The Undo Sniff Test

Brent Simmons, on trying two unnamed Mac apps:

I picked an action that would be 1) super-common and 2) something that every user should expect to be undo-able.

In one app, I did the thing and then chose Undo. It didn’t do anything that I could see — the Undo command was available, but had no visible effect. I did Undo again. No visible change. God knows what was happening.

In the other app, Undo just wasn’t available. This is actually better than a faulty Undo — but, still, it’s not good.

I poked around a little more, enough to find some additional bugs, and then I trashed both apps. I deleted the account I had had to create for the one app.

Window resizing (Brent’s other test for these two apps) and Undo support are good sniff tests. Undo especially, though — there’s nothing cosmetic about Undo support. It’s a red flag. You open a container of food and it smells foul, you throw it out. You try a new app and it doesn’t support Undo, you throw it out. And you empty the trash immediately in both cases. Get it out of the house.

Monday, 11 May 2020