Baffling User Interface Designs - Episode 1


Since the dawn of the graphical user interface, we--the long-suffering users--have been plagued by interface design that's not fundamentally bad, it just doesn't make much sense. The problem is that once these goofy UI designs become accepted, we're stuck with them forever (just look at the stylus-required Windows Mobile UI design, if you don't believe me). If I can keep finding baffling UI designs, then this will become a regular feature of the site. If you'd like to submit your own baffling user interface design topic, send an email to will at maximumpc dot com.

Wordpress "previous/next page" links

I want to say up front that I love Wordpress. I even run it on my own neglected blog. For the most part, it's extremely well constructed, infinitely flexible, and an all around good bit of blogging software. But, I have a problem with it. Go to a Wordpress blog and scroll to the bottom of the page. Odds are that you'll see a little link there labeled "Next". Here's a picture:

That seems straightforward enough, right? Click to the next page, and go to the bottom again. Now, you're faced with this:

Now, if I want to see the next oldest page of blog posts, I'm not sure exactly which link to click. Because previous is on the left, and next is on the right, part of me wants to click "next". However, the posts I want to read are actually the previous ones in the chain, since most blogs are ordered with the newest posts at the top of the page. The people who really get screwed are the ones who start on one of the middle pages, and have to figure out the next/previous paradigm without the benefit of a browser history.

The other big problem is that this inanity is spreading. The blog the screenshots are from isn't actually a Wordpress blog, it's powered by tumblr . Now, the good folks at Wordpress have attempted to fix this problem , but the fix isn't spreading as fast as the goofy UI. The default option now looks like this:

The good news is that the fix is quite easy. All that needs to be done to fix the problem is to change the point of reference from the pages, which is confusing and open to multiple interpretations, to time. Older Posts and Newer Posts leave no room for confusion and no room for misinterpretation.

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