Blog entries tagged with "usability"

April fool’s day pranks annoy me

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009 at 01:31pm

Today is the first of April. To many that means April fool’s day pranks.

I have to admit that I don’t actually mind a good prank (the PTUA one made me chuckle), but they don’t work on the internet.

First is the timezone issue. To me it is early afternoon on April 1 and I have seen some good pranks from local sites. But by the time it is April 1 in the US, it is April 2 before I see their pranks, they are then just stupid as I am back to expecting legitimate content. This is compounded by the tradition of pranks in Australia only lasting until noon, while in the US they last all day.

Second is how the prank is followed up. If it stays available (eg as an archived post/article) then it must be modified to make of clear that it was an April fools prank. It is not reasonable to expect that someone finding it in the future will notice that the date (often in fine print) was April 1. A follow up post/article handles the regular readers, but does nothing to help those who go straight to the prank post/article.

It’s about respecting your audience, they may not be from the same area (also extends to other cultural things) or they may not be viewing the content until some unknown point on the future.

Update: Once I got home it was actually April 1 in the US and I started seeing some more. I have to agree with Dan that the dead-pixel pandemic is quite good.

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Forms That Work

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007 at 07:15pm

I spent today in a training course about how to improve the usability of web forms: Forms That Work.

We had been led to believe that the course would be about practical methods to construct the forms in a usable manner. However, that was only one part of the training. The focus of the course was on the entire form process, starting from why you even need to ask for information.

Because of this, the course was even better than I expected as I believe that most of the problems we have at work stem from a lack of suitable analysis and design. Too often we are implementing solutions in need of a problem. Instead, we should be understanding the problem and then considering possible solutions, including not doing anything.

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Sydney and back in the same day

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005 at 10:23pm

Today I went (with work) to a usability workshop in Sydney. All up it was pretty good but having to leave for the airport at 5AM then returning home at 9:30PM was a pain…

I should write down my thoughts…

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The Design of Everyday Things

Sunday, April 17th, 2005 at 07:28pm

Yesterday I finished reading The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman. Since any decent material on usability (specifically in reagard to the web as that that is what I do) references concepts that can be traced back to this book I probably could have got by without reading it. Since I prefer to go to the source rather than rely on second, third or nth hand mutations I read it anyway and there was one point that I cannot recall being stressed enough elsewhere:

  • The design of a system should both make it easy for the user to correctly select the appropriate action for the desired output as well as the system preventing incorrect actions from being performed.

I think the next next book that I will read will be Emotional Design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things which is also by Donald Norman. In fact I bought these two books at the same time to get a discount…

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