Unwelcome icons

21Dec07

If you use Windows at all, you’ve probably had a few mysterious icons appear in the taskbar at the bottom right of your screen. Sometimes these are useful, helping you keep tabs on the status of a program or utility. But more often than not, they appear there because the software vendor decided it would be nice to have their logo appear all the time, with virtually no value to the user. Making matters worse, there’s rarely a way to prevent installing this component, and removing it can be a real pain.

When it comes down to it, forcing users to accept a taskbar icon when they install your software is a bad practice. If the icon is needed to make the software work, then at least make the user aware that it’s being installed, and explain why. In cases where the icon isn’t really needed, and it’s more of a promotional or branding thing, give the user the ability to opt-out of this component during the install process.

Sure, you’ll get fewer chances to present users with your logo and messages. But at least you won’t be viewed as one of those companies that installs suspicious software without their consent. Indeed, as viruses and spyware make people more wary of what goes on their computers, preserving customers’ trust should be a top priority.



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