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For the past few days, I have been pointing to various GUI bloopers that I have seen. Today’s nugget comes from our own Solaris JDS screen to unlock a display. I am more than a 100% sure that this is a known issue, but I wanted to put the blooper here anyway.

Here’s the screen that is displayed to me for about a second or two when I have typed in my password correctly and pressed Enter. 

When I saw this dialog box for the first time, my first reaction was, oh hell, perhaps the password was incorrect.

Look at this dialog box – there is so much wrong in there. First, the password text box is displayed as is. Now it may be that the text box is disabled, but to my eyes, it does not look so (even if it is, it shouldn’t be there in the first place). Secondly, that poor little label telling us that the login was successful is a pauper on the screen when it should have been the king. And, the dialog box still tells me that the display is locked. Very confusing to me atleast.



  1. The second observation is apt, the pauper-king thing. đŸ™‚ Would like to add another good-to-be feature, which is applicable on login screens. When a page requesting username and password loads, the default active text-box should be of password, instead of username, so that even if an impatient user (I fall in those), starts tying before the page completely loads, the password text-box gets default active and any conf data (in this case password) doesn’t become readable (in case username text-box gets active by default!). Only Google web-apps take care of this aspect!

  2. The X screen lock indeed has several usability issues (and, unfortunately, an unfriendly community maintainer who isn’t interested in this sort of thing). But they’re probably not getting much attention any more as the plan is for OpenSolaris to switch to gnome-screensaver at some point.

  3. I have noticed with OpenSolaris that the login dialog box actually crashes returning an error saying something about the gui has failed. If I leave overnight and try to login the next day, it doesn’t let me and I have to reboot the machine.
    On the production of Solaris 10 before I think 5/08, the screensaver wasn’t activated until you activated it manually. And just think Microsoft is worst!!

  4. @Sujit: I disagree completely with your suggestion. Many users, like myself, are used to typing username first and then password, and keeping the focus on the password field first is just going to disorient the users completely. On a fresh system, try opening gmail and check where is the focus is. It’s on the username field.

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