Beautiful command-line interface design talk

I spoke about writing beautiful command-line interfaces at Scottish Ruby Conference back in June and they’ve published the video, which is freely available for viewing now.

The slides are available here in pdf format (if you’re interested, they were made using emacs org mode and beamer.

There were loads of great talks recorded so check out the videos of them all here on the schedule.

Search interfaces

Ugh. I just did a search on for a latitude and longitude reference and it didn’t recognise it. I spotted the radio button to tell it what kind of search I’m doing and clicked again. Still no luck. Removing the comma between the two numbers got me what I wanted.

It is not difficult to detect when someone is searching for a latitude and longitude. It is a pair of floating point numbers with 13 decimal places. Who lives on a street named with 13 decimal places? How many businesses are named with just numbers such that I would require 13 decimal places to tell them apart?

And then, after the user goes out of their way to tell your software what to expect, why not accept a few variations of the input (though one lousy comma would hardly count as a variation to me).

I’d be better off with a pencil sketch map and a divining rod. No wonder these services are losing all their business to services like Google maps.