Got Chance

2

New Redesign Live At Kontactr.com

After about a week’s work, the redesign is finally live at Kontactr, the personal contact form service. If you’re a Kontactr user, you should’ve received an email about the redesign and other changes. the redesign makes the site much more user friendly and also offers little more eye candy than the previous design. However, the thing for end users is the redesign of their hosted contact forms. Check out mine here. The main change is that the validation is done through Javascript. For users who have disabled javascript, there is still the normal validation.Capture 

Also, unlike the site itself, the contact forms have a width of about 600px so that they’ll look good on all screen resolutions. But then, why is the site wider ? It was actually a wise decision. The target audience of the site itself are blogger and webmasters, majority of whom will be having 1024×768 or greater resolution. But, the target audience of the contact forms are just the general internet users. So, it includes people who have 800×600 resolutions.

The next is that i’ve created a Twitter account for Kontactr. If you’re on twitter, don’t forget to follow @kontactr. And lastly, there is a new feedback forum for Kontactr now. If you’ve any new ideas/suggestions for Kontactr, head over to the feedback forum and post them right away.

What plans i have in mind ?

  • To introduce PRO account with ability to remove “powered by Kontactr”, change the “Sent, thank you” message text and some other features.
  • In general, add more features for all users.

If you’ve some ideas in mind, drop them at the feedback forum.

Get An Awesome Twitter Follow Badge

twitter-badgr All along i’ve been a huge fan of Uservoice’s “Feedback” button that sits fixed on the edge of the browser screen. I’ve become a Twitter fan since 1 month ago. Now, there is something like that button for Twitter and it is super-easy to put it on your website, thanks to Go2Web20. Just go to their page, and enter some details to customize your widget and you are good to go.

Opera Unite – Does It Really Change Anything ?

The latest hype around is the internet is all about Opera Unite. For those who don’t know Opera Unite is a service that turns every browser into a webserver. It eliminates the server-client relationship that we are all used to and allows two computers to connect without the need of a web server. Sounds pretty cool ? Don’t decide just yet. First of all, i don’t know what percent of the general, non-tech-savvy users will understand what Opera Unite is (conidering that many do not know what a browser is).

No, lets look into the services that OU has to offer. To start with, Opera has provided 8 services.

File Sharing & Photo Sharing

A simple and safe way to share your files between computers. Safe ? As pointed out on a blog, the URL of the OU is not ever https://. And did i tell you that your computer and Opera should be running always, if you want to access your OU service from any other computer. I’d rather choose better alternatives like SkyDrive, Dropbox etc.

Media Player

Access your complete home music library from wherever you are” Are you kidding ? I’d rather take my music with me, than keeping my home computer running all the time for me to access its music. Of course it allows you and your friends to listen to music collaboratively. But thats sorta silly.

Web Server

This service is the one that really transforms your browser into a web server. It will come in handy when you want to show off a fancy HTML page to your friend without having to upload it to any server. I don’t see any other practical use of it. Home networks and computers are not suited for hosting websites and that is the reason people pay the hosting providers for. Even if your computer is superman and can run 24/7 without any problems, you should choose better solutions like Ubuntu Server and the like, for hosting websites.

The Lounge

This is the only service that i see some sense in. You can chat with your friends online (which everyone does most of the time) without having to rely on Google, Yahoo, MSN and the like. But i don’t see me (or anyone) replacing the favorite messengers with OU yet. Not to mention, i’m damn sure i can’t convince any of my friends to try OU. The obvious question is “Whats the big difference ?”. For an average use, why does it matter at all whether he communicates directly or via a webserver.

These are just the services that Opera offers, to start with. It provides an API for developers to creates services on. But i doubt any of them will be useful enough to convince people to use Opera Unite. So, the answer to the million dollar question “Does Opera Unite really change anything ?” is probably a negative. To the end user, it doesn’t matter whether his computer communites with a webserver or not. Anyway, we’ll have to wait and see what the developers come up with.

Now, whats your opinion ? Do you think Opera Unite will be of any use to you ?

FireFox, I am Disappointed In You

Yes, you read it right. I’m disappointed with Firefox 3.0.11. I’m not saying this based on one or two crashes. I’m judging this on my past 2-3 months of usage. I am a die-hard FF-user. I recently switched back to FF after trying Chrome for sometime. But Firefox has been posing serious problems since then, mainly 2 problems.

1) Frequent Crashes

mozilla-crash-reporter Since installing this version of Firefox, the Mozilla Crash Reporter has become my best friend. Its been coming up almost daily to meet me. I know that i’ve installed Beta plugins like Ubiquity and this kind of behaviour is expected. So, this is not my main complaint. But still this kind of crash-on-a-daily-basis is too much for a browser like Firefox. I don’t know why i enter my email address there every time. Though i send a crash report every 24 hours, i do not get any kind of response. Firefox is free software and i know that shouldn’t be complaining about lack of support.

