Sunday, July 31, 2011
Gmail Theme (before)
Gmail Theme (after)
Because of the extra spaced links, controls, and large buttons, Google’s new interface is easier to use on my iPad too. I was able to test the new interface with Google News since Gmail only supports iPad friendly web version.
Google News (before)
Google News (after)
Saturday, July 30, 2011
The Philips’ Wake-Up Light is a perfect example that describes a (what Hassenzahl calls it) surrogate experience. Let’s say an enlarged version of the wake-up light that was flat and mounted on to one of the bedroom walls, it would only be visible and active during the user set time—by doing so, would it enhance the user experience?
The three levels of Why, What, and How that Hassenzahl, lays out are easy to understand in terms of the experience of a product. Basically, Why clarifies the “needs and emotions involved in an activity, the meaning, the experience.” After the Why is determined, then the What “determines functionality that is able to provide the experience.” And the How is “way of putting the functionality to action.”
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Tag clouds generally don't make sense to a new user. It's just a jumble of different-sized words. But it is clear that some things are more important and those words come to the forefront. So, when presenting data to a user, perhaps it makes sense to present the more often-used data in bolder text. I'd like to consider contrasting the matrix format with a tag cloud presentation.
Here is an example:
Name: Bo Campbell
Name Bo Campbell
It is important here to know what the user is looking for, so let's assume after exhaustive user research we know that the user is first looking for the name and then the phone number. He doesn't really care about the state. I am setting up some surveys for this, but my hunch is that the time it takes to find the data will be very similar. However, the experience may be much different. Instead of scanning line by line, it may be much easier for the eye to catch the words that are presented to them larger and in the right location.
This is more how our brain has to work in the real world. We don't have danger categorized and ordered for use to scan. We have more important dangers that we look out for and keep our eyes open for. Perhaps the expression of data is easier to comprehend in this format.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
The work of several scholars (Bevan & Macleod, 1994; Shami et al., 2005; Thomas & Macredie, 2002) who attempted to identify additional variables that may impact usability and subsequently adoption, led to the conceptual emergence of context of use (herein referred to as context)as it relates to usability, also referred to as contextual usability. Several frameworks encapsulating context have been proposed (Han et al., 2001; Lee & Benbasat, 2003; Sarker & Wells, 2003; Tarasewich, 2003; Yuan & Zheng, 2005). While there may be other usability frameworks that attempt to capture the essence of context, the models cited here provide a representative set of work in this area. From these we adapted the framework proposed by Han et al. (2001) because it offers considerable detail for each dimension they identified.
On the basis of the discussion on approaches to usability evaluation and the framework proposed by Han et al. (2001) and Kwahk and Han (2002), we propose a contextual usability framework for a mobile computing environment. The framework is depicted in Figure 1 and contains three elements. First, the outer circle shows the four contextual factors (i.e., User, Technology, Task/Activity, and Environment) described earlier as impacting usability. Second, the inner circle shows the key usability dimensions (i.e., Effectiveness, Efficiency, Satisfaction, Learnability, Flexibility, Attitude, Operability, etc.). Third, the box on the top of contextual factors shows a list of consequences (i.e., improving systems integration, increasing adoption, retention, loyalty, and trust, etc.).
Compared to the framework proposed by Han et al. (2001) and Kwahk and Han (2002), there are several advantages of the suggested mobile usability framework. Although the previous frameworks proposed by Han et al. (2001) and Kwahk and Han (2002) are comprehensive, they are difficult to follow due to formation and evaluation dimensions being merged into one diagram. Thus, the suggested framework depicted in Figure 1 represents a simple yet direct way to identify and address the various contextual mobile usability dimensions. In addition, with its central focus on usability, it offers specific guidance on the implementation of any interface/interaction project along with potential outcomes.
In addition, two modifications are introduced in terms of nomenclature for mobile contextual usability. First, “Technology” replaces “Product,” as this term helps conceive the system that a user may interact with a greater set of components, instead of simply the device or application itself. One example of this is found in the case of mobile usability where the inclusion of the wireless network is likely in addition to the mobile device (i.e., the product) when studying usability of a mobile product or service. Because mobile usability is mainly related to mobile technology, which continually improves the limitations of mobile interfaces and its applications, the technological factor of a mobile usability framework is an important and unique component that needs to be taken care of. Second, “Task/Activity” replaces “Activity,” as the former term appears more commonly in usability literature when describing the nature of users’ interaction with the technology. In addition, a list of consequences of usability was added to the framework as an output of usability evaluations.
