back to article Double-click? Oh how conventional of you, darling!

Click and wait. Now click again. OK, that didn’t work. Let’s try again. Click and let go of the mouse button... and wait... and click a second time. No, I don’t want you to double-click. I need you to click twice, yes, but with a gap in between. Look, you have to click and leave that mouse button alone for a second or two …

COMMENTS

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1 out of 10

    "Much of Alistair's recent work has been well written and entertaining, but this piece is not up to the high standard he has set himself. Must try harder."

    1. Martin Silver badge

      Re: 1 out of 10

      To be fair, last week's article about the self-service tills was laugh-out-loud funny (or at least I found it so) - and he'd have to do remarkably well to come close to that one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 1 out of 10

        Which was my point - he's done some very good stuff, and on that basis I invested the time and effort to read this piece, and the payoff simply wasnt there. His points were valid, relevant to tech, and well made, just not entertaining, and this is the SFTW slot, not some workaday article on UI.

        Obviously the downvoters found this week's epistle entertaining, but I'm still struggling to get much of a laugh out of it.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          Go

          Re: 1 out of 10

          I don't anyone can be funny to all people all the time, but you obviously haven't had to replace the headlights on one of those 70s-80s Citroen cars where the first stage in replacing is opening the boot and taking out the back seat.

          AFAIK they're not that much better nowadays, but this piece of advice sagely handed down to me by my father ("Never buy a fucking French car") means that luckily I don't have to find out for myself.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Pint

            Re: 1 out of 10

            I know this is hopelessly off topic so please forgive me asking this but I have to ask.

            Why did you have to take the rear seat out of the car to replace a headlight?

            And what happened to the company that made the most ugly cars in the world? Simca..

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: 1 out of 10

              You needed to unscrew the housings from behind, the only way to get behind the housings was through the dashboard so you had to remove that from the car too.

              To remove the dashboard from the car you had to take it out of the rear door, you could get it over the front seats by fully reclining them but you had to take the back seats out.

              C'est logique, no?

              1. ChrisBedford

                Re: 1 out of 10

                Mai non.

                C'est logique Francaise, oui!

          2. ChrisBedford

            Re: 1 out of 10

            Nope, there is no difference nowadays. (Well, OK, there is - you don't have to take out the back seat to change the headlights, because it's basically f(&*^cking impossible to change the headlights no matter where you start.)

            I wish I had had your dad's advice before buying a Xsara Picasso. Marvellously spacious car (with redefined "groundbreaking" dashboard, natch, that you can't read in daylight) but oh BOY do they screw you on the price of spares. Examples that I have to make alternative plans for: rear parcel shelf (just a solid moulding, not a fancy retractible like in the BMW X5 or Audi Q series) - either £ 270 or £ 340, I don't remember the details, it was in 2008; wiper/headlight/ECU switch/control stalk assembly - a bargain at £ 270 (this year).

            Plus of course the legendary awkwardness of getting any basic maintenance work done on the thing. I think the first step for changing the spark plugs is to remove the engine.

          3. AceRimmer

            Re: 1 out of 10

            "Never buy a fucking French car"

            The French operate the CRaP car network... Critoen, Renault and Peugeot.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1 out of 10

      Really? I think it's exactly the same format as all of his other articles:

      - whinge about something that's bothered him about something this week inspiring others to write in and whinge about when the same thing bothered them, thereby allowing them to feel that they are part of a community of other people that are hard done to.

      - throw in a mention of something from the 70s/80s to whip up a bit of nostalgia in people, causing them to write in about the something that they once did in the 70s/80s. After all someone else has mentioned the subject, thereby giving them license to add to it, so they do so in the hope that because they're interested in what they themselves did over 30 years ago, complete strangers might be interested in it too.

      It's a cross between a self-help group for trivial problems and the communal room in an old folk's home.

      A kind of El Reg's version of Grumpy Old Men if you will, but without the relief of a soothing Geoffrey Palmer voiceover. Come to think of it, he does look a bit like Will Self in that photo...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 1 out of 10

        "- whinge about something that's bothered him about something this week inspiring others to write in and whinge about when the same thing bothered them, thereby allowing them to feel that they are part of a community of other people that are hard done to."

        I'm looking at you Kristian Walsh.

