Day: May 30, 2001

Brent: “The software industry is sick in bed with the flu, a thermometer sticking out of its mouth, its pillow cold with sweat, an untouched glass of flat ginger ale on the nightstand.”
5:03:34 PM  

Sjoerd: “The good part is: you don’t have to do complex things. The web has a new simple interface standard. 3 user actions: scroll, click and type. And one feedback option: content replacement. That’s the interface your grandmother understands. She doesn’t understand drag-n-drop or overlapping windows. And this simple interface standard is very easy to do with DHTML.”

While I agree that the three user actions Sjoerd lists are easy enough for my grandma, I’d have to add that even my grandma understands pulldown menus. Anyone with rudimentary computing skill knows what to do with a pulldown menu when they see one, since nearly every Windows and Mac application has a menu bar.

The fact that web users only understand scroll, click and type is, I think, a result of the fact that richer UIs are so difficult to design in (D)HTML. If menus were easier to implement, they’d be much more common (and users would know how to use them). When used consistently, they can add lots of value to a user interface, while saving valuable screen real estate, IMHO.
1:10:32 PM  

BBC: Air pollution: The view from space.
12:55:13 PM  

Wired: Laid Off — Got Mail?. “The dot-com downturn has wrought many casualties, from CEOs to mail clerks. How are downsized companies dealing with the glut of mail and e-mail still arriving for former employees?”
12:54:49 PM  

BBC: Genetic clue to schizophrenia. A gene that reduces brain performance may be linked to a slightly increased risk of schizophrenia.
12:54:19 PM  

A year ago today, I was working on DHTML pulldown menus, which work like the menus you get in standard Windows and Mac applications. I made an observation then, about the web browser and DHTML as an application framework, which still holds true today:

“I can barely believe how difficult it is to design complex user interfaces in DHTML. Simple stuff is — well, simple — but complex things (even if they conform to common user interface standards) seem to just suck the life out of you. When will the browser guys get their act together? This stuff is ancient history in any other application framework.”
1:21:03 AM  

BBC: E-mail users warned over spy network. “Firms and individuals should encrypt all e-mails if they want to avoid a massive UK-US eavesdropping system, say Euro-MPs.”
1:04:49 AM  

Jake's Brainpan

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