Sometimes, Fast Eyes Aren’t Enough

I know, you’re saying, “The Director, you have the fastest eyes I’ve ever seen.” Well, probably not, since you might not have ever seen my eyes. But in my years as a printer, which meant I operated a Web printing press, which does not mean I did anything with the World Wide Web (the recruiters I talked to in the early part of the century looked crestfallen at that admission) but instead meant that I was responsible for the quality of printed material moving past me at 100 feet per minute or more. So I have a great skill at seeing problems with redirect pages and loading messages that most of the time only display for a fraction of a second.

But even I, ol’ The “Quick Eyes” Director, use a dirty trick to see what the user most likely will not: I take a screenshot of the loading message to check it.

You don’t have to get too fancy with it; when you see the screen, press Print Screen on the keyboard. That captures a bitmap of your screen to the clipboard, and you can paste it into Microsoft Paint or your preferred image editing software, and you can review it at your leisure. You have to press the key immediately when you see it, so it’s a test of your reflexes as well, and it might take a couple tries to get the screenshot. It helps if you say, “Big money, big money, no Whammies, STOP!” as you try it (so you can test like the other Michael Larson, word).

Note you can do the same thing on the Macintosh using Open Apple Command+SHIFT+3 or whatnot, but that’s a lot of synchronous button mashing, so it’s easier with a Windows machine.

Or if you have screen recording software that allows you to play the screen back at slow speed, you can review these messages very easily.

The point is, you can check the spelling, layout, and behavior of messages like this:

The elusive loading message

And you don’t even have to serve several years covered in spots of Reflex Blue ink to do it.

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