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08 January 2006

Nerd Factor X Provocation Or Something



Ripley's Design It Or Not

Roll up! Roll up! Ladies and Gentlemen, step this way for the most amazing and horrific of sights ever witnessed by human eyes!

Now my friends, you may have travelled the Internet and seen many astounding and amazing sights. You may have used software so strange as to defy comprehension. You may have suffered web sites so unusable as to drive a civilised man to the brink of insanity. You may have seen normal UI widgets tortured and twisted beyond recognition.

However, let me tell you my friends that nothing will prepare you for the sight you are about to witness.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the freak software that I will present to you today is anti-virus software with the UI of a media player!

Step right up folks, only $2 each!


Screenshot of the Avast anti-virus application

No folks, that is not a photo of my car stereo! Trust me, that is a screenshot from an actual piece of anti-viral software.

Now we’ve all used imperfectly designed software over the years, but have you ever seen a user interface metaphor abused so badly? Believe it or not, the “play” button actually starts a virus scan of, well, something. The eject button? I have no idea! At least the close button is easy to find, which is handy when the gag reflex cuts in.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you all the story of how I came across this freak of software. I first discovered this abomination on a friend’s computer whilst I was travelling through the wilds of deepest darkest Adelaide. It was an anti-virus program that had completely failed to correctly diagnose the ZLob trojan that had infected my friend’s computer.

My friends, new viruses emerge all the time and it was not surprising to me that some viruses would not be detectable, even when the virus definitions are up-to-date. However in this case, if the inability to diagnose a viral infection was its only flaw I would not be here before you to present this software for your amazement and entertainment.

This freak of software is here before you as a warning, should you ever think of entering the field of user interface design without the proper training, or even a few moments of rational thought.

And now if you’ll kindly make your way to the exit door, we have many other fine people waiting to witness the show. Thanks for coming folks, tell your friends!


Posted by
2006-01-08 22:40:16 -0600

Is the name of this masterpiece really "Avast!"?! Surely anti-trojan software would be better named Plankwalker 2006.

I eagerly await the first word processor to make use of the cassette/CD player metaphor.

Posted by
2006-01-08 22:40:16 -0600

I wish my virus-checker had a fast-forward button!

Oooh, and a lightning bolt too.