A Measure More Keyboard Pleasure

Keyboard accessibility suggestions for Measure Map, the web statistics service from Adaptive Path.

Type-Ahead Link Selection

Make the text labels of the four top-level sections links. This enables the use of the type-ahead link selection feature found in Firefox, Camino, and OmniWeb.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Assign access keys to the four primary navigation links:

  1. v for Visitors
  2. l for Links
  3. c for Comments
  4. p for Posts

The three secondary navigation items could be:

  1. b for Browsers
  2. u for Countries
  3. t for Times

Flock Tags

Tags should be actionable objects.

Preview of Flock with tag tokens

Preview of Flock tag action menu

Click the images for the full size mockups.

This combines the action menus of Mail and the keyword display method of TextEdit to allow users to find content sharing the given tag.

Selecting A Bookmark Visual

The day after I posted my Bookmark Thumbnail View mockups, I read a post by Jason Fried of 37Signals on their Signal vs. Noise weblog linking to Wists, a new visual bookmarking service. Wists allows users to select a page image to serve as the icon for a bookmark. This creates a somewhat personalized visual association between the page and bookmark that isn’t possible with a simple thumbnail of the actual page, so I’ve stolen it.

So, after selecting the fish image, the Fugu bookmark would be displayed like this in thumbnail view:

Visual Bookmark Browsing

Borrowing liberally from the Spotlight results window and TrailBlazer, I’ve mocked up a bookmark (and history) thumbnail view.

  1. Bookmarks by Date Visited
  2. Bookmarks by Name
  3. Bookmarks by Rating (this would obviously require a means of rating pages, which I just so happen to have mocked up!)

I’m least satisfied with the Name sorting, largely because I don’t think there is a separator that isn’t already used in many page titles.

Notes:

  • Bookmark search results would be available in either view.
  • Bookmark ratings could be assigned or altered by dragging their thumbnails from one group to another.

Highlighting Text in OmniWeb PDFs

For as long as I can remember, OmniWeb has been able to directly save pages as PDF files. Just hold down Option and select “Save As PDF…” from the File menu.

I recently stumbled on a minor feature that makes this a bit more useful:

If you select text before saving a page as a PDF, the highlight will be included in the PDF. You can use this to call attention to a section of text in the context of the entire page. With online purchase receipts, you can highlight the serial number before saving the page, making it easier to visually locate it if need be.

The only problem is that the highlight color is the user’s highlight color. This could cause a bit of confusion when the user opens the PDF, selects a different block of text, and then copies it. Which block was copied? Perhaps the application could use a color not among those in the System Preferences -> Appearance -> Highlight Color menu.

To my knowledge, this does not work in any application using Print -> Save as PDF.

Salon's Manjoo on a resurgent Apple

The main points of Farhad Manjoo’s “Hallelujah, the Mac is back” and my thoughts about them:

Windows is a piece of crap

I recently helped my friend Johnny with his Windows XP SP2 laptop, which had become overrun with spyware. Being the blissfully spyware-ignorant Mac and Linux user that I am, I didn’t know which tools would actually remove all the crap. I tried several mentioned in Asa Dotzler’s scumware horror story, but even with the latest updates, they didn’t get it all. We were running out of time, so I installed Firefox for him and am hoping for the best.

My friend Brian came over several days later with his laptop. Firefox had convinced him months ago to switch browsers, but somehow, Internet Explorer now had a toolbar full of spam links. He knows he didn’t install it, but there it is. Software installation so seamless, the user doesn’t need to do anything! Wow!

Manjoo touches on a point I’ve made previously: the atrocious “security” has, for many Windows users, negated most of Microsoft’s investments in user experience. “Windows XP has a task-based interface that allows yBUY VIAGRA NOW!! CLICK HERE 4 HOT NAKED CHIXXX!!”

The Mac mini is inexpensive and includes the iLife suite

There is a case to be made for using the mini for browsing, e-mail, IM, and media management while retaining a Windows PC for gaming. Not that (higher-end) Macs are bad gaming machines. Some gamers seem to think Macs still come with Rage II+ graphics and are limited to the games of five years ago.

Hertzfeld thinks Open Source will break Microsoft’s stranglehold

If the Brazilian government’s intention to switch entirely to open software is any indicator, this is true. Microsoft will be around for a good while longer, but all empires fall. The combination of the freedom and developmental pace of Open Source and the seeming inability of Microsoft to deliver truly high quality software makes it likely that other developing nations (China and India come to mind) will move in that direction. Hell, even Richard Clarke thinks Microsoft will lose substantial marketshare over the next 10 years or so, largely due to the abysmal security.