It's all about looks

Don’t steal my screen!

The other day I was un-installing a software package from Telerik and the process was quite long. So I was reading along a few blog posts when I suddenly got a modal dialog in my face, actually it was a monolog as I was not able to act on it. It was just a message to me that the uninstall process felt that It really had to force me to read. So it kicked up the following message on top of everything:


No matter what i did, the windows 7 show desktop (right bottom corner), WIN-D or whatever. The application really felt that this message was so important it had to sit on top of everything for a couple of minutes.

Its almost like the old: Are you sure you want to exit? question. And actually I thought we got rid of that a couple of years ago. But whaddayaknow, it’s still out there in the various shapes and as you can see it has moved to the web… And I got one just the other day but I have already erased and forgotten that application.

Anyways, it really is simple, as the process of installing and uninstalling is something that takes a little time, just make sure it will be executed in the background. I have better things to do than look at a message that  is completely rubbish. Actually it’s not just this little dialog, when installing the toolkit, it places a full screen window on top of everything. This windows have all the controls for maximize, minimize and close but it will not react to them… At least I was able to minimize with the WIN-D keys…

//Håkan Reis

Simplify, simplify, simplify

simple The more I work with interaction design the more I home in on the same mantra – simplify. This works on everything, from the most complex situation down to really basic UIs. Actually it’s a lot harder for the basic situation as they are already simplified. But it always pays off in the usage.

In the current project we have a very complex structure that, currently, are presented to the user. Developing for it, we find ourselves discussing it over and over again and to me this is a big warning sign. When we, that really should understand every detail, misunderstand the concept again and again, how hard will it not be for the user, and this really shout simplify! We should never be allowed to expose this internal complexity our we will end up with a usage nightmare. In the same way you really don’t need to understand every sprocket and spring in an old watch to tell time.

And here I am, working real hard to wrap my head around the end result and the goal  the user want to experience. I focus all my effort to visualize this result in the simplest possible way. I remove redundant and excessive information. For every piece of data, every column, button and link, I ask myself: is this needed to complete the task? If not – I hide and maybe, but just maybe allow the user to reveal on demand. When I think I’m done I go through it again…

But it’s the same thing with everything around us. If you read my post on simplified licenses it’s obvious that this applies to other areas. And it may seem obvious, but how come run into the same overcomplicated situations? Why is the GPL 3 license using 5700 words? Obviously, it cannot hurt to be reminded - make simplify YOUR mantra…

// Håkan Reis

dw_seminars Well, I just finished my session in Stockholm and as promised here are a set of links and the build scripts used in the presentation:

And you can also download the presentation as well as the msbuild scripts and msbuild tasks. And for some more information on remote deploy on servers, you can lock at a couple of earlier blog post - Deploy with MSBuild and custom targets part 1 and part 2. Have fun and don’t hesitate to contact me if you want more information

// Håkan Reis

Microsoft just released it’s ASP.NET MVC 1.0 framework source code the other day, and it’s under Microsoft public license, an open source approved license. Just for fun I went to the Open Source Initiatives license pages and read it. And to my surprise it was short, to the point, no nonsense information on what you could and could not do with the software. For once I didn’t feel I had to go through five years of law school just to understand the basics. So ho short is it? It’s 408 word in plain understandable English.

But how well does this compare to other licenses? Well a comparison between some other popular licenses gave some interesting facts:

The only popular license that is simpler is the New and Simplified BSD licenses that lands on 443 words but actually the license part is only 222 words in plain English.

And for a fun comparison: the legal designers at Apple came up with a 3155 words, hard-to-read license called Apple Public Source License.

Beside MS-PL and Simplified BSD there are only one more readable license I found and that’s the Simple Public License 2.0 with 447 words.

So, do people really understand what the license they are using are telling them or are they using GPL or Apache licenses just because everyone else are using it?

// Håkan Reis