When I was a qa manager at Frame Technology, one of my teams worked on testing a port of FrameMaker to the NeXT platform. FrameMaker ran on a variety of operating systems: Mac, Windows, and various flavors of UNIX. At any one time engineers at Frame might have as many as three different computers or workstations on their desk. When the VP of Engineering assigned me the NeXT project, I knew some lucky qa engineer in my group was going get some cool new hardware on his or her desk.
I drove to the NeXT offices in Redwood City, and picked up two loaner workstations to take back to Frame’s San Jose office. I gave them to the two qa engineers working on the project, worked with them on the testing, and then got busy with other things.
A week later I wanted to take a look at FrameMaker on Next for myself, so I went to log in on of the NeXT systems. I entered my credentials and hit return. The login screen had a sort of seizure, moving back and forth side to side. What the hell was that? I tried a couple of more times, but was not able to log in.
Finally, one of the qa engineers working on the project came to my rescue. Clearly my login credentials were wrong (my account had not been set up yet), but what was worse was the system response: the shaking screen was a crude attempt to mimic someone’s head shaking no. There was no error message indicating what was wrong, just a shaking screen. Clearly some developer at NeXT had thought this was a cool idea, and got everyone to go along with it. Why not dispense with the fancy shaking and just put up some text instead? This would certainly be a lot clearer to a user.
Fast forward a number of years. NeXT has come and gone, but bad ideas live on. I’m over at WordPress.com site, go to log in, and what do I see? The dreaded shaking screen. Yes, really. But, at least the folks at WordPress.com have the courtesy and forethought to also put up some text, so you think your screen is having a seizure.
You can see it for youself by trying to use a bogus login at WordPress.com.
Why do developers do things like this? Because they can and they think it looks cute.