So what if Windows 8 has no start button?

I like Windows 8…that alone should earn me some hate.

Windows 8 is a testament to exactly how much people hate change. Look at Facebook, each time there’s a major change to their layout you people creating new page “bring back the old look”. When Windows 8 was released in 2012, the loudest grumbles were around the missing start button.

When Windows 95 was released, the loudest grumbles were around the new start button. People initially couldn’t imagine a Windows experience without the beloved Program Manager.

What I don’t understand is how the critics that say they want the start menu back over look an entire screen. Windows 8 boots you into what is essentially a full screen view of the start menu.

Microsoft is said to be bringing back the start menu for Windows 9. The team at WinFuture has posted a video of how this (new?) start menu will look and work on YouTube.

Login/Register page design

Getty Login

I recently went to the Getty Villa website to get some tickets and came across their login/registration screen. Sadly, their page looks like the type of examples used in hyperbole-filled academic books on how NOT to design the login page. The notes defined here can be applied to most any user interface design.

Consistency of Design

There are three options associated with this part of the user interface: Log In, New User (registration), and Forgot Password. These three ‘associated’ features each have a different visual design. I’m not saying they should all look the same, but the differences in size, bolding, placement, and inconsistency of spaces made for a confusing UI.

The right edge of the ‘Log In’ and ‘Forgot Password?’ buttons should be flush. Personally, I would have placed the ‘New User?’ (what’s with the question mark?) above the log in box. This would allow the UI to explicity differentiate between new and existing users.

Citi Mortgage UX Fail

CitiMortgage Payment Dates Recently I was on the CitiMortgage website (www.citimortgage.com) and noticed a poor design decision in the date selector. The company policy prevents you from picking a date past the 16th of the month. The drop down list to select a date, however, presents the user with all date of the current month but will show an error message if the user selects any date past the 16th. Why even present the user with those options?

Google Finance Web Service Fail

Google Finance AJAX Fail
I'm assuming this was due to a timeout

A couple weeks ago, I was checking out Google Finance and noticed something scary. One of two things had just occurred; either the whole world just went broke or (slightly more likely) the web service call to retrieve the data had failed or timeout.

While the scenario was quickly fixed by refreshing the page, these are the usability points that are commonly overlooked when designing for UX. What should happen in case of failure? In this case, the default value that’s used is a 0 (zero). When dealing with numeric values, I prefer to show “N/A” or “NaN” if the audience is mathematically inclined.