Simon Willison’s Weblog

Items tagged usability in 2008

Filters: Year: 2008 × usability ×


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

I’ll put forth one central, overriding guideline for iPhone UI design: Figure out the absolute least you need to do to implement the idea, do just that, and then polish the hell out of the experience.

John Gruber # 4th November 2008, 12:02 am

Yahoo! Releases OpenID Research. Extremely valuable research, conducted with a group of typical Yahoo! users. OpenIDs usability remains bad, and if we don’t get it right soon something centralised like Facebook Connect will take over and the Web will stop being open. # 14th October 2008, 4:59 pm

Google’s Usability Research on Federated Login. Fascinating—suggests an approach to federated auth based on the Amazon.com “Yes, I have a password” login flow. Feels convoluted to me but apparently it tests really well against a mainstream audience. The more research shared around this stuff the better. # 22nd September 2008, 8:56 pm

Google Chrome, the comic book (via) Google have finally announced a browser project, though it’s currently vapourware (or rather comicware), existing only as a Scott McCloud comic. Still, it looks fascinating—entirely open source, WebKit with a brand new JavaScript VM, every tab running in a separate process for smarter memory usage and some new UI concepts and anti-pishing measures thrown in as well. # 1st September 2008, 7:45 pm

Reviews of the Pownce app on the iPhone app store on Flickr. I had to stitch together a screenshot because you can’t actually link to content in the App Store (unless you don’t care that people without iTunes won’t be able to follow your link). Three out of the four reviews complain about the OAuth browser authentication step, which is frustrating because Pownce have implemented it so well. # 12th August 2008, 11:05 am

Download size has been an issue in the past. [...] In the early days Macromedia did studies adding null kilobytes to Player downloads and measuring the dropoff rate in completed installations. The more time people have to hit that “Cancel Download” button, the more will do so.

John Dowdell # 8th August 2008, 3:51 pm

Silverback has launched! Clearleft’s “guerilla usability” software for OS X Tiger and Leopard—specialist screencasting software optimised for conducting usability tests. # 24th July 2008, 6:14 pm

The Truth about Web Navigation. Jeremy Zawodny on regular users understanding the browser address bar: “They don’t. And they never will.” Then they’re going to get phished, and there’s absolutely nothing we can do to help them. # 19th July 2008, 11:42 pm

He/She/They: Grammar and Facebook. Facebook are going to start requiring gender information because foreign language translations wind up being too confusing when that information is not available. Aside: I wish they’d implement proper title elements on their blog posts. # 27th June 2008, 9:06 am

Clickpass. Peter Nixey’s new OpenID startup has finally launched—does a great job of making OpenID more approachable with a clean, well designed UI and a neat orange button. # 11th March 2008, 4:47 pm

On the design of the first-run assistant. NetNewsWire’s Brent Simmons explains the in-depth thinking behind the new first-run assistant. # 29th January 2008, 12:16 pm

Usability Disaster Story. A strange combination of usability oddities culminated in 95% of visitors to the Mono website downloading a two year old version by mistake. # 25th January 2008, 6:36 am

8 More Design Mistakes with Account Sign-in (via) Second of a two part series by Jared Spool. I agree with all of them with the possible exception of #15 which advocates providing a non-email password recovery solution. Security “questions” are usually dreadfully insecure, and introduce the need to lock users out of their accounts after just a few tries. # 17th January 2008, 4:35 pm

Poorly Macbook, ineffective error message design. Nat’s MacBook died the other day, throwing out some impressively meaningless error symbols. How exactly are you meant to Google for a circle with a line through it? # 13th January 2008, 11:31 pm