Tag Archive | "usability"

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Making the web more readable – in one click

Posted on 20 December 2009 by Demian Turner

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The Readability bookmarklet is by far the most useful bookmarklet I’ve used. A must try for anyone who spends an inordinate amount of time reading stuff on the web :-)

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How to Block Flash

Posted on 20 December 2009 by Demian Turner

ClickToFlash IconI wish I hadn’t waited so long to install the ClickToFlash plugin, it totally improves the web experience. The idea is simple, all flash animations are paralyzed by default ūüėČ To view flash, including videos like youtube, etc, you have to click to play. A lot healthier for the laptop, no more CPU running at 100% nor mindless distractions when you’re trying to absorb valuable content.

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Date & time in the menu bar in OS X

Posted on 23 February 2009 by Demian Turner

Personally I find it unbearable not to have the date and time in the menu bar, or at least somewhere on screen that I can see at a glance without having to click to see it.

For some reason the Mac usability guys decided that showing just the time, and date on one click, was more usable.

There are a lot of tutorials about how to customise this and generally each one has around 50 comments, the thing is none of them work without a black magic hack that can usually be discovered around comment #47.  

If you don’t select the format medium and don’t include the seconds (even though they won’t show up) the formatting does not work.

I found this tutorial one of the more helpful ones, and after trial and error discovered the seconds problem.

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Low Cost Usability Testing

Posted on 01 December 2008 by Demian Turner

Caught this on Hacker News – Paul Graham’s oft-mentioned news feed – seems like a great way to get honest and inexpensive¬†usability¬†feedback for your app. ¬†What a great idea!

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Google Ad Manager Debugging

Posted on 19 September 2008 by Demian Turner

Even though I had early preview access to Ad Manager I only got a chance to play with it properly yesterday, now that it’s public for all Adsense publishers.

My first impression: my old pals at OpenX don’t have as much to worry about as I first thought.

While Google has a fearsome reputation for building amazing apps with clean and simple UIs, Ad Manager is the first I’ve used (29 currently listed in my gAccount screen) which is somewhat¬†impenetrable. ¬†While it’s true that ad serving in general has above average business logic complexity, this app lets the user potentially steer in too many wrong directions, and if one of the 10 or so parameters required for an ad to be served is slightly wrong, it’s not easy to find out where you went wrong. ¬†And this is a programmer point of view, I’m trying to imagine what it’s like for a non-techy.

The good news is there are decent debugging capabilities that ship with the app, although they’re a bit buried. ¬†What you need to do to find out where you went wrong is append a debug param to the URL, like


This Google help page has more detailed information.

Another PITA which is not obvious at all is if you want to add a text link creative, you need to select the type Rich Media then paste the link in the textarea which subsequently appears.  Rich media, text link: not two concepts you find linked that often ..

And while we’re in gripe mode, this is one of the slowest Google apps I’ve used, ie a lot slower than AdWords. ¬†I think it’s early days still for Ad Manager.

UPDATE: This article is a good starting point for setting up your first campaign.

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