FIO bank usability fail

Recently, I opened an account at FIO bank because they offer free money transfers between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Amongst the usual questions asked, the clerk also asked my three unexpected ones regarding e-banking authorization.

The authorization is done by a randomly generated code which is sent to you as an SMS. Standard stuff, all banks I have experience with do it this way and you don’t even think about it when opening a bank account. However, with FIO you have to, because they ask you:

  1. What length should the authorization code be, between 5 and 25 characters.
  2. How many attempts do you want have when entering the code, min 1, max 5.
  3. How long should the code be valid when sent, max 20 minutes.

Why do you ask me this, FIO? Why do you make me think? Just pick a reasonable default and that’s it. Don’t bug me with this. Thank you. Good bye.

The PHP attitude

‘I’m not a real programmer. I throw together things until it works then I move on. The real programmers will say “yeah it works but you’re leaking memory everywhere. Perhaps we should fix that.” I’ll just restart apache every 10 requests.’ – Rasmus Lerdorf, the author of PHP (source).

What apps to expect in 2010?

Excited about what 2010 will bring us in the web & mobile application space? Well, I bet there will be a lot of going on in these three categories:

1. Local & mobile

It’s in man’s nature to go out with friends for a dinner or grab a beer, to socialize. People love to share where they are and what are they doing. Mobile apps that help you discover places in your neighbourhood and share them with your friends will be a hit in 2010. Apps like Foursquare, Gowalla, Nelso are already established in this territory, but I believe we’ll see more applications with different, exciting new approach.

2. Meaning in real-time

Real-time has been the buzzword of the last six months. There are thousands of apps bringing us information almost as soon as they happen, or, to be precise, as soon as someone updates their status. This however results in an information overrun. Even if you’re an information junkie like myself, you just can’t keep up with everything that’s happening. Well, at least not if you want to get work done.

That’s why we will see a lot of useful and inteligent apps, which will help users to filter, sort and find meaning in all this data, emerge in 2010. As a personal wish, I’d love to have a feature in my Twitter client that let’s me specify VIP folks, so I never miss a tweet by them.

3. New ways of discovering, sharing and listening to music

The music industry needs a major overhaul and the web is the medium of the upcoming revolution. There are a lot of problems to be solved here, both for producers and consumers and there’s already a few contestants, thesixtyone being my favorite one. The revolution may not come just yet, but 2010 will bring more players in this field and will strenghten the position of present ones. Tough there’s only one thing certain: whoever gets even mildly successful in this category will become very rich.

Bonus tip:

Not exactly a category, but a friend of mine is building an app, it’s about to launch and it should be a hit. Trust me on this – if you watch movies, sing up, you won’t regret it.

Two nicely designed navigation menus

I stumbled on two nice navigation menus:

First is on the <a href="http://no-www.org“>No WWW site. I like how the designer took the common visitor into account. A menu like this one would not work on a “regular” page with non-technical audience. However, as most of the site’s visitors definitely know HTML, the designer could and did use it in the menu. Very clever. The result is a attractive menu appealing to any web developer.

The second one is the top menu on Horsepigcow.com. It uses the jQuery Lavalamp plugin. If you look at the plugin’s demo page, you can tell the demos are designed by a programmer – they are aweful, but they show what the plugin can do. Luckily, the designer of Horsepigcow has a good taste and used the plugin to it’s full potential. The result is fun and aesthetic navigation menu. The only fault I can point out is that there’s no visual feedback for the current page.