Usability and a Simple JavaScript hovering menu

Many web developers ask ‘what is usability?’. This is one of those topics that I can explain, but it may be easier to demonstrate. My this experiences have led to some principles; one of them is that if I’m going to build it, it must be usable. Unfortunately, many sites that I like, that tout usability, screw up one important concept that annoys me greatly.

I ask myself, “when using a menu, why do I have to drag my mouse from one button to the next, and fear losing the menu if I cross it’s border anywhere?” Some menus are just annoying because they disappear mid mouse move, some are extremely hard to use because of several layers of menus, some I have resorted to using tabs to get to the correct menu item. It’s unfortunate that people can’t get this right.

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Scribd and Slide mode : Why is my height wrong?

While recently using Scribd‘s services, I came across a very nasty bug, and a nice clean fix. Scribd allows developers to tap into a great, but somewhat basic API. One of these settings allows a developer to set a default ‘mode’ before the API then builds the flash calls necessary to display the document. The issue comes up when you choose the ‘slide’ mode as the loading view. No matter what ‘height’ you set, with ‘auto_size’ set to false, the height will adjust to the wrong height.


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Making a better notification plugin: jQuery

I find myself at a crossroads. I really like using jQuery, and I really like not having to write my own plugins as there are some really good ones out there. But I have run into a problem when it comes to a notification system. Let’s take a step back and discuss the purpose for a minute.

Update 7/29/2009
I now have a page dedicated to this at http://www.alldorks.com/wordpress/notify where you can also find the source code repository.

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Perfecting the Linux User Desktop

The linux desktop over the years has been a large struggle for many users. I hear many complaints from people that have ‘tried’ linux out and they seem to all come to the conclusion that it is difficult or even impossible to use. The unfortunate part about most of these complaints, is that they are reiterating something they read 10 years ago, or something their friend who knows computers becaues he is a ‘gamer’ told him so.

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jQuery Dialog Shadow Issues.

While working on a dialog in the new jQuery UI 1.6rc6. I have come accross an issue.

If you were to open a dialog, and then dynamically change the content in the dialog, the shadow border will not resize. The problem is, the code does not ‘know’ the box is larger, and is not able to watch for the changes. Their have been some solutions that I have found to solve this, like turning off shadows, etc. But I think I have a better one, a 3-line solution so to speak
Go into your code, mine is in my jquery-ui-personalized-1.6rc6.js file… Also could be in ui.dialog.js etc.

Inside the code (mine is line 4218) after this function

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$.widget('ui.dialog', {
_init: function() {

add this function

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refresh: function() {
this._refreshShadow(1);
},

Then from within your code you can call something like this…
$('#dialogbox').dialog('refresh');

Check for updates, I may write a drop-in style patch so the coding isn’t necessary.

Enjoy!