Playing Chicken With Common Sense

UI design is truly an art and source code is poetry.  This quote comes from Emperor Chi-Long during the Qing Dynasty.  Because, as you know the Chinese invented computers over 400 years ago.  They always do everything first as you know.  In Chi-Long’s book “The Art of UI Design” he predicted a website called dotnetkicks would rise up and change UI design forever.

Chi-Long has been a prophet for all these many years and dotnetkicks is breaking new ground in UI design.  With the advent of ajax and jquery flooding the internet, web developers are providing professional and polished web designs like never before.  For example, when I search with google I type begin typing my query and google responds with other popular search terms and giving me feedback as I type.



This is such a great feature and while it may not be necessary to achieving the end result of performing your search; it is a huge necessity for users uncertain of what keywords they might need.  Which in turn provides google with a polished and professional appearance.

On the other hand we have sites like dotnetkicks who are the anti-google.  They live and play with interfaces straight from 1995 and they like it.  For instance, I was kicking a post today when I noticed they added a bunch of new categories.  The categories were very much needed because they forced you to add your postings to categories which had nothing to do with it but that’s a story for another day.  The category selection was really amazing as you can see from my screenshot.


Just feast your eyes on how incredibly beautiful it is.  I am going to make this my desktop background and look at it every day.  It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.  Take note of a few problems with this design.  First, there are just too many radio buttons on here.  Radio buttons are great for a few selections but this is ridiculous.  Second, the text in the columns doesn’t align to the radio button.  They crammed too many columns together making for bad aesthetics.  Third, (and lastly) some of the selections just plain don’t work.  I picked Architecture and hit the submit story button only to be given the following error message:

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I used to go to dotnetkicks at least once a day.  Now, however, I rarely go there.  This might have been my last visit; they are just terrible.  I posted a listing about a .NET product I purchased and wanted to write a story about it and the story got booted as spam.  Instead, I go to  It’s a very nice site and if you haven’t heard of it then give it a try.

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Phillip Jacobs Phillip Jacobs   United States 7/3/2009 10:14:33 AM #

Well, I hope they improve as I have always liked dnk.  Think of it as an intervention.  But if they don't take it seriously then they won't exist much longer.  People will eventually move on and if dnk doesn't want to improve then they will get left behind.  I hope the Criticism isn't going to hurt them but if it does and dnk gets upset then great.  They need it.  The Emperor has no clothes!

Anyway, make your case for them if you think it is fine.  Let's say I'm being too hard on them...  Well then at least make the ugly UI usable.  Just try and submit an article in one of the new categories and you will get an error message.  It is just typical dnk.  Hopefully they will improve.

John Sheehan John Sheehan   United States 7/3/2009 11:56:42 AM #

It's funny you mention DotNetShoutout because I find their interface to be just as repulsive. For example: But I don't go to the sites for the UI, I go for the content, which I mostly get via RSS anyway so it doesn't matter much.

Phillip Jacobs Phillip Jacobs   United States 7/3/2009 12:16:53 PM #

This is true and I do the same.  dotnetshoutout could use a little work too but at least their site works.  John... It isn't like the categories not working is new.  It has been this way for a while and why it hasn't received any attention is a mystery.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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