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Bad UI: The Pulsing Taunt of Futility

Throw another log on the fire: this one pisses me off daily.

Ever seen a dialog box (such as a save sheet, or in this case, creating a folder in a save dialog from Safari, Entourage, AppleWorks, etc.) that doesn't allow you to press "enter" (or "return") to "click" the default button? Or "escape" to cancel? This happens (I'm guessing) nearly 1/4 of the time I have a default or Cancel button.


That irks me to no end. Cocoa apps seem less prone to do this, but they're not without their fair share of blame either.

7 Responses to "Bad UI: The Pulsing Taunt of Futility"

  1. Time for another bug report, eh? 🙂

  2. It happens in too many applications. Intermittently. Rather, it seems more an issue with the Carbon and Cocoa responder chains. I'd say "careless developers" but this is something they aren't supposed to have to code for: a pulsing blue button should respond to "enter" so long as its window - or any subview - has keyboard focus.

  3. Indeed it's irritating, inconsistent, and ridiculous. How should one report (or fix) each instance?

  4. I thought we'd discussed this...

    For annoying default/cancel buttons, you can't beat Netscape.

  5. On a related note, I wish Apple would come up with a way to have nested sheets. For example, when creating a new folder in a document-modal save sheet, an application-modal dialog box will pop up, thus destroying the sheet's document-modality.

  6. Ooh! I thought it was just me! In fact, I've been grimly contemplating the horror that is reinstalling OS X just so I can continue to save files using the keyboard. I thought it was some hiccup with the Finder, or, or, or... I never thought to inventory the failure by app. I've been so used to it NEVER failing on the Mac (since System 4.1 / Finder 3.2) that I figured it was a failure in the "new" OS X and not in individual apps. D'oh!

    In fact, how is it even possible to write an app for the Mac that doesn't recognize Enter/Return as an acceptable alternative for the default/highlighted button? Didn't that use to be hardwired into the ROM on older Macs?

  7. Not sure why you thought reinstalling the OS would help...wouldn't all the updates have fixed it if it was a hiccup 🙂

    Anyway, it's quite easy to write an app that doesn't bind the default to return. In Interface Builder, at least, you need to set the button's key to return. Open it up, throw a button in the nib, and check out the inspector + test the app if you don't believe me.

    Not sure if it was hard-wired into the ROM, though...