There’s been a loss of usability for people who type text.
Like me, you may have experienced these unwelcome experiences:
- After typing a long message in Facebook, when I click send, I get a page error and my entire message is lost.
- After typing a post in WordPress, if the server has gone down or I press an unintended keyboard shortcut, I lose my entire post.
By comparison, if Word stops responding, it will (try to) offer me my unsaved changes when I reopen the document.
With users increasingly doing their work in browsers, why don’t browsers remember the text we were typing? Or why doesn’t the operating system? Or why doesn’t the weblication make backups? Or the server?
When my actions in a browser fail, imagine a message such as this:
This hints at just one possible solution. In the spirit of Five Sketches™, I bet you can come up with at least five more ways to support users after they’ve lost the work they typed in a browser.
Previously, I wrote about GUI—when to copy it and when to design it. When your competition has something better, I recommended you design, to leapfrog your competitor. Here’s an example of two competing web browsers:
At first glance, the new Internet Explorer 8 address bar looks like a copy of Firefox’s existing awesome bar, but click the image for an enlarged view. You’ll see that:
- The on-the-fly suggestions are grouped as History and Favourites.
- Each group lists only five items, by default.
- To remove an item (think stale links and mistyped URLs), highlight the item and then click the × that appears.
Compared to Internet Explorer 7, Firefox had a better address bar. And just as clearly, the additional features of the Internet Explorer 8 address bar are an attempt to leapfrog Firefox. After the public has used IE8 for three months, it’ll be interesting to hear whether users think Microsoft succeeded.
Read the related post, GUI: Copy it or design it.