Tag Archives: stupid me

My iFrame usability-gaffe (dommigheid met iFrames)

A couple of days ago I created a small survey to see what people consider sexism (a hot topic currently in the local press and online). For that purpose I embedded a Google Docs Form in an iFrame in a HTML-page on my own site. While following up on the results as they got posted, I noticed a significant amount of respondents were male and aged below 15. Weird, as I had expected that group to be somewhat absent from the results and as the next age-group, 15-20, was indeed barely present. What the heck was happening? My stupidity, that was what was happening!

A long time ago I wrote about problems with iFrames and (simple) solutions for some of those issues on this blog, and more specifically:

When a visitor clicks a link at the bottom of a long page inside an iframe and the target is a shorter page inside the same iframe, then he/she will see a blank page which is … well not very usable, no?

And that was exactly what was happening; after having filled in the first, long page of the Google Docs Form, respondents clicked on “Continue” and -depending on the screen resolution- all they saw was a “Submit”-button and not the questions (age, gender and optional e-mail) before that were hidden from view. How utterly stupid of me, especially as I created a small JavaScript thingie, frameMagic.js, to fix just that problem. I implemented frameMagic.js (and made a small change in there for it to work on iFrames without an id) so the number of male participants aged under 15 should drop considerably as. And I guess I’ll have to do some math to make the results less skewed.

(in Dutch: door een stomme technische fout van mij en mij alleen, is er een significant aantal antwoorden op de “Korte zomerjurkjes-seksisme-enquête” toegekend aan de categorie “man van jonger dan 15 jaar”. Het probleem is rechtgezet en ik zal de antwoorden op een correcte manier  herwegen om min of meer relevante dingen te kunnen zeggen over de resultaten.)

Who’s re-baking my cookies?

While tinkering with JavaScript at work for a performance-optimization, we encountered an annoying cookie-related problem. We wanted to check if a certain name/value was present in the cookie and not do “complicated and unneeded backend stuff” if it was not. But that didn’t always work, because in some browsers the cookie had the secure flag set and the JS-check was done while in HTTP.

It took some time, digging and soul-searching, but it turned out to work fine for all but me. The reason: NoScript! My favorite Firefox Addon has, so I learned, “Automatic Secure Cookie Management” as a countermeasure against HTTPS cookie hijacking (by setting cookies “secure” if they’re set in HTTPS and if they contain something resembling a session-id?). And that feature indeed can break stuff.

So if you’re using NoScript and you’re running into weird cookie-related problems: try with “Automatic Secure Cookie Management” turned off, or add the site you’re on as an exception and you might be good to go.