Information on user interfaces and how to make them easier to use.

Posts in the Usability category

poor usability in Opera 8 - 01 Feb 2005

Firefox is getting a lot of media attention right now, but it’s odd that Opera hasn’t gotten much. Many of the features that people are raving about in Firefox have been available for years in Opera. This wired article about Opera discusses the history of the forgotten browser. Unlike the majority of web users, I’ve […]

elegance in open source software - 17 Dec 2004

An article about the usability of open source software like Mozilla, Firefox, Gnome and Nautilus gave me something to think about. He says programmers don’t have to design for either the power user or the average user because even a power user doesn’t always want to configure everything; sometimes they just want it to work […]

no http:// in fields - 23 Sep 2004

There are lots of text fields out there that want you to enter a URL, but many of them think they’re doing you a favor by putting http:// in the field for you. I don’t find this helpful because I’m usually pasting the URL into the field, meaning I have to get rid of the […]

site loading slowly? - 20 Sep 2004

If your site has been loading slowly recently (like mine was towards the end of last week) you may want to try removing your blogroll to see if it helps. My site was taking 10-15 seconds to load when it usually takes less than a second, and when I removed the blogrolling code it […]

browsers shouldn’t have to lie - 28 Jan 2003

If you have a web site, don’t restrict browsers without reason. I use Opera and Galeon mainly but displayed an error saying that I had to use IE, Netscape or Mozilla. Galeon uses Mozilla’s libraries, so the rendering is identical, but they wouldn’t let me use it. Thankfully, the designers of Opera had the […]

slashdot interview of joe clark - 10 Dec 2002

Usability guy Joe Clark was interviewed on slashdot and his thorough answers provide a good overview of how to make your web site accessible. The solutions are realistic, as opposed to some usability advocates who propose changing the entire medium of the web in order to accomodate a small percentage of the user base. If […]

domain variations - 30 Oct 2002

One of the comments on my blog had a misspelled URL, but it still worked. Thankfully, Merriam Webster has learned to accept that people misspell words. By adding a few extra domains they get additional traffic. More traffic often means more money. The same approach can be used in the keywords meta tag, but they […]

flashy not always needed - 14 Oct 2002

I’ve found a real world example of how Flash can be misused from a usability perspective. I received a flash presentation of a document I have on a web site with the suggestion that I replace the document with the presentation. The presentation only showed one paragraph at a time and even a single paragraph […]

how usable is your site? - 05 Oct 2002

You can get feedback regarding your website’s usability. I ran the tests on my page and some of the errors were worthless. The main one I didn’t like was a complaint (of the highest priority) that I didn’t have a link to the home page, when I do. The problem is that they were searching […]

hi, i’m from Rwanda - 10 Sep 2002

There was an article in the Washington Post that I wanted to read, but instead of seeing the article I was asked to give them my personal information. Not a problem I thought, I’m more than willing to enter my vital statistics for demographic analysis. I proceeded to enter the following information: Female from Rwanda […]

i’m not a rock star - 22 Aug 2002

The first question on the FAQ is, “Where can I get his music?” I also used to have a note on the contact page saying that messages would not go to Chesney Hawkes. In spite of my efforts, I used to get several e-mails a week from people trying to find his music and others […]

regretting the fix - 15 Aug 2002

I run the Hobby of Kings site and for the past few months I haven’t been getting any email related to it. I assumed it was getting less traffic and didn’t think much of it (out of sight, out of mind). About a week ago, I checked the database and realized that it was not […]

minimalist design - 17 Jul 2002

There is a growing collection of minimalist web sites garnered mainly from user submissions. Some of the sites are very usable too, but I must point out that minimalism and usability are not synonomous even though they often work well together.

usability 101 - 13 Jul 2002

I like this list of ways to make usable web site but it’s just a beginning. It’s too broad to be of much use. I would like to see both good and bad examples and read an in depth explanation on how people can implement the changes on their own site. For instance, #7 suggests […]

beauty of blogs - 05 Jul 2002

I recieved responses from both of the sites that had usabiilty issues. Don’t worry, I won’t let it get to my head. I’m aware that it won’t always happen, especially with larger sites who will not be nearly as responsive to my suggestions. Not all of the big sites have deaf ears though. Google still […]

link usability - 02 Jul 2002

When designers don’t use a consistent method to distinguish links from other content, the site becomes very hard to use. For some reason I’ve been seeing a lot of this recently, with the worst offender not only using black links with black text (a definite no-no) but a style sheet mouse over that doesn’t work […]

easy to use? - 25 Mar 2002

So easy to use, no wonder they can’t even use it themselves – AOL wanted everyone within their company to use their software but have given up because of all the complaints. It would be a useful exercise for more companies to use their own products in order to know what the user experience is […]

not so flashy - 06 Mar 2002

There’s a thread on that I’ve been posting to about simple designs for web sites. I’ve gotten into a debate with another guy that posted concerning the use of Flash. He argues that Flash is widely accepted and useable, I argue that there are an estimated 18 million Linux users who only have Flash […]