Simon Willison’s Weblog

Items tagged usability in Dec

Filters: Month: Dec × usability ×


Discoverable CLIs have comprehensive help texts, provide lots of examples, suggest what command to run next, suggest what to do when there is an error. There are lots of ideas that can be stolen from GUIs to make CLIs easier to learn and use, even for power users.

Command Line Interface Guidelines # 4th December 2020, 8:48 pm

Command Line Interface Guidelines (via) Aanand Prasad, Ben Firshman, Carl Tashian and Eva Parish provide the missing manual for designing CLI tools in 2020. Deeply researched and clearly presented—I picked up a bunch of useful tips and ideas from reading this, and I’m looking forward to applying them to my own CLI projects. # 4th December 2020, 8:44 pm

Why does Wolfram|Alpha present all search results as pictures rather than text?

Wolfram Alpha is essentially a web interface to Mathematica (plus a huge corpus of structured data). Mathematica has been around for decades, and has an extremely sophisticated visualisation engine (try typing “sin(x)/cos(x)” in to Wolfram Alpha and see what happens). It’s also very good at rendering mathematical formulae that would be very hard to represent in plain HTML (without using MathML, which isn’t supported by IE).

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Instapaper requiring email and passwords for new accounts. Instapaper are changing from their novel “enter a username or email address, only enter a password if you really want one” registration scheme to a more traditional email and password required model. Messing with registration forms is a risky business—in this case, the non-obvious support issues that resulted were a net negative. # 15th December 2010, 8:35 pm

A piece with a lot of screenshots about the close tab behaviour in Google Chrome. If you click “close” with your mouse, Chrome doesn’t resize the remaining tabs until you mouse away from the area. This means you can click “close” multiple times without having to chase the close button. I hadn’t noticed this, partly because Chrome doesn’t do it if you hit Command-W. They even switch the position of the close button in RTL languages such as Arabic. # 11th December 2009, 9:19 am

Adobe: Akamai Download Manager FAQ. Tip for Adobe: if the bizarre, buggy custom Java applet you force people to use to download your software requires an FAQ this long, maybe you should provide a “just do it the way everyone else does” option. # 16th December 2008, 10:13 am

Showers and UI design. UI issues aside, why is it so hard to build a shower where the settings for freezing cold and scaldingly hot are more than a couple of millimeters apart? # 14th December 2008, 8:21 am

Facebook’s new signup process. It looks like they’ve dropped the “enter your password twice” pattern. Is this really a good idea? I suppose if people mis-type it they can always use forgotten password to set a new one. # 12th December 2008, 11:43 am

OpenID and Google’s Blogger. Blogger gets it wrong by displaying a nickname derived from the OpenID URL (in Malcolm’s case, “blog”) instead of the user entered nickname. # 30th December 2007, 10:35 am

Fast and Simple Usability Testing. Nat’s 24ways article on practical usability testing (and hedgehogs). # 16th December 2006, 12:20 am