Skip to content

Month: August 2008

The UX of the new jQuery website

jQuery relaunched their website.  See site here. The comments on the post are fascinating.  The re-design immediately erupted a firestorm of “Yay!” and “Yuck!” proclamations.  Issues such as how professional (or not) it looked or how cool (or not) it looked dominated the threads.  It shows how similar people using the identical tool can bake into it such different mental models. Mental models are incredibly important.  They are the reason people adopt various products and positions.  Mess around with how people think about their favorite things and they will get pretty hot.  This redesign does just that. The jQuery team…

Email Best Practices

Every few months, I find the time to update the cross-client html template.  Again, I used the returnPath tool to help me get a handle on best practices.  I improved it over the previous one in a few ways.  Here is a quick list of what I know: SpamAssassin will give you bad marks for spam if you: include the word “Dear” near the top of your message.  (Crazy, huh?) make anything font: 0px.  (oops, I got rid of that) send the mail from a long URL domain with 4 or more levels. My template works in: AOL 9 AOL…

Screen Capture for Mac OS X

I don’t often look at Mac software.  However, today I was helping someone try to find the equivelent of Snagit for the Mac.  Here is what we found: First is Snagit.  Yes, they are considering a mac version.  Other info here.  This would be great.  The latest release of Snagit has kind of a messy UI, but in general it gets the job done and then some.  I use it all the time. Next was SnapZPro.  It looks more geared towards video.  I couldn’t find the part where I could add an arrow and annotate a screen capture. We looked…

Design is

Nice collection of quotes about Design. Here is mine: Design is Decisions. I love to point out all the decisions around us that create our environment to my kids.  We are surrounded by decisions of people.  Some made with good thinking and some with faulty thinking.  Design isn’t good or bad.  It’s just the decisions we each make that create the world around us.

Scaling User Interfaces

The Mozilla Labs UX series is really interesting.  Great use of community to get ideas for the next generation of the browser.  I think they should use something similar to ideaExchange, but that is another issue. One participant is Aza Raskin.  He just posted an idea about tabs.  However, I think the most interesting thing is a comment he made about Scaling.  I noticed a similar thing when I was working at Intuit. When you work on a business application, you can blur alot of lines and make alot of mistakes, yet still have a compelling and productive application.  However,…

WordPress Themes & Watches

A long time ago I heard a comment about watches.  You can tell alot about someone from the watch they wear.  Watches aren’t like clothes where you pick a different outfit every day.  It lasts for a while.  People pick their watches pretty carefully.  The watch reflects the person’s personality.  Al Gore had a calculator watch for a while.  Now he has an expensive fancy watch.  Some have digital, some analog.  Some disney watches, some rolex.  Look at your watch, what does it say about you. A WordPress theme is just like that.  Check out this theme that I found…

Future Browsing Idea – Server Accounts

Mozilla is a cool insitution.  I dig what they are doing.  This is a perfect example.  They are asking for prototypes or ideas about the future of web browsing.  I find many of the ideas interesting and inspiring, but I also find most of them disconnected from real world examples.  Especially when you strip away the usual “speed improvements” and “fancy animations and transitions”.  The only things left are graphical polish.  It’s helpful when predicting the future to start with the past: Hyperlinks.  You clicked on a link and went somewhere else.  Wikipedia is still like this 100%. Javascript, Flash,…

The UX of the San Mateo County Fair

This weekend is just me and the boys.  It is not terribly hard, but we are watching way more TV than usual.  I am tired and my brain doesn’t work as well.  Katie feels this every day. 🙁 We went to the San Mateo County Fair on Friday.  It was pretty lame.  I remember seeing television shows about County Fairs in the Midwest where everyone in town was there.  There were contests for the biggest pumpkin and the prettiest cow.  There were games and rides and all sort of Americana fun.  I got a very different vibe from this Fair. …

Matthew Drivers License

They give these out at Matthew’s preschool for passing a tricycle test. Great smile. He saw it and said, “I’m wearing my monkey shirt there.” Pretty good for a 4 year old.

The UX of Large Tree Navigation

I have recently fallen in love with a new UI tool for large trees.  There are numerous examples of applications that need this.  Any application that has a tree on the left with more than 25 nodes would qualify.  (Outlook, Salesforce, Marketo, MSDN, Windows File Manager, etc)  Additionally, all photo sharing sites would benefit from this as well. Look at this prime example from ExtJS.  This screen is where I believe the UI was invented.  The tree on the left is collapsed.  If you expand it you will see how big it is.  Now here comes the magic moment. In…

Three Paths – The UX of Bugs & Support

Consider the three paths illustrated below. Path A represents perfect software.  It takes a long time to build and a long time to debug.  However, it is a mature product with zero defects.  (Is this a real product??)  Anyway, the point is that the user has no issues as he travels from his need to his solution.  He is happy at the end of the journey.  Studies show that this user will give the software a general rating of 8/10.  (I will explain in a moment) Path B represents most software in the world.  It goes to market quickly.  It…

Brett Farve joins the Jets

Wow, legendary quarterback Brett Farve joins the New York Jets.  I am excited and fearful all at the same time.  I think the Jets have all of the right ‘talent’ on the field, but will they have the chemistry?  Will they stay healthy?  A few injuries will tank the whole team. This is an exciting season.  I love football. Prediction still stands.  The Jets will be in the Superbowl this year. Another prediction:  Brett Farve will make more money this year in endorsements than any year in his career.

Predictions: 2008/2009

Well, it’s that time of year again where I predict things and get them all wrong.  Here we go. Democrat VP Picks. I predict Caroline Kennedy.  I think Joe Biden would be solid too.  If its Caroline, then Joe will sign on for Secretary of State. Republican VP Picks. Joe Lieberman (Boo!).  Maybe Mike Bloomberg. 2008/2009 NFL AFC Champions. New York Jets.  I can’t bring myself to say Superbowl champs. The next president of the United States of America. Barack Obama.  My first rule of presidential politics:  Charisma wins, not policy. Feel free to second guess.

Best Commercial, Ever

Beat that.

The UX of the Feedburner Sign-In

I rarely login to Feedburner even though I use it for my blog feeds.  It’s a good service.  I have a very specific critique though about the homepage.  Every time I go to their homepage, I look for the button to login.  I look all around the page, mostly in the blue area next to the flame.  That area has a huge eye magnetism.  (The eye is drawn to it).  Additionally, the big Hello, our name is FeedBurner has a huge draw for the eye.  I look and look.  Finally, I realize that it is above the big bold area. …