        "- throw in a mention of something from the 70s/80s to whip up a bit of nostalgia in people, causing them to write in about the something that they once did in the 70s/80s."

        And you EddieD, Evil Graham and all the commentors in the rocking chairs next to you.

        :D

      2. Darryl

        Re: 1 out of 10

        I remember back in the day when I used to whinge about articles that whinged about stuff.

        Ah, times were simpler back then...

        Thanks for the memories

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 1 out of 10

          @Darryl

          It wasn't really a whinge, more of a comment.

          I remember the times when I would comment on comments that reminisced about whinging about comments that whinged about articles based on whinges and reminscences.

          Those were the days, but back then the food was awful and half of Britain was on strike.

          1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
            Coat

            Re: 1 out of 10

            "comment on comments that reminisced about whinging about comments"

            A meta-comment then. Splendid. What next? Some meta-humour, aka British style jokes about British humour?

            Oh, I see. You did that too. Carry on.

            1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

              Re: 1 out of 10

              I feel compelled to complain about all the complaints made in this thread.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: 1 out of 10

              @Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

              Actually, it's more of an iterative comment. If you're not sure what I mean by that just go back to the first post and read through the replies again.

              1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
                Pint

                Re: 1 out of 10

                Iterative? That is quite an understatement. Recursive incursion into the cursed circles of recursion.

                Well done in any case. May I offer this fine ale as a token of appreciation.

      3. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

        Re: 1 out of 10

        >> he does look a bit like Will Self in that photo

        With my height, I'd have to be a Will Self Mini-Me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 1 out of 10

          Wouldn't that just be a Mini-Self?

      4. Blitterbug
        Go

        Re: he does look a bit like Will Self in that photo...

        ... I thought he was Will Self

  2. John H Woods Silver badge

    Double clicking ...

    ... is obvious shorthand for the thing you are most likely to do with two clicks - select icon, then launch, for instance. Yes it gets overused (Bethesda, I'm looking at you with your ridiculous check boxes on the GECK which have to be double-clicked to toggle the tick) but I think it makes perfect sense in many scenarios.

    As do the two single clicks to rename a file. First click to select. Second click on a selected item, start editing. As with all of these things, if you explain to people why they happen, they can learn them. Same with kids and maths: you can just teach them formulae and hope they remember them as if they were mystical incantations - or you can show them why they really work. The latter is teaching maths, the former merely teaching them to pass maths tests.

    1. Steve Knox

      Re: Double clicking ...

      So a double-click is click to select then click to open.

      Wheres two single clicks is click to select then click to edit.

      That doesn't explain why -- it just shows that the UI designer decided to give a single user action (click) three different interpretations for the same object depending on context. And the contextual difference between click-click and click-pause-click is fine enough that it trips up even the most seasoned user, especially when the threshold for the pause differs between systems (or even worse, depending on how busy a single system is.)

      Making it even worse are systems which have click-click for open, click-pause-click for rename, and click-longer pause-click does something different (or nothing at all.)

      Sure you can teach people these things, but you're not supposed to teach stupid.

    2. Old Handle

      Re: Double clicking ...

      I agree, click to select and click again to edit is standard, albeit slightly obscure. But the part where the second click had to fall within a certain time limit is completely inexcusable. I've just never heard of that.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Double clicking ...

        Well it's the same on Apple's Finder and Windows Explorer, if you double-click you open the file and if you click on the name, wait, then click again you rename the file. Is the software not offering any feedback after the first click or something?

  3. EddieD

    Standards...

    Fortunately, I never drove a Citroen.

    Back when I was learning to drive every car was different - the wipers and the indicators seeming to swap randomly; sometimes the horn was at the center of the wheel, sometimes on the end of the indicator stick.

    I lost count of the number of times I wiped my windows instead of indicating, or hooted instead of squirting my windscreen when learning, much to the irritation of my instructor.

    But it taught me to check things before I started.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Standards...

      It's not just Citroen's, my Peugeot* puts the buttons for the electric windows not on the doors, near the actual windows (what a typically un-french, non-romantic idea!). No, the controls for the windows are in the middle of the car, just behind the handbrake.

      Of course, this means every time I get into another car I fruitlessly scrabble next to the handbrake before realising that the buttons are next to the window.

