Why is it that software developers, in the GUIs of common software, particularly blogging tools, put rarely used and dangerous functions (“Delete this [post/database/blog]”) immediately next to frequently used functions (“Save this [post/database/whatever]”)? This is stupid, yet one sees it not infrequently, and not only in version 1.0.
Not-so early versions of Movable Type actually had a “delete this blog” button. What was the purpose of such a function? Was it to let you destroy the evidence if the blog police were at your door? I don’t get it. It’s easy enough to delete your blog inadvertently using an FTP program; the developers shouldn’t do anything to make inadvertent deletion even easier. I always edited the MT scripts to remove that stupid button and the function it triggered.
WordPress, supposedly the latest and greatest, has a “Delete post” link next to the “Save” and “Publish” buttons. Why couldn’t they put the delete button somewhere else — say, at the bottom of the page? For every post that I’ve deleted intentionally I have come close to deleting several more posts accidentally, merely because the delete link is in a dumb place. For all of its brilliance, WordPress has the feel of a vanity project managed by a few clever developers who ignore the marketing guy who suggests that maybe it’s not such a great idea to put the delete button next to the save button.
But of course there is no marketing guy, because WordPress is an open-source project managed by a few clever developers. Maybe that’s the problem. If WP were being sold for real money, the developers might have no choice but to put more care into GUI design. And they might be able to afford to hire specialists to do it. But since it’s open-source, and users are members of a “community” rather than paying customers, what’s the incentive to spiff up the GUI? OTOH, given the competition from other (free) blogging packages, it might not be possible to sell WP.
It’s interesting that some basic GUI issues are not given much weight in the race to add software features. I don’t know if there’s a remedy for this situation.