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Peter Seebach

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Peter Seebach would like to be able to trust hardware manufacturers' software, but sometimes their misguided actions speak louder than their apologetic words. If you'd like to talk about product trust, you can reach him at


Do you think the pixel is the only unit of measurement for building graphical displays? Come on, you can measure better than that! This month, the Cranky user offers tips for user-friendly HTML layout and interface design, and explains why pixels aren't always the best unit for the job.

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When people design Web forms, they often overlook some great sources of professional expertise in the world -- the existence of form design techniques with which nearly all users are familiar. This month, the cranky user looks at form design and management.

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With the installer usually the first part of an application that a user sees, why is software installation such a notoriously buggy procedure? This month, in The cranky user column, Peter chronicles the ups and downs of installation, from the golden era of the floppy disk to the rise of the standard installer. He also offers some user-centered advice on building installers that work the way users want them to.

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Mixed signals have become a fixture on the user landscape that most of you just ignore. Whether you're pressing Start to shut down a computer operating system or marveling at privacy-policy doublespeak, you've become so inured that you barely notice how exhausting and irritating it all is. Not so for the cranky user. This month's column reveals both the madness and the method behind the seemingly random insanity that most computer users are soaking in.

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Recently, a router vendor configured its product to occasionally redirect HTTP requests to a product ad Web site and defended the action as an "ease-of-use" feature. In this installment, cranky Peter Seebach discusses why this type of design is wrong and the technical (and ethical) problems it can cause.

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