Best Date of Birth Widget

I’m often looking for great user experiences and I recently came across a great date of birth picker while registering for Mogo. Often date of birth forms separate the day, month and year and start from today’s date. This means going back 20+ users for most adults register for a service.

This DOB picker starts off 20+ years back and allows you to select the year first:

date of birth widget, showing the year

Then it let’s you select your month:

date of birth widget, showing the month

And finally your birthday in a nice calendar format:

date of birth widget, showing the date

You can see the whole experience in the following animated gif:

date of birth widget animation

Confused users? Just add stickies…

Facebook is trying hard to get users to user and like its new profile re-design.  I think one of the funniest new additions are little yellow stickies on all the new and non-obvious additions.  Kinda of a “we know you’ll miss this if we don’t tell you” approach to interface design.

I’m not sure how successful this will be with users.  In my case I’m mostly just clicking the x to get rid of these and non-obvious features will probably be lost on me or at least until Facebook changes something again. Reboot has just finished a reboot of their web site. The new site is alot clean than the old one and has much more of a Google/search engine feel to it. The proximity search is still not what I would expect and is not as easy to use as I think it should be. I was very impressed with the transitional tool they’ve provided to users to associate the old functionality and design with the new. This seems like a nice method for getting users adopting the new design.

The results pages are also a lot cleaner and have a lot more white space. Overall I think its a fairly big improvement and should be alot more usable.

I should mention that the Yellow Pages Group now owns my employer ( Trader Corporation ) but I don’t at all work on the YPG product lines.

University of Toronto – A course in bad ecommerce

As many of you know I’ve been taking courses in the University of Toronto’s Continuing Ed program. I’ve found a lot of the courses have helped a lot with my day job. This fall I’d like to take a Marketing course on Competitive Intelligence. Unfortunately the University of Toronto has “improved” its e-commerce process. Basically they’ve added the following:

1/ Additional 3 Digit Code

To ‘improve security’ the university has added a requirement to provide an additional 3 digit code found on the back of your credit card. This is called the CVV code and absolute genius. If someone stole my credit card, I’m absolutely certain they would never learn to look on the back too.

In any case on my CIBC Visa Aerogold the CVV code has been completely scratched away. So I’m unable to complete the e-commerce transaction.

2/ E-commerce failure

Once the e-commerce process fails, there is no phone number to call or other resolution path to solve the problem. As far as the University of Toronto is concerned I should close my browser and head on over to York University. Not a good customer experience…

3/ Inability to Try Again

So I went and got

MythTV Usability

I’ve been using MythTV for about 2 years now and at times its been a challenge to keep it running. One of the reason I keep coming back to it is that I find it to be the easiest PVR to use. Recently a usability study of MythTV was done by Interactive Digital Television Laboratory on its v0.19 release. The results were really impressive and in retrospect I shouldn’t be surprised. MythTV has come along way since I’ve been using it and is now a very user friendly. I’m especially inspired since its all been community drive and a great example of power of open-source.

I think one of the reason it is so easy to use is that it doesn’t feature and DRM to get in the way. If you want to play MP3 it will, from almost any location and with minimal hassle. If you want to copy a DVD it will, without any legal disclosure or MPAA alarms going off. Recently its added the ability to download video podcasts which really makes me question why I still keep my cable service. Overall MythTV is really setting the bar for where PVRs need to be in terms of functionality and freedom.

You find the original article here and the complete usability report here.

Star Wars

In anticipation of the new Star Wars movie, Revenge of The Sith, I’ve moved to a Star Wars based Template by Tim Toomey. I’ve pre-purchased tickets to see it Thursday at Noon, if it sucks expect the old template back real soon 😉

New Site

Welcome my new site, I hope you like the funky mojo theme. I’ve also moved to Mambo as a new content manager. Thanks to Arthur Konze for releasing this cool Mambo template.

New Site features:

  • New Mojo theme
  • Mambo based content management
  • Colin’s Arcade
  • Integrated Photo Gallery

Update: Site has been moved from Mambo->Joomla->Wordpress so the theme no longer applies.