Wish you all a very happy new year...nah...a li'l more; a happy new decade! Inspired by 5 Realistic Resolutions for Web Designers, I have resolved to utilise some of my digital scribbles to create calendar wallpapers. Hope you like them, critic them and ask me for more.


So here goes! Choose your "resolution"; for waking up happy to your screen everyday !

1024 x 768 | 1280 x 800 | 1280 x 1024 | 1440 x 900 | 1650 x 1050


Want variations, colours to suit your self, write back or @ me on twitter.

Love the typeface? Download Unicorn. And do tell me who the typographer is!


You have a digital camera? How many photos do you have?
How quicky can you find a photo on your computer?
Secs...mins...hours...Or it takes forever?

Here’s a new look at managing photos. And making the world help you find it!
SanIdeos calls this photo-manager (and a lot more..) Clickstream!



See more photos clicked by san ideos here.

Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, Orkut, Picasa and Twitter are registered trademarks of their respective owners. The presentation is set in Miso typeface by MÃ¥rten Nettelbladt and is available for free here.


I refuse to bow down to Dr. Nielsen's suggestion to do away with the masking of passwords. This is why!

My colleague Danny says "Password masking is more of an emotional aspect in the design. When I see my password masked, I feel its secured / safe." Completely agree.

The bullets/asterisks/stars brings out the “ostrich” in humans.
If I can’t see the password no one else can. Very comforting emotionally. Kidding.

A few observations:

  1. Most users type slower and many a times look at the keyboard when typing passwords.
    True, this is because of the lack of feedback. But most users are adapted to it.
    It’s natural human response to be more careful when doing something important and secretive!

  2. Its relatively difficult to watch keys as you type them and remember the sequence.
    Its lot easier to see the entire word on screen and memorise it. (Of course intelligent password thieves hell bent of stealing your password have better ways)

  3. Users copy-paste passwords not because they can’t see it on-screen. It’s because of a zillion different password rules (including rules to change passwords every certain number of days) on different sites and applications.
    There are more things to remember than the variation of my “usual” password I was forced to create to confirm to the rules on "xyz" site/ application/ intranet.

  4. 99% of times you would have seen people’s password because on many web pages
    (probably because of loading time) the focus automatically shifted from the password field to some other unmasked field. That is if they were not deliberately looking away from your screen (sometimes at the ceiling) when you were typing your password. Danny points out this very correctly, most conscientious individuals do that)
    My suggestion, the password field should be enabled only after the entire page has loaded.

  5. The partial masking works for small screens only. People have to be real close to read it

  6. On-screen keyboards while saving you from key-loggers expose your on-screen keystrokes! Remember monitor sizes are increasing!

  7. Having a check-uncheck option for passwords is not a great idea. This may only work for sites and services where we don’t care about security much.

  8. Most login failures happen because we do not remember passwords and not because we can’t see what we typed.

  9. It’s very difficult to edit passwords because it’s difficult to locate the character position among a row of "un-differentiated bullets".

  10. It’s easier to remember a password when it forms a logical (either dictionary or local language/ jargon) word. It’s extremely difficult when it’s a mix of alphabets, numbers and special characters that do not make a dictionary word.

My humble suggestion.



A few good things about the suggestion.

  1. Allows checking of passwords one character at a time. One character at a time may not make a sense to an onlooker. A quick glance of the sequence would make sense only to the user who know the password.Alternately colouring the bullets ( or anything similar) can make locating the position for an edit easy!

  2. This assists people who have problems with passwords. The experts can keep doing what they are good at!

  3. Can support keyboard navigation too. Guess (ctrl + k) is not used for most browsers. Else some alternative can be found, I believe.

Please feel free to blow this into bits and pieces with your heuristic evaluation.


With inputs from my colleagues at work!)



The browser wars continue. They never let us be at peace on the web. And now they have invaded the small screens too. So the nightmare continues. Every time you design something for the wild wild web, you have to check how it renders on the different browsers.

