Wednesday, June 10, 2015

apps that don't set appropriate input defaults

if your app's input field is restricted—for instance—to numeric entry, and your app doesn't default the user to the numeric keyboard, i advise you to prepare for the most exquisite torments. when i am king, this is how it will be.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

images in email signatures

will be verboten. on pain of pain, when i am king, that is how it will be.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

toasted sandwiches

will only be served on wire racks or plates warmed to above the temperature of the sandwich, so that the soggy sandwich will be a thing of the past. when i am king, this is how it will be.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

reams of paper

will be placed entire in the printer instead of opened and left on the table—short a few sheets—to warp subtly due to ambient humidity and later jam the printer in a particularly unfixable way at the worst possible time. on pain of pain, when i am king, etc.

Friday, February 20, 2015

webpage element sizes

should be declared instead of left implicit, so that user control elements such as buttons don't move about maddeningly as objects load gradually from a slow server, causing one to click where one does not mean, in fact, to click. on pain of pain, when i am king, this is how it shall be.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

non-drip lips

will be a mandatory feature on pitchers, beakers, bottles, jars, and all such vessels. when i am king, this is how it shall be.

Monday, January 20, 2014

content websites

will prioritize loading content over loading ads, so that customers are not left fuming at an empty page just because the ad network CDN has decided to have a little snooze. when i am king, etc.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

user interfaces

will use helper text and contextual instructions to be be clear and explicit enough that the user will not find it necessary to use even a single separate set of instructions for completing a workflow—much less eight. my sympathies to the engineering team on exchange server, but my sympathies will not prevent them from being first against the wall when i am king.

Monday, August 20, 2012

passwords for services storing inconsequential information

will not force contortions for extra "security" where it is only questionably necessary. why have at minimum one letter, one number, and one non-letter, non-number character in a password for a service storing my cereal preference? also, let's be clear: 1) no one endorses repeating passwords across services, 2) services storing important data should have strong security (a single password, no matter how complicated, seems inadequate. give me multifactor). a sense of appropriateness and occasion is indispensable in diplomats and products both. when i am king, etc. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

an error message

should declare a) its source, b) its unique identifier and the system in which that identifier is unique, c) a human-readable description of the error, that we may never again gnash our teeth and resist in a kingly fashion the urge to throw the monitor out of the window. when i am king, etc.

Monday, February 27, 2012

journals requiring idiosyncratic formatting and citation styles

will publish a typesetting and bibliographic style file, so that we will not spend many hours fiddling with existing style files to do the work that the journals should have done to start with. when i am king, etc.

Monday, January 16, 2012


will be informative and intentional so that never again are we confronted with rows of browser tabs, half of which have the little globe symbol denoting a website that forgot (or didn't care to) design itself a favicon. on pain of pain, when i am king, etc.

Monday, December 12, 2011

focus on forms

will automatically be set, on load, to the first field that has to be filled. this includes the url field for new empty windows in browsers. designers, hear and obey on pain of pain. when i am king, etc.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

grout and small tiles

will never be used in areas with constant water exposure, viz. backsplashes, bathrooms, sinks, counters of all varieties. and while we're on this topic, why do so many kitchens insist on stainless steel surfaces? that stuff watermarks at the drop of a hat. when i am king, etc.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

multi-part stories

every instalment of a multi-part story should link to every other instalment of the same story. webmasters too lazy to update early instalments, you know what you have coming. when i am king, etc.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

proprietary connectors

for generic things such as audio input and output will be prohibited, so that never again will we be stranded in an airport without the ability to listen to our livescribe pulse pen recordings because we assumed incorrectly that a regular pair of earbuds would work just fine. when i am king, etc. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

alarm clocks

especially those with alarms insistent, irritating, persistent, and set for 9.45am, will be shut off before their owners leave to parts unknown for many weeks. when i am king, etc.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

bookmarklets on iphone/ipad safari

will not require 9-step installation workarounds that end in gentle seething. when i am king, this is how it will be.

Friday, May 14, 2010

hot water for tea

should never be served in a container that has been used for coffee or any other hot drink. the most carefully grown teas in the world are no match for the ghost of stale coffee grounds. expensive restaurants and their catering staff should know better. on pain of pain, etc.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


should be replicated for sequencing, so that presenters need not page backwards and forth through an enormous deck, muttering "i know the slide is in here somewhere...ah! here it, i guess that's not it. well, i'll just talk through it," all the livelong day.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

back/forth navigation buttons on sequential web content

should be locked in the same absolute location within the window, so that different-sized content doesn't make the user have to refocus on the navigation to proceed with the sequence. and while i'm here, to the power-washers stripping the paint off the building next door who are starting up the compressor now, at 5.45am EST: who do you think will be first against the wall when i am king, etc?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

jars containing fluids or suspensions

of any viscosity will be required to have wide mouths and no shoulders, such that never again will anyone be late for an early meeting because the last droplets of honey were trapped in the rounded shoulder of the honey jar, beyond the reach of even the bendiest spoon.

Monday, March 29, 2010

sick people

will be banned from public spaces, classrooms, and places of work.
when i am king, etc.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

after-dinner caffeinated beverages

for prohibitively expensive meals will be gratis and well-made. and if not well-made, omitted. needless to say, if neither gratis nor well-made, the proprietor of the establishment should know that he is unwelcome in the kingdom, on pain of pain. when i am king, etc.

blog feeds

will feature truncated posts only if the truncation takes the form of a summary abstract or if the post consists mostly of bandwidth-intensive content (like autoplay videos, yet another no-no), such that never again will readers have to "click here" to read the article, thus disrupting their laboriously-streamlined feed reader strategy. when i am king, etc.

Monday, March 1, 2010


should be linked to rather than merely described, so that never again will i visit a webpage (page A) only to be told to visit another webpage (page B) to click on a link (to page C) that could have been linked to directly from page A. especially when the link to page C on page B has been moved to a different section of page B entirely. are you confused yet? i can't even describe it with my usual crispness and concision, is how ridiculous this is. this is a more general form of the last tirade, about attribution hyperlinks. when i am king, etc. 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

attribution hyperlinks

will link to resources about the referent that are either appropriately canonical or intended to be so (yes, wikipedia sort of counts), such that quality data is always as few clicks away as possible. indeed this is an obscure edict but, when i am king, this is how it shall be. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

downloadable documents

will have filenames that provide decent, human-readable clues to what the documents actually are, instead of automatically-generated and meaningless jumbles of letters and numbers.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


will be disabled by default on all rich media, without exception.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


office computers used by minor functionaries will have only a few typefaces installed, all of which will be good ones. comic sans and paintbrush will be banned, on pain of pain, and text will be either underlined or emboldened for emphasis, never both. when i am king, this is how it shall be.