"usability" entries

Four short links: 20 March 2014

Four short links: 20 March 2014

Smart Objects, Crypto Course, Culture Design, and Security v Usability

  1. Smart Interaction Lab — some interesting prototyping work designing for smart objects.
  2. Crypto 101 — self-directory crypto instruction. (via BoingBoing)
  3. Chipotle Culture — interesting piece on Chipotle’s approach to building positive feedback loops around training. Reminded me of Ben Horowitz’s “Why You Should Train Your People”.
  4. Keybase.io Writeup (Tim Bray) — Tim’s right, that removing the centralised attack point creates a usability problem. Systems that are hardest to attack are also the ones that are hardest for Normal People to use. (Can I coin this as the Torkington Conjecture, with the corollary that sufficiently stupid users are indistinguishable from intelligent attackers?)
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Architecture, design, and the connected environment

Emerging IoT technologies require a carefully considered approach to integration, implementation, and user interface.

Just when it seems we’re starting to get our heads around the mobile revolution, another design challenge has risen up fiercer and larger right behind it: the Internet of Things. The rise in popularity of “wearables” and the growing activity around NFC and Bluetooth LE technologies are pushing the Internet of Things increasingly closer to the mainstream consumer market. Just as some challenges of mobile computing were pointedly addressed by responsive web design and adaptive content, we must carefully evaluate our approach to integration, implementation, and interface in this emerging context if we hope to see it become an enriching part people’s daily lives (and not just another source of anger and frustration).

It is with this goal in mind that I would like to offer a series of posts as one starting point for a conversation about user interface design, user experience design, and information architecture for connected environments. I’ll begin by discussing the functional relationship between user interface design and information architecture, and by drawing out some implications of this relationship for user experience as a whole. Read more…

Comments: 2

Accessibility: Why I Hate Checklists

A truly accessible website is both accessible and usable

Every time I give a talk about making accessible websites, I get the following question:

“What checklist do you use to make sure a site is accessible?”

My response always surprises them:

“I don’t use a list.”

Why not? There are so many lists out there that I could be using! Practically every US government agency has a checklist published on their site, and several non-government sites offer checklists of their own. With so many free resources, why do I ignore checklists?

Read more…

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Four short links: 24 July 2013

Four short links: 24 July 2013

Good Dev, User-Hostile Patterns, Patent Victories, and Drone History

  1. What to Look For in Software Dev (Pamela Fox) — It’s important to find a job where you get to work on a product you love or problems that challenge you, but it’s also important to find a job where you will be happy inside their codebase – where you won’t be afraid to make changes and where there’s a clear process for those changes.
  2. The Slippery Slope to Dark Patterns — demonstrates and deconstructs determinedly user-hostile pieces of software which deliberately break Nielsen’s usability heuristics to make users agree to things they rationally wouldn’t.
  3. Victory Lap for Ask Patents (Joel Spolsky) — story of how a StackExchange board on patents helped bust a bogus patent. It’s crowdsourcing the prior art, and Joel shows how easy it is.
  4. The World as Fire-Free Zone (MIT Technology Review) — data analysis to identify “signature” of terrorist behaviour, civilian deaths from strikes in territories the US has not declared war on, empty restrictions on use. Again, it’s a test that, by design, cannot be failed. Good history of UAVs in warfare and the blowback from their lax use. Quoting retired General Stanley McChrystal: The resentment caused by American use of unmanned strikes … is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who’ve never seen one or seen the effects of one.

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How to Get Fast, Cheap Feedback on Your Product with Tiny Tests

User research you can do now

There’s a lot of advice about how to do great user research. I have some pretty strong opinions about it myself.

But, as with exercise, the best kind of research is the kind that you actually DO.

So, in the interests of getting some good feedback from your users right now, I have some suggestions for Tiny Tests. These are types of research that you could do right this second with very little preparation on your part.

bottom-micrometer

What is a Tiny Test?

Tiny Tests do not take a lot of time. They don’t take a lot of money. All they take is a commitment to learning something from your users today.

Pick a Tiny Test that applies to your product and get out and run one right now. Oh, ok. You can wait until you finish the post.

Unmoderated tests

Dozens of companies now exist that allow you to run an unmoderated test in a few minutes. I’ve used UserTesting.com many times and gotten some great results really quickly. I’ve also heard good things about Loop11 and several others, so feel free to pick the one that you like best.

Read more…

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Strata Newsletter: February 2, 2012

Strata Newsletter: February 2, 2012

The future of software usability. In praise of unstructured data.

Highlights from the 2/2/12 edition of the Strata newsletter include: Thoughts on the evolution of software usability and why unstructured data is worth the effort.

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Mobile interfaces: Mistakes to avoid and trends to watch

Mobile interfaces: Mistakes to avoid and trends to watch

"Designing Mobile Interfaces" co-author Steven Hoober on common UI mistakes.

In this interview, “Designing Mobile Interfaces” co-author Steven Hoober discusses common mobile interface mistakes, and he offers his thoughts on the latest mobile device trends — including why the addition of gestures and sensors isn’t wholly positive.

Comment: 1
Top Stories: December 12-16, 2011

Top Stories: December 12-16, 2011

Five data predictions for 2012, a Kindle Single and long-form journalism, and the frustrations of the mobile experience.

This week on O'Reilly: Edd Dumbill offered five big data predictions for the year to come, Marc Herman discussed his new Kindle Single and how that platform could help long-form journalism, and Joshua Bixby examined mobile frustrations and expectations.

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You can’t get away with a bad mobile experience anymore

You can’t get away with a bad mobile experience anymore

Joshua Bixby on mobile speed, platform optimization and KPIs.

Mobile used to carry built-in caveats around speed and design, but those excuses are now wearing thin. In this interview, Strangeloop's Joshua Bixby discusses the evolution of mobile expectations and how companies should adapt.

Comments: 6
You can't get away with a bad mobile experience anymore

You can't get away with a bad mobile experience anymore

Joshua Bixby on mobile speed, platform optimization and KPIs.

Mobile used to carry built-in caveats around speed and design, but those excuses are now wearing thin. In this interview, Strangeloop's Joshua Bixby discusses the evolution of mobile expectations and how companies should adapt.

Comments: 6