Humans are quite good at requesting information and making sense of the answers even if they are received in the wrong order. Computers generally require that steps be performed in a particular sequence. The most obvious solution is to design systems in such a way that the desired sequence is intuitive and can be followed without thinking. This requires that the software / web interfaces are compatible with all browsers and that the buttons to click are all visible and functional. All these tips should be obvious in retrospect, but my growing "Rogues Gallery" (10 dozen and counting) of horrible software interfaces and web sites demonstrates that even Fortune 500 companies need to be reminded of the basics.
@DrQuine: ...my growing "Rogues Gallery" (10 dozen and counting) of horrible software interfaces and web sites demonstrates that even Fortune 500 companies need to be reminded of the basics.
I've got a great book on interface design somewhere on my bookshelves that should be required reading for anyone creating any form of user interface (speaking of which, I really need to reorganize my bookshelves)
Here's my pet peeve user interface defect. In the USA automatic teller machines only output US$20 bills. However, when you enter a custom withdrawal amount you have to enter both dollars and cents, which it then checks to make sure it's a multiple of 20.00. Wouldn't it make more sense just to enter an amount in dollars?
@betajet: Wouldn't it make more sense just to enter an amount in dollars?
Of course it would -- this sort of thing annoys me also.
It's like when you enter a credit card number for an online purchase and they say "no spaces" ... why the #$%$^ not? Why shouldn't you be able to use spaces or dashes -- is it beyond 21st century coding ability to take them out again?
Karen wrote: I'm waiting for the day when the standard unit of money is $50...
One shop I go to often won't accept anything larger than a $20. It seems there are too many forged $50 and $100 bills out there, and when you're a small coöperative a bad $50 or $100 can wipe out the day's net profit.
I find most of the shops I use are delighted to see $5 and $10 bills, since many customers pay with $20s so the shop has to keep a lot of smaller bills on hand to make change.
Today's Joke, from the Northern Wisconsin wing of the Old Jokes' Home:
Two forgers are sentenced to 20 years in jail. They manage to smuggle in two plates, engraving tools, and a $25 bill. They spend the next 20 years making a perfect forgery of the $25 bill.
When they get out, they discover that nobody uses $25 bills any more. But one of them gets an idea: "Let's go to Northern Wisconsin -- I bet they still use $25 bills there!"
So they go to Northern Wisconsin and find a general store. One of them asks the shopkeeper: "Do you have change for a 25?" He answers: "Sure, how about three 7s and a 4?"
@Betajet That's a good one! You are right about trying to spend bigger bills - every year for my birthday my mom gives me a $100 bill, and every year I have trouble spending it. Well actually I should clarify - I have no trouble spending $100, I just have trouble getting shops to take it!
If a site, (or any device with an interface), is easy to use, regardless of order, you'll probably accidentally make entries in different orders on different occasions, but likely adopt one pattern out of habit.
If it's perverse and complicated, once you've found (by systematic research or blind chance), a sequence that works, you'll probably stick rigidly with it, for fear failure.
Now, about the process for posting comments; if I ever work out a reliable sequence, I'm going to stick with it religiously.