2) Memory Leak

My 2GB RAM Windows 7 system becomes god-damn slow with just Firefox, foobar2000 and Twhirl running. Guess who’s the culprit, it is the people’s (include me) favourite browser Firefox. And i’ve not been crash-testing it with 100 tabs open, 150 addons installed etc. I have about 10-20 tabs open at a time. I have 13 addons installed out of which 5 are disabled, to see if they are the culprit. Others are just very popular ones like Google toolbar, SU toolbar etc. which i’ve been using since Firefox 0.1 (not really).

So how much memory does my firefox use ? The answer is God only knows. It changes every time though i have the same tabs open. When i open Firefox with 10 tabs, the memory usage remains at ~120MB. If i just leave my system idle and go out, i’ll return after few hours to find that Firefox is using ~500MB. Two more hours and it would be ~800MB.

task-manager-firefox

I’ve been resisting myself from writing such a post about Firefox. I did some search and research on the top to see if something specific is causing this or Firefox itself. When i did a google search on the topic i seem to get relevant results for a memory leak as high as 1GB (300MB, 400MB, 500MB, 600MB, 700MB, 800MB, 900MB). But most of them are complaint posts like this or unreplied forum topics. The point is that there is no specific solution. Most commonly suggested troubleshooting step is to check out the list of Problematic Extension. I went through the list in and out and concluded that the none of the memory-leaking extension is on my list.

There are other possible steps like trying to run Firefox in safe mode, reinstalling Firefox etc. But, as a customer i wouldn’t want to go through all this hassle to find out what’s wrong. I’m deeply in love with Firefox, so i’m still clinging onto it. But an average FF user will make the switch to the supposed-to-be-faster Chrome or the faster-in-reality Opera.

Last year when i made a post about a copyright breach, i received immediate response from a Mozilla Staff Member. I hope they’ll pay little attention to this post as well.

PS : If you’re a fan of Firefox, i might have hurt you. I am sorry. Don’t take me wrong. I’m a fan of FF too. In this condition, i wouldn’t be recommending FF to anyone. So, i really hope i find a solution to this.

Simple UI Concept : Login Form Usability Tips

login-form In this post i’m going to deal with a simple User Interface concept in web designing. The part i’m going to deal with is Forms. More specifically Login Forms. They are found in almost every other website that you’ll come across. Also, they’re one of the most used elements of the websites that use them. Though i use “Remember me” feature on almost all the websites i use, there are people who don’t use it. For them, the login form needs to be the most usable. I’ll give you some tips on how to improve your login form’s usability. (Note : I’m not a usability expert)

KISS : The Markup

<input type="text" name="username" />
<input type="password" name="password" />
<input type="checkbox" name="remember" id="remember" /><label for="remember">Remember me</label>
<input type="submit" name="login" value="Login" />

Keep the markup as simple as possible. The above is one of the simplest markups. If you use email address for logging in, keep the input box’s names relevant like “email” “email-address” etc. Sure, names like “my-site-e” “my-site-login-field” will work. But, Google Toolbar and the like will not be able to “AutoFill” the form. This is a huge usability mistake.

Preserve The Form Order

The order of the form elements goes as above :

  1. Username/Email address box
  2. Password box
  3. Remember me checkbox (if available)
  4. Login button

Don’t insert other elements like “Forgot password ?” “Resend Activation” “?” links in between these elements. Place them after the Submit button. But, why ? The usual behaviour of users when they encounter a login form is :

  1. Enter the username/email address
  2. Hit [Tab] and type password
  3. Hit [Tab] and hit [Space] to check the Remember me box (if available)
  4. Press Enter to login

When you insert other elements in between, they’re selected by hitting tab. So, users are forced to click-focus on the next element, or hit [Tab] repeatedly. This really spoils the usability. Check out Blellow’s login form, which breaks this order. (In fact, this is what triggered me to write this post.)

AutoFocus The First Field

When you reduce the work of the user, you increase the usability. 99% of the users use the login form for logging in. So, it makes sense to automatically place the I-beam in the first input box on the login page. Examples that come to my mind are Google, Digg, Facebook. Click on the login link and the cursor will be already placed in the username field. It can be easily achieved using jQuery. Here’s how :

$(document).ready(function() {
	$("input[type='text']:first", document.forms[0]).focus();
});

The above code will focus on the first text field in the first form on the page. If you’ve some search form or other form before the login form, you’ve to adjust the index of document.forms[n] accordingly.

Hope the post was useful. As i stated previously, I’m not a usability expert. So, if you have some more tips to improve a login-form’s usability, share with us in the comments.