Chapter Five. Puzzling Interface Issues

HERE ARE SOME short answers to simple questions about the Windows user interface. Behind many of the simple questions lie lessons for software designers, because the situations that lead to these questions are often triggered by programming errors or by a suboptimal program design.

What are those little overlay icons?

WINDOWS XP SHIPS with a number of icon overlays:

A small arrow. Everybody knows this one: It’s the shortcut overlay.

A hand, palm up. This is the “sharing” overlay. A folder with this overlay is the root of a file share.

A downward-pointing blue arrow. This is the “to be written to CD” overlay.

A pair of blue swirling arrows. This sometimes baffles people. This means that the item ...

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