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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.

Communicating with user stories: comics help

8 May

User comic drawn on the iPad

In many of the presentations and design projects I’ve worked on recently, I’ve been using comics of various types to keep the focus on the user. Comics are fun, introduce a little more character and put a human context on user experience design deliverables: UI, flows, wireframes. Since I got an iPad, creating simple comics has become much more fun by drawing by hand, or rather, by finger. Here’s a quick review of my favorite iPad drawing apps. Take a peek and let me know what you think. Do you think this is a useful way to communicate stories?

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

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.

Personalizing gmail and del.icio.us interface

24 Jul

Quick tip: Speaking of creating applications that people can modify to suit themselves, here’s a way to modify your gmail or del.icio.us interface to be friendlier and lots better looking. Thanks to Web Worker Daily.

Not getting noticed: Good design is invisible

24 Jul

Dateline WordCamp 2007! Wow, so much to learn, and so many great geeks, but one of the most interesting presentations for me was from Information Architect/Usability Expert Liz Danzico of Happy Cog and Boxes and Arrows. She spoke to how great design for interaction is invisible to the user: you only notice design for function when it’s bad. When design works there’s no friction, and you can just go about doing what you intended. Good design anticipates what you need without making a big deal about it.

However, anticipating what people need isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do, and can have unanticipated pitfalls. Continue reading