Three bits of interesting UI news today.
First is a spotlight from the ExtJS blog called VersoChat. Mostly, I just read the blog, skimmed their website and looked closely at the big JPEG on EXT. Default skin, but very nice icons. I wonder where they got those ones. The Information Architecture (IA) is definetely designed for a power user. It’s laid out for someone who clearly uses the thing every day. I like it in general, but that is a very hard space to get into. I think the chat window could potentially have the rich text editor from EXT, but maybe that’s not needed. I wonder if the user on the other side has the same EXT base to chat. Overall, very interesting.
Second, Yahoo released a nice stencil kit for making prototypes. They include the YUI code and design patterns with the stencils. It’s an excellent way to get people to use YUI, not justinside Yahoo, but elsewhere. Yahoo definetely has a strong UX team. I wonder how they feel they are doing. YUI has sort of dropped down in the list of libraries as of late.
Lastly, I saw news of an ajax library today from a company called Gaia. It looks ok. I haven’t used it enough to give it a fair review. However, it looks like it is targeting asp.net users. This is a good strategy based on the pain I have heard regarding using Microsoft’s native components. Maybe Microsoft should buy a company like Gaia? I had suggested to TargetProcess that they consider ExtJS, but maybe Gaia is better for them considering they are an asp.net shop?
On a side note, I have noticed that Firefox 3 comes with a keyboard shortcut (control-K) to go to the searchbox on the top right. Previously, WordPress had used control-k to mean “add a link”. This is the same keyboard shortcut for MS Word. Since FF3 co-opted that shortcut, not I have to click Alt-Shift-A. This is annoying. It’s an awkward position on my hard and I keep hitting the caps lock key in the process. I wonder why Firefox chose that shortcut since it has been reserved in general for linking.
Like I always say, “A design decision creates the world in which ordinary people have to live. Someone made this decision and I have to live with it.”