Microannoyances

In which Jared whinges about bad engineering for the second time this week.

The self-checkout lanes at the grocery store have touch-screens for entering the four or five digit codes for produce. However, it turns out that if you become proficient at entering the codes and type them too fast, even though the system responds audibly and visually to every “key press”, a) there’s a noticeable delay between the time a number is pressed and when it shows up on the screen, and b) worse, the numbers that show up on the screen have digits missing or out of order.

I’m trying to understand how interface design can be this awful. How bad does your code have to be for there to be a noticeable delay in responding to key presses when running on any hardware released in the last fifteen years? On a system with almost nothing else to do.

And if I were a software manger and an underling designed a program that queued keystrokes, and then discarded some events and handled the queue out of order, it would be grounds for immediate dismissal. This is worse than incompetence.

Or maybe it’s intentional, the digital equivalent of speed bumps in the checkout lane.

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