471 reputation
24
bio website
location Illinois
age 44
visits member for 1 year, 7 months
seen 12 hours ago

1d
comment Ratings: 3 stars vs 5 stars. Why 5?
...that five users gave it a nine and nobody else said anything. Another approach might be to let voters click "first-impression" and/or an "in-depth" votes, and having them be tallied separately. If some prospective users are be looking for a program to do a one-off job, while others are looking for something to use on a regular basis, it's entirely possible that those needs would best be met by different programs.
1d
comment Ratings: 3 stars vs 5 stars. Why 5?
@DannyVarod: Because assigning it one of those values would represent an affirmative statement that it deserved more than a 6, and also that it deserved less than a 9. Someone who only used a small portion of a product's abilities might not be comfortable making such a statement. If there are 100 voters who used the product briefly, and only a handful that used it a lot, the 100 voters may not want to "outweigh" the votes of people with more in-depth experience, but knowing that 100 people thought the product was worth at least a 6 may inspire more confidence than simply knowing...
2d
comment Ratings: 3 stars vs 5 stars. Why 5?
I like that approach; alternatively, I think it might be helpful to let people select a range of values: "I'd say this product deserves a 6 and at most a 9, but don't really know where it should fall between that".
2d
comment Rate vs Like/Dislike
@Gala: Preferences are often treated one-dimensionally because using more dimensions can make things like ranking impossible. On the other hand, it's not uncommon for a person, when comparing X and Y to think Y is better, and when comparing Y and Z to think Z is better, but when comparing X and Z to think X is better. If people aren't able to rank their preferences, a model that reduces preferences to a single representable quantity cannot match reality.
2d
comment 0 to 10 rating system alternative
That could be helpful, though for some purposes perhaps overly complicated. I think even allowing users to select a range of values (I know this product deserves at least a 6, and at most a 9) would go along way toward improving data (someone with no opinion could express that by saying a product deserves at least a zero and at most a 10). If the maximum "at least" value is below the minimum "at most" value, report the range between them as a rating. Otherwise, compute the rating which would minimize the sum of the squares of the differences between the rating and conflicting reviews.
2d
comment 0 to 10 rating system alternative
A fundamental problem with a slider is that many users will not have found enough they like about a product to know that it merits anything above a 60% score, but will also not have found enough they dislike to know that it merits anything below a 100% score. Using a slider would force such users to either express an affirmative belief either that the product deserves a score above 70%, or that it deserves a score below 90%, when the person may well not affirmatively believe either statement.
2d
comment Rate vs Like/Dislike
@Gala: Liking isn't a continuous dimension. Most people will have a mixture of likes and dislikes, and there is a difference between someone who has found a lot to like but a non-trivial amount to dislike, and someone who has found a little to like and nothing to dislike. The latter person may have no reason to believe the product deserves a less-than-perfect ranking, but also no reason to believe that it's perfect. Letting someone like that person indicate that the product is at least decent without having to say whether it is or isn't perfect would be helpful.
2d
comment 0 to 10 rating system alternative
...from cognitive dissonance between the fact that the product hasn't really "earned" a perfect mark, but doesn't deserve an imperfect mark either. If there were a rating choice which said "The product was useful, and I have no complaints, but my experience was far from extensive" a lot of users would probably pick that, and such ratings could be useful if such users vastly outnumber those who use the product in greater depth.
2d
comment 0 to 10 rating system alternative
I suspect one of the major problems with fine-grained rating systems is that they try to confine a person's feelings to a single dimension when there are at least two conflicting dimensions: how much better or worse than average does the thing seem to be, and how strongly does the person feel that way. If someone uses a product for some narrow purpose and it fulfills that purpose perfectly, such a person may have no reason to believe the product merits a less-than-perfect rating, but also no reason to believe that it doesn't. I think a person's difficulty with a 1-10 scale would stem...
