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I use Trac, a personal wiki tool. I use SVN Tortoise , the subversion tool I use Outlook, Word etc

In all these pieces of software, each time I want to type an url or an email address the software turns it into a hyperlink, suddenly altering the behaviour of the text, often treating as a single entity. (i.e a single back-space deletes the whole url, text-select leaps to select the whole url instead of single letters etc )

Its as helpful to me as the Microsoft Office paper-clip.

Am I the only one that gets annoyed by these things?

If it is generally considered bad UI to do unexpected things. Surely its bad UI.

Update: As Sii says below :

"Most of the time people prefer hyperlinks ... by default"

I suppose that is the truism that I am doubting. Is there any research or evidence to back this up?

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You might actually be the only one that gets annoyed by this. –  NickC Dec 21 '10 at 6:22
    
ha, yes, so far I seem to stand alone. –  JW01 Dec 21 '10 at 6:24
    
Not alone. I hate it when I make typo in URL and backspace deletes the whole thing! Happens on my Android phone as well, which is even MORE annoying since it takes longer to type things. –  Dan McGrath Jan 8 '11 at 5:52

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You're not alone. It annoys me too, sometimes. For example, when I want to write something like "let's meet there@18.00".

But still, it's okay almost always, so the compromise between "do (only) what I tell you to do" vs. "do what I expect you to do" seems to be quite reasonable. Some essential points:

  1. Any UI behavior is a compromise.
  2. If virtually all pieces of software behave in some specific way, deviating from that is annoying.
  3. Despite of 2), did Apple create their now renowed UIs by conforming to expectations?
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fair point - I suppose I only actually notice it when it is annoying. –  JW01 Dec 21 '10 at 7:04
    
I think Apple is one of those few companies that invest heavily in UI research, thus creating the 'norm'. Then, it becomes a 'habituated pattern' that others follow cos they don't have the resources to research the alternatives for a specific context. –  JW01 Dec 21 '10 at 7:21

I love it in places where I actually want a hyperlink and despise it in places I don't. Big shock there, I'm sure. To me the dividing line is whether it makes sense for the finished document/note/whatever to have hyperlinks.

In places like website comments, forums and such including this site, email, and software I'm using to generate an HTML doc for the web I love the automatic hyperlinking. When writing a letter or resume or really, any document intended for print, I despise it.

To me this seems stunningly obvious, though Microsoft and I clearly disagree in Word, Excel, even PowerPoint. Bleh.

ProTip: In Microsoft products, anyway, an immediate Undo will remove whatever automatic formatting was just applied. I've sadly become accustomed to typing http://... ctrl-Z.

(Yes, I know you can change the setting, but this applies to all automatic formatting you don't want including punctuation and spelling fixes.)

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In MS-Word Right click and do "Remove hyperlink". Not sure which version of Word you are using but I hope there is something similar.

Most of the time people prefer hyperlinks hence by default, the behaviour is kept so. There are ways to tweak the settings depending on your requirement.

I would call it sensible UI.

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"Most of the time people prefer hyperlinks hence by default" - i suppose that is the truism that I am doubting –  JW01 Dec 21 '10 at 6:23

I don't know how your environment works, but in my Word '07, a backspace into a hyperlink turns it back into plaintext rather than deleting the whole thing. It's extremely convenient, and probably the default setting.

Essentially: Your environment is annoying you because your environment isn't configured in a way that suits you. Go figure! Dig into your configuration.

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don't you mean...'go configure' –  JW01 Dec 21 '10 at 6:29
    
@JW01: No. Unless that was a clever quip. ;) –  Jonathan Hobbs Dec 21 '10 at 6:30
    
yep, it was a quip. not so sure about the clever. ;o) –  JW01 Dec 21 '10 at 6:31

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