You think imitation leather is the biggest problem facing interface design today? Think again.

The Windows Explorer Ribbon

The Windows Explorer Ribbon

It doesn’t even make sense to break down what’s wrong with it, because it’s basically everything[1], and reveals a baffling lack of insight into how users interact with their computers.

But at least the post gives us some interesting telemetry data from the Explorer. Data that is theoretically as applicable to any file-based OS – say OS X – as it is to Windows.

Now we don’t get much data about the data[2], but it’s still extremely interesting, and what’s so striking to me, is that Cut, Copy and Paste are in fact some of the most used commands, and they’re not even available in the Finder on OS X. It always seemed weird, but for all I knew, most people never cut and pasted files. It seems they do.

Of course the Finder couldn’t merge folders until Lion, so perhaps it’s simply a matter of it not getting enough attention at Apple, or perhaps there is a genuine reason behind this decision. I don’t know.

Another thing that strikes me, is the Refresh command. Yes kids, there was once when we would have to manually refresh the Explorer to see changes to our file system. And as you can see, it is still in wide use.

Windows 7 Screen Resolutions

Windows 7 Screen Resolutions

No major surprises there, but it’s always nice to know what the market looks like today in terms of resolution.


What the hell is going on at Microsoft? How did this clusterfuck come out of the same team that did this?:

Updated: Cut, copy and paste are indeed available through keyboard shortcuts in the Finder; I must have tested wrong when I wrote this post. Thank you Karl for pointing out my error.

  1. Microsoft has had a history of letting Office set the direction of their interface design, which tells you everything you need to know about why the interface is getting more and more complicated. I think Paris Lemon said it best.  ↩

  2. “This data is pretty solid and given the hundreds of millions of data points, it gives us a very clear picture of average usage across the population as a whole” is all it says, though it seems likely from later comments that it’s exclusive to Windows 7, though it doesn’t say how many users, what the demographical breakdown is or over how much time the data was collected.  ↩