Girish Chavan

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Software Engineering + User Experience + Lots of Love

My work , my play and my thoughts about both.


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Real World Tufte

Posted on Apr 24 by

If you haven’t heard of Edward Tufte, he is a statistician by profession, but what he is really famous for are his writings on the presentation of Information. If I had to summarize his philosophy for UI design, it would be: More than 90% of your UI should be information useful to the user. Navigation is not information, instructions are not information. I decided recently to critically evaluate one of my UIs I did a few years back and redesign it using this principle. Examples in Tufte’s books generally are from the statistical domain, so I decided to take up the chart redesign to ease myself into the process. Later in the article, I will also talk about a redesign of a different screen in TIES that was a lot more complex. Shown below is the “before” pic. It is a UI showing the results of an “aggregate” search done by the user in TIES (A medical documents search repository). Now, what is data and what is fluff? Let’s concentrate on only the chart area. The user is primarily interested...


A Searchable JTree widget

Posted on Apr 18 by

Launch DemoLatest Source Code This came about as a need for a project I was working on. I couldn’t find a nice free open source implementation out there. So I wrote this one. The goal was to write something that was very easy to use, and required almost no additional coding or understanding of the inner workings of the widget. Features Works with any pre-loaded JTree Installs easily in one line of code : SearchableJTree.makeSearchable(JTree tree); Pops up when user types a key when the JTree has focus. Hides away when user presses ESC or ENTER Search results are updated in realtime as user types each character. Whats new in v1.1: Search UI is now customizable. Change colors, positioning and transparency Keyboard UP and DOWN arrow keys can now be used to cycle through the matches one at a time. search bar now offset from the bottom/top by the JTree row height. This helps in viewing the matches that lie at the edges of the JTree viewport. Modified the demo program to showcase all features. Better separation of UI...


Shake & Fold, An eco-friendly way to dry your hands

Posted on Apr 16 by

I am an avid follower of TED, and recently watched the video above, titled “How to use a paper towel” by Joe Smith. Such a simple idea. I bet all of us knew about this, but somewhere down the line the convenience of grabbing a few extra towels to dry our hands trumped the sensibility of shaking out the excess water beforehand. I am inspired by this and try to follow it whenever I can. However I notice that at times my muscle memory takes over I ended up with more towels than I need. A reminder in the restroom would help not just me but also my fellow hand dryers. So this is what I came up with…   Download Printer Friendly PDF   Help me spread the word. Please feel free to print and share it, and if you can, display it in your restrooms. Trust me, the paper you will save by putting this up will more than make up for the one sheet of paper that you will print this on. 🙂 Here are a few of...