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Material Design text fields are badly designed

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I’ve been designing forms for over 20 years now, and I’ve tested many of them for large organisations like Boots, Just Eat and GOV.UK.

One topic that comes up a lot with forms is: where to put the label. In the early days, we talked about left aligned labels versus top aligned labels.

These days the focus is more about placeholders that replace labels and float labels. The latter start off inside the input. When the user starts typing, the label ‘floats’ up to make space for the answer.

Material Design text fields use the float label

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Stop Chrome from ignoring autocomplete=off

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Autofill (or autocomplete) attributes tell browsers to automatically fill out an answer for the user if the user has stored that information in the browser.

And this little feature saves users well over a million days per month .

But there’s a problem with Chrome: it sometimes ignores autocomplete="off".

Now even though this is annoying, it might be the right thing to do and it may also be abiding by the specification.

The autocomplete content attribute can be used to hint to the user agent how to, or indeed whether to, provide such a feature.

This is because

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Stopping Chrome from ignoring autocomplete=off

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Autofill (or autocomplete) attributes tell browsers to automatically fill out an answer for the user if the user has stored that information in the browser.

And this little feature saves users well over a million days per month .

But there’s a problem with Chrome: it sometimes ignores autocomplete="off".

Now even though this is annoying, it might be the right thing to do and it may also be abiding by the specification.

The autocomplete content attribute can be used to hint to the user agent how to, or indeed whether to, provide such a feature.

This is because

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A few notes about A/B testing from Jared Spool

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A few notes from Jared Spool’s twitter thread on A/B testing.

A/B testing is an effective approach to use science to design and deliver deeply-frustrating user experiences.

A/B testing without upfront research is just random monkeys testing random designs to see which of those designs do “best” against random criteria.

If drug testing was actually implemented like most A/B tests, you’d give 2 drugs to 2 groups of people and pick the “winner” by whichever group had fewer deaths.

A big issue is the A/B test zealots confuse conversion rate optimization with delivering

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Content

Interaction designers: how well do you work with developers and content designers?

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I used to be a frontend developer.

I think there are broadly 2 types of frontend developer.

The first type prefers to be given a spec to follow and that’s that.

The second type has more of an interest in how well the UI ends up actually working for users.

If they’re handed something that can cause usability and accessibility issues, then they might push back and offer altnerative solutions.

I was the second type.

So I would push back.

But I think that most designers I worked with saw me as a developer and nothing more so only occasionally

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Pressing back after deleting something

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After tweeting about using a page instead of a modal dialog, Chris Cheshire asked what should happen if the user presses back after deleting a customer’s account.

I had a look at the service I‘m working on at the moment and we show a 404 page.

This makes sense technically as the account no longer exists.

But I discussed with Duncan Brown how we could do this better.

And we came up with this custom 404 page:

# You cannot delete this customer’s account – it does not exist It looks like you may have deleted it already. [Continue to

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A quick crit of HEY email

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HEY.com is a new email service by Basecamp.

It’s great, I love it.

But it’s got a fair amount to improve on which are some pretty surprising oversights.

So I thought I‘d jot down some notes here – maybe the peeps at HEY will see this and act.

# 1. It’s not accessible

HEY isn’t very accessible. I haven’t done a proper audit but here’s some things I spotted.

It doesn’t work very well when JavaScript isn’t available. This is a shame because they do a fair chunk of rendering on the server which is great, but not enough

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Forms

Form design: multiple inputs versus one input

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There’s been some comments about this on Twitter.

While most fields are made up of just one input, like an email address, some fields (that are essentially one value) could be split into multiple inputs, like a sort code.

This is done to help users read back their answer more easily, in small chunks, or to help users meet the formatting requirements of something like a reference number.

While using multiple inputs can be helpful, most of the time it’s completely unnecessary and it has a number of drawbacks.

Here, I’ll explain why that is and I’ll show you how

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Routing conventions

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Rails has a nice section on naming routes and actions.

Route File Used to show /photos index List of photos /photos/new new Form for creating new photo /photos/:id show Show photo /photos/:id/edit edit Form for editing photo /photos/:id/delete delete Form for deleting photo

But this doesn’t cover multi-step flows, so I’ll note here the way I do it.

(Note: I’ll focus on the GETs becuase all the POSTs should be to the same url with a redirect.)

# Creating a profile

So

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Rules for cookie banners

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Alistair Laing did a show and tell a few weeks back on the awesome cookie banner work he did for the Find postgraduate teacher training service.

Here’s what I noted. You must:

Tell people the cookies are there Explain what the cookies are doing and why Get the user’s consent to store a cookie on their device

You can still use cookies without asking for consent if they’re absolutely necessary. For example, if users need to login or if they need to add items to their shopping cart.

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