Recently, I was given the updated UI for the web version of Facebook. I have long stopped using the mobile version. One nice thing is the new dark mode now. Honestly, that is all that really appealed to me so far. However, one big pain is the comment box is almost completely unusable. There is a noticeable delay typing and there is some strange issue where it adds a double space after every word. I am writing this post just to check that this is not a problem in other web apps and I am not having any of the problems writing this in the WP editor. So this is a FB problem and it is a horrible experience.
It’s been said before, the future is coming faster than we think. This is true now more than ever as the advent of “AI” and robotics automation is beginning to seriously take hold. I put AI in quotes because it is still far from true artificial intelligence. It is because of significant increases in computing power and networking that increasingly complex algorithms can be run. Which gives the appearance of “intelligence”, but the reality is this is not true intelligence yet. While a machine can learn, it still has to be cultivated and corrected and ultimately it is not really thinking.
Anyone who has engaged at length with Google Home, Amazon’s Alexa, or Apple’s Siri knows that there are plenty of limitations. As great as they are for somethings you very quickly run into problems for anything that is not yet factored in their algorithms and resources they pull information from. Having said that, they and other AI driven technologies are gaining traction in business. I know that there are many others predicting the same thing I am here…
We take a little side trip to the town of Ito. We are staying at a Ryokan (Traditional) Onsen. Onsen hotels feature hot baths and your stay comes with a very elaborate and delicious dinner and breakfast. Here we relax in the hot baths and then enjoy the meals. The first two days were overcast and rainy so we stayed in most of the time. On the last day it was finally sunny and we were able to walk around the town of Ito. We were even able to see some Sakura trees beginning to bloom along the river.
We spend the first full day in Japan just recovering from jetlag. The next day we go to visit my Nephew who lives over in Saitama prefecture which is North of where we are at in Kanagawa. Similar to the trip from Narita, this entails a 2 hour bus and train ride each way. Fortunately, Japan has a very extensive train and bus system and it is very reliable.
This is the first in a series of posts on my trip with the family to Japan in the Spring of 2019. We spent 10 days in March staying with mother-in-law near Fujisawa. The first pictures are from the travel from Chicago.
The flight is delayed for boarding almost an hour and it takes 12:30 hours to get to Narita Airport:
So I have been using repeaters in a couple of prototypes in Axure. Repeaters allow creating a single element that then is linked to a data table and will repeat content based on how many rows are in the data table. This can make it much easier to automatically simulate a list/grid of search results with real content. You can also then add controls to filter and sort and paginate the list. There is also the ability to dynamically load images from an external source. All of this awesome functionality was making it fun to build out some prototypes that I had intended to do some remote/unmoderated usability testing.
Unfortunately, complex repeaters (6+ columns, external images, links/refernce pages, etc) with more than around 12 rows can substantially slow down the loading of a prototype in a browser. It gets even worse from the axshare server. Also, having more than 1 repeater widget on a page can also slow down a prototype to make it basically unusable. So I fell back to using dynamic panels with states to represent more limited simulation of filtering.
There are some ways to optimize repeaters including using the pagination functionality to load a smaller set of content. However, even after this optimization I still found my prototype pages with repeaters taking upwards of 8-10 seconds to load locally. Viewing pages from the axshare server which can be slow on its own, was often pushing 20+ seconds to load a page. For all the power they offer it was a big dissappointment to not be able to use repeaters in the prototypes for the usability testing. I am still looking further in to how to optimize things. I think it would be helpful if we could make a repeater load asynchronously and perhaps have a place holder image or group of elements.