All posts from
May 2010

Innovation at Google: The physics of data

“Today, we measure the size of the Web in exabytes and are uploading to it 15 times more data than we were 3 years ago. Technologies for sensing, storing, and sharing information are driving innovation in the tools available to help us understand our world in greater detail and accuracy than ever before. The implications of analyzing data on a massive scale transcend the tech industry, impacting the environmental sector, social justice issues, health and science research, and more. When coupled with astute technical insight, data is dynamic, accessible, and ultimately, creative.” (Marissa Mayer)

Gestural Interfaces: A Step Backwards in Usability

“The usability crisis is upon us, once again. We suspect most of you thought it was over. After all, HCI certainly understands how to make things usable, so the emphasis has shifted to more engaging topics, such as exciting new applications, new technological developments, and the challenges of social networks and ubiquitous connection and communication. Well you are wrong.” (Donald A. Norman and Jakob Nielsen)

Paris, je t’aime

“Led by some of the biggest names in the content strategy world, the workshops and sessions covered a lot of territory. Here are a few of the biggest takeaways for me from my two days in Paris.” (Stacey King Gordon)

Combining Methods: Web Analytics and User Testing

“After presenting on combining methods at the EuroIA in 2009, Adam Cox and Martijn Klompenhouwer again showed the benefits of combining two separate sources. They delivered their presentation at the yearly Usability Professional Association conference in Munich (UPA2010). This time they focused on how to use Web Analytics in the preparation and execution of usability testing. Drawing from their experience of combining Web Analytics and User Research over the years, they illustrated several practical examples of how this combined approach works when it comes to user testing. After a short introduction of the individual methods, they demonstrated this approach by showcasing specific usability testing projects with a presentational style that was both visual and conversational.” (User Intelligence)

Podcast for the 2010 UPA International Conference

“From May 24th to May 28th, the 2010 UPA International Conference is being held in Munich, Germany. This event brings together more than 700 usability professionals from all over the world. To give you an impression of the diverse range of speakers and topics, the UPA provides an audio podcast accompanying the conference. Therein, you will find interviews with various conference attendants and organizers, some of them recorded during the event, others before and after it.” (Content Crew)

The Philosophy of Service Design

“(…) on a theoretical level anyway, the benefits of service design over conventional ‘style led design’ or ‘industrial design’. Perhaps such more established forms of design have a philosphy and perhaps even succeed in representing that philosophy or design intent, but what they lack is the story or narrative that will engage users with them.” (Ferg’s Public Engagement Blog)

Top 5 reasons why The Customer is Always Right is wrong

“The fact is that some customers are just plain wrong, that businesses are better of without them, and that managers siding with unreasonable customers over employees is a very bad idea, that results in worse customer service.” (Alexander Kjerulf ~ Chief Happiness Officer)

Usability Ain’t Everything: A Response to Jakob Nielsen’s iPad Usability Study

“The conclusion of the Nielsen Norman Group’s April 2010 study of iPad usability is that it has problems and more standards are the solution. Yes, the iPad is imperfect, but resorting to standards as the solution is an antiquated reaction that fails to consider how interactive systems have evolved. We’re not usability engineers anymore (not most of us, anyway); we’re user experience designers. Experience is more than just usability.” (Fred Beecher ~ Johnny Holland)

Don Norman at IIT Design Research Conference 2010

“There is a great gulf between the research community and practice. Moreover, there is often a great gull between what designers do and what industry needs. We believe we know how to do design, but this belief is based more on faith than on data, and this belief reinforces the gulf between the research community and practice. I find that the things we take most for granted are seldom examined or questioned. As a result, it is often our most fundamental beliefs that are apt to be wrong. In this talk, deliberately intended to be controversial, I examine some of our most cherished beliefs. Examples: design research helps create breakthrough products; complexity is bad and simplicity good; there is a natural chain from research to product.” (Videos of the IIT Institute of Design)

Why You Should Adopt An ‘Accessible Content Strategy’

“With the burgeoning number of computing devices and software solutions, it is easier than ever before to deliver single-sourced content such that it is accessible, consumable and actionable by as many users as possible.” (The Content Wrangler)

Tufte & Beautiful Evidence

“It was a breath of fresh air not to be surrounded by fellow ad folk. Maybe you were there, but I didn’t spot you or find your tweets. There were certainly some designers and UX people. I found the lecture a mixed bag – it was certainly a lecture rather than a presentation. During the introduction and the conclusion Tufte seemed rather uncomfortable whilst reading from notes. But the core of the content, around analytical design, was delivered away from the lectern and that was when Tufte and the lecture came to life. My take out from the evening was that information doesn’t care what it is; but how it is brought to life is critical for its interpretation and power as a communicator. ‘Whatever it takes’ was Tufte’s recurring theme about how to visualise data, avoiding being a slave to a particular methodology.” (MBA Blog)

The Elegant Architecture of the Customer Experience

“People are the most vital asset when designing and crafting a unique customer experience. Disciplined execution requires a robust set of processes to ensure efficiency and uniformity and keep pace with the burgeoning scalability requirements of the enterprise. Automated systems are vital to augment productivity of operations and to fulfill accuracy, efficiency, effectiveness, reliability and scalability needs.” (E-Commerce News)

Organizating Content: A 7 Parts Series

“I’m starting a new series on organizing content. I’m not sure how many parts there will be in this series. Writing essays in a serial format is an experiment I’m exploring. Basically this approach to writing follows the agile model. I write a bit, get some feedback, write some more, get feedback, and keep going. The feedback along the way shapes the direction I’m heading. Also, with each serial post, I hope to take the issue a little deeper.” (I’d Rather Be Writing)

Involving Stakeholders in User Testing

“Besides usability specialists, all design team members should observe usability. It’s also good to invite executives. Although biased conclusions are possible, they’re far outweighed by the benefits of increased buy-in and empathy.” (Jakob NielsenAlertbox)

Interface Expert Knocks iPad Apps for Inconsistent Usability

“The iPad has been hailed as an interface triumph. But one usability expert has published an exhaustive critique of the iPad, taking it to task for the inconsistency and obscurity of its apps’ interfaces. The problem, at its core: A lack of interface standards means every app behaves in a different way.” (Wired) courtesy of apblog

Content strategy

“With the mass of online content available, merely repurposing offline material for the web won’t satifsy the expectations of today’s consumers. A more adventurous strategy is required.” (Meg Carter ~ New Media Age)

15 Tips for Designing Terrific Tables

“A good table communicates a lot of information in a concise, easy to understand way. Because the emphasis really should be on the information, over-designing a table can kill the effectiveness. However, in the right hands, clever design can not only make a table more attractive, but can actually increase readability.” (Design Shack)

Experience Design: Technology for all the right reasons

“The book clarifies what experience is, and highlights five crucial aspects and their implications for the design of interactive products. It provides reasons why we should bother with an experiential approach, and presents a detailed working model of experience useful for practitioners and academics alike. It closes with the particular challenges of an experiential approach for design. The book presents its view as a comprehensive, yet entertaining blend of scientific findings, design examples, and personal anecdotes.” (Marc Hassenzahl ~ Experience Design)

Special Issue: Experience Design – Applications and Reflections

“Already last year, Mark Blythe, Effie Law and I edited a special issue on Experience Design in the New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia. It features a more designerly perspective on and some reflections about Experience Design itself and its relation to common approaches and views in Human-Computer Interaction and Design.” (Marc Hassenzahl ~ Experience Design)