by Thalith on April 19, 2011
My first post on Big Spaceship’s Think blog about using reframing in the design proces.
by Thalith on April 18, 2011
Heard an interesting story from a friend a few weekends ago about an internship she had last summer. The company she worked at had a relatively large UX practice and, from what it sounded like, had significant usability experience.
The story she recounted happened during one of her first meetings at the company. It was an all-hands meeting with most of the design group present. They had just gotten back a usability report for one of their products.
So far so good. A company that takes usability seriously enough to include a larger group to present and discuss usability reports. Right?
However, what she said next startled me. They began mocking and laughing at the users that gave them low satisfaction ratings.
I’m not a saint. There are moments when I test that I find an answer from a user to be so unexpected that I want to break out in laughter. I catch myself and realize that this is the beauty of our practice. We can look in wonder and awe at the diversity in how people interact with our designs. It is amazing, in the truest sense of the word, that people are able to surprise us with the novel ways they can respond to a design that you created expecting a certain reaction.
Our response to a user’s action, should never be a laugh.
If we, as designers, had to take something akin to a Hippocratic oath, it would have begun with the lines “Respect your users, and at the very least, please don’t laugh at them.”
by Thalith on March 22, 2011
After you install Norton AntiVirus (or have it bundled with your new computer) you are presented with this screen.
Fairly innocuous perhaps. But is it really? It just so happened, that I really did not (or could not) go through the activation process at that time. I’m not one to brag, but I do occasionally have the semblance of a life that keeps me somewhat busy and doesn’t allow me to get to what seems like an optional product registration. So I try to close it. Umm..where is the close icon? Oh dash, the designer/coder/engineer had forgotten it. I know. It happens. I’ll just try to go to the menu top left….
Right. Grayed out.
It seems Norton really wants you to activate and register. So much so, it does not allow you to close (and judging by the omission of window controls, to even minimize). While other programs might be content with bugging you every now and then to register, not the case with Norton. He (only men are capable of this) thinks the other apps are too soft so he comes barging into your house and won’t leave. And he’s meant to keep the riffraff out.
Norton is an anti-virus software with no manners.
by Thalith on November 17, 2010
I came across this gem while window shopping (you can do that online right?) for a new laptop.
by Thalith on October 14, 2010
In July at OPOWER, the entire company engaged in a daylong innovation session. It consisted of different departments of the company coming together and working on projects they normally would not get to do. Think Google’s 20% time but crunched into a day. For me, coming from a design background, it seemed like a rapid design challenge.
On this day, most of Product Development (where UX lives) spent developing demos and working prototypes of ideas that individuals contributed. Organic, ad hoc groups were formed which would dedicate the entire working day (and then some) to work on their chosen problem.
At the end of the day, I realized what value days like these bring to individuals and the company as a whole.
- Gets people to work together
I ended up working with a front-end developer, a quality assurance engineer, and two back end programmers. What we had was a kick ass team that gelled quickly and divvied up tasks and responsibilities quite quickly. For me, these were people that I had never worked and typically did not work with.
- Try out something new
This is gave everyone to get their hands on work that they typically would not get to do on an average workday. One team tested out the effectiveness of using dryer balls with your laundry as part of their project.
- Get something done
And we built it. At the end of the day (well, evening) we had a fully working prototype that we were all proud of. And it was demoed to the entire company the following morning.
- UX as grease
I also saw the value of UX as grease, a lubricant, facilitating the design process when crunched for time. All the design work did not have to be done up front in this case. Wireframes acted as a status of what the team had agreed upon at that point in time.
by Thalith on July 10, 2010
UPDATE: Turns out the NY Times has resolved this issue since I wrote this post. You can still use your normal right-click behavior and use Google as you choose. Yay for progress! -thalith (Oct 14, 2010)
I love the word lookup feature in the New York Times. The one where you can highlight any word and look up its meaning. Its really helpful when reading (especially the NY Times).
However, it has a flaw. On other websites, I typically highlight words that I want to search, right -click and click “Search Googlefor ‘xyz’”. This is a great feature of Chrome by the way, saving you the hassle of copy-pasting. So, the NY Times tries to replace that behavior with the question mark icon that pops up. But when it comes to proper nouns, it fails.
For e.g., I wanted to know more about Tariq Ramadan in this story.
So I highlight and right-click.
Turns out I can’t, it loses focus of the highlighted word. What if I just search using NY Times’ built in feature?
Doesn’t work too well now, does it?
A great feature overall, but interferes with the experience of this user since it overrides pre-existing behaviors I had coming into the site.
by Thalith on June 11, 2010
by Thalith on May 25, 2010
The glitch essentially resulted in a maximum price of luxury brands on their 6pm.com site to be capped at $49.95. Many shopaholics jumped on the deal. Some too late (from SlickDeals.net).
Standing up to what you promise and delivering that is worth more than $1.6 million. Customers won’t forget.
Ending with some quotes from SlickDeals.net
“Wow. Kudos to them.
More retailers should behave likewise.”
“Other companies should start doing this. If you fark up your pricing, honor your idiotic mistake.
6pm.com just earned a bunch of lifetime customers, I am sure.”
“Although I didn’t take advantage of the situation, I have to give props to 6pm.com for handling this error in the way many more companies should do so (even though it cost them $1.6 million).”
by Thalith on May 13, 2010
One would think that you could simply type in a query (say “designer”) and click Submit and you’d be off, firing SQL queries, joining tables and pulling back records to display, within seconds.
But no, this site has other plans as it displays the same page. Every time. Click. Back to page.
No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks. You have to click a radio button that says ‘Search Now’ in order to search. Let me repeat that. You have to click a radio button that says ‘Search Now’ in order to search.
I sometimes look around and marvel at how far design has come. And then there are days like today.