      I suppose I should count myself lucky that the handbrake is in the middle of the car, not on the roof or something.

      *Peugeot - an impossible word for a dyslexic to spell.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Standards...

        "Peugeot - an impossible word for a dyslexic to spell."

        I've always thought dyslexia would improve your chances of getting it right ...

      2. Putters

        Re: Standards...

        Not quite handbrake on the roof, but about 10 years ago I used to run around in a 1960 Humber Super Snipe. Column change auto (nice) and handbrake between the (bench) seat and the drivers door.

        Due to it's unreliability and thirst for fuel (20 mpg on a run, 14 round town) I used to fairly regularly hire cars - and barked knuckles from the door pocket that the handbrake had inexplicably changed in to were a common injury as a result

      3. Chrome

        ...controls for the windows are in the middle of the car, just behind the handbrake

        I had a C(h)avalier that had exactly the same configuration. I loved that car. The passenger side had a lovely crop of moss by the time I traded it in...

      4. Michael Thibault
        IT Angle

        Re: Standards...

        >Peugeot* puts the buttons for the electric windows not on the doors, near the actual windows (what a typically un-french, non-romantic idea!). No, the controls for the windows are in the middle of the car, just behind the handbrake.

        Foolish person! The controls are in that position so that, when opening a window with your lit Gitane or Gauloise in your hand, there's no risk of ash or sparks flying back into the car—possibly into the eyes of your passengers in the rear seats. IOW, design rooted in la politesse.

      5. TheRealRoland

        Re: Standards...

        uhm, check out a New Mini. Especially when just arrived on a late night flight, preferably four hours or more. Arriving at night. Raining.

        at least all Chrysler-family cars have sort of the same layout, 'stalk-wise'.

        BTW, to drive some even more bonkers... use your car key to lock the driver-side door. left turn or right turn?

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Standards...

      Prior to standardisation there were several occasions when I responded to an outrageous example of bad driving by mouthing "You *&^%$ @:~#£!" and aggressively washing my windscreen at the offending driver.

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Standards...

        "aggressively washing my windscreen at the offending driver."

        Washing in his general direction? What a cruelty.

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

          Re: Standards...

          And some things never change. I took a Kia out for a test drive a couple of years ago, and at the beginning of it the saledroid said "if you indicate with the wipers more than 3 times, you have to buy the car". I thought he was joking, but turns out the design idiots had swapped the position of the indicator and wiper stalks compared to every other car in creation (with the possible exception of Dabbsy's Citroen).

          Shame as the car itself wasn't bad, but it was just niggling enough that I'd not consider buying one.

          1. Tom Melly

            Re: Standards...

            Regarding the Kia, fun, isn't it? Had mine for over a year and I still get it wrong about 1 in 5 times. To add insult to injury, I now also get it wrong when I drive a 'normal' car.

    3. ChrisBedford

      Re: Standards...

      "Back when I was learning to drive every car was different"

      Me too, me too! methinks you are referring to the 70s or thereabouts?

      "the wipers and the indicators seeming to swap randomly"

      There is a reason for that. It took me a long time to work it out, but it's based on the country of origin of the car. A right-hand drive vehicle has the gear stick on the left, so the indicator control is on the right. The wipers (presumably used less often than the indicators) are on the same side as the gears. Everything is mirror-imaged in a car designed for a left-hand drive market, which when it's sold in Britain only has the driver's cockpit transplanted to the other side of the car, not transposed.

      Similarly the fuel tank filler point is on the side of the car that in its original market would be opposite the driver's side. Maybe in some places you still have petrol pumps at the side of the road...? The mind boggles at the thought.

      "sometimes the horn was at the center of the wheel, sometimes on the end of the indicator stick"

      Thank God that is one quirk that seems to have disappeared. I think the little knobby at the end of the indicator stalk was a British thing - specifically, BMC / Leyland - I remember a couple of Minis and Austins with that very-hard-to-find-in-an-emergency horn button. And let's face it, the horn *is* supposed to be an emergency control!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fooling with conventions

    "I can only imagine the roads of 1970s France were littered with parked GSes as their drivers frantically flicked through the product manual, trying to find out where they’d relocated the rear-view mirror."

