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Archive for April, 2011

5 Little Things

Thinking of usability in the context of web surfing, I thought of 5 Little Things I am really grateful for! Here:

1. Sounds On/Off
Its often that I end up on websites where they’d have a music jump me and startle me and often its even likeable, but what I am raving about here… is not the actual music, but the ability to control it. Talking about a volume bar, or at least an On/Off option. I might be at home already listening to some music and suddenly theres a new layer of sounds to it creating a strange effect! When I find out that there is no button to turn that website music off, it really doesn’t make me feel like sticking around it any longer.

2. YouTube’s Dim the Lights
YouTube had an idea to put this feature that when clicked, just turned everything around the video player window dark! For watching a video, you might find it more comfortable that way to reduce the bright white surrounding so your focus is more on the video. Unfortunately, this feature is now only available for videos longer than 50 minutes! So, as a sample you can see this video. At the top right of the video window, click the image of the lightbulb
Image showing how the feature looks like on youtube

3. Autocomplete
When I have to select stuff from long lists, nothing beats having an autocomplete feature! For users of GMail, you might recognize this as the feature that brings out the list of recipients when you are trying to type in who you’re sending the email to. We’ve actually implemented this feature in Therap SComms too hoping our users will also benefit from it.
Image showing SComm's Auto-complete feature.

4. GMail Labs’ Attachment Reminder
As forgetfulness of human nature goes, its a very common thing to forget to actually attach that important feature to an email before sending it out! I have heard of one story where someone sent 3 mails before finally remembering to attach the file. The second mail apologized for not sending the attachment and it was still forgotten! So, anyway, this feature picks up from the written email whether the author intended to send an attachment if it finds words like ‘attachment’ ‘sending a file’ etc in it! Pretty smart, and it has saved a lot of time for me personally many a times. Mind you, that this feature is not there by default in GMail, you’d have to go to Settings, and then Labs to find it. Don’t forget!

5. Search As You Type on Firefox
As far as browsers go, I LOVE Firefox! Theres a world of useful plugins, and the built in search engines for google, imdb, wikipedia and others .. .its all very cool! But there is one feature that really helps me out – That’s the “search as you type” feature. Its not turned on by default (I don’t know why) and for that not many people know it or use it! But if you have often ended up on long pages and you are interested in a certain part only, this feature can help you out immensely. Turn this on from Options > Advanced > General. And this feature also comes into good use when I am testing Therap out for usability issues, or browsing through my really long FirstPage. Often the FirstPage can have many many modules and go south quite a bit. In those circumstances, I just start typing in the module name – ‘Personal Finance’ for example, and as soon as I have typed till only “Perso” the browser has already scrolled to where that box appears on the FirstPage! This way, I don’t have to scroll down and read through the names on the FirstPage boxes to find the module I am looking for. Of course, users of other browsers can very well use Ctr-F to search for it, but with this option on Firefox, its faster doing a lot of things throughout the day.


Splash: Upcoming Therap Events for 2011

Side by Side Conference in Missouri
Side by Side Conference in Missouri
Regional Conference in Delaware

We design a splash pages as ’tis the season for some getting together and learning Therap. Therap has rounded up some great features and modules and those need telling too!

For a full listing of our conferences for 2011, go to Conferences. You’ll find the details there – information flyers, and schedules, that’ll help you pick the one most suitable for you. The presence of Therap staff and users from the different regions make the events very useful for both training existing users and also telling prospective agencies all about Therap’s applications for developmental disability providers.

What is a “Splash”?

Inside Therap’s application, theres a mechanism to display a message to the user as soon as he or she logs in. That message is called a ‘Splash’! You can view the splash and select to never have it shown again by clicking on a check-box there. Provider agencies can display splash messages to their staff, or Therap can display one that all users in all agencies will see. We use the splash message to inform you of updates to the system or upcoming events that will be of value.