Because Conforming to your own UI Guidelines is Hard

My Windows PC keeps prompting me to install Windows 10. It has apparently finished crippling my limited-bandwidth home internet (shared with 4 people), and has now enabled Incessant Irritant mode, in which it regularly pops up a window telling me how I’m missing out on all the new problems it has in store for me.

There was a time I’d have jumped on it, of course, but these days I’m spending my time probably 80:10:10 between Linux, Mac and Windows boxes, and my perspective on computer systems has changed a little:

Time on IT is unproductive time. 3x the OSs means a common problem incurs 3x the IT overhead, so I’m significantly less tolerant of it than I might have been in the past.

If something works well in one or two OSs but not so well in another, I know it need not be so – and I don’t want to waste time on it.

Which of course is what prompted this post… in particular, a Windows 8 ‘feature’ I’ve been ignoring but which never ceases to bug me: the positioning of submenus.


Windows 8 places popup and submenus assuming you use a touchscreen, even if you’re not. While you can change their location with a control panel setting, it’s unavailable unless you install touchscreen support.

Stop and think about those two sentences for a second.

Further, consider the submenu callout – there’s a well established UI pattern at play, with an caret signifying the option will create a submenu. I’m operating in English, so in my left-to-right locale it points right. Exactly the opposite direction to where the submenu will appear.


They’re just messing with us now, right?

Does it make sense to anyone?

Maybe Windows 10 fixes this – but am I only going to be trading one irritating bug for another? Do I have a choice?