Aug
19
comment Alternates to the “play/pause” button
@HenrikEkblom: An even more common problem arises when music isn't playing because of network congestion or similar problems. Multiple states are possible (should eagerly buffer data and play when data is available, should eagerly buffer data but not play until asked, should hold off on buffering data so other applications can do so, etc.); IMHO, a drop-down selector would be much more helpful than a toggle whose state can easily be ambiguous.
Aug
19
comment One button for two actions
@Majed: I would think both could be described as "search for the thing or things typed into the text fields, and display the results somehow". That having been said, perhaps side-by-side comparisons should be done by individually finding and tagging items to be compared, and then requesting a side-by-side comparison of tagged items.
Aug
11
comment Does user care about the details while loading?
@AlexejFroehlich: Sometimes install processes don't "fail", but either hang or crash (e.g. BSOD). An install program could keep track of the progress of an installation attempt, and report on where the previous attempt was aborted (that could be particularly helpful in the BSOD scenario) but showing text messages during the update is a simple and harmless way of adding some diagnostic ability. For people who run the process multiple times, it can also provide a visual indication of whether something which normally flows "smoothly" is, for some reason, not (e.g. a bad WiFi connection).
Aug
8
comment Does user care about the details while loading?
...the third attempt seems to match the second (to which the user paid more attention) and the fourth attempt precisely matches the third (which was written down). Having seemingly-legible messages will make it easier for users to notice that the first and second attempts seem to have died in the same place, but what's important is that identical operations on repeated attempts get the same message, and different operations get different messages.
Aug
8
comment Does user care about the details while loading?
@AlexejFroehlich: If someone has a flaky internet connection, the bad connection may sometimes cause installations to fail which would otherwise succeed, and successful installation may require a few attempts. If repeated attempts fail in exactly the same place, however, that may be a sign that it's not just the flaky connection that's causing trouble. The user might not know what the displayed messages mean, but may recognize that the second attempt died while showing a message somewhat similar to the first (having not observed the first attempt well enough to be sure), and ...
Aug
3
comment Toilet flush buttons
@unor: Or else they push the button briefly to the tactile stop, get a wimpy flush, again push the button briefly to the tactile stop, get another wimpy flush, and maybe try a third time before mumbling about how some companies can't even make a toilet that works properly.
Aug
1
comment Toilet flush buttons
@Falco: Triggering a small flush when a big flush is required will on the units I've seen waste at least as much water as would using a big flush when a small flush would have sufficed. If the user triggers a small flush and notices it's ineffective but doesn't realize a different action is required to trigger a big flush, the user may trigger multiple small flushes before either figuring out that a different action is required or else leaving in frustration after using twice as much water as a big flush while failing to complete the job.
Jul
31
comment How can wiring systems be designed to not rely solely on colour?
Have you tried putting on a pair of red/cyan "3d movie" glasses? I would expect that while it would render things unpleasant to look at, it would also cause many things that would otherwise look like the same color to appear different.
Jul
29
comment Unintuitive order of vi directional keys
@scottishwildcat: Since teletypes didn't support a "reverse paper feed" function, ASCII didn't define a code for that; some video display terminals, however, used control-K for such a purpose. I don't know if any used control-L for cursor right, though; that was more often clear-screen (similar to ejecting a page). The Apple ][ mapped cursor-right to control-U if I recall.
Jul
29
comment Keyboard shortcuts on non-QWERTY keyboard layouts
Many keyboard commands are thought of more naturally in terms of what a key is rather than its location, but there are some notable major exceptions. Historally, many DOS-based text editors assigned the meanings of control plus any of "wer asdf zxc" based upon their locations on the keyboard; the "vi" usage of "hjkl" also probably derives from their consecutive placement. Back before Win7 killed my favorite text editor, I would have liked to try a layout which used Dvorak for non-control keys but qwerty for control keys, but the way keyboard mapping is handled wouldn't support that.
Jul
29
comment Toilet flush buttons
How much water will be wasted if the big button is pushed when the small button is required? What if the small button is pushed when the big button is required? I wouldn't call the former button a "dangerous/heavy process trigger" unless the first quantity significantly exceeded the second, and I don't think I've ever seen a toilet where that was the case.