Haruka's Tech Blog
Injuration: 2010

What Makes A Good UI of a mobile device?

Having use several different devices from various brands, including Samsung, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Apple, and the little known brands from China, I have noticed several points that can make a difference between easy to use and not having a good experience. What I'm describing are ones released since 2007, the year the iPhone came out and touch screen were starting to become common. The iPhone was a revolutionary product at the time it came out, and made all the mobile phones that were out at that time look outdated.

While using these devices, I have noticed some things:
  • Stylus pen: This is a relic from the PDA era that is somehow carried over. The response times are not ideal and the items to select are too small. You might also need to apply pressure while selecting too. If you have lost the stylus and it only has an on-screen keyboard, you are going to have trouble entering text because the selection is too tiny and not responsive.
  • Accessibility: Most of the phones seem to have this as the lowest priority to the point that most don't even have any. With a keypad, you could just memorize which sequence does what without looking, but, except for the iPhone, you can't tell what you are selecting.
  • Multiple Language support: Until recently, support for the displaying text of multiple languages is quite poor, but being able to change the menus in the settings in another. As the second lowest priority after accessibility for mobile devices, it only includes commonly used languages of the market it's sold in, or languages like English, French and German. Apple is the only one that supports the most number of languages.
  • User Interface: With the exception of iOS, Android, Maemo, and WebOS, the user interfaces seemed kind of dated with problems including the above. For smart phones that run on Windows Mobile or Android, the manufacturer might do some customizations that would either make it better or worse.
  • Updates: The operator or the phone manufacturer is supposed to provide updates, but for reasons that have nothing to do with the hardware, they would only do it for a while, and then never.
  • Applications: Until the Apple and Android app store came along, applications built-in are quite basic and to find more are hard to come by. It was almost non-existent as apps could be installed, but there was no centralized place for it.

Written by Haruka Takahashi on Saturday, August 21, 2010

Non-Ascii URL

Although the support for this has been around for quite a while, I've rarely come across the sites non-Latin based languages having non-ASCII based URLs or IDN. Part of the reason for this are spoofing concerns such as the Cyrillic "а" looking a lot like the Latin "a" and misleading people since they look so identical, resulting on it not supported or enabled by default.

Anyways, on my main blog in Japanese, you would notice that the URL is
in Webkit-based browsers (Safari, Chrome), but due to reasons mentioned in the previous paragraph, or in browsers that don't support it, you are most likely to see

"But how did you get the name there as the actual domain?" is what you're probably asking. If you want anything after ccTLD it uses code that's completely different from the above like
you might see when hovering over a link in eg. Firefox (of course, that article in question does not exist) and it's obviously longer, but that's not what I'm talking about here.

As you might know, entering the non-ASCII URLs is simple:

Internet Explorer 8 or Firefox 3.6:
Enter the URL you want and hit enter. If you are using IE8, the converted URL might appear for only a second before redirecting to your default search engine.
Enter the URL you want and hit enter. If you are using IE8, the converted URL might appear for only a second before redirecting to your default search engine.
You should see this or an error message below with that same url. "www." might be automatically added.

In IE8, you can check both the native and encoded addresses and even what type of characters were used.

The encoded URL would appear just as you type it.
Yes, it's that simple for Chrome. Anyways, copy that encoded URL, edit out unwanted parts (if necessary), register it, and you're done!

I would like to see this take off, but I don't want people using Cyrillic characters to mislead others into thinking they are the look-alike Latin characters. Also, can we hide "http://"? The person who invented it didn't want that to appear too. "www." is also redundant and a mouthful to say out.

Written by Haruka Takahashi on Saturday, February 20, 2010

Google begins dropping support for Internet Explorer 6

In a move to help get users off Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6 browser, and onto one that's much better with current web standards, Google has announced that soon it will begin dropping support for the outdated software.

The problem with Internet Explorer 6 is that it fails at running some of the standard features of today's web development
technologies, meaning that it gives web developers a rather hard time when they put websites together. If the market share were small, this wouldn't matter so much, but Internet Explorer 6 still holds a decent-sized portion compared to other browsers, due to companies and other organizations refusing to switch from it. Despite the fact that there are many faster, more secure, and generally better browsers, such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 8, Safari and Firefox, a lot of companies have yet to make the upgrade.

The announcement made on the Google Enterprise Blog states that beginning 1st March, Google Docs and Google Sites will no longer work correctly when viewed in Internet Explorer 6. These two services have a lot of users, so hopefully, this will help make a difference when it comes to what browsers are being used. Keep in mind that the company is only starting with those two; support for Internet Explorer 6 will be phased out as time progresses, giving users some time to switch. The announcement closed with, "2010 is going to be a great year for Google Apps and we want to ensure that everyone can make the most of what we are developing. Please take the time to switch your organization to the most up-to-date browsers available."

Written by Haruka Takahashi on Saturday, February 6, 2010