Opportunity to review a small Ajax app together

6 Sep 2006 - 3:02pm
7 years ago
9 replies
413 reads
jbellis
2005

On my hobby usability site, I offer free usability reviews and was recently asked to review a small Ajax app. I've come up with my own observations for it, but it occurred to me this might be an ideal opportunity to do a group exercise, especially since it's a new technology and essentially one powerful form. The site owner OK'd this idea.

I thought it would also help because, being bandwidth sensitive, a logistically diverse audience would help. If you're interested, the site is:

http://salesforce.maketime.com

Use the demo login. Although I refer to "usability" I happen to provide comments on the whole gamut (interaction, graphics, text, help) to the extent it impacts the adoption/conversion. But it's your call where to focus. For practical purposes, there are these contexts:
1. A Welcome/Solicitation page.
2. An authentication page. (Is there a better name for these pages where you type in "Z7yKg93" from characters you can't read?)
3. The main page where you should focus: a search panel on the left and a Salesforce.com page on the right. Do NOT comment on the Salesforce side... it is not owned by the app in question.
4. Trivial support pages.

Please share your comments with the whole group.
-Thanks, Jack

Comments

6 Sep 2006 - 5:30pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

2. An authentication page. (Is there a better name for these pages where you
> type in "Z7yKg93" from characters you can't read?)

Usually referred to as an "image verification system".

-r-

6 Sep 2006 - 7:06pm
Christian Crumlish
2006

>> An authentication page. (Is there a better name for these pages where
you type in "Z7yKg93" from characters you can't read?)

> Usually referred to as an "image verification system".

aka "captchas"

--xian

--
Christian Crumlish
Director of Strategic Services
Extractable.com

7 Sep 2006 - 2:52pm
John Vaughan - ...
2004

> Please share your comments with the whole group.
> http://salesforce.maketime.com

Jack,
Great idea. Thanks for the invite.

Observations:
Basically, we're reviewing the search feature on the left (I'll call it the
searchapp). I'll focus on problems I see, since IIABDFI (if it ain't broke,
don't fix it).

The central texturebar, which should allow you to widen/narrow the
searchapp, does not in fact allow you to make it narrower (so the double
arrows are kind of a fib). Besides, it should be possible to make searchapp
much smaller, as it is primarily a support utility for the focal info to the
right. The default minimum looks to me to be about 500 pixels wide - that's
a burden for smaller screensizes.

The enlargement of the target mouseover on the "tabs" at the top is "fuzzy"
in the sense that the tabs adjacent to the target are also resized. This
focal vagueness is mildly attractive, but informationally confusing.

Some of the column titles are a bit verbose (minor issue, but still...).
Having "All" and "Leads" tabs next to each other - esp w/ fuzzy enlargement
(see above) - really doesn't work for me.

Colorful control icons at the top visually distract from content and their
behavior is not well - or consistently - integrated into the searchapp (see
below).

The little "x" button on each column heading sure-nuff deletes the column.
Okaaaaaaay....Now how do I bring the column back? Oh, I see. Click on the
"column chooser" icon (colorful, but not exactly obvious). The "Column
Chooser and Utilities" control panel appears (untitled and without
directions) in the right panel (which WAS the focal drilldown info), and if
I scroll far enough to the right I can find the "restore defaults" icon.
Whew. Think I'd prefer a popup-like panel more clearly affiliated with the
searchapp, plus some hints as to what I can do. The other icon/functions
hidden in that off-screen column are of a completely different order of
functionality than the "restore defaults" button (i.e. "contact us", "report
a Problem"). The "Restore Default Columns" button really belongs in the
space with the column headings, as it is context-sensitive to the selected
tab, and might even be toggled on only when appropriate.

Probably helpful if editable "new record" fields highlighted visually (new
color, outline) on mouseover, to reinforce their functionality. Another
option - one I prefer - have a "Add a New [Lead]" button in an appropriate
spot. Click on it to display the new row. The button is obvious,
unambiguous and action-oriented.

That's it for now. Interesting app. Certainly needs some UX help.