    Nah. In 1970s France the only thing you really needed to locate in a car was the cigarette lighter and your passenger's perky nipples*

    *I admit my knowledge of this era is informed entirely by late night films on BBC2.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fooling with conventions

      Nah. In 1970s France the only thing you really needed to locate in a car was the cigarette lighter and your passenger's perky nipples*

      And the handle to wind down the window when you realise that the beautiful girl, who has just allowed you to hitch a lift on a hot Summer day, absolutely stinks :-( Admittedly in the 1990s, but I imagine it could only have been worse in the 1970s.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fooling with conventions

        "the beautiful girl, who has just allowed you to hitch a lift on a hot Summer day, absolutely stinks"

        Twenty Gauloises and a bottle of Pernod should mask that, no problem.

        1. Michael Thibault

          Re: Fooling with conventions

          Another twenty Gauloises and a bottle of Pernod should mask that, no problem.

          FTFY.

      2. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: Fooling with conventions

        "when you realise that the beautiful girl, who has just allowed you to hitch a lift on a hot Summer day, absolutely stinks"

        She'd sprayed on some English repellant. All hitch-hiking French girls carry a can.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fooling with conventions

          She'd sprayed on some English repellant. All hitch-hiking French girls carry a can.

          It was me that was the hitch hiker - and my understanding of French hygiene is that they compensate for the lack of washing with copious amounts of cheap perfume. Seems to be a rural thing though, as Parisians don't seem to ming (although the Metro reeks of piss).

    2. Gerhard den Hollander

      Re: Fooling with conventions

      in which case your SoL on the citroen, as it does not have a cigarette lighter,

      in stead it comes with a cigar lighter .

      Yes, the mind baffles .....

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    But... but...

    To get two clicks in a specified time, you'd probably fire off a timer on the single-click and then register the second click if it's performed before the timer expires. But double-click produces a single-click event followed by a double-click event *anyway*.

    What the hell was the designer thinking?

    Oh, and in that wonderfully adept illustration by Citroen, I note that the captions are in neither alphabetic order or clustered by function, and that the numbers are also unordered. I suspect the illustrator was smoking from the same pipe...

    1. monkeyfish

      Re: But... but...

      Nah, they just listed them in the order they found them while writing the manual.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Re: But... but...

        Or it could just be to balance the Windows habit of trying to make you rename a file/folder if you try and double-click open it but are a fraction too slow?

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      Re: IT angle got a bit curved here.

      The issue is not about interpreting what users need. It's about following convention. Double-clicking is a convention. So is an indicator lever on a stick. So is pressing on the centre of a steering wheel to sound the horn. I don't see any difference between hardware and software. If Citroen did software, they'd probably put the program menus at the bottom of the screen - potentially a clever idea but it would drive everyone nuts.

  7. Kristian Walsh

    Click, wait, click...

    ...is the horribly unintuitive way that you select a file for renaming on the Mac OS X Finder. There's no menu item for "Rename", nor is there a context-menu or key shortcut. I'm guessing the developer was a Mac user.

    As the behaviour is actually a holdover from the Classic Finder, I calculate that it has been bugging me for seventeen years now.

    (Alternatively, open Terminal.app . Type 'mv', drag victim file from Finder window and drop onto terminal window, type new name inside quotes, press return)

    1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      Re: Click, wait, click...

      Tap Return.

      1. ratfox
        WTF?

        Yes of course, *tap Return*

        I use a Mac since 2008, but this has to be the most incomprehensible thing about the UI. The shortcut for opening a file or launching a program is Command-O, and for renaming it is Enter.

        I can only conclude that there are people who rename their files more often than they open them.

        1. PerlyKing Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Yes of course, *tap Return*

          On the plus side, it is easily discoverable....

        2. rcorrect

          Re: Yes of course, *tap Return*

          Using that shortcut to open a file and pressing return to rename it goes back to the 80's when people were generally new to computers. So Apple never bothered to change it after that.

        3. Michael Thibault
          Trollface

          Re: Yes of course, *tap Return*

          >I can only conclude that there are people who rename their files more often than they open them.

