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UI: Hatty Usability

weather: mostly sunny
outside: 9.8°C
mood: pissy
Dear Company That Gives Me Web Access to My Records,

    <a href="javascript: DocViewWindow= window.open(' DocViewWait.asp?DocViewIndex=0 &Hash=74a1bf22274e4d157910f304494de904 &OpenWindowType=1', '_blank', 'scrollbars=yes, resizable=yes, status=yes, width=785, height=575'); DocViewWindow.focus();">Link</a>

This is the most phenomenally bad idea.

This is how I'm supposed to get a pre-generated, archived PDF. The first time I log in, I have about 30+ of these PDFs to download for my own records.

Serving them to me this way means that I have to left-click on each hyperlink individually, wait for the PDF to open in Acrobat, then click the Save button. Because they are Javascript links, I'm forced to left-click. I cannot right-click, Save Target As. That also means I cannot go middle-click, middle-click, middle-click, middle-click, down the list and let each of them load while I read or do something else.

Because that wasn't annoying enough, all the files are named "DocView.pdf" by default. So, I have to manually change the file name myself if I want to save them to the same folder.

If there were dynamic content generated on the fly in these PDFs, I can maybe understand. But these are pre-generated, pre-archived, static content PDF files. There's no reason why you can't just give me a link to a uniquely named PDF file so I have the choice of either viewing it online or just right-click, SaveAs, ENTER.

Either HIRE some Quality Assurance Analysts, or START LISTENING TO THEM when they tell you that the usability is shitty and do something about it.

This is exactly the kind of thing that customers don't complain about, but causes them to just stop doing business with you.

-- Me



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 29th, 2007 10:03 am (UTC)
For my current project we found it very difficult to rename the pdf -- either it worked in IE or firefox or blank windows appeared.

In the end we did rename it -- the client demanded it

Apr. 29th, 2007 03:55 pm (UTC)
1. I think that's pretty basic that the end user shouldn't have to manually rename the files themselves. Especially if there are multiple files in a group that have to be done the same way.

2. The client shouldn't have to demand that. The project team should have proactively done it or at least proposed the best solution to the client.

3. Difficult means nothing. Do what's right for the client.
Apr. 29th, 2007 09:01 pm (UTC)
I can't agree more. I've honestly never done web development beyond PHP and MySQL, I'm more of a desktop app person, but I can't understand how some of these ideas get put into practice. Just thinking about this, you'd think someone would have said to themselves "hm. This could be a huge pain to have to do."

Developers should be cursed with having to use their software for the rest of their lives.
Apr. 29th, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC)
Haha! "May you be forced to use the software you wrote!!"

Wow, that's a powerful one =D =D
Apr. 30th, 2007 06:43 pm (UTC)
I know a web site that I occasionally want (pre-generated, archived) PDFs from, and they do similar shenanigans.

So far, I've explained it away by saying that their target audience is other people with simpler ideas of how things work (who are probably fine with displaying the thing in their browser each and every time, rather than downloading it -- for starters, inter-file hyperlinks work better).

It's still annoying that I have to look at the source code of the page if I want to script a download (say, download all the monthly PDFs for a given year).
Apr. 30th, 2007 06:46 pm (UTC)
Not to mention that they occasionally change their URL schemes, so I can't even always use commandlines from my history and change bits of the URL path to match a new month.
May. 1st, 2007 05:16 am (UTC)
How utterly annoying! >K{
May. 1st, 2007 05:29 am (UTC)
I nearly go ape when I see a javascript link that is essentially working out to a static URL.

their target audience is other people with simpler ideas of how things work (who are probably fine with displaying the thing in their browser each and every time, rather than downloading it

I hate the excuses that they churn out.

How much confidence do I have in your services if you cater to a stupid target audience?

And creating a solution with better usability should NOT affect how the target audience does things, merely make it better for more sophistocated users. I'd much rather do business with a company that is interested in attracting more sophistocated users.

Or, I get "No one's complained about this before..."

... ... ... uh, WHAT?!?!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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