All posts from
July 2011

Motors and Music: Explorations of tangible interaction

Nice keynote presentation by Mister Sketch with some remarkable projects from CIID.

“Human-computer interaction is spreading into everyday objects like phones, cars, toys, books and instruments. Many interactions are implicit (the door ‘does the right thing’ when I approach); others are more ‘explicit’ (I push it). How do you know what the door is doing (e.g. ‘not allowed’)? Can you control it more expressively (e.g. ‘fling’). If the door has a motor in it; can we ‘feel’ the force/motion/inertia/reluctance? Music and musical performance are a challenge to HCI. Some of the best performances require precise expressive motions. I will describe experiments which use active force feedback (haptics) in the design of musical controllers. There are lessons for a broad range of interaction designers.”

(Bill Verplank ~ Chi Sparks 2011 videos)

User-Centered Design: A Reality Check

Definitely one of the highlights of the Chi Sparks 2011 conference.

“In the past years scores of methods for user-centered design have been developed – and validated. But do they really work? In reality that is. In practice user-centered product development is hectic and messy, at best. This presentation discusses barriers and enablers for usability in the development practice of electronic consumer products, identified through three case studies across 10 product development groups.”

(Jasper van Kuijk a.k.a. @jaspervankuijk ~ Chi Sparks 2011 videos)

The Difference (And Relationship) Between Usability And User Experience

DTDT: One is a quality of an artifact in use; the other is an emerging phenomenon within the human, at the moment, during the episode, and in the long-term.

“After web site accessibility, ‘user experience’ is probably the phrase that most people tend to confuse usability with. Whilst this topic has been discussed by various experts in the respective fields, I feel the need to write about it for two main reasons. The first reason is that several posts I have encountered emphasize the distinction between these two terms, yet they fail to highlight the relationship that exists between usability and user experience. The second reason is that whilst most of the posts are similar in nature, I have found some minor, albeit very valid points scattered in various posts I have read. Therefore, the objective of this post is to discuss these two terms, whilst highlighting their differences and more importantly the relationship that exists between them in a clear, concise way.”

(Justin Mifsud a.k.a. @justinmifsud ~ Usability Geek)

The CMS Is Broken

A nice practice case with a few exceptions to the rule.

“There are two explanations for the endemic publishing paralysis. Either no one has made a good CMS yet – perhaps putting words and pictures on pages is the limit of our engineering capacities – or the CMS is a broken concept.”

(Erik Hinton ~ TPM)

Business Analysis and User Experience

“At UC Berkeley there has been an increasing awareness of the importance of business analysis (BA) and user experience (UX) in the software development lifecycle. In this article, we will discuss the advantages of involving BA and UX practitioners in your development process, when and how to involve them, and the similarities and differences between the two professions.”

(Allison Bloodworth, James Dudek, and Rachel Hollowgrass ~ Modern Analyst)

Edward Tufte’s ‘Slopegraphs’

“What’s interesting is that over 20 years before sparklines came on the scene, Tufte developed a different type of data visualization that didn’t fare nearly as well. To date, in fact, I’ve only been able to find three examples of it, and even they aren’t completely in line with his vision. (…) In this post, we’re going to look at slopegraphs – what they are, how they’re made, why they haven’t seen a massive uptake so far, and why I think they’re about to become much more popular in the near future.”

(Charlie Park a.k.a. @charliepark)

The User Experience of the BBC News

“In a news environment, there is ultimately one asset that the web designer has to enhance and protect. Credibility. News is all about telling a believable version of real life. A brand as well established as the BBC’s naturally goes a long way to distinguish its content from lesser-known, opinion-led publishers. But all brands are vulnerable to erosion if the presentation doesn’t do them justice. The painstaking work that goes into the BBC’s online output – the designer’s understanding of what its content really is, who its readers are, what flavours of content to mix, and the mastery of formal methods of presentation – is all part of the never-ending preparation and re-preparation of an enticing Bento box.”

(Tammy Gur ~ Johnny Holland Magazine)

Convergence 2.0 = Service + Social + Physical

“The internet is becoming a sort of operating system, providing networked services to applications; online social networks are evolving into communications and identity platforms; and boundaries between the virtual world and the physical world are increasingly blurred. These changes are not independent; they are connected and mutually reinforcing. Service, social, and physical are converging.”

(Hugh Dubberly ~ Dubberly Design Office) – courtesy of adaptivepathblog

Let’s Be Frank

“Architect, designer, and living legend Ephraim Goldberg, better know as Frank Gehry, is one such individual. His explorations in light, sound, movement, and materials, as well as his innate ability to understand the psychology of human behavior, set him apart in the fields of architecture and design. To Gehry, the physical form of architecture isn’t really about a physical structure at all, but rather the manifestation of all disciplines of art, design, and technology coming together to solve a problem.”

(Christian Saylor ~ UX Magazine)

Search Analytics for Your Site: Conversations With Your Customers

“Any organization that has a searchable web site or intranet is sitting on top of hugely valuable and usually under-exploited data: logs that capture what users are searching for, how often each query was searched, and how many results each query retrieved. Search queries are gold: they are real data that show us exactly what users are searching for in their own words. This book shows you how to use search analytics to carry on a conversation with your customers: listen to and understand their needs, and improve your content, navigation and search performance to meet those needs.”

(Louis Rosenfeld a.k.a. @louisrosenfeld ~ Rosenfeld Media)

Classic: Electric Word, July 1990 (.pdf)

The Least Boring Computer Magazine In The World ~ “It’s always a crap shoot, you never know how an issue is going to turn out.Just coordinating all the elements is a task only slightly less humbling than trying to align all the planets. No wonder it’s become a standing joke around the EW office: that moment each issue when we start laying out pages and I get to see the magazine in its final form for the first time, when I proclaim in genuine surprise, hey, this issue isn’t so bad – in fact, it’s even better than the last. What makes it doubly gratifying this time is that this is the first issue of the rest of our lives. Thirty six months and two publishers later, ElectricWord is independent.”

(Louis Rosetto) ~ courtesy of johnrynne

Service design is Dead. The New Product is Alive.

“So, I changed my job title a few months ago. I dropped the ‘service’ bit. I’m now just Sidekick’s Design Director. I’m now MASSIVELY EXCITED about a new thing – designing products. But not your old products. No, I’m excited about designing a new type of evolving, networked product that requires a multi-disciplinary team just to keep it alive, let alone make it awesome. I’m calling this the New Product. Let me explain.”

(Nick Marsh a.k.a. @choosenick)