Thursday, December 27, 2007

Parent Outlook closes its children…!!

In case a user has multiple read mail messages opened in MS Outlook and user closes the main outlook window, all the read mail messages are closed without asking for the permission from the user.

They can show a dialog box as shown below to the user similar to IE7.

Try Printing random pages in Adobe Acrobat..!!

Adobe Acrobat print window doesn’t have an option of printing random page numbers (like 1,4 and 9) from a document.

Please compare it with the MS office print window which has this option.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Photo Printing Wizard

I wanted to take a printout of one picture from a folder containing six pictures. So I right clicked on a picture, selected print from the menu and photo printing wizard launched. All the pictures of the folder were shown and that particular picture was checked as selected (as shown in the figure). It’s a good idea to show all the pictures of the folder in the photo printing wizard as a user has the option from the wizard to print other pictures of the folder. But I think the only thing missing was the filename below the thumbnail view of each picture. This would be great help so that a user could easily locate the exact file.The next time I tried to print multiple pictures; I saw the print wizard window with the selected pictures rather than all the pictures of that folder.
Hmmm…now that’s what I call “Inconsistency”!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

MS office 2007 UX

I really liked MS office 2007 self explanatory menu for the end user giving much better UX(User eXperience). Pasting below just one instance out of the whole big pool of good UX.

User just needs to select the number of rows and column required and it shows a preview to the user by generating a table instantly.

I recently attended Microsoft Expression around the Clock, Global Designer Conference at Bangalore and saw the demo of MS new product Expression. It’s launched to ease the collaborative work between designers and developers. I even met Ram, Umesh and Harish and had a discussion on various aspects of user experience.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Gtalk chat windows...!!

I was reading the Kiran's blog on Gtalk and Gmail chat synchronization problem and found out one more problem in addition to the stated problems.

Follow the steps listed below:
1. Signin to Gtalk, open two chat windows and then minimize both of them.
2. Minimize the main Gtalk application to the system tray by clicking on the cancel button.
3. Now to chat with one more user, restore the Gtalk application which is minimized on the system tray.
4. All the minimized chat windows will be automatically restored as soon as you restore the gtalk application.

So now this is an ignorance by the QA or the program manager?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Spot the file name!!

When I installed Microsoft Office on my machine, it set Microsoft Picture Manager as my default viewer to open images. I wanted to take a look at the picture’s filename and after a whole lot of looking around, I figured out it was at the bottom left corner. The application title bar just shows “Microsoft Office Picture Manager” and not the filename as if it is the name of every file which was being opened. :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Citibank Secure Login and Payment Facility

This is Citibank’s login page.
For the sake of security, Citibank thought it was a better idea to click on a keypad rather than the good old style of typing in a password for authentication.

This seemed like a neat concept if I had Private Banking in mind (Banking in Citibank Kiosks or someplace like that) But I don’t think this is really secure considering I’m at open cyber cafe and clicking on this keypad (giving anyone crossing my desk to take a peek at my monitor and guess my password).

Wasn’t typing the password using a keyboard a better idea?? Considering my hands is covering the keyboard reducing the chances for anyone to guess my password.

Citibank has a feature “View and Pay”. This feature helps make paying monthly utility bills a lot easier. The bill account details need to be entered once and then a message and email is sent to the user every month for a payment confirmation.

It’s pretty convenient, but there is no way of cancelling a payment.

For example, I have my telecom provider registered with Citibank. I pay the bill through the website every time. But, this one time, I paid the bill when I was at the Telecom store and not through the website. After the payment was done, it did not reflect on my website. It still asked me to pay my bill I had already paid for. If a user makes a payment through the website once, they assume that he is going to do the same every time, not handling multiple payment methods.

Do you guys have any comments???

(Written after discussion and inputs from Nikhil Chandran)

Placement of Buttons

I was trying to book my ticket on Air India website ( and realized the importance of the placement of buttons.

I filled up the flight details and subconsciously clicked on the Reset button instead of Continue button. Then I realized normally the button which is more likely to be used is placed first followed by the less likely one. E.g. Ok, Continue, Submit followed by Cancel, Reset.

