When bad graphics happen to good software


I’m in the middle of backing up my laptop hard drive to an external drive using SmartBackup. This is my first time using SmartBackup, and it seems like a pretty good piece of software, but there is something very annoying about the graphic it gives you for the status of your backup (click to enlarge):

backup-screenshot.png

Maybe this is something that annoys only me, but the percentage of the status bar that is shaded in should always equal the percentage of the job that has been completed. Otherwise this graphic is basically meaningless. Just give the percentage; that’s the piece that is actually conveying information.

This public service announcement has been sponsored by Edward Tufte. Carry on.

4 Comments

Filed under Software, Technology

4 responses to “When bad graphics happen to good software

  1. Jackie

    It would annoy me too.

  2. Ugh. That would be irritating. Have you heard of AllwaySync? I’ve tried it out and it’s some pretty good free software. I wrote a post about it recently.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. kashifalvi

    maybe the rest of the information is invisibleūüėČ

  4. michael h

    Indicators like that drive me nuts, too. My favorite is the scenario where you are waiting for a critical task to complete (like a file upload) and the software gives you an indicator bar that fills in with no accompanying percentage, and you quickly realize as the indicator bar fills in and starts over several times that it has no relationship whatsoever to the actual progress of the task, but is just a distracting graphic geegaw.