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News February 2010

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Back to newsletter 111 contents

Usability is a fundamental aspect of performance. Something that is difficult to use means you use it much more slowly - or not at all. Sadly, I'm seeing more and more badly thought out interfaces for users - we seem to be getting worse under the pressures of "working smarter" to make up for fewer people. Usability covers not just the presentation, but also the workflow, what functionality is provided and even the exact fields provided - unnecessary fields slow you down. My recent experience in trying to open a saving account highlighted to me how much usability matters - and how you lose customers by having unusable interfaces.

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I obtained a list of online saving accounts ordered according to the interest rates offered and started working my way through them. I expected to be able to get the best rate - but my experience was completely different. Bank 1 didn't use an https address to get my details - application abandoned immediately, why on earth would anyone put their money with an organisation that has contempt for their security? Bank 2 asked for details that were completely irrelevant to the account - application abandoned. Bank 3 insisted that I choose a branch to hold the account, even though it was actually an online account only operable online - what part of online don't they get, muppets! Application abandoned. Bank 4 actually seemed reasonable, but then refused to accept the amount that I entered for the initial deposit (it was a valid amount, the muppets had a bug in there, I gave up after trying several different valid numbers - out of interest I eventually contacted them, and they knew their input field couldn't accept decimal points!).

Finally, Bank 5 got my business. I obtained a lower than optimal interest rate, but I preferred that to obvious incompetence. Usability trumped every other aspect of the offering for me. Now on with this month's newsletter. We have all our usual Java performance tools, news, and article links. Over at fasterj we have a new cartoon showing how the disk sweet spots give you a faster startup; Javva The Hutt tells us about building a new team; and, as usual, we have extracted tips from all of this month's referenced articles.

News

Java performance tuning related news.

Tools

Java performance tuning related tools.

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Articles

Jack Shirazi


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