John

7 Sep 2006 - 3:09pm
John Vaughan - ...
2004

> Please share your comments with the whole group.
> http://salesforce.maketime.com

Jack,
Great idea. Thanks for the invite.

Observations:
Basically, we're reviewing the search feature on the left (I'll call it the searchapp). I'll focus on problems I see, since IIABDFI (if it ain't broke, don't fix it).

The central texturebar, which should allow you to widen/narrow the
searchapp, does not in fact allow you to make it narrower (so the double
arrows are kind of a fib). Besides, it should be possible to make searchapp
much smaller, as it is primarily a support utility for the focal info to the
right. The default minimum looks to me to be about 500 pixels wide - that's
a burden for smaller screensizes.

The enlargement of the target mouseover on the "tabs" at the top is "fuzzy"
in the sense that the tabs adjacent to the target are also resized. This
focal vagueness is mildly attractive, but informationally confusing.

Some of the column titles are a bit verbose (minor issue, but still...).
Having "All" and "Leads" tabs next to each other - esp w/ fuzzy enlargement
(see above) - really doesn't work for me.

Colorful control icons at the top visually distract from content and their
behavior is not well - or consistently - integrated into the searchapp (see
below).

The little "x" button on each column heading sure-nuff deletes the column.
Okaaaaaaay....Now how do I bring the column back? Oh, I see. Click on the
"column chooser" icon (colorful, but not exactly obvious). The "Column
Chooser and Utilities" control panel appears (untitled and without
directions) in the right panel (which WAS the focal drilldown info), and if
I scroll far enough to the right I can find the "restore defaults" icon.
Whew. Think I'd prefer a popup-like panel more clearly affiliated with the
searchapp, plus some hints as to what I can do. The other icon/functions
hidden in that off-screen column are of a completely different order of
functionality than the "restore defaults" button (i.e. "contact us", "report
a Problem"). The "Restore Default Columns" button really belongs in the
space with the column headings, as it is context-sensitive to the selected
tab, and might even be toggled on only when appropriate.

Probably helpful if editable "new record" fields highlighted visually (new
color, outline) on mouseover, to reinforce their functionality. Another
option - one I prefer - have a "Add a New [Lead]" button in an appropriate
spot. Click on it to display the new row. The button is obvious,
unambiguous and action-oriented.

That's it for now. Interesting app. Certainly needs some UX help.

John Vaughan
The Communication Studio LLC

7 Sep 2006 - 6:09pm
cfmdesigns
2004

>From: John Vaughan <vaughan1 at optonline.net>
>
>The enlargement of the target mouseover on the "tabs" at the top is "fuzzy"
>in the sense that the tabs adjacent to the target are also resized. This
>focal vagueness is mildly attractive, but informationally confusing.

I found it more distracting than useful, but that's why I turned the feature off on my OS X Dock years ago, as well.

It appears that coming into the expandable areas from the bottom makes them expand and then return to normal size. Coming in from the sides or above doesn't cause the shrinkage. (This is on Firefox on Windows.)

>Colorful control icons at the top visually distract from content and their
>behavior is not well - or consistently - integrated into the searchapp (see below).

The use of visually not-descriptive letters for the orientation change was odd (and not internationally friendly).

-- Jim

8 Sep 2006 - 3:41am
stauciuc
2006

I got stuck at it. It says YCoeS0. I tried both YCoeS0 and YCoeSO. Nothing
happens. Nice...Can anyone teach me how to read?

Sebi

On 9/7/06, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <rhoekmanjr at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> 2. An authentication page. (Is there a better name for these pages where
> you
> > type in "Z7yKg93" from characters you can't read?)
>
>
> Usually referred to as an "image verification system".
>
> -r-
> ________________________________________________________________
>
>

--
Sergiu Sebastian Tauciuc
http://www.sergiutauciuc.ro/en/

8 Sep 2006 - 12:31pm
stauciuc
2006

That's what I expected to happen...But somehow, it didn't, this time.
Clicking the Continue button didn't help either (I had the same image).
Anyway, I just tried again from home, and it worked. I'm feeling much better
already.
Now I can feed my curiosity and challenge my critique skills...