On the second page the Continue button is followed by Reset button whereas on the first page Reset button is followed by Continue button. This even shows the consistency in the placement of the buttons on the website :)

Figure 1: To enter the journey details

Figure 2: Shows the flight information

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Lotus Notes Attachment

Lotus Notes provides an option to the user to multi-select the files.
In addition to it, it even gives an option to the user to zip the files while attaching, offering a good User experience(UX).

MS Office Consistency..!!

When you select different words in MS Word of different fonts what would you see in the font details drop down box?

- You would see the font details drop down box is blank as the fonts are different which is expected behavior.

Try doing the same in MS Excel and you would find that it show the font of the first cell you started selecting from. Being consistent with MS word the font details should be shown as blank.

I found that this is the not just the problem with word 2003 but even the Microsoft's latest release word 2007. That’s the consistency in MS Word and MS Excel…!!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Gmail Attachment

To attach a file on Gmail, you need to click on the “Attach a file” link, on clicking that a text box comes along with a “Browse” button. If you want to add one more file, again you need to click “Attach another file” and then you need to click again on “Browse” button to browse through the files in your machine.

To attach a file you need to do 2 clicks. So that means for 5 attachments, you need to do 10 clicks and browsing through the file 5 times. It’s obvious that the user wants to browse when he clicks on “Attach a file” link. So a “File upload” window to browse should pop up on clicking “Attach a file” link, reducing one click per attachment.It should also provide an option of multi selecting the files in a folder. These files can be shown to the user the way multiple email addresses are shown. For that the UI can be changed a little bit as shown below. To remove a file, just delete the way you delete the email addresses. And for attaching more than one file from different folders, just clicking on browse button and select the file.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Viewing pictures of Zipped folder

When you open a picture from a picture folder in windows picture and fax viewer, you navigate through the pictures with the help of the arrow keys.

Try doing the same in a zipped folder of pictures.

You wont be able to navigate through your arrow keys, instead if you press the arrow key to view the next picture the same picture would come up again or you may see some picture which you never expected. This is because WinZip shows the picture, which is already stored in the Temp folder of your hard drive.

WinZip should automatically open and store the picture in the temp folder whenever user clicks on the arrow key to view the next picture.

This will allow the user to navigate through the pictures in a zipped folder with the arrow keys.

Invisible mode on Gtalk

Gtalk should provide the feature of invisible mode, giving us (the users) the freedom of remain logged in the way we want.

In comparison Yahoo provides an option of logging in as well as switching to the invisible mode after logging in.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Gmail : Open in a new window/tab

Why do you commonly right click on a link??

To open a link in new window or tab.

I am sure you must have tried to open mails in yahoo, rediff or hotmail in a new window.

“Open in a new window” is the first option in the right click menu.

But try doing this in Gmail –

“This frame” is the last third option on the right click menu, on selecting that another menu comes up, from where you need to select “Open frame in a new tab/window” option.

On clicking that, the selected mail wont open in a new window, but the inbox (very same page) opens in a new window.

  • You land up clicking once more to read a mail from your inbox.

  • “Open in a new window/ tab” should have been first or second option in the main menu instead of being in the sub menu.

Browsing through your mails takes more time, as user tends to navigate in the single window only.

Below are the screenshots of yahoo mail, rediff mail and hotmail showing how easy it is for the user to navigate and read their mails.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Scroll bar on Templates page on Blogger

On the page that displays the templates options for the blog have an inner side bar instead of just having the regular sidebar. That page is completely dedicated to just make a template option for the blog. I see no point of keeping that inner side bar. Regular side bar also completely serves the purpose and is more standardized and comfortable.

Crtl + F in MS-Outlook

Ctrl+ F is a standard keyboard shortcut to search in MS- Office, browsers and most of the standard applications.

But have you ever tried to search in a read mail window in MS Outlook?

Just try it out….

