Something that drives me crazy in certain user interfaces is when different methods of triggering the same action have different behavior.
- In Microsoft Word, one can introduce a bullet point list by pressing the button on the ribbon or with a keyboard shortcut (
SHIFT + CTRL + L), but the behavior of the list is different in each case. The list started by pressing a button is indented and uses different bullets for different indentation levels. The list started with the keyboard shortcut has no indentation at the first level, and the different levels all use the same bullet.
- In Chrome, opening a new tab can be accomplished with the context menu or
CTRL + click. However, in certain cases,
CTRL + clickdoes not actually open a new tab, while the menu does. For example, see the picture bar links at the top of this blog.
Is there any possible UX justification for the same action having different behavior based on how it is triggered?
Given Microsoft's track record, I'm willing to write off the Word behavior as illogical (and probably supported for legacy reasons). However, Google has a very strong track record of user interfaces that are driven by principles and well-tested. I can't understand how the above behavior would be desirable to anyone.
It seems to me that actions should always behave the same, no matter how the user triggers them. Does anyone have any justifications for such differences?