Tried to Twit!

June 19, 2009

Today, I tried creating a twitter account. The form is nice, short, and quick. I filled up the regular information (Fig-1). Then, I got confused when I reached the last part. This was the place where they are trying trying to check if I am human trying to twit or a twitting machine – reCaptcha. I thought I entered the text in it correctly.



I clicked on Create my account, and then I got blank form (Fig-2). No error messages to inform me of what went wrong or any other issues that may have occurred.

Twitter - Account 2


So I tried again and again. I tried really hard to convince recaptcha that I am HUMAN. I also rechecked with few colleagues just to ensure what I entered was correct. I clicked Create my account again this time with some apprehension. I get the same new blank form (Fig-3).



I guess twitter has got a great growth rate this year. So, they don’t really care for more members now. I know the reCaptcha is an issue, but other forms point out reCaptcha incorrect entry error without removing  rest of the information I entered.  Twitter doesn’t even care to do that.

So I will tweet some time in next few years or when Iran and the whole mid-east is in peace.


Repetitive Stress Injury

February 5, 2009

It’s been while since Hotmail has changed its UI and it looks a bit cleaner now. I regularly check my mails on hotmail, but don’t send many mails nowadays because of gmail. Let me explain.

A few days ago, I sent a few mails on hotmail and I realised that there was a major issue with it. When creating a new mail, we write the content, put the address of the receiver, the subject (not necessarily in that order), and then click on Send. Well, when I tried sending two mails on Hotmail, I realized that I kept clicking on the Send button and it kept displaying a list of addresses. That’s when I realized that I had clicked on the To button and not the Send button. Why? Well, it turns out that the most important action button to send an email according Hotmail guys is To and not Send.


“To” is the only element in the mail area that is big and therefore, it attracts the most attention.

For visual design consistency, they have converted the Send button in to a hidden link. Since the Send doesn’t have any affordance of a button, so I keep clicking on the only button that’s visible. Why not just make it a clear button as Send is the most important action to send an email. I guess this is the reason why I continue using my Gmail account. Gmail guys clearly display the most important action of Send as a button.


‘Send’ is clearly made the most important button by making the label bold.

I sometimes face situations in design where there is no clear user motivation to perform a particular task but this task is important for the system to continue. For e.g let us take a hypothetical case. Imagine that Yahoo! is bought by Microsoft and Microsoft decides to integrate all the yahoo id users in to MSN id. So, how would you design the content for users (yahoo loyalist) who are not motivated to do this task? This step is necessary for the system but not for the user. But the system cannot complete this step without the users input.

So when I came across an informative column by Colleen on 10 recipes for persuasive content, it got me thinking that I use a few of these recipes to convince users in following a step that is necessary to complete the process.

Persuasive content is written to motivate the users to do the step that may lead to a better user experience rather than introduce a forced step that the user needs to follow without motivation.  A forced step will lead to a frustrating and poor user experience.

Is this persuasion or manipulation of the user? Another column by Colleen  Winning Content Persuades, Not Manipulates tries to clarify it. I had a discussion with my colleagues (Ripul and Meghna) and we ended with the same conclusion as Colleen that there is thin line between persuasion and manipulation. Some times we may have to slightly manipulate the users to get them do a task along with lot of persuasion.

Congrats to Kern Learning Solutions team for winning the Bronze medal at the Brandon Hall Learning Excellence Award 2008 in the blended learning category.

Learning solutions applied their new learner centered methodology to this project and won an award for it. This is a great boost of confidence for the team. Looking forward to more great courses for learners and hence more awards.

Who shoud I trust?

August 25, 2008

I am regular user of google search (who isn’t?) and also use AVG’s FREE anti virus. They serve me well most of the time. Few months ago AVG upgraded their software to ver. 8 which had one of the new feature of showing if it is safe to visit a site I search on Google.

AVG scanning the sites which google searched

AVG scanning the sites which google searched

AVG showing in green the Safe sites

AVG showing in green the Safe sites

Everything went well till one day I see this while searching a driver’s service on google.

So now Google says the site is harmful to visit for these possible reasons

while AVG says its safe to view the site.

So I tried to check a site which will most likely be harmful to visit – a software cracks site. I do a search and get a completely different result this time around.

Google has no issue with it but AVG has advised me against visiting the site.

So who should I trust now?

Learning the hard way!

June 13, 2008

Research papers and many experienced usability practitioners insist that users rarely read text or instructions shown on the screen. Users just want to move on, to click on the next action to achieve their goals.
I got to witness this the other day when we were conducting some user testing on a new application. The introduction page was nicely written in short sentences with step by step instructions about how to use the application. This page had a big button at the bottom. When users saw the page, they directly clicked on the button without reading the instructions. When the they got on the next screen , they were confused about what was happening.

So, for the first time I got to experience what I already know, and I still felt “How did they skip that?”.

So it just reinforced about what I learned was right and gives me a good story to tell while explaining about the importance of not having too much text.

Hello World!

June 13, 2008

So writing a blog, must be very easy if no one is going to read it.
But turns out I “have” to write one and I know at least few of them gonna read it.
So after so much procrastination and dodging attempts from friends forcing me to write one, here’s the 1st entry.