215

Yes, people need multiple windows. For example, a web developer will be looking at 2 windows all the time - a text editor and a browser. Another more general example, people like to chat with friends using something like AIM or Skype or even facebook, all while watching videos on youtube. That would require 2 browser windows opened simultaneously. This ...


109

There is an old article I got from the ACM library on Human-Computer-Interaction that provides some useful feedback. (The ACM library is not very intuitive, but Microsoft have a PDF version of it) An initial study attempted to demonstrate that users are significantly more productive and more satisfied when carrying out complex, multiple window tasks ...


96

I've always viewed it as a matter of "state" tracking. When I use a computer, I am doing a task, not using a program. This task may be something as simple as check email, and only requires one window open. Or it could be complex, such as design a section of a code project. In the more complicated case, the task is independent of any individual program. I ...


73

It's just a matter of costs and resources. In germany for example it's really common these days to get: approximate waiting time in minutes news regarding other products to keep you "busy" and maybe sell you something else In my opinion companies still underestimate the impact of waiting time when calling. If you frustrate customers or even worse ...


63

Personalisation Igor. Content personalisation can be appropriate at times, like in an email or after login. Amongst a few, it makes the system appear more 'human', and can facilitate some personal 'bond' with the user. But one can argue that by attaching a name to a notification you won't achieve that (I see proper personalisation as real user-dependent ...


59

"I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that." That scene from 2001: A space odyssey is a good example for why this can be a dangerous practice. Beware of anthropomorphising a computer to the point where the user starts ascribing malice to it. Error messages need to be non-personal to avoid the user feeling like the computer is complaining at them, or worse,...


38

I work in a video game studio. Everyone, from programmers to artists, uses two to three screens with multiple applications and/or windows: programmers have a window with the source code, a window with the debugging information (registers, stack trace, debugging messages) and a window with the game running. level designers have a window with the assets ...


38

There are two big problems, from an internationalization perspective: How sure are you that your Name data contains the name the user is called by? Getting your name data format correct is a classically difficult problem. As soon as you add name wildcards to your error messages, they will become much more difficult to translate to other languages. Without ...


33

Yes, people do really want to look at multiple windows/monitors/screens at once. For various reasons. Working on a screen while monitoring something else, security personnel monitoring multiple devices/networks/places, stock trading, flying an airplane (I guess a pilot needs the information available always, not through clicking and restoring ...


30

Very practical reasons: It is worth more investing money in actually fixing the wait times (i.e. hiring more personnel), than investing in infrastructure that needs to be maintained/connected to provide all this information. Companies are not interested in keeping people on the line. They want each interaction to be as cheap as possible, and want to keep ...


25

I don't think this is about user intuition - it's much more about writing style and conventions. The norm in forms is that the heading serves a category label to the adjectives/nouns below. So Car Features should do the trick here. Another norm is to use imperative statements, but mostly for interactive controls (not labels), still you could also phrase ...


22

Some queue systems already do tell you where you are in the queue - I have encountered this calling my local doctor. However, with some places you call, the queue system is complex - a friend of mine worked as a programmer on a system that would dynamically prioritise callers based on how "good" a customer they were. You might assume calls are answered in ...


13

Usually justifications for having hidden content come from a misplaced desire to reduce scrolling or to (rightly) let the user see all of the questions without getting distracted by the answer text. There is a better way to do this: a list of questions at the top with anchor links within the page to the question and answer. download bmml source – ...


13

You could always use a Mad Libs style: I drive a [Color v] [Brand v].


12

You could try using the same approach Eclipse uses (or any other Java program I guess). They're using checkbox to indicate that all elements of the group are selected and a --symbol if only some of them are selected. Nothing selected All selected Not all elements selected One plus is that it's easy for the user to (un-)select the whole group. Instead ...


12

I will agree with Anindya on the aspect that keeping the prominence on the descriptions will make it useful since a user is more likely to know what is the "Capacity" instead of what is "32gb". When it comes to selecting the mode of prominence I would prefer using a subtle color to highlight as compared to using a "Bold" face. Something like As you see ...


11

The most relevant research I could find on this topic is a little dated. Fundamentally, adding user names to error messages deals with humanizing an interface. In a study of using human faces as part of computer interface [1] (admittedly, a step well beyond just including user names), the researchers found that increasing the humanization of an interface ...


10

For content consumption, it may not be that important since the user is going to be focused on the content they are consuming. This is why such an interface works well on content consumption devices like tablets. For actually getting work done however, it is frequently critical to have multiple windows open in parallel. Looking at my desktop right now, I ...


10

Allow users to update their age. Why? Users can make a mistake during initial age entry. Users may also provide a fake age when initially registering with your site if they (1) were asked for personal information without understanding why, (2) didn't realize precision mattered beyond choosing a date over some age threshold like 18, or (3) before they ...


10

Combine quick input with clarifying comments It seems a potential solution would be a quick method of input for general availability combined with the option of adding some clarifying comments. download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups Privacy If you're worried that users would feel that this is invasive, you could allow them ...


9

I am always amazed at people who think their way of using a computer is the only way there is. Having several windows side by side can be useful and productive. And in some user cases, it's not only "nice", it's vital. proofreading a translation: Source on one side, translation on the other. Working with one window at a time is unworkable. Programming: ...


9

Short Answer: They never intersect, as described, at a single "hail mary" point. They are different elements of the same process and should coexist together as part of that process. In the cases where one may be dependent on the other, the most ideal situation is that Information Architecture would guide the Software Architecture. Long Answer: When you ...


8

You are facing a problem that Google has already solved and extensively tested, so copy them. In essence it is: Use a query language that is appropriate for your audience - Lucene is a decent choice for this. Query languages are faster for advanced users to use, and is what most search engines allow. Offer an "Advanced search" link/tab/button that shows a ...


7

IMO this screen is problematic because: It's deterring for the user, as every single option appears non trivial (since it requires an explanation). Being the heaviest and most colorful element, makes it be the center of attention instead of the supportive role it should have. So much repetition usually implies a more "global" approach has to be used. You ...


7

I would hope that it is not controversial to say that multiple on-screen windows are extremely important or even essential for many computer tasks. For web-browsing tasks as well, especially with how many tasks can now be performed via a web browser, there are certainly many cases where seeing multiple browser windows at once is important to the user. But ...


6

What is the context in which the version number is important? I have only looked for the version number when I'm troubleshooting or updating the software. Under that circumstance, the version number should be incredibly easy to find or it'll compound my effort in trying to complete an inherently frustrating task. Having said that, the version number in ...


6

The conventional placement of a software version number is in the About message box. You reach it through the menu Help > About and have a window that can look very different between applications, but here is one example:


6

Personally I find a stacked bar chart confusing to read; I think part of the problem is that you're trying to display the results of two variables. To solve this: You could produce a separate chart for each rank. You could produce a three dimensional bar chart, with (question /ranking on the planar axes and number of respondent on the y axis) You could ...


6

When you tested this, how was the question phrased? Was it: "Can you complete this form? Which one did you like better?" Or was it: "Which method of invoking tool tip do you like better?" If it is the latter, then you may have inadvertently influenced the outcome in favor of clicking the "i", because the question itself explains to the user what ...


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