The Design of Software (CLOSED)

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Almost all Web Designs are Very Very Poor

For example, forums and blogs. To read the next post I have to scroll scroll scroll. And I have to use the mouse. It's been going on like this for 10 years now.

Back in the old days there was usenet, nn and pine. Everything was controlled from the keyboard. It was easy to read posts. I could follow responses using the arrow keys and return key to enter and escape to go up a level. Same commands no matter what discussion group you were following.

I haven't seen a single web forum or blog that follows this. Instead, I get RSI from clicking the freaking mouse all the time.

Web 'design' isn't at all about user experience. It's about flashy graphics and colors and having the largest number of cartoon smiley faces, and the biggest avatars.

Just finding and following the content is lost in all this noise.
Monday, May 28, 2007
design you own forum then :)

Monday, May 28, 2007
That doesn't solve the problem.
Monday, May 28, 2007
how about all the websites that have drop-down menus on them now

originally people liked using the web because it was simple, single click on the underlined blue text

now most websites are almost as difficult to use as desktop applications
Monday, May 28, 2007
I agree with your subject line, but with regards to complaints about forums and blogs, that's not so much about web design, but about the browser interface. What you seem to be asking for is an interface optimized for one kind of application (message reading), but browser's have to provide a much more general experience than that.

There are a lot of things web developers can do to make a page more pleasant to use. Following accessibility guidelines is good for everyone, not just the blind. Of course, we need to convince our clients to spend cold, hard cash on it, and that ain't always easy.

The state of web design is abysmal. There's a very low barrier to entry (which is a good thing, overall), but this results in a lot of non-experts doing things for which they're not qualified. This is fine, as long as they're not promoting themselves as professionals. You've seen how bad most paid-for sites are, so you know how that works out.

A glut of "designers" with FrontPage, a marketplace that is still largely uneducated (the web's not that old) and strong downward pressure on budgets for web sites gets you what you see now.
dwayne Send private email
Monday, May 28, 2007
Monday, May 28, 2007
Monday, May 28, 2007
You are 99% right with regards to the poor support of the keyboard in Web applications. On the other hand, the mouse and its wheel have become central to the "usability". Google Reader marks the content you read in it automatically as "read" by taking advantage of the scrolling that happens, so one can keep running the wheel and only that to read and mark as read the content. That's cool! :-)

Let's remember that nobody uses the "tab" key to navigate the controls anymore on the Web, as there are so many controls to navigate that "tab" mostly loses its purpose, unless used proficiently to fill form fields for instance.

If it weren't for the difficulty of getting Web designs at all, though...
Joao Pedrosa
Monday, May 28, 2007
I've been informed that the problem is that Microsoft has patented the use of keyboard navigation in a browser:
Monday, May 28, 2007
Forum and blog software is one of the major applications on the web, used by hundreds of millions of people every day. There's no reason why it has to uniformly suck so badly, and at nearly 100% of sites.
I don't agree that it's all the fault of the browser designers. It is possible to massively improve things if site designers would spend even 5 minutes studying the HTML specification.

Questions for you all who think your forum software is all that.

When was the last time you put LINK elements in your header to provide hints to the browser as to the immediate navigation of your site? Have you heard of this element?

Individual post pages are much easier to navigate in a decent browser by adding in this sort of thing to the header:

<LINK rel="index" href="index.html">
<LINK rel="prev" href="post104.html">
<LINK rel="next" href="post106.html">

It's been part of the HTML standard for 15 years now.

When was the last time you used the attribute 'tabindex' in a link? Have you even heard of it? Why on earth isn't the most recent article in your list of articles tagged with tabindex="1", and on down? How come instead the first through 100th tab go to the list of random links on the left and right side of your web page instead of the things I am most likely to want to navigate?

When was the last time you used the attribute 'accesskey' in a link? OK, well this one isn't supported by all browsers, but how is it no one has heard of this?
Monday, May 28, 2007
Someone mentioned Google reader, but they failed to mention the list of keyboard shortcuts:

So you can navigate without using the mouse. Of course, that doesn't solve the problem for everything else, but it's at least a start. I believe the problem is that not very many people care about using the keyboard to navigate. It's much easier for the average computer user to point and click than to remember  what keys do what or to tab around to get to what they want.
Jason Moore Send private email
Monday, May 28, 2007
Yes, good example. Google is very good about keyboard navigation in its web 2.0 applications. So we can see it is possible to design a web application that isn't painful to use.

But saying that no one uses keys in web apps isn't a good argument - almost no web apps have them assigned to anything, so of course no one uses it. It's like saying no one uses the accelerator or radio in their horse and buggy.
Monday, May 28, 2007
> controlled from the keyboard.

If you want to use a keyboard use a typewriter. Jeesh.
son of parnas
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Have you tried the keyboard shortcuts for this forum?
John Topley Send private email
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
"Space" works wonders to scroll posts in this forum...
WildTiger Send private email
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Blog Software:

No "printable" format, and some blog systems have such wierd CSS and/or Javascript that you can't print from the regular page.

And, almost universally, the fraction of screen real estate for the actual content is amazing small, maybe 1/3 if you are luck.
dot for this one
Monday, June 04, 2007
well short of 1/3 for me
Wednesday, June 06, 2007

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