Why is Low higher than High?

Low, Normal, High

Not sure why I’ve never noticed this before. When assigning a priority to a Task within Microsoft Outlook 2003 you can click on the priority box and select from a fly-out context-menu one of three options: Low, Normal or High.

But why didn’t the developers adopt a kind of natural mapping approach to the location of these three options?

In other words why not place High at the top (because it’s higher), and Low at the bottom (because it’s lower)?

Like this:

High, Normal, Low

The only reason I can think of is that they presumed that users would select Low more often than High and therefore made the Low option closer to the drop-down button, so users would have a shorter distance for their mouse to travel when selecting that option.

I never use Low, I use Normal most of the time and then occasionally highlight particularly important tasks with High. The current layout confuses me every time I use it.

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

3 thoughts on “Why is Low higher than High?”

  1. Tend to only use ‘low’ when it is the equivalent to FYI. It may just be an organisational culture point but it helps to sort out the urgents from the not so’s.

    As for higher or lower – for me they are side by side (high on the left).

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