Category Archives: usability

Imagining better bill-pay

I pay my bills on the same Saturday of every month, and every month sees the same routine: A frustrating experience with one (or all) of the websites that espouse “easy online payments,” only to wind up calling the company and paying by phone. While I appreciate any business that wants to keep my confidential information secure, requiring an increasingly convoluted combination of letters, numbers and special characters only ensures that I will find it necessary to write my password down somewhere and undermine the very security they hope to impose.

I have a technical background, and I know I’m not the only one who suffers this grind month after month. It’s time that bill payment systems see a user-experience overhaul, and I’ve got a few ideas:
Continue reading

Bundling Javascript and CSS resources with Jawr

On the surface, Jawr is a resource bundling library for Java web-apps with an incredibly confusing name (try saying “Put the Jawr JAR in the lib dir” a few times out loud…). The project website has this to say about it:

Jawr is a tunable packaging solution for Javascript and CSS which allows for rapid development of resources in separate module files. Developers can work with a large set of split javascript files in development mode, then Jawr bundles all together into one or several files in a configurable way.

Jawr allows you to keep your Javascript and CSS files separated and organized within a project, while still taking advantage of resource minification, concatenation, compression and caching (ie. bundling).

But why should I bundle my resources anyway?

Because for every shiny presentation effect there’s an HTTP request, and sometimes those requests are BIG. I’ve been recently working on a project that pulls in a number of Javascript data visualization libraries, none of which come cheap. The project is behind authentication and not exactly intended for public consumption, but here are some screenshots I pulled from Firebug’s net tab.
Continue reading