When you press the cursor keys, modified cursor keys (with [Shift], [Ctrl], and so on) or [Home] and [End] keys on a Windows PC, the on-screen cursor reacts in a consistent way when it’s in a block of text, no matter what application you’re using. Its behaviour is controlled at operating system level rather than individual application level, and this consistent behaviour is a sign of good user interface design.
Now I’m the last person to suggest that Windows is any kind of benchmark for good interface design – in fact one of the reasons I recently switched to a Mac was the UI horror of Windows Vista and Windows 7. And, of course, the Mac has a wonderfully consistent user interface that’s far more logical and intuitive than anything Microsoft has so far managed. Apart from its stupid cursor control. (more…)