Monthly Archives: April 2008

Dilbert.com, an example of UI Design gone horribly wrong

I love Dilbert. Which tech-geek does not?

The online comic strip used to be run with a UI that is still in use by all of the comics over at Comics.com. You see today’s strip, you see a calendar with all previous strips, you can go backward and forward with simple text links, etc.

Recently, Dilbert.com got a facelift, with needless injections of Flash in place of needless injections of Botox. The interface is clunky, although visually it looks sleek. Gone is the ability to easily go back or forward, gone is the calendar. Gone is anything even remotely resembling User-friendly design, let alone User-centered design.

I suspect someone forgot to do their usability testing at every step of the development process. Since we know that Comics.com is in charge of Dilbert.com, I’m hoping that they realize their mistake and convert to legacy UI, quickly.

The only reasons I could think of to move to Flash are bad ones. 1) A manager/developer/engineer wanted to use Flash for Flash’s sake. 2) Dilbert.com doesn’t want folks “save image as…”-ing their comic strips and Flash prevents that functionality. 3) The interactive team has seriously misinterpreted what the internet audience is looking for from their site.

Here’s to a bad decision gone wrong by committee, most likely. At the very least the internet is a forgiving medium. Just upload the old code and you’re in business again.

Ignore your audience at your own peril, too. But if you can’t even remember the lessons about keeping the interface User-centric, then I’m guessing the lesson about pissing off your audience hasn’t sunk in for you folks at Dilbert.com/Comics.com yet either.

An open letter to International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge

Mr. Rogge:

I read CNN.com’s article where you were reported as stating the following: ‘International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said the committee would consider ending the international leg of the Beijing Olympic torch relay because of such anti-Chinese protests.’

I am a sympathizer with the Free Tibet movement, and I advocate peaceful demonstrations and non-violence as a matter of course. I am not an active participant in the current global demonstrations, primarily because the spotlight of international attention which follows the Olympic Torch will not be coming near my home location. However, I cannot sit silently when I see such gross misunderstanding of the fundamental purposes underlying recent protests surrounding the Olympic Torch.

To label the current protests surrounding the Torch as being “anti-Chinese” is to misunderstand a fundamental objection and to trivialize the motivations of the protesters. While the Free Tibet movement is indeed aimed to bring about political and cultural changes aimed at actions and attitudes taken by the Chinese government, the Torch protests are not merely “anti-Chinese”. They are, more properly, a statement of protest against the absolute hypocrisy of the International Olympic Committee, which results from the IOC’s decision to turn a blind eye against the continuing oppressive human rights abuses which China is perpetuating. 

J’accuse, M. Rogge.

An international organization dedicated to sportsmanship and international peace cannot afford to pretend that these 2008 games are being held without blood on their hands. On your hands, sir.  While it is a financial impossibility to cancel or relocate the games at this hour, it falls upon the IOC to at the very least publicly acknowledge and sternly condemn the ways that this year’s host country continues to abuse the very spirit of Olympic competition and continued international peace which the Olympic Games stand for. To do otherwise is not only to turn a blind eye to the continued aggression of China’s military occupation of the sovereign nation of Tibet, but it is to tacitly endorse these draconian measures of suppression of dissent and continued flagrant violations of basic human rights.

I urge you and all of the IOC to take an immediate and clear stance of opposition to these measures and to issue a formal censure of the Chinese government in their human rights violations during this Olympics season, declaring them to be contrary to the spirit of the games. While we both know that this will essentially change nothing in the immediate conflict between the Chinese occupation forces and the Tibetan nationals, what it will do is acknowledge the horrible sins of convenience that the IOC is now guilty of committing. It will restore faith in the Olympics as a beacon of hope and a bulwark of peaceful competition. And it will be the first step that the IOC can take to do damage control for the horrendous public relations nightmare you are currently in the middle of.

Do the right thing, M. Rogge, not the convenient thing.

The world is watching.

-Adam Pacio
human

After a moving experience, a return

In hindsight, moving during the middle of a semester might not have been the best of ideas. But the move is done. We’re in the new apartment, and even if everything is still in boxes and nowhere findable, it’s all here. Including the cats, who are adjusting.

Work begins to come in, and I find myself now (once again) behind in my schedule and preparing to race to catch up.

But I’m still here. This seems to be normal for grad students. And I can catch up, it’s just gonna suck doing so. But better to get back on top of things now than let the Finals rush hit while the mid-semester stretch is still in tatters.

Off to freelance at my old full time job… literally. Working this week at TracyLocke, for my old boss, in my old full time job’s capacity. Circles are fun, and this gives me a chance to reconnect there after 2 years away.