Security Tradeoffs

misc I've said it before, tradeoff's pop up in programming all the time. They are often difficult decisions, with no easy answer, and we often make the wrong decision.

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Usability vs User Experience

misc Here is something I hadn't ever pondered: the tradeoff between usability and user experience:

Freeways are usable, since they take you from A to B in the most effortless way. But they are also utterly boring. A twisting mountain road on the other hand is exiting. But far from usable.

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Howto Build a Form That Isn't Annoying (Part 2)

web This is the second part of my multi-part series called: How to build a form that isn't annoying. After posting part 1 I received lots of great feedback in the comments.

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Accessibility and Usability in Forms Outline

web I gave a talk today called Form Accessibility & Usability here's the outline.

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Cognitive Bias

web Last week I was reading about the 5 Second Test. It's a usability test given to focus groups. You give the tester a goal, and then flash the page for 5 seconds. If the user can complete the goal the test passes.

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Howto build a form that isn't annoying (Part 1)

web As a web user filling out a form tends to be a most dreaded activity. While forms will always be mundane to fill out, it is possible to create forms that don't drive the user crazy.

I'd like to challenge some common bad practices, and promote some best practices that are often ignored.

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Let the computer do the formatting

coldfusion web Brian Crescimanno recently published a form usability checklist on A List Apart. It's a great article that hits home some of my form pet peeves.

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Google says disable your firewall

web When using GMail I sometimes get the following error message:

Arrgh! The page has been corrupted. If you are running security or firewall software, you may have to disable it

This is a bad error message for a number of reasons.

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Howto make Friendly URLs

web Thinking and Making has a good article called: Friendly URLs improve usability and user experience. I've always been a big fan of the friendly urls, when I see a site that uses friendly URL's I get a sense of elegance, and cleanliness.

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Keep in mind that users don't read

web I was just updating my cell phone plan on T-Mobile's web site. They asked me to enter the last four digits of my social security number, or my birth date to confirm my identity.

I was just making a quick change, so I didn't read the instructions on the form written in font size xx-small.

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Information Scents

web I found an article on Information Scents on SmartMobs. The term Information Scents was first coined by researchers at Xerox, whose research showed that the way people search for information is closely related to how animals hunt for food.

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Stupid, Evil, and Lazy Design

web Jack Schofield asked Jakob Nielson what is holding up progress on the web? Nielsen responded with three things:

Evil Design

"Google has made billions by putting the ads where people do want them, rather than where they don't want them."

That is an excellent point.

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New Homepage Design

misc web I redesigned my homepage last week. My goal was to help readers find some of my older posts that may be interesting.

So to start, I added a prominent search box at the top left, I simply use google's search my site for this feature.

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The persistence of really bad ideas

web Seth Godin has a great post called The persistence of really bad ideas, in which he rants about how web developers always seam to use select boxes for picking states and countries:

There are fifty states. This is a problem.

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Search Useability

web Jakob Nielsen has recently published an article titled: Mental Models For Search Are Getting Firmer. The article basically states that if your sites search functionality behaves different from Google, that users will get confused.

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Usability Tip for Visited Link Colors

web I have been messing around with some link colors on my dealazon site over the weekend, and I noticed that visited link colors we're really important.

So my tip is don't make a visited link color darker than the default link color.

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did you hack my cf?