interaction usability web

Google Chrome Beta – My Thoughts

Google Chrome

I looked at Google’s Chrome browser by going through the walk-through clips, and it actually has some merits! People have complained about an increased memory issue. I can’t believe people actually worry about memory usage nowadays. Even my 2 year old laptop has 2GB of memory.

I’m not here to slag off Chrome (it is ‘beta’ after all), or worship its greatness, but to just adjust my thoughts on the browser according to the hype. What’s important is not how badly it does things other things do better, but how Google has tackled an extremely difficult problem of redesigning a web browser, in a way that it simplifies browsing for most people. Please note, I haven’t tried the browser, as it’s only for Windows right now.

One box for everything

Makes sense. Most browsing tends to start with a search nowadays, even if it’s a site you know address to.

New Tab page

Requirement in every browser. makes sense.

Application shortcuts

Silly. Makes things more complicated. Adding more ways of achiving the same task (loading web page) may confuse people.

Dynamic tabs

Good innovation that I first saw with Safari (3?). Should be there in all tab interfaces

Crash control

lol. reminds me of how Windows Mobile has a task manager. There are simpler ways of task managing and indicating misbehaving apps! E.g. press close on the tab or fade window to show it’s not active.

Incognito mode

Makes sense for secret browsing. Incognito is a bad word to use though. I didn’t even know what it meant at first.

Safe browsing

These big messages confuse people – I remember when designing Firefox 3, the Mozilla Foundation went through loads of different designs for notifying users that a certificate is invalid/to warn people about installing add-ons. The ones rejected for being too scary were less scary than the Chrome ones. Actually, a quick search showed that for managing current-page SSL certificates it still shows a scary box. We’ve all seen it.

Instant bookmarks

Is this in terms of interaction? Because that doesn’t seem so instant to me. Needs to be synced easily and searched via web! I assume, though – and it would make sense – that the address bar also searches bookmarks.

Importing settings

*Yawn. But I agree that it has to be shown as a feature.

Simpler downloads

Now THIS is a worthy feature that I am genuinely impressed with. Even a web geek like me gets ticked off with the complexity of viewing download progress, extraction, finding files.This fixes part of that problem by taking up screen space, which forces you to keep your downloads organised. I guess, same principle as the downloads drawer in Leopard.

hci interaction web

UK HCI Group SEO Success

I was involved as web consultant and designer for the rebranding of The British HCI Group to “Interaction”. This involved the complete transfer of all content from their old website into the Drupal CMS and redesign based on their new image. This site was optimised for AA accessibility, a simple user experience and of course, SEO. In fact, I’m proud to announce that searching for HCI on Google actually results in my site being second place, after Wikipedia!

Visit the Interaction website.


CodeIgniter and Agile Development

Just been getting to grips with the CodeIgniter MVC framework built on PHP using the book from Wrox: Professional CodeIgniter. Having tried RoR and, and gone through the days of highly productive but low maintenance spaghetti code, worshipping the monolithic PEAR libraries, making my own frameworks around templating engines, I think – why do I even bother? Why not stick to the language you know better than your mother tongue – in my case – PHP flagyl price. The author, Thomas Myer, makes a convincing argument about this, saying that some people may view this as being an intellectual coward cialis canada. But if we achieve tasks and make the client happy, why waste their money training yourself to learn a new language?

While I haven’t worked on a proper project with this framework yet, it seems an awesome blend of MVC’s simple-to-understand coding structure with a massive time-saving library of helpers. Never before has web development with PHP seemed so friendly – times have moved on since I was an active freelance developer 3-4 years ago, and is my cue to get my ass into gear and keep up with the times!

What’s the difference between the agile software development methodology and user-centered design I learned so much about in the HCI courses? I guess, theyre both based on the same core concept of letting the client have a core part to play in development and have iterative cycles.