Your Website has Two Faces

by Lyle Mullican

11 Reader Comments

Back to the Article
  1. Great article! I was actually working with a dev on a very similar UX problem with a form that captures varying membership numbers. Some combinations would have special characters, other’s would have spaces and/or dashes. The membership number had to be an exact match in order to validate with our system so the crux was how to make the form smart enough to anticipate a user entering in the correct membership number but not necessarily in the correct format. This article validated our conclusion last week of using a type-ahead suggestion list that would pre-populate with correct combinations for a user to reference as they typed. This took a bit more heavy lifting on the dev’s part but definitely worth the effort for a more accommodating and flexible UX.
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  2. Nice discussion of Postel’s Law in UX. Thanks!
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  3. In Sweden the date input format for a birthdate is DD/MM/YYYY, not MM/DD/YYYY, which can be a challenge when interpreting dates.
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  4. Calle, that can definitely be an issue for many locales, particularly for January through July, when month and day numbers can be ambiguous. Most of the natural-language parsers have some capability for resolving the ambiguity. See the :endian_precedence option in Chronic, for example.
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  5. I like your idea of robust UX, but I think Postal’s law turned out to be a pretty bad idea when it comes to standards.  It resulted in billions of devices that are “mostly” compatible with each other.  Minor incompatibilities can become major problems.
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  6. I like your concept of solid UX, but I think Postal’s law became a fairly bad concept when it comes to requirements.  It led to immeasureable gadgets that are “mostly” suitable with each other.  Minimal incompatibilities can become significant issues.
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  7. I wasn’t aware of Google Geocoding API. Thank you! “Jaime”:http://jaime.co
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  8. Great posting Lyle - it’s good to highlight user and machine expectations and robustness issues in relation to interactive information gathering. Online forms are a big improvement on paper forms - but only of course when designers and programmers take the opportunity (or make a business case) to maximize the robustness potential you cite. Your ‘numbers’, ‘dates’, and ‘addresses’ are good examples, and to this I would add for example, titles (Mr, Mrs, Dr etc.), name formats (first name, surname, etc.), product names and policy number formats, web, email and social media addresses, and of course bank account details. Readers may or may not be aware that PDF forms can also handle content validation and field limitation. And, along with online, mobile and other form software applications, perhaps their most useful feature is the ability to tailor questions according to the answers that are being given - so called progressive revealing, or disclosure. A major advantage over the online methods is that all this can all be carried out offline. When carried out well, this is flexibility and tolerance at its best. For more on this sort of stuff my blog is at http://www.boagmccann.com/the-blog/ Your posting reminded me of a story that very recently appeared ran in the Saturday edition of The Guardian, an English newspaper, about a person who accidentally keyed one wrong digit in their 8-character account number when transferring a very large amount of money over a long period of time. It was over a year before the customer realized the error (!) - and even though the customer account name and number obviously didn’t match, the building society is refusing to pay the customer back - as is the ‘lucky’ recipient. It’s a classic case of lacking human face and tolerance.
    For the full story see: The £26,000 banking error - http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2013/feb/09/26000-banking-error
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  9. @Calle Larsson Website quote: “In Sweden the date input format for a birthdate is DD/MM/YYYY, not MM/DD/YYYY, which can be a challenge when interpreting dates.”
    Actually, Many other countries also use the date input format for birthday is DD/MM/YYYY. I think we can change it easily.
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  10. Great Article. Two faces are the right metophor. Particularly in today’s context when people talk of responsive UI. Do we really consider the computer face of the design while designing a responsive UI. Today a computer face can be a mix of mobile, tablet, laptop or TV. I would rather say No. So being a part of mobility company ( http://www.techendeavour.com/iphone-application-development ) I am still a proponent for web design which is specific to the target computer system.
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  11. We are an award winning graphic design, Web design Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Montpellier Creative listen to our clients and get under the skin of their companies. Whether it is a brand or corporate identity, a company website, e-commerce site or an advertising campaign we will work with you to meet a common aim.
    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.