The cranky user: Watchen das blinkenlichten (03 Oct 2005)
I blame Apple at least partially for this trend. Its bouncing alert icons have proliferated to other applications and operating systems. You cannot disable this behavior. You cannot put a silent flag or even an annoying beep in its place. You just have to accept constant animation in your peripheral vision, demanding immediate attention.
Windows doesn't escape this one either, although it prefers flash to bounce. Window titlebars and other components flash constantly until they're tended to. There is no obvious way to disable this so-called feature.
Desktop animation isn't just for alerts, either. The default buttons on Apple's Aqua interface literally throb for your attention. Gone are the unintrusive borders highlighting a default action: today's default button has to constantly shimmer so that you feel like clicking it before it escapes.
Demanding little icons that shimmer and bounce are just obnoxious. I imagine they seem impressive when you're idly gazing at a computer screen at some computer store. Having your attention so readily called to certain features must make them seem exciting. But trust me: these visual cues don't seem nearly so cool when you're trying to get work done. They get in the way. Alerts are sometimes important but it's rare that they're urgent. I should be able to decide when I want to deal with the actions on my desktop. Remember, alarm clocks have snooze buttons for a reason.
Article URL: http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/web/library/wa-cranky57.html
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