Friday, March 20, 2009

Arabic Text as a Flex Button label?

The Text Layout Framework that Adobe has made available on the labs site is a very cool display of the capabilities of Flash Player. However, what seems to be suspiciously missing from all the demos is an example of how to use Arabic text on a button. Just putting arabic in the MXML as the button label obviously doesn't work (otherwise... I wouldn't be posting this). What happens is the letters look like they are in reverse order. I can't read Arabic, but I don't think that would make much sense. Especially since none of the letters get connected with the appropriate ligatures.

Looking at the source code for the examples doesn't shed any light on the problem. If you have seen this done please comment with an example.

Klok - Linux Support - finally

If you have tried Klok on Linux, you may have noticed that most fo the drag and drop functions didn't work. It turns out that, there were some issues in the AIR runtime that prevented this from working correctly. I have been told the the AIR 1.5.1  runtime for Linux fixes this issue. I have tested it out with Ubuntu and I have had one report of SUSE working correctly too. If you are using Linux upgrade you AIR runtime and let me know if you still see issues by submitting a bug report. Please be sure to specify your version of Linux.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Worst UI Ever - Another Error Message

Its been a while since I last posted a Worst UI Ever entry. It seemed like most of my posts were about error messages and here is another one for the list.

This was an error message I received when activation a gift card. The form itself could not be much simpler, but the error message left a lot to be desired. What lead me to the error message was another seemingly simple set of instructions. In order to fully understand the situation, here is the quick back story. Stay with me, I'll be quick. As you have read on my blog I recently bought an IPhone. When I did so, my wife and I both switched to AT&T. When we got our phones we got gift cards in the mail as rebates for some accessories we each purchased. So we each got a gift card in the mail today.

The instructions said that you needed to go to this website and enter the card number and you will need to use your phone number ending in 8... yes that's right, the phone number ending in 8. Now, I'm no statistician but it seems fairly likely that you may have two phone numbers in a family that both end in the same digit... as was our case.

Given the situation, one of my phone numbers was correct, the other was wrong so I was presented with this form with a 1 in 2 chance of "failing". My first flip of the coin was incorrect, resulting in the error message. The first problem with this process is the failure of the system to understand users beyond the data associated with the card. It is true that the card in question was associated with a specific phone number ending in 8, but there is more to my and my account with AT&T than just that. If that level of consideration could not be built into the system, then at least the system that prints the letter that is mailed with the card should give you more than the last digit of the phone number. Using the last two digits would dramatically reduce the liklihood of getting this error.
The second, more obivious problem was that the error message was obviously written by a programmer. The fact that there is nothing on the screen labeled as a PassCode is more than a little confusing. Here is a rule for anyone involved with delivering a software product:

"Don't let programmers write text that is presented to the user."

Chances are, they don't want that responsibility anyway.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Programmatic Yahoo Skin Library update 2

I have just posted another update to the Yahoo Programmatic Skins. This update includes the Radio Button, TabBar/TabNavigator, and Accordion skins.

You can see the demo and download the source here.