One of the things that amaze me is:
_Who the frell came up with the utterly idiotic idea that an application doesn’t need to look like it belongs in the operating system on which it is running, or care about the user settings for that OS?_
That utter, total non-conformance, and “coolness” factor, making applications look like a bizarre mix between something that came out of The Exorcist, the Lego factory and Fisher-Price is the reason:
* I threw out Winamp, despite it’s nifty database. All hail “Foobar2000”:http://www.foobar2000.org/.
* I feel like murdering something every time Windows Media player steals my file associations, and opens instead of “Media Player Classic”:http://sourceforge.net/projects/guliverkli/
* I won’t ever install a piece of Windows software from Apple. Quicktime, please drop dead.
* I uninstall ZoneAlarm on any computer I have administrator access to, in protest. The irony of this is of course that I use Kerio, which only vaguely resembles a Windows application.
* I can’t stand 99.5% of desktop software written in Java.
* I am actively looking for a one-stop IM application to replace Gaim (I need, at the very least MSN, AIM and ICQ access). While Gaim may remotely resemble a native Windows application, it sure doesn’t behave or feel like one.
So, let me compress, rephrase and clarify:
No matter how “cool” you may think writing your own widgets and GUI from scratch is, deviating from the look of the operating system under which your software runs is a horrendous GUI choice. There is no excuse for not making a Windows application look like a Windows application.
Some days, I think that there should be a license to program, and developers who fail to meet the UI guidelines for the operating system they are targeting, should have theirs revoked – permanently.
This is one of those days.
Does your application:
* Use the widgets suggested by the user through his default Window settings?
* Respect the user’s colour settings? You know, there _are_ colorblind people who can’t read green on red
* Respect the user’s font settings. You do know that those nifty 8 or 10px-fixed sized fonts are ridiculously small, unreadable and ugly on a 200dpi display?
* Use standardized keyboard shortcuts. There is a reason why Ctrl-C is copy.
* Can your users access menus, windows and tabs the same way they do in other applications, using the input method of choice?
* Look like it’s a Windows application? I’ve seen people that _don’t understand how to use Winamp,_ since it’s so different from their other applications.
If the answer to any of the questions above is “No”, I suggest you throw away your GUI, and start over again. And, if you haven’t read “The User Interface Guidelines for Microsoft Windows”:http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/vccore98/HTML/_core_the_user_interface_guidelines_for_microsoft_windows.asp (or similar guidelines if your application runs on another OS), go read them.