There's already a question for WebApp gotchas, but there are also a lot of anti-patterns in desktop UIs.
Applications stealing focus when I'm working in a different app. For example: start Photoshop, get back to work in MS Word, Photoshop steals focus when it's done starting. Quite annoying
Having a gazillion options in there settings that's impossible to navigate. I always felt like internet explorer was bad about this:
Apps that don't follow the OS' conventions, such as apps that minimise to an icon in the tray when you click "close", or apps that add themselves to startup automatically without asking/notifying you. It's a UI problem because any competent UI designer would scream in anguish at the implied end user fury resulting from implementing something like that.
I know I do. Every time!
Creating a notification area icon for an application that doesn't run in the background (e.g. Opera and VLC).
Modal windows and dialog boxes! I've got ten different programs running and all of a sudden some application way in the background decides to spawn one of these things. Now I've got to stop what I'm doing since I can't get any more work done until I click OK or Cancel.
Applications ask for System Restart once updating software is complete. This is annoying as user might have just started sytem.
Windows application that when closed with the "x" are instead minimized to the tray and force you to right click their icon and choose "Exit" (and then sometimes add the "Are you sure?" dialog).
Applications that ask you to upgrade when you first launch them. When you open an application you usually have a task in mind that you need that application to complete. This is just about the worst possible time to interrupt the user and ask them to complete an upgrade process.
Splash screens while launching a program. These splash screens have a bad habit of staying on top of every other window until loading is done. Loading may take ages, so it's not possible to use any other windows in the meantime.
Application alerts/dialogs that prevent my Taskbar in Windows from auto-hiding.
Lotus Notes. Just everything about it.
On the Mac, a pet peeve of mine is that the Resize handle on the lower-right corner is so small. I regularly—unintentionally—click something in the background, causing loss of focus on the window I was attempting to resize. Now I usually remember to slow down and be very pointed (pun) while mousing to the Resize handle.
I find it frustrating when a desktop app deliberately limits itself to working like a web page (note: not a web application, but a web page).
Web pages are limited by bandwidth and latency constraints - why replicate the same constrained user experience when you're locally installed. Madness.
- Adobe Reader puts its icon back to desktop after each update.
- Windows Vista/7 reboots your computer after update silently and aggressively after short period of time if you are not there and cannot postpone it.
- Antivirus software that notifies me that is has updated successfully (it’s your assumed behavior dammit!).
- This a-z sorting just drives me crazy:
My app is the only one my users will be running, so since it is a desktop app I can use all the resources I want.
Problem: at this specific moment I have; 2 IE windows with about 10 tabs each 2 Visual studio windows, TweetDeck, 1 Chrome with a few tabs, Total Commander, Skype, Google Talk, 2 cassini instances and AV software. (for some reason I don't have any Office apps open at this moment but I usually do, and when I am testing I usually have 5 browsers running)
Modal dialog boxes that have to tell me what the buttons mean. For example, when closing an unsaved document you frequently get something like this:
Your document has not been saved! Click "OK" to save the document before closing. Click "Cancel" to return to document editing.
The alternative, of course, is to explicitly label the buttons; e.g. [Discard Changes and Exit], [Save Changes and Exit], etc.
Hm, I have a Dell laptop at work, with a docking station. Windows XP displays a stupid "Undock" button in the start menu, right below "All Programs." Constantly I hit that hell pit and it "undocks" my computer, closing all my network connections while at it and forcing me to physically extracting the laptop from the docking bay (having to remove a physical lock we are enforced to use here) and... you get the picture.
Inconsistant keyboard shortcuts for common tasks.
One example: Microsoft products and browsers, advancing through sentences one word at a time (alt-left/right) and jump to end of line (ctl-left/right). In Adobe software ctl-left/right moves one word at a time, and alt-left/right adjusts kerning.
Gets me every time. Why would you create software that breaks such basic conventions?
Taskbar keeps being hidden for no obvious reason1 even though I've moved my mouse to the bottom of the screen.
1: No window is being displayed on top+maximised and no modal window is being displayed.