Another perspective on the experience


What's more important, security, or quality? Of course, the answer depends entirely on context. Or, the answer could be - "Neither - the experience is most important".

For me, a bad software experience is simply defined as something that didn't work as I expected. I wanted to do something, and I couldn't (or couldn't figure out how). Or, I tried to do something, and something else happened. For example, consider this scenario.

Once or twice a day, I whip open feeddemon and browse blog posts and news articles. Of the hundreds of headlines, I usually open 5-10 or so for further reading. I end up with a browser window full of tabs that I can read through, or save as favorites for later.

Btw - this all works perfectly. This is just a long buildup to say that when I'm done with a page in IE, I usually close it by using Ctrl-W (many programs support ctrl-w for closing windows, so it's kind of intuitive for me). Ctrl-W works great - unless someone thinks you might using the control key for evil purposes! On a particular URL I visited this week, anytime the ctrl key was pressed, I was greeted with the following dialog:

image

My tried and  true ctrl-w didn't work. Sure, I was able to close the page "manually", but it took me a few seconds to figure out my attempting to close the window was triggering this dialog. (note - I wanted to put a link to the page in the post so you could see for yourself, but it requires a (free, but annoying) login). If you really want to track it down, this is the "event lobby" page for a web seminar hosted at on24.com. I'm sure all of the event lobbies have the same "feature".

Right click \ view source didn't work, but the menu item did, and I found this functionality (edited for brevity.

function disablePrint(e)
{
    if (window.event.ctrlKey
       ||window.event.altKey
       ||event.button==2
       ||event.button==3)
    {
        alert("For security reasons, this operation is disabled");
        return false;
    }
}

I'd like to take a moment to document the "suckiness" of my experience.

1 - the function is named disablePrint. But it disables much more than that

2 - Notice that the Alt key has also been banned from this page (menus are still available with the mouse)

3 - the middle and right mouse buttons are also banned (never mind that the same functionality is available from the menu commands).

4 - Finally - as may have become obvious in #3 above, I can print the page using the print menu. The disablePrint function should have been named annoyUser, because that's all it does.

My guess is that this was tested, and this issue was brought up - but by calling this a security issue, the defect was allowed to slide.


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