Make life easier with a “Review All Settings” feature

04Sep07

With each revision of software, there seems to be an ever-increasing number of settings to deal with. I’ve seen this on PC and Mac programs, web-based apps, network routers, and more. Even after paring down the settings screens to the most important options, you may still be left with quite a few things that users can change. Given this necessary evil, even the best-designed applications seem to have one consistent failing: there is no way to simply view all the settings. Instead, you have to locate each page of options, click the “Edit” button, review the settings, and repeat the process for the next page. This is tedious and greatly increases the risk of making accidental changes.

To remedy the problem, give users a way to review all the settings and options from one place: a big, easily printed list that they can review without the risk of changing anything by accident. As an added benefit, the ability for users to print or save a copy of the list before making any large-scale changes in the software gives them a way to recover gracefully if they mess something up. This leads to happier users — and fewer panicked tech support calls 🙂



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