Save Me From The Evil Back Button

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This experience is one of many reasons why I have a love/hate relationship with web-based software.

I had just finished composing a message on a Yahoo group, and went to hit the post button. But for some reason my brain was conditioned to find it in the upper-left corner, which led me to click—and instantly regret—the browser back button.

I crossed my fingers, clicked the browser forward button, and was instantly punished by some combination of Yahoo/HTTP/Firefox with my subject line intact but a completely blank message window.

Although it didn’t take all that much time to recompose, the second message was not quite as well done as the first, and it took twice as long to send this message as it should have. This is not good for productivity.

This experience reaffirms my belief that Web-based software is in many ways inherently inferior to locally installed software. One of the reasons is because entirely new UI frameworks are being created that eschew well-established and well thought-out constructs in the desktop OSes.

The Web is not yet an OS, and far more effort needs to be made on synchronizing UI behavior between the desktop and the cloud.

Author: Peter Sheerin

Peter Sheerin is best known for the decade he spent as the Technical Editor of CADENCE magazine, where he was the acknowledged expert in Computer-Aided Design hardware and software. He has a long-standing passion for improving usability of software, hardware, and everyday objects that is always interwoven in his articles. Peter is available for freelance technical writing and product reviews, and is exploring career opportunities in interaction design. His pet personal project is exploring the best ways to harmonize visual, tactile, and audible symbols for improving the effectiveness of alerting systems.

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