Stupid usability tricks

September 9th, 2009  |  Tags: , ,  |  Leave a comment

Blanket redirects to “mobile” sites are maybe the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. Say you’re using a mobile browser and request a page with a URL that looks like this:


You’d have clicked there because you wanted some particular article, right? Well, there are an awful lot of values of foo for which the site administrator believes that he or she knows what’s best for you; these sites will redirect your request to a different URL:


And then your browser will render an enfeebled version of the foo.com home page, optimized for viewing on a tiny, tiny screen. It will not contain the content you’re looking for. In fact, it will offer no clue as to how to get to the content you’re looking for or — if you followed a shortened link (as is common on Twitter) — what that content actually was.

As just one example, if one were to click on the link in this tweet, one might expect to see a candidate for the worst sports article ever (indeed, the linked article must be in the top 25). One would not expect to see the “mobile” home page for the Orange County Register, which — beyond the ad for Tustin Toyota — is almost completely devoid of useful content.

38.4 percent

June 13th, 2008  |  Tags: , , , , ,  |  Leave a comment

The most amazing part of this otherwise-unremarkable NYT piece about the Yahoo-Google ad deal is the following paragraph:

While Google had 61.6 percent of the search market in the United States in April, according to comScore, Mr. Wiener said that Google’s dominance of search ads is even greater. Among 360i advertisers, it accounts for 75 percent to 80 percent of dollars spent, he said.

The 61.6 percent figure seems bafflingly small to me. I don’t want to get all Pauline Kael here, but who are the people who are responsible for the other 38.4 percent, and what on earth are they using for internet search?

On web standards compliance

May 7th, 2008  |  Tags: , , , , ,  |  Leave a comment

Mark Pilgrim on the Mozilla project’s reaction to Firefox’s ACID 3 scores (which are lowest among all browsers not named “Internet Explorer”):

[M]an, you should all be embarrassed with yourselves. But you’re not, so here I am stepping up, publicly being embarrassed on your behalf. No need to thank me.

It’s kind of like losing a board game and then loudly claiming that you weren’t trying anyway.