oh just to prove I did eventually pass the gymnastic test, here’s proof!
All this is before I get started on the idiosyncratic icons – Bluetooth as a CD?