These four variables (i.e., user, task/activity, environment, technology) were used for the presentation of the qualitative review of previous empirical research3 that relates to the usability assessment of mobile applications and/or mobile devices. The benefit of using these variables for the literature review is found in both the structure it provides for the discussion to follow, as well as to help highlight any areas that are lacking investigation.
Ensuring physical survival of the bits is addressed by today’s archiving solutions. Typically, they deal with the obsolescence of media and form factors by migrating the data from one medium to another. Ensuring the usability of the information is the greater challenge, but in many cases there are a number of viable approaches.
• Using virtualization technology to emulate the obsolete hardware needed to execute the applications that can make the digital artifact useful.
• Converting the artifact to a standard canonical format, so that the problem is limited to ensuring the usability of the standard format.
• Periodically transforming the artifact into a current format.
The right approach often depends on why it is important to ensure the long-term usability of the information, and on the characteristics of the data, such as format or size. Once the business requirements are determined, it becomes possible to adapt and design a solution to meet specific needs.
IBM has been addressing various aspects of ensuring long-term usability over the past decade, with a wide variety of solutions that address both the survival of the bits and the broader issues of long-term usability.
It discusses about three important components:
First, Specify the issues involved with the creation and integration of content for knowledge portals.
Second, highlight the importance of providing incentives for employees to share knowledge.
Third, examine how user acceptance of KM portals can be promoted, and how this knowledge can be used to desing better corporate portals.
If you are interested to learn more about this framework please find resources at http://www.irma-international.org/chapter/content-incentive-usability-framework-corporate/17867/
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
You can find this search engine at http://swoogle.umbc.edu/index.php?option=com_frontpage&service=search&queryType=search_swt&searchStart=1&searchString=
Swoogle is a search engine for Semantic Web Ontologies, documents, terms and data found on the web. Swoogle provides services to human users through a browser interface and to software agents via RESTful web services. Swoogle employs Resource Description Framework (RDF) semantic technique - and other semantic technique is Topic Map which you may aware of that.
Swoogle is a research project (PhD thesis work of Li Ding) developed at and is hosted by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. This project received funding from US DARPA and NSF.
You can read more at - http://www.searchenginejournal.com/swoogle-an-engine-for-the-semantic-web/5469/
Saturday, July 23, 2011
When I created low fidelity prototypes (very few times), I thought it generated valuable usability conversation, arguments and suggestions, but unfortunately the scrum team (engineers, BA, PM, QA) thought it decelerated the development process. Whenever there is a meeting (backlog grooming, project planning, design) that debates a feature, the teams would want to see the big picture (high fidelity prototypes) right of the bat.
The quality and usability of the applications at my workplace could be highly improved by at least fifty plus percent if the teams take the role of design in software product development seriously. In Bill Buxton's book, a clear representation of design, engineering, marketing, and sales in all phases of the product development process shows that the engineering team’s role in the design phase is very little, which means that the engineering team would have no room to demonstrate a “working” prototype.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
I came across Adobe’s sales dashboard demo app while searching for the Flash Builder tutorials. My initial thought about this demo app was that if I were to prototype a dashboard app, it would not have looked anything like this demo app. My prototype would have carried a data grid, some charts, and lots and lots of buttons! This demo app carries an intuitive user interface, which represents big and small deals in circles/bubbles that users can interact with on the x and y-axis. By displaying information in a way that is easier for an end-user to digest large chunks of data in a usable interface, would ultimately enhance the user experience. The touch gestures in the iPad are perfect and the sales dashboard app built using the Flash Builder demos how pleasurable the user experience can be. It’s very useful to let the user do a gesture based interaction for the purpose of knowing that something is happening and being informed that something is happening in the device.
I haven’t played with the Flash Builder’s mobile properties, but from what I’ve seen (tutorials, sample flash builder mobile apps) I seem to enjoy it.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Native vs. Web Applications - choosing the right path!
1. Native applications provide hardware interaction support like camera integration, gps integration etc., Web applications do not support this.
2. Web application code-base is easy to maintain since you can write once and deploy across all platforms.
When native applications are chosen since code needs to be written for each single platform and also maintaining a uniform UI/UX design is an additional challenge.
So choose wisely!
Monday, July 18, 2011
- No matter the user skill level, users stick with what they know. In the case of new users: text. Simple and informative text is effective.
- Don't assume users will naturally investigate how software will work. Provide visual feedback and encouragement.
- Don't make too many assumptions on how user's will use your technology
- I think that I would like to use this system frequently.
- I found the system unnecessarily complex.
- I thought the system was easy to use.
- I think that I would need the support of a technical person to be able to use this system.
- I found the various functions in this system were well integrated.
- I thought there was too much inconsistency in this system.
- I would imagine that most people would learn to use this system very quickly.
