Questions regarding software interaction with its human users.

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226
votes
14answers
26k views

How can a code editor effectively hint at code nesting level - without using indentation? [closed]

I've written an XML text editor that provides 2 view options for the same XML text, one indented (virtually), the other left-justified. The motivation for the left-justified view is to help users 'see'...
90
votes
25answers
20k views

How far should one take e-mail address validation?

I'm wondering how far people should take the validation of e-mail address. My field is primarily web-development, but this applies anywhere. I've seen a few approaches: simply checking if there is ...
87
votes
17answers
23k views

Is it a good idea to design an architecture thinking that the User Interface classes can be replaced by a command line interface?

In Code Complete page 25, it's said that it's a good idea to be able to easily replace the regular user interface classes by a command line one. Knowing its advantages for testing, what about the ...
46
votes
24answers
16k views

Why do some programmers hate the UI part of the development? [closed]

Lots of programmers that I've met always says that "He is not a UI guy." The fact is that development nowadays, whether web, Windows, Linux, OSX, or any other type of development now comprises ...
46
votes
9answers
5k views

Generally speaking, is it better to make all the functional parts or get UI working first - or a mix of the two?

Generally speaking, is it better to make all the functional parts or get UI working first - or a mix of the two? Assuming you're working on something large, is it generally accepted practice to get ...
35
votes
4answers
4k views

Why is it the caller's responsibility to ensure thread safety in GUI programming?

I have seen, in many places, that it is canonical wisdom1 that it is the responsibility of the caller to ensure you are on the UI thread when updating UI components (specifically, in Java Swing, that ...
32
votes
4answers
2k views

How much information about an error should be shown to the user?

Applications can always throw errors. If such an error occurs, the user should be notified, because what he asked the application to do has not succeeded. However, how much information should the ...
18
votes
12answers
3k views

What problem does automated user interface testing solve?

We are currently investigating automated user interface testing (we currently do automated unit and integration testing). We've looked at Selenium and Telerik and have settled on the latter as the ...
18
votes
6answers
3k views

Where can I find inspiration for a good user interface? [closed]

I've got a mental block as far as desigining the main screen interface for a desktop application that I'm currently upgrading. When I first developed this program the screen resolution was 640 X 480. ...
17
votes
12answers
6k views

What are the pros (and cons) of using “Sign in with Twitter/Facebook” for a new website? [closed]

Myself and a friend are looking to launch a little forum site. I’m considering using the “Sign in with Facebook/Twitter” APIs, possibly exclusively (a la e.g. Lanyrd), for user login. I haven’t used ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

Would adding award points or game features to workplace software be viewed poorly amongst the programming community?

So one of my responsibilities at work is to build an internal tool that helps the workers enter in all their information. It's an enterprise application that is similar to a Windows forms database ...
16
votes
4answers
649 views

How to write maintainable, not brittle, unit tests for a GUI?

I tried writing UI unit tests for my GUI apps and I face the problem that, while they work well when I initially write them, they turn out to be brittle and they break whenever the design changes (...
15
votes
4answers
12k views

JavaScript's prompt, confirm and alert considered “old-fashioned” [closed]

Lately I've been developing a web-based management system for a gym. Their previous app was developed in Visual Basic. For the new app, all the front-end scripting uses jQuery, the server is running ...
12
votes
10answers
5k views

Login using email or username?

Is registration login using email a better idea than username to identify the user?
11
votes
4answers
1k views

How to deal with user interface design and respective feature support in Agile development?

In an Agile development process usually the main focus is on User stories, but sometimes a single requirement may span several user stories. For example, the client may request a search page for all ...
11
votes
2answers
519 views

How Should “Undo Typing” Behave?

I'm implementing a Java app that includes an Undo/Redo stack. I've noticed that some apps (such as TextEdit on Mac OS X) let you choose "Undo Typing" from the Edit Menu after typing some text. I'd ...
9
votes
2answers
644 views

Is automatically generating passwords during registration a good idea?

I'm developing a registration system for a project I'm working on. Since users tend not to sign up if the process is too long, I've thought to require (at least initially) just their email, where I ...
9
votes
1answer
478 views

When asynchronous tasks make a bad UX

I'm writing a COM add-in that's extending an IDE that desperately needs it. There are many features involved, but let's narrow it down to 2 for the sake of this post: There's a Code Explorer ...
8
votes
5answers
3k views

Trailing forward slash in directory names - good programming practice?

I want to ask the user of my bash script to pass a directory path as argument. Which one of the following is a good programming practice - to require that the user enter a trailing / (forward slash) ...
8
votes
5answers
341 views

What is the technical reason that so many social media sites don't allow you to edit your text?

A common complaint I hear about Facebook, Twitter, Ning and other social sites is that once a comment or post is made, it can't be edited. I think this goes against one of the key goals of user ...
8
votes
8answers
466 views

What's the better user experience: Waiting once at startup for a long time or waiting frequently for a short time? [closed]

I'm currently design an application that involves a lot of calculation. Now I have generally two possibilities which I have both tested: 1) During startup of the application I calculated only the ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Page Not Found: 404 - the best content to put in this page [closed]

Do you let me know what kind of content I should put in the error-page like "404 page not found"? Example: "Unfortunately an error has occurred during the processing of your page request." "Page ...
8
votes
7answers
2k views

Who does the UX on a scrum project?

OK. Let's say you're working on a textbook scrum project. You've got a scrum master collaborating with a product owner. The next sprint is UI-heavy - by the time your coders start building screens, ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Is it crazy to develop a TUI today? [duplicate]

I'm starting to develop a new program. It's basically a database interface, run a few queries, show the data in a nice way and be able to easy input new data (like this website). Thinking about which ...
8
votes
3answers
790 views

Cost of design based on the cost of programming

What is your methodology when you need to determine the cost of UI design if you know the cost (work hours) of programming in some project? Let's say, programming of logic in some project cost X ...
7
votes
2answers
619 views

What is best practice to handle whitespaces when letting the user edit the configuration, the name=value pairs?

