The Death of Doubleclick
Most of us have experienced the frustration of watching a friend or family member struggle with computers. Perhaps there is an excruciating delay while they use a laptop trackpad to navigate to the Edit menu and select Copy. Or maybe you've seen them continuously opening and closing applications rather than just minimise or tab so they can see something underneath.
I've noticed people double clicking things, especially in browsers, that should only be clicked once. Things that seem like really obvious single click situations. A LOT. Turns out, I'm not alone: this guy has let his frustration over double-click confusion spill out into an online rant.
Ok, so clearly we have a usability issue here. Originally the double-click was a handy way to add different actions to the same icon. Some people blame Apple for creating it as a result of their single button mouse design. But the situation now is that some people cannot tell when they're supposed to be single or double-clicking.
In browsers a double-click is almost never required. It's the same for any device with a touch screen interface. Microsoft clearly thinks that touch interfaces are the future - you've probably seen the Windows 8 "Metro" UI.
I wonder: as we move away from desktop apps towards mobile and web apps, presumably the need to double-click will diminish? I guess that's a good thing. Usability guru Jakob Nielsen thinks that double-click must die.
Will anyone miss it? Seems unlikely. But very soon there will be new a generation of tech users which have absolutely no idea why older family members are inserting extra taps seemingly at random...