There are some people that like "snap previews". They like annoying, bandwidth hogging javascript pop ups that come up when your mouse passes a link[2]. I'm not one of them. You might be, and if so I can, when I've time, rant at great length about why they degrade the user experience, clutter the web and really don't actually help in any way. But for now a heads up. If You haven't explicitly turned them off from your journal, they're now switched on by default[1]. There's more about how awful Snap Previews are and that includes links to how they're planning on filling them with ads. Turning them off is really easy and I highly recommend you do it, not just for yourself, but for anyone that reads your journal as well. I sleep now.

ETA: [ profile] spacecowb0y has given us this howto on blocking them with adblock, which I personally don't use but I know others do.
[1] Basic and sponsored users are turned on by default—that paid users aren't? It's because they'll end up revenue sharing the ads.

[2] Anil? You never did point us to the UI research that said Regular people on the web *love* Snap previews. I'd love to see it, really, because it seems so utterly wrong to me and I like having my preconceptions challenged. So if you do get the chance (of course, I may've missed it as well—I did look around a bit at the time of the discussion)
I've mentioned the TFL and their sucky journeyplanner before, but now they've gone and done something really daft. I have bookmarked, as I like the advanced options like 'I only want bus routes' and similar. What do you get if you try to got here now? Under Construction. Um, that's not right, surely?

So I go to and click the link there instead. I suddenly find myself with a new windo open (because I've not set all the options on this laptop properly it seems) and I'm going to a new site, Mixed reactions, because if they've got a new site, they'r eimproving things, right? Except having used it a bit, it appears not. But also? Why will designers insist on opening new windows all the damn time? It remains one of the Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design:
New windows bad, mm'kay? )
It's such a bad idea, especially now with all the different browser platforms out there.

So, not only do approximately 1,780 incoming links to the old site no longer work, but they've broken basic usability rules, messed around with user expectations, yet still not actually improved the site in any way. What are they doing?

For the record, a small wishlist of things they could do to make the site usable: I could go on, and I've not even mentioned the Oyster log in problem--forgotten your password? After three attempts, it takes you to a lock out screen, that tells you to go to the front page and click the 'lost password' link. Sound plan, except... If you go to the frontpage, it redirects you to the error message you're trying to leave. Lovely.

Massive organisation, big investment budget, huge website with lots of data, and they appear to have not done a basic level usability study. Ah well. [ profile] mooism? Are you still thinking about that project you mentioned?
I bang on about usability, search optimisation and accessibility every so often in site designs, but given my strictly amateur status I still quiver at some of the godawful sites there are out there. I agree completely with this article though - How Not to Display Your Artwork on the Web:
In the thirteen years I’ve been on the web, twelve of which I’ve spent doing professional web site design, and the last two of which have sent me to hundreds of artists’ web sites, I’ve come to the inevitable conclusion that the thing artists want most when placing their art on the web is for it not to be seen.

There are millions upon millions of bad sites on the web, but artists really work at it.
As an example, I think that [ profile] jonhodgson's portfolio site is actually quite good, but even that breaks a few basic pointers; the use of a frame redirect from the domain name ( to the actual location of the content ( and sub pages) means that your avarage 'net user isn't able to specifically link to the image page itself; not so useful for a potential commission to show a specific example to colleagues, etc. But compared to some of the awful designs out there (including some for my favoured artists) it scores well; brief bio, clear contact details, easy navigation, etc.

The more I trawl around,the more horrors of design I see, I'm always tempted to share them but, well... OTOH, not to my taste at all, and breaks a few UI rules, but isn't this a simply gorgeous myspace layout[1]?

ETA: [1] there's apparently an embedded music file on that profile, hadn't noticed as embedded music on Myspace doesn't play if you've got Flashblock running.
Yesterday? I burnt my finger. That'd be the finger I mostly balance a pen on while writing as well. Today?

I signed 400 Christmas cards.

As if I didn't have an intense loathing of the things already, signing 400 of them isn't fun at the best of times. Still, made a change from moving information around a computer all day.

Came home, watched a pile of Angel DVDs. Was going to post about the new update page (short version: I like it, it's an improved UI and they're taking on feedback. Plus, the RTE actually works. Yes, I normally hand code everything, but I can copy/paste formatted text now, and then go back to hand coding.

LJ's UI overall stinks. Horizon improves it, Vertigo will be even better, and the new update page will be more intuitive to newer users and reduce likelihood of posting to the wrong journal/community.

Bah. Seems like I've posted about it anyway. It also gives more space for them to add new features. Which is also good.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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October 2015


Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats.

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