It's the little things in life

Ubuntu has a project that they call their “One Hundred Paper Cuts”, where people list the little minor annoyances that detract them from truly enjoying using Ubuntu. You know, the little rough edges that annoy you for about two seconds every time you rub against them. Add that up and 2 seconds a day for days or weeks or years can get you quite annoyed. Interested developers or uses can then go in and tackle these paper cuts to smooth out the tiny rough edges. I think other large projects could follow this model.

Today I rubbed up against one of these paper cuts in one of my least favorite tools ever: Microsoft Active Directory Users and Computers. I have to use this tool on a daily basis and this paper cut gets me ever damn time: when you click on the “search” button and the search dialog pops up, the focus is not on the “Name” field (the first text entry field) but on the “Find Now” button.

The most common use case for this dialog box is to search for a user’s account. Why put the focus on the “Find Now” button? All this does is add one extra mouse click to the workflow. “One extra mouse click, what are you worried about that for? You must be on crack.”, you might say. Well, I have to say that extra mouse click multiple times a day really adds up.

Every time I need to use this tool, my mind is intent on getting the search dialog up and entering the user’s id or name to find them and work on their account. Every time I click the search button, my hand goes back from the mouse to the keyboard and I start typing, and every time I have to take my hand off the keyboard, back to the mouse, and click in the “Name” field.

It seems trivial to someone else, but this little paper cut gets me several times a day, every day, for years now. Maybe once we upgrade to a newer version of Active Directory the ADUC tool will have this bug fixed. I can’t understand how it got there in the first place.

Developers! Use your own products and note the little things that annoy you about them. This will only help your end users in the long run.