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Eitan's Big Rant of the Year

Posted by eitan on March 16, 2005 at 6:11 AM PST

Why is right-clicking such a foreign notion to millions of people who use computers every day and who have been using them for at least a decade??? This drives me nuts! I can't tell you how many man-hours have been spent on developing desktops, but I know it's a little more than a lot.

Every Operating System desktop behaves this way: Windows, MacOS, Gnome and every other X11 Window manager. There's an icon that represents a file or folder or an application. You can right-click on it and whatever actions (read: methods) you want to perform (read: invoke) on that icon (read: Object) appear for you to choose from. God forbid we use "OO" terms because they're "too technical" for lay people to understand.

What gives?? The truth is that most non-programmers I know don't know how to work their desktops. What does that say about us humans? I don't know if my mind will allow me to go there. How much time and effort will we spend to give end users a more "intuitive" way to run our applications?? In the medical industry apparently some are saying that they've given up on doctors learning to type. So they devised for them hand-writing recognition technology. We're no less guilty. How many man-hours are wasted making your web-app Microsoft compatible? It's as if there are no other browsers out there, or maybe they're too expensive? .. or not intuitive?

So, combine the fact that people don't know how to use their desktop with the fact that the desktop is the only application of its kind. That is, it's the only Object Oriented UI ever built (of course, this is a slight exageration, but it helps make the point). And you have the answer to the question at the beginning of this rant: no one understands right-clicking. It's not "intuitive." What a shame. What a shame.