Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Find the login - quick!

Your task, should you decide to take it, check on the jobs you have saved and quickly send out the appropriate resumes.

Your situation, you have looked at a variety of your favorite job search sites until your eyes hurt, each that of course has its own look and feel. You quickly look at this screen and it takes you a while to realize that one of the options is for you to login.

So how could this site be made better? One thought would be to use all that blank space in the upper right hand corner and have a nice big login button or a login screen right there.

So what do you think?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

An untested idea for a paganated tree

The Paginated Tree (© 2009 All rights reserved) for complex messages

I was working on Sun Microsoft's Business to Business application a year ago. One of the most interesting problems that I had to be solved was to design a way to show a complex message where each section of the message could have thousands of children.

The system had to stay responsive to the user so showing all the nodes at once would not be practical.

After doing research and not finding a paginated tree I came up with the following design.
  • Nodes show which repetition of the node is being shown.
  • Users can expand / collapse a node and use a paginated control to see children.
  • User can switch to a view where each of the repetitions are also shown.

While the icon was mostly a place holder the idea was that a user could select this icon and change to a view where the folders themselves where paginated.

Here is an example showing all repetitions of the GS segment:

Due to business needs our team never got to formally test this. So I was hoping to see what other people think of this solution.

Any comments? Problems? Ideas for a better icon?

Better yet if you have a need for a widget like this and would like to implement this idea contact me at

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Is it a Tab or a Button?

A pet peeve of mine is when a web site uses both tabs and buttons that look the same. This is especially bad when the buttons appear right below the tabs.

When you are quickly looking at this GUI it is easy to think the buttons are tabs and you have to take a few moments to find standard functions, like Delete.

Here is an example I recently saw on an otherwise OK Web Mail GUI. I have marked it up so yoy can tell the difference, but imagine you where looking at this quickly without the mark up.

So what would help?

Make the buttons look more like a real physical button with a different style.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Text size increases - you know you have it right when...

You know you have it right when....

You may have seen sites with text that increases in size to show what keywords search is most popular.

This works so well that you just need to glance at it and you get it.

This example of usability at its best is so powerful that I have noticed something interesting. People have started to use weighted text in emails and forums to attract attention to important points they want to make.

I myself have taken the idea, which clearly shows the most popular hits and adapted it to use in email where I am addressing a group and need specific people to pay attention to certain parts of the email.

In this case I use the 'bigger is more important principle'. In a simple case I might just bold and make larger names of people that are being addressed.

For fun here is a made up, simple example:

Everyone lets meet for pizza at 9:00pm at our favorite place 'real good real cheap Pizza'.

Sue make sure to bring the cards so we can play a' quick really fun game'.

Wee/Anil make sure to bring the pencils and score pads.


Anyway you get the idea the larger font makes it easy to spot different people. In a large complex email with lots of text everyone can read everything or just the parts that affect them.

Additionally, this style lets everyone know who is being addressed using only text.

So has anyone else started using a style similar to this?