Tag Archives: best practices

The Opposite of Spam

I got the most astonishing email the other day. I can only describe it as the opposite of spam, in two different ways. I’ll get to just what the ways were in a minute. First, the back-story. It seems it must be a year since I bought John Resig’s Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja. (I […]

Smart Apostrophes: They’re a Problem (in URLs)

Recently, The American Prospect published an article excoriating the “men’s rights” movement. It was a pretty good article, and well-received. Lots of people tweeted links to it… or, they tried to. Curiously, those tweets all broke in the exact same way, pointing at a truncated version of the correct URL. That’s because the next character after […]

Commandments For Handling Passwords

If you’re taking passwords from users, here are some commandments you need to follow: Don’t Impose a Maximum Length Limit This is one of the most critical. One of the best things anyone can do to make their password — or pass phrase — more secure is to make it longer. Increasing the number of characters means an […]

Why Are We Abandoning Menus?

A while back, Ubuntu’s Mark Shuttleworth posted a blog article called “Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu.“ Shuttleworth mentions how a menu is “the M in WIMP and has been there, essentially unchanged, for 30 years.” The clear implication, of course, is that the time for a change has come — […]

When Your Computer Catches Fire

Occasionally, I amuse myself by reading Not Always Right. I really shouldn’t, as it’s always bad for my opinion of humanity, but sometimes I just can’t look away. And occasionally, it clues me in to a teachable moment. Like this one, which recently appeared there: Caller: “My computer is a fire risk.” Me: “What makes you say that?” […]

Developers Are Not QA Testers

When a company says “we can’t afford a QA department”, what they’re really saying is, “we accept that our software will be infested with bugs, and quality is not important to us.” When they compound this basic error by saying, “the developers will just have to do their own QA”, they prove that they have […]

Easy Restarts Are a Security Feature

The more stuff you have open (or habitually leave open) in an application, the more it becomes part of your consciousness, an extension of your mind. For many of us, the question “What are you doing right now?” could best be answered by, “Here’s a list of the tabs I have open in my web browser.” […]

Are You Sure You Want to Read This Blog Post? (y/n)

When should you ask a user “Are you sure you want to do that?” Bear in mind that asking this question when you don’t have to has more than one bad effect: Obviously, it wastes the user’s time and may even annoy them. It also contributes to the general problem of “too damned many dialog boxes […]

Is Your Domain Name Spellable and Pronounceable?

A good domain name should have the following features: When someone says it to you, you know how to spell it. This means that if my friend wants to tell me about your site at a party or a club or out on the street somewhere, she doesn’t have to spell it out for me. […]

Can You Learn From a Prediction That Was Wrong?

Recently, a bunch of the blogs and journals I read (including my friends, not just big, famous sources) have had some bones to pick with Clifford Stoll’s 1995 Newsweek opinion piece, “Why Web Won’t Be Nirvana”. Stoll said: “no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent […]