Design mistakes cost

I’ve stopped reading Jakob Nielsen on a regular basis, so I missed this: Top-10 Application-Design Mistakes. As it turns out, this is one of the few of Jakob’s Alertboxes that I agree with more than disagree with. Iterative design, paper prototypes, decide what your app should do, beware nonstandard GUI controls, design for the user rather than the back-end system, etc.

Number two particularly amuses me. I was on a business trip with someone who was bitten, hard, by this bug (on a different travel site). His boss booked his travel, and didn’t pay attention to the fact that the position of the months on the calendar changed between the Start and End date fields. Worse, the travel was in February in a non-leap year, so there wasn’t even a difference in date numbers to clue him in (since the Wednesday in March was exactly 28 days after the Wednesday in April). Result? A very long delay for our friend at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas trying to straighten the problem out, so that my friend could get back 30 days earlier than his ticket specified.

Usability mistakes cost.

Getting ready for the big one

The big concert, that is, or concerts to be more precise. The last Tanglewood Festival Chorus concert series of the Symphony Hall part of our season is coming up, and it’s big: Hector Berlioz’s two part opera, Les Troyens. Everything about it is big: five acts divided into two nights, big chorus, big orchestra, big writing.

The background on the opera’s composition makes for some interesting reading, a classic battle between artist and public. Berlioz wrote what he felt to be a magnum opus, only to have it whittled down by the only opera house willing to perform it. Of the audiences who came to see the opera, he remarked glumly, “Yes, they are coming, but I am going.”

We’ve had a pair of rehearsals, and all I can say is that so much tonality, after the astringent aesthetic of the Bolcom, feels kind of sinful. Should be a fun run.