Tag Archives: usability

Let Me Save Incomplete Files

This is a usability problem that I have run into a number of times.   A programmer writes a UI screen to receive a long list of inputs in order to create an object in system.  Save is enabled only when … Continue reading

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Two Kinds of Exceptions

An exception is a message from the system to the user about something that the program can not handle. There are a couple of main categories of exceptions: environmental and program logic. They warrant quite different treatment.

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Usability is like the Flavor of a Meal

We talk about usability of software as if it was something separate from the software itself.  There are usability experts, and there are programmers who openly claim to not be very good at user interface.  And yet, usability is affected … Continue reading

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"Oops something failed" is NOT acceptable error message

I try to keep track of real-life situations where poor error messages appear. That happened again today. This message was displayed to the user:

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Not-So-EasyChair Hints

There is a conference management system called EasyChair which many of the academic conferences use to manage the submission to the conference, the reviewing of the submissions, and the selection of the papers to be included.  It is tried and … Continue reading

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Usability Means Not Jumping Through Hoops

The image of being forced to jump through hoops is one of being required to take arbitrary actions in arbitrary orders just to satisfy some goals that are either unseen or at least not in the interest of the user. … Continue reading

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Usability Means Well-Behaved, even when the User Isn't

Users of a program found that sometimes, when they went to log in, they did not get a place to enter the username & password.  Instead of the normal login prompt, they got a blank screen, and it was completely … Continue reading

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Improving the Code through Installation Manual Analysis

What can you learn from your install manual that can make your product better?  Below I outline a technique to work through an existing installation manual, and methodically find clues on how to make a software product better.

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The Purpose of Error Reporting

Error messages are part of every user experience, but too often these messages are poor, cryptic, and insulting.   Too often programmers do a half-hearted attempt at writing error messages, mostly because they mistakenly assume that users will never see them.  Too … Continue reading

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UI Guideline Resources

Every good development team creates guideline for the implementation of the user interface, so that the implementation is consistent.  A consistent meaning helps users to understand more easily what is meant by a particular arrangement of UI elements.  

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