Monday, April 05, 2010

Using Exploits To Improve User Experience: A Test Case

Many of us know about the neat trick you can do with the common blue/purple colors (without styling) of links, depending on which have been visited or not by the user. Obviously a UX plus to know what you've already seen, but we eventually realized this information could be exploited to learn all sorts of personal information about a user, simply by visiting one site that flooded the page with links to different places and inspected the colors. Recently, Mozilla announced the start of finally solving this problem.

This kind of makes me sad, and I'll tell you why. My first thought when reading the news was to come up with an idea to use this exploit for good. This is only "good" if you like wasting free time, which it has the potential to do.

Announcing, from PanTechnoCo, Always Always New: the link sharing service that only shows you new links.

Keep in mind, this isn't a product, but a toy. I just wanted to play around with the idea. You can post links and you can follow links. The site will show you all links you haven't visited yet, even if you visited them without following links from itself. If you had enough people to keep populating this thing, and you just kept reading, you could be in trouble.

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I write here about programming, how to program better, things I think are neat and are related to programming. I might write other things at my personal website.

I am happily employed by the excellent Caktus Group, located in beautiful and friendly Carrboro, NC, where I work with Python, Django, and Javascript.

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