For instance, you let the user define the notorious path variable. How do you interpret apppath = C:\Program Files\App? This looks like a programming language adopted practice to ignore the white ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do certain sites don't allow Back / Forward / Refresh?

This has been a cause of frustration for me on many sites like IRCTC, Online Banking sites which wont allow Back, forward or refresh. If you do you would be logged out and you have to login again. ...
7
votes
3answers
741 views

How much detail is in a good UI regression test?

We use a detailed step-by-step user-interface regression test for our commercial web application. It has a "backbone" test for the most used / most important parts of the system, with optional tests ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Javascript, Text Annotations and Ideas

I am very curious to hear input from others on a problem I've been contemplating for some time now. Essentially I would like to present a user with a text document and allow him/her to make ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Why doesn't Microsoft release UX frameworks to build UI's like their current UIs?

When I started learning programming with the .NET framework, I started by using WinForms as a UI technology. It uses “classic” menus just like this office 2000: A few years later Office 2007 was ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Are there any programming fonts with oldstyle figures? [closed]

I find that oldstyle (or text) figures are much easier to read in any context outside of simple assignment. Are there any low-ambiguity fonts, monospaced or proportional, that have text figures and ...
6
votes
1answer
227 views

UI Design patterns for non-screen based project

I'm working on a small project coded in Python that uses a single button for input and a RGB LED as feedback, which responds to button presses and asynchronous events from the network. As the ...
6
votes
1answer
84 views

How to deal with legacy functionality conflicting with new feature

I am working on a well established (aka clients using it for a while) video player. We recently found out that the drawing engine (ddraw) is deprecated in windows 8 and 10, and choose a modern ...
6
votes
1answer
365 views

What's the proper way to organize ViewControllers and XIB?

I am developing a very simple iPhone game with this view hierarchy: Main Menu View └> New Game View | └> Player vs Computer Game View | | └> Pause View | | └> End ...
6
votes
1answer
673 views

Mapping variable inputs to user interface elements

Background Developing a system for creating eBooks. The data is highly normalized. The eBook designs are packaged as "themes." The themes can be configured with options for: fonts, colours, some ...
5
votes
6answers
388 views

Most recent vs Most used [closed]

We are building a business application (a laboratory management system to be more precise) mostly for internal company use only. To make it easier for users to find items which they work on we are ...
5
votes
4answers
366 views

How much web-design work should a web programmer commit?

I'm creating a website for a friend of mine, and the plan is to eventually solicit outside sources to take care of the overall design. So it's got me wondering, how much design should I be covering ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I improve my user interface and usability design skills? [closed]

I invested most my time and resources in programming, and now I think it's time I should invest some time in learning about user interface design, user experience, and usability. What are some good ...
5
votes
7answers
2k views

What is easier to do with web applications compared to native GUI applications?

I have the impression that more and more applications with a user interface use HTML+CSS+JavaScript client-side instead of a native GUI framework. I wounder what are the most important driving forces ...
5
votes
8answers
1k views

Data validation best practices: how can I better construct user feedback?

Data validation, whether it be domain object, form, or any other type of input validation, could theoretically be part of any development effort, no matter its size or complexity. I sometimes find ...
5
votes
1answer
730 views

Design For Asynchronous User Interface

I have been working on a integration that has posed an interesting user interface conundrum that I would like suggestions for. The user interface is displayed within a third party product. The state ...
5
votes
2answers
410 views

How come the design process is so different for Web Design and GUI Design?

I had the opportunity to develop applications in several niches: server back-end, desktop clients, and recently a small scale website. Once indulged in the website design I am asking myself and you ...
5
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the user-experience best practice for an alternative to popup windows? [closed]

I'm still new to web design/development. I'm working on a data entry form for an internal system at work. On the form, the user can select an office from a list queried from a database. (The backend ...
5
votes
2answers
444 views

Does having many duplicated methods and deep inheritance hierarchies in GUI APIs (Java Swing, Android SDK) violate the SOLID design principles?

For those unfamiliar with the SOLID principles you can start reading here: Wikipedia article. However, most of my understanding comes from: http://www.objectmentor.com/resources/publishedArticles.html ...
5
votes
2answers
199 views

Passing a list of choices with different arguments for each choice

I am writing a card game, in which I separated the "Core Logic" of the game from the UI. Communication with the player from the core logic part is done via callbacks which the UI implements and ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Best way of learning Python + GUI when coming from .NET

I've been developing applications in C# / VB.NET for about 3-4 years (.NET Framework v2.0, 3.5, 4). I have also developed some command-line applications or scripts in C, and Python under Linux. ...
5
votes
2answers
497 views

How to outsource the UI of a dynamic Web application?

I have a web application developed using Spring and Hibernate, which uses a REST API and Javascript to display and update content. The project is nearly completed, but I want to enhance the look and ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it a good idea to dynamically position and size controls on a form or statically set them?

I've worked mostly with interface building tools such as xCode's Interface Builder and Visual Studio's environment to place forms and position them on screens. But I'm finding that with my latest ...
4
votes
2answers
287 views

What principle is violated by having a button do two radically different things or screens act radically different depending on the situation

I've come upon a situation several times in my career when previous developers have done something funny. They will make a control (button) function radically different depending on how the screen ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Recommendations for a web-based help system

I'm putting together a fairly large GUI. I'm a tech person, but more on the hardware side, not software. I'm wondering what software package would be best suited to enable me to generate a web-based ...