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September 30, 2010

This is what I did last night

Filed under: The American Adventure — admin @ 6:46 am

Ricky Gervais Live at the Chicago Theatre

Ricky was hilarious. None of it repeatable in decent company, of course. But that’s what’s funny about it.

September 27, 2010

The Evolution of the Apple Mouse

Filed under: Apple,Design,Usability — admin @ 8:36 am

Take a walk down memory lane — Mashable have a photo gallery showing the Evolution of the Apple Mouse.

With the exception of the 1983 Lisa mouse (with a steel ball!) and the Magic Trackpad I’ve used every single one throughout the years. Whilst the ‘puck’ mouse was the most uncomfortable they’ve all suffered from a lack of good ergonomics and I’ve never found an Apple mouse that’s comfortable to use for extended periods of time. I tried a Magic Mouse as recently as last week and didn’t get on with it unfortunately. I’m hoping to try out a Magic Trackpad soon.

I’m currently using a Logitech MX Revolution. Whilst it’s the most comfy mouse I’ve ever owned it still invokes pains in my right hand, wrist & fingers.

September 21, 2010

Never Mind the Bullets

Filed under: Code,Design — admin @ 12:32 pm

This animated comic strip is awesome. Developed by Microsoft to showcase the features of IE9 (but really it’s showcasing the features of HTML5) it takes something traditionally static (comic books) and brings it to life in a wonderfully interactive way.

Works fine in Safari on a Mac, too. That’s the beauty of HTML5.

September 18, 2010

The organization is a tribe and the customer is a stranger

Filed under: Culture — admin @ 9:04 am

Sometimes the hardest thing when working with a client is facilitating a necessary change in their culture. Many big corporations have their practices and processes hardwired into management. Suggesting a departure from the way things are currently done will invariably be met with resistance.

From “The customer is a stranger”:

The essential challenge of the Web is to become customer-centric. To truly succeed on the Web the organization must shape itself around the customer. This is very difficult for any organization to do because at heart all organizations are tribes. And the one thing a tribe does not like to do is shape itself around the stranger, the outsider.

The success stories are insightful. Which do you think would have garnered more attention from the client at the outset:

“We think you should make this change as testing has shown it’ll improve sales.”

Or:

“Making this change will increase your revenue by more than 2000% per quarter.”

A list of wireframing tools

Filed under: IA,Resources — admin @ 8:31 am

WDL has a list of 10 ‘excellent’ tools for producing wireframes. There are some good ones here — I have a little experience with Axure & Mockingbird looks very interesting.

Personally speaking I’m not a fan of stylised wireframes (like the ones produced by Balsamiq or Cacoo) — I feel they detract from the purpose of the wireframe itself and add an unnecessary layer of style. I’ve reviewed many ‘styled’ wireframes in the past and I could never get over the feeling that they were trying too hard.

September 17, 2010

Cards of the future?

Filed under: Experiential,Financial Services,Opinion,Usability — admin @ 9:17 am

Mashable have an interesting article on the future of bank cards. The article is worth a read and the video is definitely worth a watch. In it you see someone demoing the ‘next generation’ of bank cards, ones that have dynamic numbers and PIN input.

I’m not convinced this is the future of payments. The convenience of cards is in their ease and speed of use — this disappears as soon as the user has to do more than present the card and sign. Imagine standing in line at a Starbucks and having to tap in a PIN to generate your card number so you can pay for your Americano. You’re going to hold a lot of people up.

I don’t think the future of payments involves little bits of plastic.

September 16, 2010

How to Communicate Needs & Expectations to Web Designers

Filed under: Design — admin @ 10:51 am

This is a good read: How to Communicate Needs & Expectations to Web Designers:

One of the hardest things for a client to do, but one of the most necessary, is to give up control. That doesn’t mean you won’t get what you want or that you can’t offer feedback, but micromanaging the design process is a terrible idea. You’re hiring a designer because you value her expertise and skill, so trust her to take your initial input and create something that works.

The article is interesting but it reads very much like the client-designer relationship is one way. In reality the designer should be helping to wring the requirements, expectations, targets and success criteria from the client.

However, I do like the part about giving up control of design to the designer.

September 14, 2010

A daunting design challenge

Filed under: Design — admin @ 1:12 pm

If you’ve eaten in McDonald’s anytime over the past year or so you’ll have noticed the nutritional information printed on your McLovliness, there to tell you just how bad the food you’re eating is for you. When I first saw this information I struggled to understand what the icons actually meant.

The nutritional information printed on McDonald’s food is part of their global nutrition initiative — a truly daunting design & communication challenge, to be sure:

The company wanted to make nutrition information more accessible and understandable to the average consumer, and determined through extensive research that visual icons representing key food nutrients (protein, for example) were the appropriate course of action. But how does one convey a nutrient in pictures when no established images exist?

September 2, 2010

iTunes 10

Filed under: Apple,Design,Usability — admin @ 9:11 am

Apple seem to have changed a lot of design & UI elements in iTunes 10 — not all of it for the better, in my opinion. The most illustrative example of this is the icon. Up until yesterday, this is how it looked in my dock:

The old iTunes icon

Apple changed it yesterday. This is how it looks now:

The new iTunes icon

Gah.

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