Posts in category: Usability

Human- vs machine-centric content design

Human- vs machine-centric content design

Designers generally design for humans. Human-centric design makes sense as the consumers/users are humans. There are key principles and best practices governing structure, content, and presentation. These are factors that affect a design’s accessibility, usability and...
If you want to survive in design

If you want to survive in design

I took the screengrab on the left. And mocked up the one on the right. It still astounds me how often I come across illegible designs. I can understand why the designer chose the typeface on the left. It does have a rather run, rhythmic quality to it. It conveys an...
The humble index.html page

The humble index.html page

In the age of WordPress and other cheap and easy content management systems, we should not forget the humble index.html file. You can build one with nothing more than Notepad. It is a fast way to get a simple web page up; such as one with your logo and contact...
Hair-trigger ads UX fail

Hair-trigger ads UX fail

Yet another user-experience (UX) fail because … advertising! If you are a regular reader of news.com.au on your phone you may have noticed this annoying behaviour: swiping to scroll/pan a story often triggers an ad to open in a new browser tab/page. This is poor...
It just works

It just works

On a whim I connected my Thinkpad USB Traveller keyboard to my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 again recently. I haven’t done this since I bought the USB OTG cable over a year ago, Guess what? It still just worked! The phone detected both the trackpoint and the touchpad...
Stop nagging already

Stop nagging already

Nagging has probably existed since humans developed speech. It is unpleasant and never productive. Being essentially a one-sided activity, it does nothing for relationship building. In some cases it can be actively counter-productive. SO why is Microsoft doing it?...
Obvious but not too easy

Obvious but not too easy

When we think about improving something we often think of making it easier to use. Sometimes the opposite is true. Like this alarm trigger on a Perth train. The trigger has to be immediately obvious and accessible. But the barrier to triggering must be high so as to...
Mobile power

Mobile power

Do you travel with a spare battery for your phone? On the most recent trip to Europe, I used my phone to store travel information like itineraries and hotel vouchers, navigate cities, collect my thoughts (write!), communicate with friends, access exhibitions, and...
Foot traffic lines

Foot traffic lines

Is not often we think about or consciously notice lines used to direct foot traffic in public spaces. Here are three examples from my recent travels. This triangle was painted at a T intersection of the exit ramps in London Pimlico tube station. I think it is intended...
Captcha an exercise in aggravation

Captcha an exercise in aggravation

I’ve just spent an aggravating half hour trying to log in to a website that uses captcha. And I am pissed. What started as a clever way to sort the bots from the humans have evolved into a form of digital purgatory — not exactly the sort of experience you...
Credit card customer experience consistency

Credit card customer experience consistency

Many of our customer experiences are amalgamations of services provided by different suppliers. Take for example, the use of a credit card when travelling abroad, like the 28 Degrees Mastercard I use. In Ireland, the card did not work at all retailers (even when all...
Interact to empower

Interact to empower

Some process and contexts are inherently more prone to eliciting shame. Applying for a bank loan. (Read my previous post about this) Applying to receive social security assistance. We can and should design the user experience to minimise triggering shame in our...
Interact to shame

Interact to shame

If you are a High Street bank, the experience your customers have with your front line staff may be the only opportunity to personally differentiate yourself. Reading Brené Brown’s research into shame reminded me of a user experience with a bank branch a few...
Missing from Amsterdam

Missing from Amsterdam

For city with streets that are almost as densely packed as Singapore and Sydney, I did not see a single act of public aggression in all of my 10 days there. There were no public arguments, no raised voices, no overt intoxication or antisocial drunken behaviours. The...
Amsterdam Museum timeline works

Amsterdam Museum timeline works

The main exhibition at the Amsterdam museum uses a timeline very effectively to lead visitors through the narrative. The timeline ran through all the rooms dedicated to the exhibition. It provided a clear sense of chronology and worked well to highlight just enough...
Creating “foreign” to test UX

Creating “foreign” to test UX

When was the last time you travelled through a country where you didn’t know the local language? Not having any hooks into an unfamiliar culture (to which language is a powerful inroad) can be a wonderful opportunity to test a user experience from a true...
Movie soundtrack censorship fail

Movie soundtrack censorship fail

[Warning: this post contains uncensored naughty words.] I really don’t get why some cultures still censor “bad” words from movies. It can’t be about the children surely – because inevitably the movies these words are meticulously removed from are ones that show...
UX lies beyond just the screen

UX lies beyond just the screen

Moving between a brand new Airbus A380 and an elderly Boeing 777 in a single (long) journey, operated by the same airline, provided the perfect opportunity to experience the same inflight entertainment system in two different use contexts. Naturally, the newer plane...

Feeling and Being in UI/UX design

“The fundamental human desire for a feeling of safety and security – even though this feeling may be only indirectly related, at best, to being more safe or secure.” From The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman....
Designing from where users are

Designing from where users are

Go out and meet your users where they are! User-centric design takes into account where the user is currently at – the cultural, psychological, ability and physical context – and engages with them from that point. An emergency defibrillator is designed to...
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