Skip to main content

How To Click It Like You Mean It

Yes, this is a screenshot of a screenshot. Stick with me, but I really do has a point to this! I have to admit, publicly, that I clicked the button. The one in the screenshot. The one that isn't a button, just a PNG image. I should be glad it wasn't a pop-up!


I realized my mistake at the moment I was clicking on it, but it happened to fast to stop. I had to sit and think for a moment. Why did I do that? It drove me to write this pretty immediately and do a couple mock ups for solutions. I never want to let my users loose information or control over it. That is, we don't want them to OK a message away and neglect to actually read it and we don't want them to click "send" before they're really, really ready to confess their never ending love to Glenn Beck.

Those are two distinct safety nets. Information the user missing for being click-happy and actual actions within the application they might have wanted to avoid. Any reversible actions, like closing a dialog box or deleting something (if a copy is kept around for safety) should be given easy undo options. Even closing an entire window, if made easy, should be something you can undo.

Of course, you can't undo sending an email or formatting a USB drive. You can undo an archive and compress operation that replacing the original files, by extracting them (even if the extraction is bound to an undo button), but if the undo is sufficiently expensive, give me the chance to avoid it in the first place, please. Make to pause and think about what I'm doing first.

Of course, a lot of us are doing web apps today, so it gives us some limitations. It also means, if you want to be friendly to your users, you probably shouldn't use default dialog boxes at all. Now, we might look at wrapping some. An alert_with_undo() javascript function, anyone?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

CARDIAC: The Cardboard Computer

I am just so excited about this. CARDIAC. The Cardboard Computer. How cool is that? This piece of history is amazing and better than that: it is extremely accessible. This fantastic design was built in 1969 by David Hagelbarger at Bell Labs to explain what computers were to those who would otherwise have no exposure to them. Miraculously, the CARDIAC (CARDboard Interactive Aid to Computation) was able to actually function as a slow and rudimentary computer.  One of the most fascinating aspects of this gem is that at the time of its publication the scope it was able to demonstrate was actually useful in explaining what a computer was. Could you imagine trying to explain computers today with anything close to the CARDIAC? It had 100 memory locations and only ten instructions. The memory held signed 3-digit numbers (-999 through 999) and instructions could be encoded such that the first digit was the instruction and the second two digits were the address of memory to operate on

Statement Functions

At a small suggestion in #python, I wrote up a simple module that allows the use of many python statements in places requiring statements. This post serves as the announcement and documentation. You can find the release here . The pattern is the statement's keyword appended with a single underscore, so the first, of course, is print_. The example writes 'some+text' to an IOString for a URL query string. This mostly follows what it seems the print function will be in py3k. print_("some", "text", outfile=query_iostring, sep="+", end="") An obvious second choice was to wrap if statements. They take a condition value, and expect a truth value or callback an an optional else value or callback. Values and callbacks are named if_true, cb_true, if_false, and cb_false. if_(raw_input("Continue?")=="Y", cb_true=play_game, cb_false=quit) Of course, often your else might be an error case, so raising an exception could be u

How To use Sphinx Autodoc on ReadTheDocs with a Django application

Sphinx is awesome for writing documentation. ReadTheDocs is awesome for hosting it. Autodocs are great for covering your entire API easily. Django is a great framework that makes my job easier. Between these four things is an interaction that only brought me pain, however. I'm here to help the next dev avoid this. Autodocs works by importing your modules and walking over the classes and functions to build documentation out of the existing docstrings. It can be used to generate complete API docs quickly and keep them in sync with the libraries existing docstrings, so you won't get conflicts between your docs and your code. Fantastic. This creates a problem when used with Django applications, where many things cannot be imported unless a valid settings module can be found. This can prevent a hurdle in some situations, and requires a little boilerplate to get working properly with Sphinx. It require a little extra to get working on ReadTheDocs. What makes this particularly h