Don’t hide the features in obscure places

As a developer of computer games, software applications and web sites, I often wonder why certain functions of software are hidden.

I learned to provide access to features of my creations by making things clean, clear and crisp. While many profess to be web designers, most lack the skills for intuitive user interface design. Things don’t need to be complex or complicated.

I’ll get to the point right away: Mozilla Firefox is my primary browser. Its password management system is efficient. There are plug-ins to export and import the passwords one stores for various web sites.

Except, there is no obvious way to copy a password in Firefox’s password manager. There is no button or option that says “Copy”.

So until today, if I needed to take down a password stored in Firefox, I’d type it by hand to another file or browser instance.

Yesterday, I was feeling adventurous and right-clicked on the entry. Lo and behold, a context menu popped up that said “Copy password”.

I’m not sure how long this option existed and from now on I will use it, obviously. It amazes me when the obvious is hidden, and the hidden isn’t documented. In a world that demands speed of execution and ease of access, this approach is a design flaw.

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