This Is What Happens When You Let Developers Create UI

Ha! Great thread. I love the conflicting views. The point that’s missing here is audience. If this is a dialog written by somebody for him or herself, than this is probably the perfect UI. It’s exactly what he wants to use. Beyond that, there are probably a number of people of a similar mind who like it just like the original developer because they think the same way. Then you get ‘designers’ (they’re the ones who end every post by telling you what a good designer they are…) who hate it immediately, without even knowing what it does or what its for. Simply put, this UI is probably exactly right for its intended purpose and audience. No reason to change it.

And yes, that original screenshot of the File Matrix UI a terrifying thing. However, later versions seem to be improved, at least. (Improved simply means ‘better than before’). That one looks like it could really benefit from some more experienced usability input.

That’s quite funny. I thought it was a joke at first till i visited the site and realised it’s actually for real. I don’t know about you, being a developer myself, i think the UI is a major concern as well, after all, it is the first impressions that count.

I’d love to see the “pro” mode.

Good Lord! I’ve just seen the File Matrix. I say seen loosely because there isn’t enough time in the universe to take in every UI feature.

I think someone need to ‘step away from the computer’ permanently!

The people saying that the UI is good “for people who know wget” are only reinforcing my original point that it provides no useful abstraction to wget and is hence useless as a GUI. If you already “know wget”, why would you want to use a GUI, when clearly the command-line is much faster and less of an eyesore?

UIs are supposed to be abstractions. They aren’t supposed to expose the inner workings of what they control, they’re supposed to hide them.

It’s odd that several people have posted about “50-step wizards” as if that’s the only alternative. Sound a bit like slashdotters to me. Nobody said that wizards are a paragon of good design - very few of Jeff’s readers would make such a preposterous claim. Wizards are only useful in a tiny minority of cases and usually are no better than a bunch of modal dialogs. They don’t hide the choices at all, they just force them choices to be made in a predefined order.

The whole point is that we don’t need a 50-step wizard or a 50-control form; 99% of the potential users of this program would only care about the same two or three options (URL, filename/pattern, recursive or not). You would only need a 1-step “wizard” for this, which might as well be called a form.

Maybe the developer designed it just for himself, and that’s fine; but too many people here who I hope aren’t UI programmers can’t seem to grok the idea that the average computer user does not know all the wget command-line switches or even what wget is. And yes, I am aware of how wget works, the question I posed about default values was supposed to be a hypothetical one to make people think about their logic.

Oh, and I love the “if you don’t like it, make a better one” comments. As if the entire world is made up of programmers. I can just imagine trying to use that line of reasoning with salespeople or management. Maybe you can afford to have that attitude if you’re not getting paid for it. :wink:

Now post the Pro Mode screenshot!

The UI for Wget GUI is sloppy. The UI for the file matrix is overwhelming. Both represent bad designs in the user interface.

The Wget UI can be fixed in about 10 minutes. I mean, how hard is it to make all the buttons the same size and line up the controls, its not. Attention to detail is all that is needed.

The file matrix cannot be fixed, too much stuff going on. I would never use such a program no matter how good it is.

UI beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Should a button be on top or on the button of the screen, what color? Ask 10 people get 10 different answers.

Generally, UI should be:

Clear - Whats are you trying to do? Able to accomplish task with reasonable amount of clicking. You should be able figure out the application by just looking at the GUI if its well designed.

Consistent - Every page should look the same.

Concise - The UI should focus on doing 1 task well, as easy as possible.

Jon Raynor

You know for a UI that was created for a developer that isn’t the worse that I have seen. I know personally I try to stay away from UI design unless I absolutely have to. But can’t the same be said when a person who does UI design tries to do the code behind and makes a huge mess of everything?

I think wgetgui is well laid out. What sucks from a usability point of view is how hard the discussion is to follow on your webpage with the poor layout.


That is what I ment by I have seen worse. They did put some boxes to encompase some of the options to allow for a person to recognize that it is seperate. The problem is there is a lot to take in on that form. It is the problem of giving people to much information/options at one time.


I downloaded FileMatrix and been playing with it for the last hour. The only thing wrong with the UI that really stands out is the context menus are quite a bit overboard and its obviously an abandoned project.

HOWEVER. I must say I am going to be using it. It really has some cool extensibility for a simple program, and it has a convoluted set of hotkeys, but the main idea behind the program is good. Its a bulk file manager.

The main reason I would be using it is that windows explorer is horrendous with copy/paste/navigate because it gets non-responsive, which is very annoying. You have to deal with slow context menus to make a directory or a file- no hotkeys for either!

You can’t judge a book by its cover.