Home > Uncategorized > As a matter of fact, I’m not okay with that

As a matter of fact, I’m not okay with that

Have you ever been using your computer and after performing an action which should have worked an error window pops up? In the pop up is an error or if your lucky an actual error message, and a single button labeled “Okay” or “OK”. Anytime I’ve seen it I wished there was another button labeled “I’m not okay with that”.

An Okay button makes sense when the computer is asking you – the user – for permission to proceed. At this point you can decide to choose to either let it proceed or to not let it proceed by pressing a button labeled “Cancel”.

So when the purpose of the window is to inform the user that the action didn’t work the purpose of the button is to allow the user to close the window. So the button should be labeled “Close” since that’s the only action which is going to occur when the user presses the button.

I emailed some people at work about this and they pointed me to the Microsoft User Interface guidelines and there was a rule that said an Okay button must have an opposing Cancel button and that if there’s a situation where the button is being used to close a window it should be labeled “Close”. Now of course we’ve all seen Microsoft software which doesn’t follow this rule, but that would probably be because not every developer can memorize all of the UI guidelines. It is good to know that somebody else has thought about this and that Microsoft testers can open bugs about it.

As a matter of fact that rule can be found in the Windows User Experience Guidelines (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa511269.aspx) in the section labeled “Information Dialogs”.

Okay Microsoft, you’ve told everyone else to do the right thing, now it’s your turn.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Jared
    March 24, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Actually there are better details here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa511267.aspx

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