1. Bad Gauge Design

    Compilation of some sub-optimal gauge design I’ve come across recently. First up is BBC iPlayer’s speed tester+comparison tool:

    A circular gauge indicates line speed, speed test results are shown in a table above a graphic of a pyramid, a tube and a small stick figure. Below a table is shown comparing your speed to various reference speeds including HD TV, TV, TV, TV, and radio.

    Ignoring the questionable pyramid chartjunk, there are a bunch of issues here — the use of arc length and exceedingly inconsistent scale on the skeuomorphic gauge, the strange choice of colouring on the comparison bars (is green good and red bad? or better/worse than my connection?) and the totally useless “status” column add up to a confusing graphic.

    A series of semicircular yellow gauges show a hash rate of 18 kilohashes per second, a pool hashrate of 211 megahashes per second, a share rate of 0.02 shares per second and net hashrate of 12.60 gigahashes per second

    The next is this set of dials from pool.dogechain.info — again the use of arc length is unnecessary, and very few comparisons are possible. At first, the scales look fairly sensible — perhaps the maximums are pool maximums, or averages or something?

    An identical series of semicircular gauges is shown with different numbers but all still half-full

    Uh, apparently not.

    These dials are always half full. They use up hundreds of pixels of colour and drop shadow, taunting you into thinking you’re getting some sort of useful comparison, when actually they’re informing you that two times twenty three is forty six. Astonishing.

    Simply erasing the colour creates a much cleaner graphic

    which can be further improved by clearing some of the resultant whitespace

    The addition of time-series data might make a genuinely useful contribution, as could some comparisons or proportions allowing your rate to be compared to the pool average or total.

    Another welcome, and obvious addition would be “how much do I make per second/minute”, “how much have I made so far”, “how does that compare to other miners” and “how much is that in real money” — these are the questions that I as a miner actually want answered when looking at a dashboard, but the few relevant statistics which are shown are relegated to a small corner.

  2. Idea for focus-maintaining anti-rabbit-warren UI: “current task” bar, simple user-editable text field present on all screens, subdued but not inconspicuous, persistent reminder of current short-term goal.

    Should be somewhere out of the way but accessible at a glance, i.e. only eye movement required to see what it is. Key combo to instantly clear and focus for editing.

  3. Reflecting on 2013 with my . Biggest things personally have been making my second , moving to Iceland and meeting+working with all the great people over here. Lots of and progress, including a great indiewebcamp in September.

    Looking forward to 2014: more cooking, more indieweb progress, seeing more of Iceland, going to some gurdy festivals, improving hardware hacking abilities, connecting my gurdy and other devices to the web and each other.

  4. Anyone know of an iPhoto-like application which progressively enhances the filesystem instead of lumping photos into an application-specific blob of magic?

  5. Ben Werdmuller: @barnabywalters When I took a (6hr) flight to NY recently, I had 11 hours left when we landed. Insane.

    @benwerd I for one welcome our new low-power-consumption overlords, whilst mourning just how much catching up battery technology has to do, and musing how easy it appears to be to manipulate users’ emotions towards a product through small UI lies.