          Consider the possibility that your take is a conditioned one i.e. that pressing/tapping Return (elsewhere, "Enter") is rooted in ancient, deeply-entrenched reflexes associated with selecting and opening items on systems where the mouse, being an after-thought bolted onto the interface—and the mouses a reliably unreliable NIH, at that—largely _required_ that you (have the fallback of the) use (of) the keyboard to effect most actions (the best example being, selecting an item using the tab key or arrow keys, and then an alpha key, then tapping "Enter" to have the item open...). Consider Windows 3.1 generally. Sorry; there's nostalgia-scented brain-bleach under the sink.

          An earlier method on the Mac OS for selecting the name of an item in order to change it involved clicking on the object's name once and immediately, on mouseup, moving the cursor/pointer—at which point the name became highlighted and you were good to do whatever was necessary to effect the changes desired. Many years have passed since that change was made to the interface. I've accepted, now, that that method is gone, and will never return. Still, it's hard to forget... sniff.

        4. regadpellagru

          Re: Yes of course, *tap Return*

          I'm happy to see I'm not the only one to find this rename function of the Mac Finder completely bizarre.

          I recently switched to a Mac, and got considerably upset to not be able to rename a file without Google help ...

          1. teebie

            Re: Yes of course, *tap Return*

            I've been using a mac for a year, and assumed the only way to rename was via getinfo.

            Yes, i am aware that this is a review of myself as well as Finder's UI

    2. psychoscot

      Re: Click, wait, click...

      Or, you could click, and then press Enter. That allows you to rename a file in Finder. As I CONSTANTLY am reminded when trying to execute/open a file in Finder...

    3. grammarpolice
      Devil

      Re: Click, wait, click...

      (Alternatively, open Terminal.app . Type 'mv', drag victim file from Finder window and drop onto terminal window, type new name inside quotes, press return)

      I love having all my files in my home directory as well.

    4. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Click, wait, click...

      If you want to rename via the menu you use the Get Info option you and change the name.

      Unfortunately if you tab into the Name & Extension box or double click on it it highlights everything including the extension, which you can then blow away without so much as a warning.

      So I'm sure the person in charge of Finder's UI went to the same design school as Citroen's car interior designer, it's obvious to him why things do what they do, it's just everyone else who's got the problem.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ummm...F2?

    F2 is useful for renaming many things. Was this not one of them?

    1. Swarthy
      Thumb Up

      Re: Ummm...F2?

      I was going to say the same, but decided to make sure someone else hadn't first.

      - Have an up-vote.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ummm...F2?

        I was going to say the same, but decided to make sure someone else hadn't first.

        Same here. I did a text search for "F2" to confirm I wasn't duplicating info.

        - Have an up-vote.

        Very kind!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > For reasons known only to the developer of this occasionally hokey piece of software, double-clicking will not select and highlight the object name, and neither will it do anything if the user waits too long between the two clicks.

    It's actually worse than this as the second click takes a little while to register, most users just assume that it didn't work and click again which turns off editing again.

    However, this "click once to highlight, click again to edit" thing is pretty much a standard Windows behaviour. This is how editable list views work and files can be renamed this way in explorer.

    You could argue that the developer should have overridden this stupid behaviour, but you can't really blame him for it.

    1. ratfox

      Yes but at least in explorer

      There is a "Rename" entry in the right-click menu. There might be a shortcut for it too.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They are also polite and gracious; they shake my hand after the training sessions.

    Not to feed any paranoia you may have, but are you sure they haven't just been for a sit down toilet adventure and not washed their hands?

  11. Evil Auditor

    French software?

    Alistair, and the interfaceably challenged software suite, by any chance, was French, too?

  12. Steve Button

    The French don't NEED indicators.

    ... except when they are in the fast* lane of the autoroute, they NEVER use them. When they do use them, it's not to indicate their intention, it's just to indicate they are in the fast lane.

    So, in their case a button or a switch will suffice perfectly well. They don't use it very often, but when they do it usually stays on for 10 minutes anyway.

    So, really it's a UI problem for different locales. N'est pas?

    * Yes, yes. I know it's not the fast lane. They are all fucking fast over there. 130 speed limit and all that.

    1. Captain TickTock

      Re: The French don't NEED indicators.

      Or on roundabouts - never know whether they're going to exit before you, or carry on round in front of you...

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: The French don't NEED indicators.

      it's just to indicate they are in the fast lane

      There's more to it than that.

