Tag Archives: Microsoft

Full disclosure is important

In last few months I started playing with idea that Microsoft products might be worth checking out again. The last time I used their stuff was in Windows 2000 era. After that it was just Linux and then with years more and more OS X until I also stopped bothering with Linux.

0907 - Lago Medio del Flumendosa
Image by Selene Farci via Flickr

This effectively means that my perception of their stuff and experience is almost over a decade old. While we’re always happy to bash the people that haven’t tried alternatives like Linux and are dismissing open source as a viable business opportunity, I think we should be equally critical of our own insight.

In this regard two interesting things happened:

  • I started wondering loudly if we should rethink some of our open source strategies in favor of new offerings from Microsoft. Maybe their featureset can actually battle the religion of open source?
  • Microsoft Slovenia for some reason decided to reach out to me and enabled me to go to MIX’09.

The combined process of both things made a sell-out at the end of the day. Probably some stronger words were also used in the process. At least this is how it was perceived by the part of the community.

Lesson learned

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Image by _Blaster_ via Flickr

Transparency and full disclosure are important when you’re trying to play an active role in community. While nobody says anything about my job @zemanta or things I say about blogging, I haven’t earned my reputation in regards to Microsoft related technology and it makes me suspicous.

When someone as big as Microsoft shows you some attention it’s important to talk to them what this actually means so it’s easier to do a full disclosure about your affiliation.

Oh .. the full disclosure

Right now there’s nothing much, they sponsored MIX’09 conference ticket and we’ve had some great talks about possible cooperation on a number of different projects. Hopefuly I’ll be able to bring some of their expertise and insight to the community with time, but everything is very much in brainstorming phase.

Now stop bashing and help me learn some new things! 🙂

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See you at SxSw and MIX ’09

South by Southwest 2008
Image by Randy Stewart via Flickr

Two years ago, working in a Web 2.0 startup was just an interesting dream as I listened to business lectures in Stockholm with @kikidonk and @tlg (they since then went on to start their own startup – KnowledgePlaza) and @daveying99 who also has his own Sweden based startup. Since then a lot of things have happened. One of the more interesting discoveries was the biggest Web 2.0 party on the world – South By Southwest Interactive festival takes place each year in Austin, Texas and is the place to be if you’re in a Web industry. I’m very happy to say that this year I’m going!

I have no idea what to expect, besides the usual things from US conference – huge conference halls, lots of people everywhere and uncountable friendly peeps. So I’m sure it’s going to be a blast. Do say Hi if you’re an anonymous reader of this blog and want to meet. Probably the best way to reach me is to @ me on twitter. I’m @gandalfar.

MIX09 Announcement
Image by DBegley via Flickr

The second event I’ll be visiting is Microsoft’s MIX ’09 conference. This was totally unplanned, but Microsoft Slovenia was nice enough to invite me. It’s happening directly after the SxSW so it’s just a stop by Las Vegas. I’ve yet to go to an international conference but I’ve heard great things about them. I’ll just have to hide my MacBook Air 😉

Third event and the most important is that my wonderful employer, @zemanta, who is sponsoring all this for me, is going to have its first San Francisco developer meetup, together with Freebase (event listing).If you’re in the area on saturday, 21th, do drop by as we’re going to mash up all kinds of cool semantic and open data collections.

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The great OK/Cancel button dilemma

Today I created a simple web form. So simple indeed that it has only three design elements:

Turquoise Ceramic Buttons
Image by panavatar via Flickr
  • input field
  • OK button, in this case labeled “Save”
  • Cancel button

Since I’m always confused about the order of OK  – Cancel buttons (you, should it be OK / Cancel or Cancel / OK), I checked a few dialogs around my OS X and they all read Cancel / OK.

I personally prefer the second option, as I usually like to confirm my dialog boxes and it’s much easier to hit OK in down right corner vs. finding the item next to it.

Second choice it’s probably that I’m brainwashed from seeing this choice all the time on my Mac.

After showing my choices to the person in charge, I got the obvious feedback: “Reverse the Cancel / OK button”.

Fine! (I change the button order and go looking in various HIG documents).

Here are results:

Apple’s HIG states:

Always put the action button in the bottom-right corner of the alert. This is the button that completes the action that the user initiated before the alert was displayed. [ed. note: this would make it Cancel / OK]

GNOME’s HIG states:

Show a Cancel button that will prevent authentication and close the alert. Place this button to the immediate left of the OK or equivalent button. [ed. note: this would make it Cancel / OK]

Place command buttons that apply to all property pages at the bottom of the property window. Right-align the buttons and use this order (from left to right): OK, Cancel, and Apply. [ed. note: this makes it OK / Cancel]
KDE’s HIG doesn’t state anything (or at least I couldn’t find it), but it seems that it standardizes on OK / Cancel.
So here we have two camps. The OK / Cancel one is clearly bigger because of the whole Windows platform using this convention. I’ll leave out different argumentations out of this document, as it’s kind of a holy war between certain UX factions.
Interesting thing with this issue is that it doesn’t matter, as long as you standardize. Nobody managed to measure any difference as long as it was the same across the whole environment.
But what to do in case of Web applications, where you can’t standardize the whole Internet? Jakob Nielsen thinks that you should go with the option that is natural to more of your users.
At the end of the day, this translates to use OK / Cancel as majority of your users will probably be on Windows or KDE, unless you’re running some kind of OS specific niche site. Even then you should only switch if you’re working for OS X crowd as you can’t really know Window Manager usage distribution of your users.
What about you? Do you OK / Cancel or Cancel / OK things? Or are you just constantly twitching because that OK never feels right?
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