Dec 3, 2009

Sep 8, 2009

Remote TV A11Y

This article is about reducing complexity with a knife, scissors, and some tape. These tools already indicate that I am talking about RL! Well, in fact you can cut all the wires of your power adaptors to simplify your life, but I do recommending this right now. The problem at hand is a TV remote -- I can hear your aahs! Too many remote controls with too many functions, too tiny buttons, too easy to get lost, confusing labels and to sum it up: not suited to the task. My user population is an 80-yrs old lady with a telly hooked up to the cable; no special equipment like VCR, DVD, AUX 1-3 or SAT. Not to mention HD recorders, or TiVO with timeshift functionality. In my opinion it is even difficult for an educated engineer to use any remote control properly, but at 80 years you come from a totally different background to say the least, and your mental abilities are no longer at 100%. Usage errors are frequent -- and the concept of Undo or Home is not available.

As said, my approach reduces the likelihood of user errors by making dangerous actions impossible to trigger:

I find my design also superior to the competition because in terms of robustness you cannot remove the paper shield by accident.


Other special remote controls aim to address a limited eyesight of the user by making everything larger:
They shouldn't have stopped here. Clear wording is preferred. But this is no news if you are familiar with accessibility guidelines. On the other hand, this is the first remote that offers a function to call a taxi -- I call that a unique selling point!
I think different shapes of the buttons is also a good idea, because touch becomes more important if you cannot see so well anymore; or if it's quite dark in your living room with the home entertainment system. Though in the example above, channel and volume controls are too similar to get used to them without taking a look all the time.

[originally published as a User Experience Forum Newsletter #28 | Join Xing]

Sep 2, 2009

service design is...

Professor Peter Fossick with a student.

service design is interactive design meets industrial design meets advertising meets interior design meets graphic design meets sequential art. An interview with Pater Fossick by Paula Wallace.

/via Matthias Schrader

Jul 29, 2009

Design Process at Apple

Insights On Innovation. Apple thinks good design is a present. Pixel-perfect mockups are critical. 10 to 3 to 1. Paired design meetings. Brainstorm meeting. Production meeting. Pony meetings.

What else does Apple do differently? 1. Apple does not do market research. 2. Apple has a very small team who designs their major products. 3. Apple owns their entire system. 4. Apple focuses on a select group of products. 5. Apple has a maniacal focus on perfection.

So is it possible for you to innovate like Apple? You need a leader who prioritizes new product innovation. You need to focus. You need the right people, and you need to reward them.

Complete article at: You Can't Innovate Like Apple — By Alain Breillatt

Jun 4, 2009

Buxton meets Hustwit

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Bill Buxton and Gary Hustwit - director of Objectified - met for a 17' interview at mix09


May 20, 2009

Wrong Update Notification

Dear OOo guys,

don't know if you have noticed yet, but the update notification mechanism does not work properly. It continuously informs me on new updates – while in fact there are none available. Furthermore, the menu bar icon never goes away.

I assume this is not the intended behaviour. I hope you agree and fix this. Issue filed: 102098

PS_ deleting the file user/LibraryApplication Support/ solves the problem.

May 18, 2009

IA Konferenz 2009 /links

The Information Architecture Konferenz 2009 took place in Hamburg last weekend. Here are some links...

May 14, 2009


Beat Signer on PowerPoint Multimedia Presentations in Computer Science Education: What Do Users Need? /30' video at TU Graz

Structured interviews with 9 faculty members of ETH Zurich lead to the following desired features

  • Highlighting and annotating slide content
  • Use blank "sheets"
  • Use video controls
  • Use system mobile
  • Orientate efficiently within slide collection
  • See content of current and nearby slides

Idea for PaperPoint: Use Anoto pen on hand-out of presentation to control the slide show. Very nice!

Publication: PaperPoint: a paper-based presentation and interactive paper prototyping tool. In: Tangible and embedded interaction. Proceedings of the 1st international conference on Tangible and embedded interaction

May 11, 2009

Nailing a Pudding

Have you ever wondered how to nail a pudding to the wall? I guess I figured it out: --- freeze the pudding first! Have fun!

Apr 27, 2009

10 Questions to Hartmut Esslinger

Guy Kawasaki interviewed Harmut Esslinger.
  1. How does Steve Jobs’s mind work?
  2. Why is it that companies with billions of dollars who can hire any designer or design firm in the world put out such crappy products?
  3. Can customers truly tell a company how to innovate?
  4. What can customers do then?
  5. If a company is hiring a design firm, how can it know that it’s picking the right one?
  6. If a company is hiring a designer (as an employee), how can it know that it’s picking the right one?
  7. What are your top ten products of all time?
  8. What are your ten worst products of all time?
  9. Why has the One Laptop Per Child project met with limited success?
  10. If a young person wants to be a great designer, what should he or she do?

Read the answers at OpenForum: The Inside Scoop on Design: Ten Questions with Hartmut Esslinger

Apr 1, 2009

The Top Five Innovation Killers

  1. An intolerance of failure.
  2. An excessive customer focus.
  3. A desire for a magic pill, not a daily exercise regime.
  4. An unwillingness to cannibalise sales.
  5. A reliance on a small cadre of innovators.
According to Stuart Gross at bnet [read why]

Mar 29, 2009

Google Design by Numbers

Quite recently Douglas Bowman left google. While this is not big news in itself it reveals some insights into google design process. There seems to be a clash between google's data driven design by committee approach and Doug's design attidude as an x-designer.

Mar 28, 2009


Mar 6, 2009

ritsch ratsch click

At least someone starts to think about camera UIs. But none of them is really convincing, or has the wow factor.
BTW_ I like to see a camera that can be controlled just by touch – i mean just with your fingers without the necessity to look at the screen all the time.

Feb 28, 2009

Information Architecture TV

Jan Jursa colected more than 300 presentations and clips over the last 2 years. Bring some time to watch the show...

Feb 25, 2009

ease of search vs. ease of scrolling

Some websites (read: their web developers) want to be smarter than the user. They try to anticipate my behavior on the page -- and fail. I talk esp. about flickr's search results.

Jan 27, 2009

Shake it, baby

A couple of new window management features of Windows 7 are quite remarkable. First of all the shake of windows, that hides all other screen clutter. Shake the window again and the other windows come back. This is an excellent, fun, and easy to remember gesture to remove distractions and focus on the current task. For me on Mac the shortcut Cmd-Opt-H has a similar effect. It hides all windows from other applications. But I suppose it is not as much fun, and not consistently implemented across all applications. Back to Windows' gesture, I would expect just one caveat: The trigger MouseDown-RapidSmallMouseMovements works best with a mouse -- a trackpad is not the best graphical input device to perform this gesture.

Two other gestures grabbed my attentions. Move a window against the upper border of the screen and it maximizes. Move it to the right or left border to use the right or left half of the screen. These gestures simplify the task to compare two documents side by side. A small, yet powerful aspect to work with windows.

There is another shake gesture that becomes fashion. Shake Apple iPods and you get a new random song. I would like to see this feature for iTunes as well. Shake the iTunes window to randomize to the next tune. Alt-Click on the forward button is my most used function in iTunes anyway.

Jan 26, 2009