Common mistakes in software applications

Common mistakes in software developingThis story comes via our sister blog, OnSoftware (in Spanish). Here at Softonic we test a few hundred apps every week, which means that despite the effort most developers put into their products, we still face all kinds of problems regarding program’s features, design and management. In fact, after some time testing and reviewing software applications, you realize that they can be easily categorized in different groups, according to their behavior and of course, the trouble they bring to your life as a computer user.

Bearing that in mind, we’ve come up with these ten categories for the most common problems in software tools. If you have any other group that we’ve failed to mention, feel free to drop us a line in the Comments section.

1. Freeware, but limited
There are many programs that fall into this group. They’re labeled as free, but once you’ve happily downloaded and installed them, they aren’t ashamed of displaying messages which kindly invite you to register. Sometimes certain features will remain blocked until you register! What kind of freeware is that?

2. Smile, surprise inside!
These programs look really nice and promise great functionality, but also ask you to pay a price for it: they include some sort of unwanted being in the shape of a browser tool bar, an ad-ridden search page or even a piece of malware. You’d better avoid these ones!

3. Hey, I can decide that for myself
Something I really hate about software apps is when they configure themselves right after installation, without even asking me first. Things like running when Windows launches, changing file associations or downloading updates are decisions I like to take personally – and not let a piece of source code do it for me.

4. Test me if you can
I know developers need to earn a living. I understand their charging for applications. But some shareware versions are so crippled that you can hardly test them. If I can’t try a program properly because nearly all of its options are disabled, how will I decide if I want to buy it?

5. Young Frankenstein is here
Software apps are meant to be useful, but their appearance is also important. Some programs are so poorly designed that you can tell the developer hasn’t spent a single minute thinking about text fonts, color combinations or interface layout. Shame on you!

6. Let’s play hide-and-seek!
Talking about design, some other tools show a complete lack of usability. It seems that developers make fun of us by misplacing buttons, using endless menus or hiding important areas like Settings or Help. In short: you give up before actually using the program.

7. Wait, there’s still room for more
When you install an audio player or a CD burning tool it’s because you want to listen to music and record discs respectively, isn’t it? There’s no need to bloat these apps with extra functions such as a tag editor, a duplicate file finder, a multimedia viewer, a cover designing tool… Please, remember the KISS principle.

8. Do you speak Chinese?

As English-speaking users, we’re lucky: the majority of software produced in the world is available in our language. Still, we find translations that really give us the creeps. I have nothing against translation tools but please, at least bother to check their output.

9. Simply follow the instructions
Programs are usually easy to install: double click on the file and follow a wizard that involves clicking on the “Next” button a few times. But when that “few” becomes “twenty” or more, as well as downloading and installing extra data, the whole process turns out to be a real pain.

10. The longest name in the world
When you create a program the first thing you need to do is naming it. With millions of software apps already swarming around, it’s difficult to come up with original ideas. But this is no excuse to name your program with something like Free Batch Video to AVI MPEG WMV VCD SVCD DVD Converter Plus: too long, too ugly!

[Via: OnSoftware Spain]

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