      The left-hand indicator means "I am here in the fast lane driving my clapped-out Citroen at 150 km/h** and I find myself 2m from your rear bumper. I expect you to pull yourself over into the slow-moving traffic on the right so that I can accelerate myself to 155 and overtake you."

      The right-hand indicator means "I hear you sound the horn because I have just swerved in front of you without warning causing you to brake yourself hard. You are a type of unkempt merino sheep!"

      ** He has removed the carpet so he can push the pedal down further.

  13. Trygve Henriksen

    Did you take the GS to a garage?

    Your description of the suspension sounds as if it was a bit off...

    (It should be stiffer the higher you you set the road clearance)

    I loved the GS(had a 1975, GS Pallas. 1.2L engine, green metallic paint and vinyl-covered roof.)

    What I miss the most is the hydro-pneumatic suspension.

    (I now have a slightly tattered Berlingo, a car that really could use that kind of suspension)

    Living in Norway, I don't miss the 'heater' in the GS, though...

    And the only one I know of who has ever had any problems with the handbrake on that car was my 'phase 2' driving instructor, when it was time to hit the 'slippery road' course.

    (They like to suddenly pull the handbrake to induce a skid sometimes. Not something you want to do if the handbrake operates on the front brakes)

    Of course, the GS is one of the few cars that it was legal to DRIVE(at low speed) to the garage if you had a complete failure in the normal brake system.

    1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      Re: Did you take the GS to a garage?

      No but I once drove it to Cannes and parked it at an expensive ground-floor valet-serviced car park just so the dusty, clapped-out GS could sit between a Rolls and a Lamborghini all day.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Did you take the GS to a garage?

      What I miss the most is the hydro-pneumatic suspension.

      My ex had an Austin Allegro with that kind of suspension. Despite the reputation it was actually a great little car, possibly because the first owner had gone to ridiculous lengths in order to rust proof it. The underside and engine bay were covered in some stuff called Ziebart. This was usually misapplied, lifting and cracking over time and then acting as a moisture trap. In the case of my ex, she had one of the few where it had been applied properly. The exception was the fuel tank, which was made from two pressed steel pieces spot welded together. The welded joint rusted, and the bottom half of the tank fell off as she was filling up with petrol one day.

    3. Sporkinum

      Re: Did you take the GS to a garage?

      I had a GS many moons ago. I think it was a '72. and yes, the suspension got stiffer the higher you set it. I think when it was all the way back, there was around a foot of ground clearance.

      http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ti_vZL0kXv8/Ua59FpgJuNI/AAAAAAAAYTk/-Lcz9sZlgsc/s640/citroen.jpg

      Dash was a bit different in my car.

      http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7141/6549880247_7d3d751054_z.jpg

    4. Tufty Squirrel

      Re: Did you take the GS to a garage?

      Ah, Citroen handbrakes. Gotta love 'em. Especially when you've got a flat rear tyre on your BX (yeah, I had the super-cheapo model, if you think the GS suspension was bad you need to try a clapped out BX), and you're parked on an icy car park. Hint - the only way to stop the wheel spinning on the ice is to block it - OK if it's the left hand rear, as you can use a blanket laid under the front and rear wheels, but the right hand rear is basically impossible.

  14. AbortRetryFail

    Principle of least astonishment

    Funnily enough, I was just thinking about this yesterday when I noticed that on Facebook, when typing a comment or making a status update, you type @ and then start to type a friend's name, the top suggestion (and the one you will get if you hit enter) can be someone not on your friends list.

    If you have just one person on your friends list whose name starts with the first few letters you've typed after the @ symbol, is it likely that a) I am wanting to tag them or b) I'm searching for someone other than them?

    Hmmm. Facebook seem to think that is a tough one to call. :o)

    Same thing goes for what Alistair is talking about - whilst it's true that it is good to push boundaries and innovate, baffling the user is almost always a bad thing.

  15. sandman

    Training optional???

    A quote from one of our salespeople.

    "Our software is so intuitive, users won't need training".

    Ha, ha, ha.

    Oh, Hyundai Coupes have a nice trick, the indicators and wipers are on the opposite sides of the steering column to most other cars, hence occasional frantic wiper action when approaching a junction.... and then on holiday you hire a normal car - guess what happens.

  16. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    I once used an application that revelled in triple-clicks.

