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Circular Reasoning

Following the elegant understatement of a so-called “European” design (maybe the font was Eurostile?) came the one for women: a circular dialog box with little round buttons and text arranged in arcs. Many women said it looked like a carrying case for birth-control pills. Or a compact. How appropriate!

It is irrelevant whether, as the designer argued, women are really more attracted to curvilinear shapes than are men. A text style dialog box is a tool. The real issue here is that the circular dialog would simply be substantially harder for anyone, female or male, to use. Text wrapped around a curve or tilted is much more difficult to read than regular horizontal text, and circular scrolling is simply screwy.


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