140 reputation
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location Oxford, United Kingdom
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visits member for 6 months
seen Jul 11 at 8:57

All my original contributions to StackOverflow are hereby placed into the public domain. If this is not legally possible, then anyone receiving a copy of them by any means is granted a non-exclusive perpetual license to use, distribute and modify them, and to distribute modifications, under any license or none, with or without attribution. Please note that this license applies only to my original contributions - quoted material and edits by me to existing material on StackOverflow are not my creations and I cannot grant rights in them.

Useful C++ quotation:

"You allocate objects on the heap. Well, formally, the "free store", but nobody calls it that" –- Pete Becker


Jul
11
comment Show not implemented functionalities to tease the user
In some organizations, if the user is outside the organization and unsupervised then it's by definition not an alpha. Even if it's a really half-assed beta, any external release is beyond the alpha-testing stage. That said, the use of the terms "alpha" and "beta" is pretty idiosyncratic. I don't think you can really assume anything about the meaning of either term other than, "we know it has at least some problems".
Jun
23
comment Why don’t we remove door handles and let doors open both ways (inwards, outwards)?
Next question: once you have designated an "in" door and an "out" door, why not just build the "in" door to only open inwards?
May
30
comment Is it safe to assume everyone uses / has mouse wheels?
@GalacticCowboy: coincidentally, my trackpad driver went haywire last week so I uninstalled it, meaning my trackpad lost its fancy features including gesture and scroll zone support since the default OS handling of the device treats it like a plain old 2-button mouse. Its scroll zone was never any good anyway, but if I'd been using an app that required it I'd have had to fix the driver somehow. There's always PageDown, I suppose :-)
May
23
comment How to prevent users using your app while driving?
For what it's worth, I vaguely recall (but have no study to cite) that if you regularly reward someone and withhold the award for bad behaviour, that's not really much better than punishing the bad behaviour. That is to say, the subjective assessment is whether it's a reward/penalty relative to normal, not whether it's a reward/penalty relative to how things were before the system came along in the first place. Still a good idea to look for clever tricks, but it might not be as easy as it sounds :-)
May
23
comment How to prevent users using your app while driving?
Btw, there seem to be two issues here that could be separate questions. There's a UX question, "should I disable the app if I have reason to be believe it's being used dangerously because it's in a moving vehicle?", to which many people upvoted a "no" answer. There's also a question about technology to detect that the device is in a moving road vehicle (preferably as opposed to other forms of motion), that possibly isn't a UX question at all.
May
23
comment How to prevent users using your app while driving?
@Voo: "would have saved at least one life" -- the usual response (which I generally disagree with) is that the person responsible would have found another way to kill (or in this case, to be distracted while driving) had that particular means not been available. In other words, give everyone missiles, because if they can't kill 20 people in one go with a missile they can just kill 20 people one at a time with their bare hands instead. Then death rates from accidental missile fire will be so high that road deaths no longer seem serious enough to waste time preventing ;-)
May
23
comment How to prevent users using your app while driving?
... admittedly if they're drunk or otherwise seriously judgement-impaired, then stopping them using the app while driving is distinctly less than a half measure ;-)
May
23
comment How to prevent users using your app while driving?
"How do you stop knife-users from killing people?" news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8101032.stm. The issue is not whether the designer trusts the user, it's that the users do not trust themselves. Personally I'm not convinced by that knife design, but here in the UK the majority of people who kill with a knife had no intent to do so when they bought the knife, regret it afterwards, and would not have battered their victim to death absent a stabbing weapon. UX that helps users stick to their plan even when tired/drunk/angry/lazy/frustrated/whatever, can be rather valuable.
May
18
awarded  Critic
Apr
18
comment Why did Microsoft choose the word “Recycle Bin”?
The current content of the file is "trash", the storage it occupies is "recyclable" :-)
Apr
16
comment Should I unsubscribe uninterested mailing-list members?
So to be clear, you're technical and you would unsubscribe on principle from someone who tells you that they've monitored email reads, but not from someone who monitors you but doesn't tell you? That seems ineffectual ;-) I'm reasonably paranoid about monitoring, in fact I block it as far as I can, but if I was going to unsubscribe on principle I'd do it by checking for web bugs myself, not by waiting for the bug-user to tell me about them.
Apr
16
comment Should I unsubscribe uninterested mailing-list members?
This. I don't load images in email by default.
Apr
5
awarded  Supporter
Apr
4
awarded  Teacher
Apr
4
answered What character can I use to represent the space bar?
Apr
4
comment Why is it an industry-standard to have a window automatically grab focus and how do we change it? (in Windows at least)
... and in the specific example you give, stealing focus from a password dialog is just criminal but presumably SublimeText doesn't know what it's stealing from.
Apr
4
comment Why is it an industry-standard to have a window automatically grab focus and how do we change it? (in Windows at least)
Just speculating (so not an answer), but I think application models have been slow-ish to catch up with the notion that typically when you launch an application you have no intention of looking at it and therefore you want to have to take a separate action to see it. It would better if an app were given the focus and then starts all its slow stuff (during which it can lose the focus) rather than doing all its slow stuff and takes focus at the end of that. That would accommodate both users who want to see what they run and users who don't.
Apr
1
awarded  Commentator
Apr
1
comment Is red an acceptable colour for a submit button on a form for a purchase or booking?
Being charitable one can describe the author as "joking", not "explaining", since the real explanation in that test was that the user liked what the red button did and saw no need to explore others ;-) It doesn't really matter why red is good (if indeed it is) and anyway there's almost certainly an element of learned behaviour unrelated to cavefolk. Just A/B test it, assuming you have the means. I'm pretty sure I've seen examples cited where red won, and examples where users didn't respond differently to different colours.
Apr
1
comment Is red an acceptable colour for a submit button on a form for a purchase or booking?
My initial thought is that evolutionary psychology is beyond the scope of UX testing. It neither explains user behaviour nor is a substitute for experimental results, it's just some gobbledegook tacked onto the results of the test in order to make the tester feel like things happen for explicable reasons :-) Also, reptiles don't have "cave women", it's not clear whether the psychology here is motivated 30k or 100M years ago.