Some good news on this front. Test your web pages on different browsers and OS easily using Adobe BrowserLab . It generates screenshots of how the page would look on different browsers almost instantaneously. Currently, you can test for Firefox 2.0 (XP, OS X), Firefox 3.0 (XP, OS X), IE6 (XP), IE7 (XP), Safari 3.0 (OS X) only. Do check out the interesting "Onion Skin View", which superimposes one screenshot over another to see the differences between the different renderings. The bad news is that the service is free only for a limited time. It comes bundled with Dreamweaver CS4 though.

Another such tool for testing websites is to use an online service like BrowserShots, which generates screenshots for a web page in more than 80 versions of the most common browsers used in Windows, Linux, BSD and Mac. However, the process takes time, sometimes up to an hour, to see the screenshots.



Browsershots supports check with scores of browsers on multiple OS

More from ‘About Browsershots’ “....it is a free open-source online service created by Johann C. Rocholl. When you submit your web address, it will be added to the job queue. A number of distributed computers will open your website in their browser. Then they will make screenshots and upload them to the central server here.”

If you have to test only for IE 6, 7, 8 only check out Netrenderer.

Well that’s half the battle won. What if you haven’t hosted them yet? What about checking files locally?

Here are some quick solutions:

  • Different versions of opera can be installed into the same machine if you install them into separate directories.
  • Netscape (6 and 7) and Firefox (0.x and 1.x) used the same rendering engines respectively. Install any two and you are done. You can run multiple versions from the same machines by using profiles. Works for 2.x and 3 too. More info on profiles here.
  • To run multiple versions of IE, go through the painstaking dual-booting or the slightly more convenient VM way.
  • OS X requires emulators again. Never tried it though.
  • Linux is a lot easier to run. Just run a version bootable from a CD/DVD. My favourite.

If nothing works get multiple machines. Or pay these guys for a paid service

About the small screen browsers. Coming soon.


All of us have seen many innovative ways of searching, filtering and browsing data from a list. While working on this dialogue I encountered this problem. I call it a problem because the list of users may vary anywhere in between 2 (for an entry level executive) to 50,000 for a CTO. And every level of users would use it frequently.

For an entry level executive, the browse model suits the best. Easy to use and prevents errors. However, for a senior executive, the search model would be the best.

PROBLEM

  • These are 2 fields that need to be filled up in order to assign a user to a task.
  • Each field can have any number of possible values (I get to choose between 2-10 if I am a junior executive; 50,000 for a CTO!)
  • All users are uniquely identified only by a combination of Area Code and ID.
  • Data selected / entered in a field needs to be validated. Validation queries the database. Narrower the search , less is the system load.
  • This selection has to be made on a Task Assignment dialogue that contains other fields as well.

CONSTRAINTS

  • Development on Eclipse RCP using native SWT components only. Custom components can be developed only if “really required”.
  • No AJAX (or any similar technology). To populate fields with data, we need to explicitly query the database.
  • Keyboard navigation should not be affected
  • This form/ dialogue is already a pop-up on the main screen
  • Efficiency is crucial, so a Wizard interface is ruled out. (the development teams are not so happy with Wizard interfaces)

SOLUTION

  • Users know how many users they supervise. So they make a choice between Browse and Search.
  • Fields are dynamically displayed on the dialogue.
  • On selecting ‘Browse’, the user gets a drop-down for Area Codes. On making a selection, the ID dropdown is populated.
  • On selecting ‘Search’, users gets to input Area Code and query database.
  • Data is validated and the IDs populated.
  • Less than 30 IDs, dropdown shows.
    More than 30 IDs, need to type 2-3 numbers to allow data to be filtered.








5 of my photographs have been shortlisted for the Braun Photography Context
Please vote for my photographs. And forward the links to your friends if you like them. Shortened URLs also there for your convenience.

Web of Time
http://tinyurl.com/be5jgj

Partisan
http://tinyurl.com/aqb2le

a New X-file
http://tinyurl.com/dnczf3

Life
http://tinyurl.com/byruc3

Centre of Attraction
http://tinyurl.com/bjw2d7