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UI Gem: Android Calendar Time Picker

It's been available for a while now, but every time I use the new Android calendar app's time controls, I'm so impressed by their elegance.

Previously, setting the time for a calendar event involved some simple numeric up/down spinners. Setting the hour worked reasonably well, but if your event …

UI Horror: Windows 8 BSOD

My PC is sad. I know this because of the frowny face. Unfortunately, I know not much more, because my PC won't boot, and Microsoft decided to provide as little information about the error as possible on their new BSOD screen.

Hmm... scary (but potentially useful) hexidecimal-laden error messages or …

Write Your Code for Humans

Sometimes when I bring up the subject of coding standards, I get an eye-rolling, aren't-we-all-adults-here kind of reaction from my fellow programmers -- or a fearful look anticipating endless debates about where the braces should go. Of course, "coding standards" can cover a gamut of subjects -- from techniques to avoid shooting …

Time to Think

With time drawing short before a major deployment at work, we ran into a problem. Some people testing our application reported it timing-out on an important function. It quickly became a high priority that I was assigned to solve.

Since most of the people on our team work remotely, a …

UI Horror: Untrimmed Validation

Hmm... this zip code looks pretty good to me.

Validation Error

This was on the Discount Tire mobile site. It's awesome that you can schedule a service appointment on the web using your mobile phone. It's not so awesome that the form validation doesn't compensate for the trailing space that my phone's …

UI Horror: No-Paste Password Fields

Sure, it makes sense to disallow copying passwords from a password field, but disabling pasting is just being annoying.

News flash for developers doing this (such as Intuit, in TurboTax): I'm not thrilled about manually typing my 20 character random password. Just let me copy it from my password vault …

Why a Mouse is Faster than the Keyboard?

I remember reading an article by Bruce Tognazzini (AKA “Tog”) many years ago about how extensive research at Apple indicated that using the mouse is faster than using shortcut keys on the keyboard. This always seemed wrong to me, but after using a Mac somewhat regularly for the past few …

It's Just UI

Maybe I've just imagined this -- created my own straw man to take down -- but I've sometimes sensed some disparagement of user interface programming. "It's just UI," the architect will say. "It's not like it's a hard or interesting part of the system." As I've done more and more UI development …

Self-Referential Segues

If you say "segue" while attempting one, you've already blown it.

User Stories Are Not Narratives

The "story" in agile development's "user story" is not a narrative in the traditional sense of the word. Many are short on verbs, which is a big hint that something non-narrative is going on. "User story" is shorthand for a set of concepts and principles. The danger with taking a …