Sebi

On 9/8/06, jackbellis.com <jackbellis at hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> Hello Sebi,
> Thank you for contacting Megasoft. At Megasoft, we value your business
> (but
> nothing else). Have you tried our instant fax service? Have you tried our
> deluxe 900 phone number, pay-per-incident support? Have you tried our
> gratuitous help system that you can't even access yet? Please hold.
> Someone
> will be with you shortly.
>
> But seriously (assuming you are), I think the correct answer is, "Simply
> click the Continue button to get a different code to type." (By the way, I
> don't understand how you could be in this situation, because once you
> click
> Continue, and get a failure, one seems to be presented with a different
> code.)
>
> -Jack
>
>
>

--
Sergiu Sebastian Tauciuc
http://www.sergiutauciuc.ro/en/

8 Sep 2006 - 1:21pm
stauciuc
2006

Ok, let's see..
Here are my own observations:

Nice:
1. The affordancy on categories is nice, except it could have been a bit
more discrete.
2. Good visual clues taken care of, in general. (except for the 'not so
nice' 3)
2. It is nice that the results are filtered with each character entered in a
filter textbox, but I don't think the selection should change automatically.
I only want to see the details after I have made my selection. The first
(random) result at a certain point is of no use to me.

Not so nice:
1. It is frustrating to have to wait for the scroll for such a long time.
Scroll can be awkward as it is, we don't have to make it worse. If
javascript was neccesary, then maybe it could have done without the AJAX
stuff. I don't want to change the current selection while scrolling anyway.
2. Each column remembers its own sort order and changes it when selected as
the sort column. I would have expected just for the sort column to change,
not also the sort order. It's nice that it remembers its own order, but it
just shouldn't change it when selected.
3. I thought the 'x' button was disabled, because it was gray. But finally I
decided clicking it. Now I don't know how to put the column back in.
Interfaces should allow exploration, shouldn't they?
4. I think the vertical/horizontal layout switch would make much more sense
if it remembered the choice made. If I only use this site once, I will only
notice this buticon after I am long finished with the search. If I use it
more than once, I would rather it remembered my choices, right?

Just my first impressions..I am sure there is much more to say by others.

On 9/6/06, jackbellis.com <jackbellis at hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> On my hobby usability site, I offer free usability reviews and was
> recently asked to review a small Ajax app. I've come up with my own
> observations for it, but it occurred to me this might be an ideal
> opportunity to do a group exercise, especially since it's a new technology
> and essentially one powerful form. The site owner OK'd this idea.
>
> I thought it would also help because, being bandwidth sensitive, a
> logistically diverse audience would help. If you're interested, the site is:
>
> http://salesforce.maketime.com
>
> Use the demo login. Although I refer to "usability" I happen to provide
> comments on the whole gamut (interaction, graphics, text, help) to the
> extent it impacts the adoption/conversion. But it's your call where to
> focus. For practical purposes, there are these contexts:
> 1. A Welcome/Solicitation page.
> 2. An authentication page. (Is there a better name for these pages where
> you type in "Z7yKg93" from characters you can't read?)
> 3. The main page where you should focus: a search panel on the left and a
> Salesforce.com page on the right. Do NOT comment on the Salesforce side...
> it is not owned by the app in question.
> 4. Trivial support pages.
>
> Please share your comments with the whole group.
> -Thanks, Jack
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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--
Sergiu Sebastian Tauciuc
http://www.sergiutauciuc.ro/en/

11 Sep 2006 - 1:29am
stauciuc
2006

Yes, that's what I meant. I would suspect it works almost the same on every
system. The communication to the server must be what's making it slow.

Sebi

On 9/9/06, jackbellis.com <jackbellis at hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>
> >>>>>>>>JB: Just double-checking. I presume you mean the vertical
> scrolling of long results lists on the left. Excellent point that I had been
> annoyed at but didn't actually save as an observation. I guess this is one
> of those "logistic" issues that I needed confirmation on. Perhaps I thought
> it was just my system that was slow. But this is a critical interaction
> concern.
>
>
>

--
Sergiu Sebastian Tauciuc
http://www.sergiutauciuc.ro/en/

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