Aleksandar • Vacić

iOS bits and pieces

Bad and good UI

It’s shame how wonderfull features can be diminished by junior-high-grade mistakes.

I visited today new MS Office web site and got the following warning at the top:

Warning: You are viewing this page with an unsupported Web browser. This Web site works best with Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 or later or Netscape Navigator 6.0 or later. Click here for more information on supported browsers.

So I followed the link to page where they practically repeat the same information above.

I clicked the “No” button at the bottom and was pleased to see wondefull use of DOM - form has changed to allow instant user feedback. But then, when I clicked on “Next” button, I got Javascript error saying that Mozilla couldn’t find the form with rather obscure name (it has : in the middle of it).

No feedback from my side then.1 Average user will see no way out of this situation and will leave the site.

An excellent user-interaction followed by developer error. Sigh.

Learn from other’s mistakes.

1 OK, I lie. This error was eating me somewhere in the back of my head, so later I went to this page in IE and reported it.

Text eligibility testing

During the development of the new web site for a client, my company arranged small user testing on text size and fonts. We aimed to find out what font family + size + line-height combination is the favourite among average users.

Since client is a bookie, they have a fairly large amount of phone operators which are sort of ideal testers for this kind of stuff.

Competitors were (all tests were run on Windows platform):

  1. Tahoma + 11px font-size + 120% line-height

  2. Tahoma + 12px font-size + 100% line-height

  3. Verdana + 11px font-size + 100% line-height

Survey of 19 of their office staff resulted in:

  • 4 picked (1)

  • 6 picked (2)

  • 9 picked (3)

Every person surveyed that wore glasses opted for the option (3). This was the decisive factor - web site will use this setting for static content (text boxes at the bottom).

Although the number of people is not that big, it still shows that when you have to use small fonts, Verdana simply rules. Problem are users that don’t have it when Verdana’s overall biginess can backslap you; here it’s a minor problem, since log analysis shows that 99% of users are Win/IE5+ users.

Verdana is also rendered well on Mac OSX.

Big cat has arrived

This should be clasified under Techs, but….

Today, I bought my first ever Mac (actually my company did, but those are minor details). It’s a beatyful iBook G4 (933MHz 14.1"), with Panther OS. I have never used (or seen) Mac before, and this was quite a revelation for me.

I played with it less then an hour, but I already want (cherish) one for home. It loads quickly (sligthly faster than my Athlon 2.4GHz Win) and shutdowns quickly. That is where the similarity stops.

As Apple’s commercials says - this just works. I pluged the network cable in and imidiatelly went to System Prefs to set it up; imagine my jaws dropping when I realized that it has done that already! Never, ever, I experienced something like that on Windows. Jolly good. (Yes, we have a all-Windows network here, so that is why I expected that special is needed).

Setting up international keyboard and stuff (Serbian cyrillic) was a breeze, and it works rather cleverly - only Unicode apps will be able to use that, all other will US. Etc, etc…

That is why this post goes to Life category. I have a feeling I got something that works for me, always.

I have yet to work with it and enjoy doing that. More over….all my scripts and sites will now be retested and debuged in all Mac browsers. How kewl is that. :)

Usability improvement for MT

This web site is hosted on the very slow server and the consequence is that the rebuilding of files takes forever, sometimes up to 1 minute. :‘(

Side-effect of this is that, when you submit a comment, it appears that nothing is happening (except the upper right browser icon is rotating) so you naturally click again and again and it sometimes posts the same comment several times. I’m not able to repeat that (which puzzles me), but I have seen it happen (and spent time deleting identical comments).

So, to save my self some time, I changed MT comment handling script. I added this into form tags on entry comment template (as well as on comment listing, preview and error templates):

onsubmit="return SubmitComment(this)"

and this is the SubmitComment function:

function SubmitComment(oForm) {

  if (oForm.submitClicked) {

    alert("Form is submitted, processing <span class="code-break">»</span>

       will take a bit (it is a slow server :( )");

    return false;


  oForm.submitClicked = true;

  if (oForm.bakecookie)

    if (oForm.bakecookie[0].checked)


  return true;


It is very simple DOM trick: property submitClicked is added to form object and later on checked, so if you click more than once you’ll be notified and that second (third etc.) submit will be canceled.

bakecookie thing is from original MT build.