What reading Tufte won’t teach you: Interface design guidelines

e accidentally sent this to me; it deserves to be blogged:

I’ve just spent two months carrying a terrible, ancient cellular phone and a mediocre non-Apple music player around the planet, and interacting almost exclusively with Windows XP terminals at internet cafes and hostels. As my frustration with these poor interfaces grew, I started a rough list of interface design guidelines. Here they are:

    * The application interface should be fast and non-blocking.
    * The application interface should be consistent.
    * Don’t interrupt users in the middle of common, nondestructive tasks.
    * Avoid notifying users of success.
    * Avoid giving users information that they cannot use.
    * Rare, destructive actions should be harder to complete than nondestructive ones, but always possible.
    * Give users the chance to ask for forgiveness rather than forcing them to confirm.
    * Deal with application failure gracefully.
    * Preserve state, mode, and user input for as long as it is relevant, until users save or discard it.
    * Provide multiple, complete navigation paradigms.
    * Design the interface before starting to code.
    * If the application violates one of these rules because its design makes implementation of a better interface too complex or too difficult, then the application needs to be refactored until it supports a better interface.

Full story at http://glyphobet.net/blog/essay/269.

Given that developers are notoriously bad UI designers, there is much food for thought.

Free Online HTML Validator

I’ve used CSE HTML Validator for quite some time.  I started with ther free version, and upgraded to the full version after using it for a while.  They’ve recently released a free online HTML validator, based on their Lite version engine.  Find it at http://onlinewebcheck.com/.  You can submit the URL of a page, upload a page, or paste in a snippet.  Very cool, and you can’t beat the price.

Color Picker w/ Colorblindness Settings

On my CAPTCHA Images post, Patrick Santry mentioned he ran into one he couldn’t decipher due to his colorblindness.  I’m also colorblind, but have yet to hit one I couldn’t figure out, and that may be due to luck, or varying degrees of colorblindness.  I do, however, master a website I can barely read.  It was designed by women (and targeted mainly for women), who claim they have no problems whatsoever.  Its frustrating for me, especially since I’m “in charge“ of the thing.

Color blindness affects about 15% of the overall population, nearly all of whom are males (sex linked trait–I’ll explain it in another post if you ned me to).  When choosing colors for a website, especially one where you’re likely to have a large numebr of male visitors, color selection can be important.  My favorite color picker allows you to choose web safe colors that take into account colorblindness.