All posts from
October 2009

Make It So: Learning From SciFi Interfaces by Nathan Shedroff and Chris Noessel

“Make It So explores how science fiction and interface design relate to each other. The authors have developed a model that traces lines of influence between the two, and use this as a scaffold to investigate how the depiction of technologies evolve over time, how fictional interfaces influence those in the real world, and what lessons interface designers can learn through this process. This investigation of science fiction television shows and movies has yielded practical lessons that apply to online, social, mobile, and other media interfaces.” (Nathan Shedroff and Chris Noessel – Huffduffer)

Restoring Spring to iPhone/iPod Touch Springboard

“All of these changes work within the current Springboard metaphor and should not present any insurmountable programming challenges. Certainly vertical scroll is most critical and should be implemented within the next couple of months if sales are not to be further limited. The rest can follow. These changes are also designed so that the new user or disinterested user will enjoy the same Springboard experience as today, while the ‘power-buyer’ can regain control of their device. Because iPhone/iPod Touch apps, at least at this point, all work one-at-a-time, adding ten or even twenty times as many apps to an iPhone/iPod Touch should have no effect on its reliability, etc. The only effect of these changes will be that both Apple and its developers make a whole bunch more money and that users will be having a whole bunch more fun, making their personal Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that much more beloved and indispensable.” (Bruce TognazinniAskTog) – courtesy of nicotenhoor

SpoolCast: Visual Design for the Non-Designer

“What can a non-designer do to harness the power of visual design without calling professional help? Quite a lot, says internationally-regarded visual designer Dan Rubin. We called Dan to talk about what design techniques are accessible to mere mortals. He also gave us a preview of his day-long workshop for non-designers at our User Interface 14 Conference, this November.” (Jared Spool – UIE)

Usability Testing Demystified

“There seems to be this idea going around that usability testing is bad, or that the cool kids don’t do it. That it’s old skool. That designers don’t need to do it. What if I told you that usability testing is the hottest thing in experience design research? Every time a person has a great experience with a website, a web app, a gadget, or a service, it’s because a design team made excellent decisions about both design and implementation—decisions based on data about how people use designs. And how can you get that data? Usability testing.” (A List Apart No. 293)

An Evolution of Search

“The technology of information retrieval systems continues to evolve, and in particular, the technology of search has continued to evolve. A new stage in the evolution of search has arrived with the advent of entity-based searching. This paper provides a brief review of some of the earlier stages of search evolution in the context of the evolutionary pressures of the concurrent improvement of both precision and recall.” (John D. Holt and David J. Miller – ASIS&T Bulletin October/November 2009)

Experience Themes: How a storytelling method can help unify teams and create better products

“There’s an old adage among screenwriters that when a writer can sum up a story in a sentence or less, he has discovered what’s important about the story. He’ll know what the story is about and therefore have a strong sense of theme. And in knowing the theme, he’ll have a compass to use in the process of “designing” the damn thing (i.e. what to keep, what to lose, what actually happens at the end). The story will be all the better for it because it all hangs together with a central idea that will give it greater impact and meaning.” (Cindy Chastain – Boxes and Arrows)

How Mobile is Changing Design

“Mobile is evolving, the web is adapting, and these two colossal worlds are about to collide to create something new. In order to design the experiences of this new contextual web, we need to change the way we look at design. In this talk Brian will provide his insights on some of the emerging trends in mobile design and share his thoughts on how we will design the interfaces of tomorrow.” (Brian Fling – Huffduffer)

UX: An art in search of an methodology

“Perhaps like all forms of design, in practice user experience design rarely resembles the execution of a method, so much as it resembles the practice of an art. There is a heavy reliance on intuition, and when a designer does choose to refer to some piece of shared knowledge, that knowledge usually takes the form of a pattern (in the architectural sense) rather than empirical studies or a unified theoretical framework.” (Justin Tauber – Johnny Holland Magazine)

Can UX Be Agile?

“Traditional, heavyweight development methodologies can be very effective at solving well‑defined problems, where the person solving the problem has a clear understanding of the initial and goal states, the available options, and the constraints on the problem. At the opposite end of the spectrum are ill‑defined, so-called wicked problems. When it’s necessary to balance numerous, often‑conflicting factors, traditional development methodologies are much less effective.” (Peter HornsbyUXmatters)

The Ever-Evolving Arrow: Universal Control Symbol

“Symbols and icons can be both friend and enemy to UX designers. They can convey a great deal of information in the span of just a few pixels or utterly confuse users, depending on the context. The careful application of icons, however, can greatly enhance software, enabling quick access to a feature or function, using a minimal amount of screen real estate.” (Jonathan FollettUXmatters)

No Chief Web Officer Required

“It’s a widely-held belief among various Web practitioners (from content strategists and information architects to Web infrastructure tool builders and application developers) that senior executives don’t understand the real power and capability of the Internet. And, that this lack of understanding has left Web Teams executing in a vacuum, with inappropriate funding and inadequate headcount. More importantly, it has left organizations exposed, as new Internet-enabled businesses sneak up and shut down the slower-to-react belle-weathers. The house is on fire and the C-Suite has got a garden hose. To address this strategic deficit, there’s been a lot of discussion about the placement of a senior Web-savvy person in the C-Suite to drive the creation of a sensible Web content and information strategy. I’ve thought about this potential new role in the C-suite a lot and think that it’s not required.” (Lisa Welchman) – courtesy of ruudruissaard

Tages Anzeiger of Switzerland: Tale of a new look, and the model that didn’t quite make it

“The Swiss daily, Tages Anzeiger, introduced a new design this week. It is the work of designer Tom Menzi, who has given the TA a classic, elegant, functional look; however, the process started with a pitch for the job, which included the design team of Information Architects (IA), a firm with offices in Zurich and Tokyo. Their model did not win the job for IA. In this post, Oliver Reichenstein, of IA, offers an unusually transparent account of what they did, how they did it, and why they think their model did not make it. Every designer who has ever participated in a pitch will identify with Oliver’s account.” (Mario R. Garcia – Garcia Media) – courtesy of michielvuijlsteke

Halcyon days at the EuroIA Conference

“I had low expectations for the conference, thinking it was not going to be very professional. That was my estimation of the IA movement in general. (…) I assume that CHI was where the interesting professional UX work would be done. I did not expect any such thing at an IA conference, which I thought was too narrow and too niche to be interesting.I was wrong and closed minded, both of which I find annoying.” (Jonathan Arnowitz – UX in Arnoland)