A customer wanted to know how to set Size all columns to fit as the default for all Explorer windows. (I found an MSDN forum thread on the same subject, and apparently, the inability to set Size all columns to fit as the default is "an enormous oversight and usability problem.")

The confusion stems from the phrasing of the option; it's not clear whether it is a state or a verb. The option could mean

  • "Refresh the size of all the columns so that they fit the content" (verb)
  • "Maintain the size of all the columns so that they fit the content" (state)

As it happens, the option is a verb, which means that it is not part of the state, and therefore can't be made the default. (The cue that it is a verb is that when you select it, you don't get a check-mark next to the menu option the next time you go to the menu.)

Mind you, during the development cycle, we did try addressing the oversight part of the enormous oversight and usability problem, but we discovered that fixing the oversight caused an enormous usability problem.

After changing Size all columns to fit from a verb to a state, the result was unusable: The constantly-changing column widths (which were often triggered spontaneously as the contents of the view were refreshed or updated) were unpredictable and consequently reduced user confidence since it's hard to have the confidence to click the mouse if there is an underlying threat that the thing you're trying to click will move around of its own volition.

Based on this strong negative feedback, we changed it back to a verb. Now the columns shift around only when you tell them to.

I find it interesting that even a decision that was made by actually implementing it and then performing actual usability research gets dismissed as something that was "an enormous oversight and usability problem."

Sigh: Comments closed due to insults and name-calling.