You will see the forward mail window open instead of the ‘Find’ pop-up/ search box in your read mail window, while the read mail window remains open in the background.

Now instead you need to press F4 to search in your mail, and not Ctrl+F…!! :)

Apart from that…

  • Press Ctrl -F on the mailbox (root for inbox etc..), you will get a find box.
  • But when you press Ctrl-F on the inbox (root for folders), you wont see any response.
  • When you press Ctrl-F when you are browsing through your mails in a folder, it opens up a forward mail window for the mail, which is selected.

So here I can see three different functions of Ctrl- F within the same application MS- Outlook...!! :)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

leapfrogging technology


Leapfrogging is a theory of development in which developing countries skip inferior, less efficient, more expensive or more polluting technologies and industries and move directly to more advanced ones. Its about rather than following the already-developed nations in the same course of "progress," leapfrogging means that developing regions can experiment with emerging tools, models and ideas for building their societies. Leapfrogging can happen accidentally (such as when the only systems around for adoption are better than legacy systems elsewhere), situationally (such as the adoption of decentralized communication for a sprawling, rural countryside), or intentionally (such as policies promoting the installation of WiFi and free computers in poor urban areas).
A frequent example is countries which move directly from having no telephones to having cellular phones, skipping the stage of landline telephones altogether.Examples of leapfrogging other than with mobile phones abound. A few, pulled from the WorldChanging archives, include:
· Solar power for rural communities in Pakistan
It's small, but it's a start. According to the UN's IRIN, about 100 homes near Islamabad are about to be converted over to solar power to test a new model for supplying electricity to outlying communities. Pakistan's goal is to have 10% of national electricity generation come from alternative sources by 2010.

· The "Hospital of the Future" in Thailand
It's not in the US; it's not even in Europe--it's in Thailand. Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok is an all-digital hospital, with one giant database containing everything from patients' billing to medical history to digital images of their X-rays instead of film.

· World's Greenest Building, as voted by the US Green Building Council, in Hyderabad, India
Two 45-foot wind towers and screen walls provide air pre-cooled by 10 degrees to the air-conditioning system, thereby reducing the amount of energy required for cooling. This is called the ‘venturi effect’ in modern buildings. It helps pre-cool the air. Work on the building started in 2000, and it will be formally inaugurated in January 2004. The Centre serves as a showcase of sustainable design techniques as well as an information resource for Indian businesses.

· Free broadband and Linux machines in Brazil
Free broadband Linux computer time in some of the poorest neighborhoods of Sao Paulo. The Telecenter project was started two and a half years ago in Sao Paulo by a left-wing local government as part of a digital inclusion plan that aimed to improve access to information.

· "Barefoot Solar Engineers" -- rural women trained to install and repair solar power systems in India:
This InfoChange piece on India's Barefoot Solar Engineers -- poor women trained to build and maintain rural solar systems – strikes as a definite sign of things to come: "Gulab Devi, 45, of Harmara village in Rajasthan's Ajmer district comes across as the quintessential rural woman from Rajasthan. Dressed in the traditional ghagra-choli (long skirt and blouse), Gulab is the sole bread-earner for her four children and her ailing husband who hasn't had a job in the 24 years of their marriage.

The important thing to note is that the "leapfrog" isn't in the specific technologies themselves (which are no better than those in the West), but in the infrastructure, the rapid growth of decentralized, ad-hoc, flexible networks.
Leapfrogging doesn't always work. There may be government policies or lender mandates requiring the adoption of certain infrastructure technologies which made sense a decade or two ago, but are less useful now. There may be resistance for reasons of tradition or marketing. And chosen leapfrog technologies may simply not work well.
But leapfrogging is an important concept to keep in mind when thinking about global development and the future of emerging countries such as India, Brazil and China. Developmental histories do not all follow the same path. Technologies and ideas which seem somewhat powerful when implemented in the West may be utterly transformative in locations not laden down with legacies of past development. The future belongs to those best able to change along with it; sometimes, starting from nothing can be an engine for just that sort of change.

Reference: material on the net while surfing.