UI Fail! Winamp

I know I’m not the only person that runs windows with the task bar somewhere else besides the default bottom of the screen position. While I’m particularly taken to have my task bar at the top, there are many a developer I’ve seen use the taskbar on the side as well. And why shouldn’t people be able to move the task bar? It’s such an easy thing to do in Windows, back in the heydays of Windows 95, it was as easy to resize and move the bar as it was to just select something inside of it.

So why is it that more then 10 years since it’s original inception, we still see things like this:


That’s Winamp’s update alert visible under my top oriented task bar. Tsk. The Winamp developers are apparently unaware to the fact that this is a very probably place for the task bar to be, but they care not. Winamp will incessantly keep placing that damn alert window at the very top of the screen whenever the program is opened, even if i bother the move the window down before closing the program.

The worst part is not that the window appears when Winamp starts, but rather that under Windows Vista, it can’t be closed to easily. The task bar in Vista, unlike that of previous Windows versions, can’t be shrunk manually. To close this errant window, I have to make the task bar auto-hide, be careful not to get too close to the edge for the task bar to show it self again, while I try to press the (x) to close the window. I can’t even right click on Winamp and un-select the alert window, like I could un-select the Playlist window to hide it.

I seriously doubt the Winamp developers really wanted to make closing that popup such a pain, but due to their lack of forethought about different monitor and task bar configurations, they have made what should be simple, rather complex. And that’s a problem for me, because as Jeff Atwood stated, we […] tend to radically underestimate the impact of the dozens of small events in our lives throughout the day. Every user interface for your application should always be simple and straight forward to use. As tools, applications have to be as out of the way as possible to let the user do what they want with the application. When an application adds just a little bit of annoyance, or a little bit of uneeded complexity, it’s UI is failing you.

July 14, 2008 10:03 PM UI Fail


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