- I found the system very cumbersome to use.
- I felt very confident using the system.
- I needed to learn a lot of things before I could get going with this system.
The SUS is most frequently used to compare application designs
Multiples studies (Lewis & Sauro 2009; Bangor et al 2008) have founds the SUS to have a Cronbach’s Alpha of .90 (note anything above .7 is considered “good”)
Effectiveness, Efficiency, Satisfaction
Sunday, July 17, 2011
So, although it's a relatively old topic in the web-focused domain of the HCI/UX field, it's interesting to once again see a working example of it. This is something I am paying specific attention to during the CFR.org re-design, which I am mid-way in terms of completing, particularly with certain about pages; the coupling of lengthy paragraphs and poor font choices (size/family) make for pages from which most users don't glean anything useful.
As I was thinking about all of this web copy talk, it brought to mine instances of menus, particularly "specials menus" in restaurants I've visited, where I've felt as equally burdened as when trying to find information on a much too wordy website... a topic which kind of ties in with service design. I'm wondering if anyone has perhaps potentially read or knows of resources related not specifically to web and writing, but to, more generally, services and writing/textual components of the service. I'd love to read more into it.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Our engineering department recently decided to change their code-base. In other words, a very quick and complete rewrite of a project that I had done research, design, and testing on. I was happy with the end-product in general, but one little piece was bothering me and we didn't have enough time to do any more design. It would have worked fine, but if you're a designer, you know, it needs to sit well in the gut. This wasn't sitting well. And then, POW, a new chance. And what a chance it has been. It's expensive, yes. Not as expensive as after the release, but it is costing them. At least the cost was factored into the change decision and the top brass are on-board. Consequently, my gut feels better. The area I didn't like is smooth as silk now. I was offered redemption! I guess I'm just saying that I'm stoked I got this chance and wish there was some part of the process that could be built-in for it, but it's textbook malpractice. Just costs to much.
It must be said, also, that the process isn't completed, yet. The code is still being rewritten and this entire rewrite is to take 4-6 weeks. In other word, I have very little time to test my new design and testing is the real proof. Without the testing, it's just a hunch, and that's scarier than not having a strong gut feeling about it. So I'm struggling to get to a point where I can test, and testing takes so much time, and means iteration. Gotta do it. Otherwise, there goes that twinge in the gut again. Ready to release on a beta of 30 large clients without usability testing? I have just one thing to ask ya, are you feelin' lucky? Huh, punk, are ya?
Friday, July 15, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
'Look beyond the cloud'
Global companies must harness cloud-based services and platforms, and capitalize on solutions based on multi-tenancy and non-linear payment models to accelerate innovation.
'Invest in the future'
Companies must serve the digital generation by focusing on mobile technologies in diverse areas such as e-Commerce and healthcare. They can enable better collaboration across the enterprise through social media and pervasive computing.
This is very much worth the listen. Particulary notice the presentation on "iEngage" which is one of the infosys platform products. iEngage goes beyond creating facilitation of information transfer and becomes an interactive engagement platform. In the presentation it refers to consumers. Companies must understand the power is at the consumer (users) level and need to understand the consumers demand.
Monday, July 11, 2011
I was browsing for something (I can’t remember what) about a week ago… I might have started with google’s sci/tech news and landed on the EyeWriter.
EyeWriter is a low-cost eye tracking and custom eye-drawing software that enables you to write or draw using your eyes instead of your hand. It’s interesting how these two technologies work together to help Tony Quan (graffiti artist), who was diagnosed with paralyzing Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Tony is now able to draw again using just his eyes with EyeWriter.
What if EyeWriter was combined with other software like Word, Excel, or games that are customized to fit the needs of an individual and what if our smart phones were equipped with this combination? Would we achieve a better user experience since the number of clicks and taps could be relatively minimal? And just as I was wondering how this technology could be combined with robots, I came across the LiveWriter which is EyeWriter + Robot Arm. But I'm aware of other ways to have a robot write or draw something, and LiveWriter is another option that is opensource and low-cost.
