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Talk like a human being

29 Jul
Design for a boarding pass that talks like a human

A boarding pass that talks like a human

I’d seen the cool exploration of redesigning boarding passes by Tyler Thomson a while back. Graphically really interesting.

Graphic boarding pass redesign explorations

One of the highly graphic boarding pass redesign explorations

Today I noticed Khoi Vinh’s post about other ideas inspired by the original explorations. I agree with him that the straightforward human voice in the idea from Graphicology is somehow comforting and more meaningful than all the nice typography and graphics in some of the other explorations. Though the sentences may not scan quite as quickly as the graphic designs, the variety of all the large numbers in combo are actually harder to parse visually than the simple sentence statements, and ultimately require more work. They appear to tell me I’m participating in a complex process when I board a plane. I’m sure that’s true, but I’d rather not have to think about it. Air travel is stressful enough!

Brings home too the importance of voice and how critical the words we use are to the success of communicating in an interface on the web too. We’re not machine readers. We like to be talked to considerately, in sentences that are as simple as possible but no simpler.

Kindle: Please learn to share with others

10 Nov

I’d been curious about Amazon’s Kindle since it came out. But it seemed too expensive to justify trying it out… until I saw a tweet about a $50 savings coupon available on the Oprah site last month. Taking a peek in the Amazon store, it looked like there was more and more content available on it… books, magazines, newspapers, even blogs. So I took the plunge. $300 and a couple of weeks later, here’s a perspective on the good, the bad and a fundamental, but hopefully fixable, flaw. Continue reading

Other takes on Microsoft

6 Jul

I’m working on a web design project where we have been asked to use a UI skin and grid system which has some similarities to common Microsoft interface skins… glassy, similar menu bars, etc. The other designers and I agreed we don’t want our work to come off as related to Microsoft. However, Microsoft actually has current and developing extensions into all kinds of new interaction models and even visual presentation. Continue reading

Designing the interface, who’s this persona?

26 Jul

There’s so much research and thinking going on, and great work, to create well-crafted interfaces for software and web apps. However, it boggles my mind thinking about what the future will be like as more and more apps enable the user to create their own interface, both in terms of the visuals and the arrangement and availability of functional elements. At Word Camp, Liz Danzico shared the persona-based research they did in the process of redesigning the Word Press admin interface. I saw the following screen on my 13-year-old daughter’s computer this morning, and wondered, if her persona had been included in research, what would they have discovered?

Continue reading

The fold is gone, or at least less important

25 Jul

Woah. People really USE the scroll bar. This is like turning a major preconception about web page design on it’s head. Read this detailed and well-presented story from AOL’s Director of UI, exploring when, and whether, the old concept of the “fold” on web pages (taken from the old newsstand analogy) really matters.

Too cool not to share

26 Jun

I came across this info on a new aspect of Adobe CS3 that is wild. It’s flash enabled, context-sensitive tool tips that are fed by a delicious tag ANYONE can contribute to. Adobe monitors the contributions. This means that these tips are basically evolving and developed by a community of users, much as wikipedia is a dictionary created by community. What’s different is this is actually within the application, accessed through a “know how” palette. And it further blurs the line between software and web apps.

I gather there’s more on Adobe Labs about it, but from Veerle’s blog:

… knowhow is a technology preview that delivers single-click, contextual access to relevant help information from a panel in Adobe® Illustrator CS3. Knowhow gives users access to a wide variety of information—basic tool descriptions and short cuts, Adobe Help content, as well as community-generated tutorials, tips, and techniques on the web.

So it’s something that was built entirely in Adobe Flash and looks just like a standard palette in the application. The content found in knowhow is pulled from community-generated content from a user account on Anyone with a account can suggest new content for knowhow by simply tagging it ‘knowhow’ and the Adobe team will review and add them to their collection.

Long interview with Luke W

15 Jun

Usability for web pages, applications, recent things he’s been noticing. A ton to digest but even if you don’t read the whole thing you’ll get some nuggets.