August 15, 2005
An open letter to all american websites, web developers and usability experts

Dear Webmaster,

surely you are having a contact form somewhere on your site where i can contact you by providing my Address, Phone and such. It'll probably look something like this:

Sample Form

Please be aware that many countries do not need any States in a postal address. In fact, in many countries it is totally uncommon to have a state included in a postal address - some don't even have any states at all.

So please, please, please do not make the STATE fields on your contact forms mandatory. If you're clever, you can decide on making them mandatory depending on the Country chosen. But please, once i selected Germany or such (you'd have to research that country-list on your own - i was to lazy to research it and only make states mandatory IF USA was selected as country) do not make the State Field mandatory!

Oh, and while we're at it: Our phone numbers are also formatted differently and might have a different total length, so don't force us to format them like 123-123-1234 (German area codes might have 4 to 5 digits for example).

Thanks so much for not being ignorant about foreign countries!

This is driving me mad for almost a decade now.

August 08, 2005
Mighty Mouse - minor glitches

My Mighty Mouse recently arrived and i must say. Very well done. The nipple works perfectly fine - much better than traditional scroll wheels which tend to give you carpal tunnel and such. It is actualy a moving part, not just a sensor. The mouse also has a "real" mechanical click like the previous one. The sensors sense if you intended a right or left click.

Only the side buttons are not perfect for me if i am in nipple mode. Because when my hand is in the scroll position on the nipple, my thumb is way to far back on the mouse to reach the left side button. Apple should have made the side buttons wider (almost double the width). Also IMHO one needs to press too hard onthe side buttons to actualy make them do anything.

Minor grief also with the scrolling speed. Prior to installing the Mighty Mouse Drivers, i could adjust scrolling to a decent speed of my liking. After installing the driver, it got a little slower. Especially horizontal scrolling could be faster.

Even with the normal mouse (is that tiny mouse now), i would have always preferred to adjust the mouse (pointer) speed bejond the limit the OS offered me. Same now with the scrolling speed.

And now for some glitches with the current Apple Driver for the Mighty Mouse:

It doesn't care (or cares too much) about context. Imageine you're looking at a webpage which includes a TEXT AREA with scrolling content. When you move your mouse pointer over the Text Area, the nipple will scroll the text area which is fine - but once you reach the top or bottom of that textarea, the whole webpage suddelny starts scrolling. This is a major usability issue as it makes scrolling to the top or bottom of a text area nearly impossible. IMHO, reaching the top or bottom of a text area should just stop the scrolling - scrolling should NOT continue bejond the boundaries of the text ara. See the movie below for an explanation.

Another weird thing is related to quicktime content. Try loading an MP3 file embeded via the QuickTime Plugin into a Webpage for example (any podcast should do) and move the mouse pointer over the QuickTime Controller displayed in the Browser (I tried with Safari). Now scroll right/left. Here what happens to the volume? But the left/right scroll doesn't actualy change the controllers volume but rather the volume you could adjust via the movie properties in quicktime pro - which could lead to terrible distortion.


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