  17. Jon Gibbins

    Did we ever find out where the horn was?

    1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      >> Did we ever find out where the horn was?

      Paragraph 17, I think.

      1. teebie

        I don't see any coke cans on the image of the dashboard. Am I missing something? It's early monday, I'm probably missing something.

  18. The New Turtle

    The obvious parallel between the car and the software is like someone who has only used Android phones trying to write a document in Appleworks on a ][e. When it was run of the mill stuff, many of us happily produced documents and spreadsheets in this particular package, and back in the 70s and 80s we happily drove Citroen GSs without the least difficulty (until the cams wore badly, in which case it would get unbearably slow). The analogy breaks down because, unlike the Appleworks interface, those in the GS and CX were actually very nice to use, even though unconventional by Ford standards.

    Nice to be reminded of how stylish cars looked once upon a time.

  19. John Deeb

    Or to put it charitably, another Dabbs article that occasionally fails to match common sense conventions.

    We can still read it though, no harm done.

  20. Ed 13 Silver badge
    Happy

    Citroen Suspension

    I recall a review of a Citroen that enthused about the ride and road holding, with the caveat "... as long as you don't mind the noise and smell of children throwing up in back"!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this a joke?

    I'm confused if this is a sarcastic joke or a real article, since Both OSX and Windows work this way as standard for renaming files, Visual Studio and XCode do it too for renaming.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this a joke?

      What I don't get is why within Visual Studio renaming the shortcut key is Ctrl-R Ctrl R by default... rather than F2.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To summarise

    Last week: Alistair confused by self-service checkouts

    This week: Alistair confused by common Windows convention of 'click on already clicked item = rename / edit field'

    Next week: Alistair confused by door that refuses to open when pushed - declares that users cannot be expected to understand what a sign reading 'pull' is supposed to mean

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: To summarise

      "Next week: Alistair confused by door"

      Yes, yes, do that one, please. Should be hilarious. And wrath of the anons even doubly so.

    2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: To summarise

      The convention set thousands of years ago is that when you go **IN** to a building/room the door opens **IN** to the building/room. People who install doors contrary to that convention should be strung up from a lamp-post by their genitals.

      1. Trygve Henriksen

        Re: To summarise

        I think you'll find that most buildings have a front door that opens outward.

        small interior rooms also tends to have doors opening outwards.

        Have you ever a panicked crowd trying to get out of a building, and one of the doors swings INWARDS?

        The poor buggers at the front will end up squished against the doors, possibly fatally, and the doors will be impossible to open.

        I believe there has been more than a few such disasters in building fires...

        1. Trygve Henriksen

          Re: To summarise

          Did I miss something vital?

          Just wondering why the downvote...

  23. raving angry loony

    Ah so click - wait - click again. Just like Apple or Windows or most other GUI based systems has been doing to let us edit the name of a file in the GUI for, what, 25+ years? Because if you double-click you launch it, so you need that pause. Yeah, it's horrible, but it's hardly new.

    As for the GS, if that's your main example of "poor design", then I'm afraid you don't understand design at all.

    1. ChrisBedford

      You seem to have missed a couple of important points here

      "Ah so click - wait - click again. Just like Apple or Windows or most other GUI based systems has been doing to let us edit the name of a file in the GUI for, what, 25+ years? Because if you double-click you launch it, so you need that pause. Yeah, it's horrible, but it's hardly new."

      ...except Alistair carefully pointed out that there was a time limit between clicks in the software he's talking about. In Windows you can leave it any time from when clicking again would not be a double-click (configurable, but usually around a half-second) to several years (if you can keep a Windows machine running for several years without rebooting it, unlikely) - the second click will put the item into "edit" mode.

      And just BTW, it doesn't work quite the same in Mac OS, but that has been discussed at length above too.

      "As for the GS, if that's your main example of "poor design", then I'm afraid you don't understand design at all."

      No, it wasn't an example of poor design, it was an example of unconventional design. Although, looked at from the perspective of 35+ years' hindsight, I think it *is* piss-poor design.

  24. A J Stiles
    Coat

    Double-clicking

    Double-clicking is an abomination. It was only invented in the first place because someone had an aversion to mice with more than one button.

