Don’t make it easy for users to generate errors

Quick Problem: Inconsistency of Controls

Web Site:

Quick Description: Forcing manual entry of year introduces several problems.

Quick Explanation:

  • Takes the user out of the mental model of the already established drop-down control mode
  • Forces the user to to expend additional cognitive resources
  • Allows the user to enter a non-valid date generating an error message

Quick Suggestion: Reconfigure the year control to be a drop-down rather than an open text field. There are a host of other problems on this page like:

  • “Juror Badge Example” is blue and underlined. The user’s mental mode is, if the text is blue and underlined, then it is a link. OK, I get the concept, someone wanted to explain what the below image was. That’s great, I completely support captions as being user-friendly. But don’t choose a method to achieve that goal with visual-affordance for a link if it is not a link.
  • Stay away from body copy in blue. Blue is reserved for links (although that is changing) the same way that electric wall receptacles are reserved for electrical cords. Don’t use blue text and don’t put fingers in a wall receptacle. Just don’t.
  • Don’t center body copy, research has shown that in most cultures justified left is the easiest to cognitively process. OK, I get it, maybe they thought just a few lines of text in a very wide format would be difficult to read. Fine, center a new DIV with a confined width, say 400 px.

Quick Solution: Hire Art Zippel, 1.714.357.7578


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