When The Basics Go Bad

by | 9 Nov 2019 | Blog30, Working Out Loud

I love my tech. No, I mean I really LOVE my tech! I live and breathe my tech. This is why when something is even slightly off it throws a seamless workflow into disarray, it jars and it makes me stop and think. In the midst of “flow” the last thing I need is to have to stop and ponder why something simple isn’t working as expected.

I have used Microsoft Office applications since before they were bundled together and called Office. In all that time double clicking a file associated with an application has opened that application. It has done that for as long as I can recall and given how long I’ve worked with a computer that is quite a while!

And Now?

Microsoft Office for Mac apps are doing their own thing! Admittedly, I’m on the fast track updates but I’d still expect better app behaviour than this!

If the application is open then double clicking an associated file opens it as a user would expect. However, if the application isn’t open then the system needs to open that application which it at least starts to do. The problem is that the initial file management dialog is then presented but the file the user double clicked to initiate the app opening is not opened.

In an attempt to make the applications more user friendly and as far as possible “muggle-proof” they have broken something so fundamental to how software has worked since Windows first appeared that I despair.

There is also another consideration: having the same action result in two different results isn’t going to assist those less technically minded users in the long run either. It results in uncertainty and confusion for all users.

There is an undoubted benefit to an application maintaining a predictable response to user interactions.

Come on Microsoft, get the basics right because everything else follows from that.

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