    I set KDE up so hovering the mouse cursor over an icon selects it, and single-clicking activates it -- and merely positioning the mouse pointer over a text entry area gives it focus.

    (And yes, I do spend a lot of time staring stupidly at the screen waiting for things to happen, on the occasions when I am forced to use Windows. That and typing text in the wrong place.)

    1. Norphy

      Re: Double-clicking

      You can set Windows up to open programs on a single click, you've been able to do that since IE4 introduced the updated desktop experience on Windows 95. You could also set focus by hovering by using the old kernel toys, don't know if you still can.

      I had it like that for a while but I kept on opening things accidentally and in the end I just found it plain irritating.

      But you know, diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks.

  25. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Dash image

    I love the fact that not only is it a hideous mess of design, the description numerals aren't in any sort of order either!

  26. Nym

    The beloved double-click

    The ones complaining about his article on double-click didn't have to live through the non-adjustable one. It was sort of like the period where you had to either pay for icons or use a generic one, somehow similar to when mice were the poor man's dream, and high-speed internet The Unreachable for the rural. (Arguably it still is.) And they quite CERTAINLY didn't have to endure party lines. The old codgers get to whine, too, you ninnies. Wait your turn, you'll get your time; blind, deaf, shunned, and...whining.

    Then you discover whining is an art.

    8]]

  27. rurwin

    Skoda too

    Just to bring the two halves of this article together.

    The remote control for my door lock needs a double single-click. The first unlocks just the driver's door, the second unlocks all the doors. But a double-click is too fast.

    Even more annoying, when locking it again, the second click disengages the deadlocks, making the car less secure. So when you walk away and think "did I lock it?" you need to unlock it and then lock it again.

  28. bsimon
    Facepalm

    Confusing conventions

    click is overloaded with different functions and that's confusing to many people.

    Most non-techie people I've trained use to double click on buttons. That causes double submit of forms in some web pages that don't disable buttons on click. Also many people double click when asked to right click a file.

    Using a trackpad for clicking, right clicking, and double clicking can be very difficult for many peope...

    Taking about cars and conventions during 9 days I parked a rented car without using the parking brake cause couldn't find it where I expected. Recently I learned what the left most pedal is for ...

  29. Alex Hearl
    FAIL

    RTFM

    ...er in the manual, number 3 has the title "indicators/horn/headlamp flash" and num,ber 4 has the title "lights/dip"....

    On a more related note, doesn't Windows explorer work in exactly the same way - Click to select, pause, click to enter edit/rename mode.... and hasn't it worked like that since Windows 2000....?

  30. SirDigalot

    at least the gear stick

    is in the right place.. my first car was a Renault 4

    then I moved to America, and half the cars put the bloody shifter on the steering column the other half in the normal place... so get used to driving the former and get in the other kind you end up washing you windows trying to get the car to move, then upon moving back to the orgional grabbing a cup of hot coffee** doing the same thing..

    and then there is the foot/handbrake thing sheesh!

  31. Robinson

    Conventions...

    These conventions weren't really thought about all that hard, were they, but they're with us now. I wonder if people are thinking hard about conventions for new technologies, like Kinnect or similar. Let's hope so.

  32. David Paul Morgan
    Happy

    cars can be odd!

    I had a hire car - a Renault Megane I think. The "handbrake" was push-button.

    When in the USA, on returning a hire car, I was totally unable to initially fill up. They do not have automatic fuel pumps, you had to flick a lever down.

    Couldn't find the lever to open the bonnet on an Aygo, until I remembered it was based on a Citroen c1, so the lever is near the door on the passenger (left) side.

    My dad had a lada saloon. Very basic and always started in the cold, but all the diagrams were labelled in Cyrillic! (He sold that to an encyclopaedia salesman)

    Back to computers, I've had single click enabled since win'95. Much prefer it.

  33. ceebee

    oh the pain.....

    Going back into prehistory... on the Macintosh up until OS7 in 1990, clicking on a filename below an icon instantly enabled edits to the filename. Then came OS7 and hell broke loose ...click and wait before you could edit a filename.(This is the way it has remained since)

    A simple little change sent many long time Macintosh (and I am using that name deliberately) in to apoplexy!

    And I am still waiting for OSX to have labels operate the same way as they did in the "classic" OS! I loved having a rainbow of colour coded folders and icons.

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