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Posts Tagged ‘ux’

OpenTable’s Violation of the Principle of Least Astonishment

September 30, 2013 Leave a comment

I was taking an OpenTable survey about a recent dining experience, when I noticed a poor piece of user interface design.

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The last question asks about the noise of the restaurant.

Quiet
Quiet – reasonable first choice.

Moderate
Moderate – yup, still with you.

Energetic

Energetic! Yes. What could be louder than energetic?

Do not recall

Do not recall.

This is a rather strange (and bad) choice for an option, as it doesn’t follow the convention of the other controls on the page (or that I’ve ever seen on any survey ever). I would wager that more than half of the entries in their database they get for the “Do not recall” entry were intended to be “extremely loud” but the survey participant didn’t even stop to see the text change but instead assumed that the largest value would correspond with the loudest entry.

This design is a clear violation of the Principle of Least Astonishment, since it violates the strong convention that on a survey, lower is to the left and higher is to the right. Furthermore, a ‘do not recall’ answer should either be inferred from not answering the question, or by an alternate control (e.g. a checkbox) that would disable the control with the noise level readings.

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CAPTCHAs must die

February 25, 2012 1 comment

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I just tried to leave a post on a site which uses a CAPTCHA to prevent bots from leaving spam comments.  I must be a bot, because I failed the test – not once, not twice… not even three times.  I tried over ten times in a row and it kept rejecting me after offering a new option each time.  I assume this is a software glitch, and I gave up.

 

For the purposes of validating comments, I find CAPTCHAs completely unnecessary.  There’s a better solution – it’s called machine learning.  I use Akismet in WordPress as my spam filter and it performs incredibly well.

 

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Let the computers do the hard work of spam filtering.  Don’t frustrate and slow down legitimate users by making them fill out these things unnecessarily.