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GUI Journal » Automatic Features

GUI Design: Time Out!

Any website that includes the ability to log in should have an automatic timeout feature. If logging in is needed, then obviously there must be private data which should be protected. In the past I have blogged about the problems with applications that perform functions automatically (GUI Design: Auto Outlines), but this is one case where the automatic functionality is definitely needed. There are at least two situations when I am grateful for the automatic timeouts when I forget to close an application: When I’m using a shared computer at home where others know the password. When I walk away from my desk at the office without remembering to lock the screen. It is rare for me to use a computer that is not mine, so I am very careful in those situations. But … Read entire article »

Filed under: Automatic Features, GUI Design, Mistakes

GUI Design: Auto Outlines

If I were the type to post warning signs I would be tempted to post this: Beware of Automatic There’s often the assumption by designers that an application can “know” what you want and can make things “easy” for you by automatically doing what you intended. Microsoft® began making extensive use of this idea in its products in the 1990s, and more often than not, I found it to be more frustrating than it was worth—mainly because it was often so difficult to undo what had been automatically done. One example that persists today is automatic outlines in word processors. MICROSOFT WORD® I remember vividly the first time I experienced automatic outlines in Microsoft Word. Figure 1 is a screen shot of Word 2010 with some text in a new document. The first two lines … Read entire article »

Filed under: Automatic Features, Featured, GUI Design, Mistakes