Get the code from: http://code.google.com/p/eyewriter/downloads/list
- Experiences for people with disabilities
- Apps that are solely intended for Apple devices
- Producing text-heavy sites that require text resizing
- Movable content : The user can easily drag and drop any web content making the user interface very easy
- Quick access to videos and audios : As there is no need of flash plug-ins , so the site will load very quickly by using less lines of codes
First, and most relevant to our Google+ discussions in class, here's a piece by Frank Spillers, who, like Mike, emphasizes that perhaps the greatest innovation of Google+ is the introduction of social circles. Frank concludes that this extraction of a "real-world social phenomenon" and its application to Google's "user experience strategy" is a sign of "intelligent life" in social networking and design. This particularly rang a bell with me as I thought in a similar vein for my Craigslist re-design project in this course; breaking away from the "social media" stereotype of social design was a main, personal goal during that individual project and to effectively do so, I had to think of "real-world social phenomena," as Frank describes them, inherent in real-world activities that parallel Craigslist's functionality. Out of this perspective, I was able to derive social functionality that did, in the end, prove useful to the users I was testing: bookmarking/saving of listings (much like physical ads -- both for later reference and for sharing with others), more personal, direct sharing of ads (via a bunch of mediums including of course social media channels and e-mail), and friends' activity on the "market"/Craigslist (bordering on this idea of "social circles," we're definitely more prone to trust those within our circles during transactions, as opposed to strangers).. and so on.
Another relevant piece I came across is a cool booklet about service design and its implications for local authorities. Most interesting about this literature, of course, is the extension of service design's usefulness from more profit-oriented entities that we've examined to public services that directly concern local authorities and governments. As "public services are currently confronted with a number of complex social challenges" (higher demand, aging population, etc.) and simultaneous "squeeze[s] on government resources," service design emerges as a "new discipline" that can cost-effectively help "reach solutions relatively quickly and in a manner that is highly visual and comprehensivle for all." Ever since Mike introduced us to the topic in class, I've been highly interested with keeping service design in mind as a career direction, perhaps after these studies. Articles like this one only re-inforce his take that the discipline is gaining more and more importance and is a great market for HCI practitioners, current and future, to think about entering.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
As HCI professionals, we depend on our ability to create prototypes that help us to design better user experiences. In this case, engineers now have the new ability to use a specialized ink pen to help them make speedy and less costly prototypes. Previous ink-based circuit construction was typically done using inkjet printers or airbrushing, so removing the extra hardware from the process is a huge step forward. The team has some news for those people that think the writable ink won’t hold up in the long run. The ink is surprisingly quite resilient to physical manipulations, and they found that it took folding the paper substrate several thousand times before their ink pathways started to fail (Nathan, M., 2011). This can be a really be help in user-centered design approaches because this ink can conduct electricity like the copper on circuit boards.
This kind of application can help designers and engineers to work closer together in mobile environments to help create quicker and faster solutions in designing hardware and other technological devices.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Patterns are simply well-defined, well-researched best practices, but fundamental principles of design must be followed always, the user must always be kept in mind, and the purpose of the design must always be considered.
In mobile interactive design, we might summarize these core principles as "user centered design," context, and other principles. A set of more specific ones are detailed at the end of this section. These core principles are always considered, the proper pattern for the situation is determined, and the correct application is created from the user's needs, their context, and by integrating the solution into the whole system.
The patterns in this book attempt to follow this philosophy. Not only are they intended to be a point of departure, but they explicitly state what conditions are required, which are optional, when to simply follow adjacent or superordinate standards, and the key pitfalls if the edges are exceeded.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Music is a strong application in all things HCI. In HCI we try to make the user’s life better, safer, and etc…by designing and developing ways to program positive experiences. I chose to blog about the power of music because it can be very instrumental in cognitively programming one to perform a desired behavior like to get out of the way when you hear a siren and to increase our ability to memorize information. Play is also just as instrumental because project-based learning approaches help give the users the ability to actively solve problems tangibly.
Recently, I watched a demonstration of “Reactable Live” that is primarily being marketed to the music industry. However, once I saw this demonstration it became very apparent to me how this technology could be modified as a dynamic learning-programming tool. I thought about how when we hear a siren we cognitively know it is not noise but information. Then I also thought about the possibilities when connecting music/sound and play to program a person cognitively to retain more information for longer periods of time. I can still remember the lyrics of music that I have not heard in years only if I can get the music to flow right in my head, and then the lyrics just come to me as if I just heard the song recently.
Here is the link and I hope you all enjoy it.
Touchscreens are becoming popular with their intutive design and ease of interaction, right from the mobile devices, Electronic Devices, Kiosk’s to ATM everywhere touchscreen has made a presence everywhere. Now a days key pads are replaced by touch screens
I also noticed couple of touchscreen applications/devices, where I got lost just because I wasn’t aware which gesture to use, as no proper guide was provided. I was suppose to pinch on an image to zoom it and I was trying to tap on it. these are all common problems we face. I want to provide
some of the guidelines which can improve the user experience of Mobiles
- Provide clear Navigation
- Use familiar Icons
- Make Icons, buttons, links and interfaces easily clickable
- Position and space the icons
- Use Simple language
- Maintain consistency and provide clear indications
- Implied Textural in Mobile Design
- Capture the richness of communication.