It occured to me today that the prevalence of badly-designed computer programs is depressingly common. More depressing, however, is the fact that this badly-designed technology is considered normal, espoused as right on par. Even worse, regardless of quality, almost any upgrade or advance to the next version number is seen as an "improvement" for the mere fact that some annoyances have been fixed or improved upon.
This begs the question, why wasn’t the original version as good as this one? Yes, I tried my hand at developing some programs, and I completely understand the development cycle but it does seem rather silly that many programs which truly suck in terms of usability and user-friendliness are released as final products. Not until version 3 or 4 do such programs actually become useable by the majority of computer users out there.
This was all sparked by my discovery of Firefox’s (or, really, the Mozilla code-base’s) development of extensions. While working on the SandorSzenassy.com web gallery redesign, I was rather disappointed when I couldn’t find the option to show the site navigation toolbar in Firefox, a feauture present in the Mozilla and Netscape browsers as well as some others.
This prompted me to head on over to MozillaZine and suggest that the feature be added to Firefox, or how I could get it if it already existed. Sure enough, the link toolbar extension was available and I immediately downloaded it.
After that, I started exploring other extensions, and came across the Web Developer Toolbar. I’ve just been playing with it for a few moments already, but I am so impressed that I already have that "How did I get along with this for so long?" feeling. Five minutes with this baby, and you will too!
Hoorah for making my life easier! Moral of the story: if there’s an easier way to do something, go look for the way. You’ll be glad you did.