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User Interface

Articles related to user interface issues, from programs to everyday machines

Identifrac reloaded

Maybe you know identicons: little unique icons generated out of hash values. But maybe you don't know identifracs, which offer the same functionality based upon fractal functions. Identifrac was created back in 2007 by Jesse Dubay, but his site has gone in the meantime. That's why I took his code, updated it, and now released it to the open domain.

Internet update the wrong way IV

Two things I find especially annoying about updating iTunes:

  1. Why I need to download a full setup each time?
  2. And why are all QuickTime settings - especially the setting to not install a QuickTime icon in the taskbar on startup - lost after each update?

The Holy Grail CSS Layout Fix for IE7

In Search of The Holy Grail describes an easy way to create a three-column, source-ordered, table-less layout with a fluid column in the middle. It is used by the Comic Marktplatz, for example. However, there is an annoying bug with the shiny new Internet Explorer 7. IE7 has a problem in understanding the left column rule of

margin-left: -100%;

Instead of considering the width of the surrounding div container, IE7 inserts the width of the body, which leads to the left column being moved out of sight to the far left. Here's how to fix it.

Email Ihr Blogs, Laden Ihre Leserschaft Auf

Uh-oh... The guys over at FeedBlitz are trying to provide a translated front page for German users like me. And obey rule 1 of translation business: Do never - repeat: never! - rely on translations done by machines.

Would you trust a service that promises to "Email their Blogs, upload your readership"?

Microformats: Prefering machines over people

Anybody ever took a look at the Datetime Design Pattern at (via Georg Bauer (German))? It goes like this:

<abbr class="foo" title="YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS+ZZ:ZZ">Date Time</abbr>

I think this is a misuse of the abbrevation tag - and worse: it's completly ignoring user experience. Most of nowadays browsers display the text of the title attribut when you hover over the abbrevation. Now imaging a user browsing your microformatted page. When he hovers over a date like - say - May 4th 1970, which is my birthday, he'll see a tooltip stating "1970-05-04T18:10:52+01:00". Doh!

Did Nokia get mangafied?

Seems the designers of Nokia's PC Suite setup flash introduction are reading to much Japanese comic books. At least they are associating left with forward and right with backwards:


Internet Update The Wrong Way III

This time: Sophos Anti-Virus. On internet update, this program downloads updated application files for all possible languages (and it speaks an awfull lot of languages). And no option to turn it off. So I happily downloaded the updates for swedish, italian, spanish, danish, french and some others, which any of them I haven't installed. It took 15 minutes on my parents ISDN connection - and they pay for every kilobyte. If Sophos is an average virus scanner (I don't know), I suppose this updates to happen every week or so: Horror!

At least, however, unlike many other anti virus applications, Sophos doesn't require a restart on update.

Internet update the wrong way II

Detecting and offering updates automatically on program startup generally is a very good feature. Especially for security related applications. But, people over at Zone Labs: Bringing up "Take a tour", "By the full version" and other nag screens after each update is simply annoying.

Cash Dispenser User Interface

If your bank anounces it will improve it's internal banking software, is it wrong to expect some kind of improvement? Yes it is, at least when they start to change the software of their cash dispensers.

Internet Update the Wrong Way

Automated internet update how it shouldn't be: Downoad an update and hide it so nobody can find it.