Showing all posts tagged ux:

Designing UI for Phablet: Perhaps Menu Should Be at the Bottom

"In his analysis of 1,333 observations of smartphones in use, Steven Hoober found about 75% of people rely on their thumb and 49% rely on a one-handed grip to get things done on their phones. On large screens (over four inches) those kinds of behaviors can stretch people’s thumbs well past their comfort zone as they try to reach controls positioned at the top of their device."

via LukeW

How to Learn to Use Something

Smartphones and laptops seem so ubiquitous to us all. But in reality, the ubiquitousness we experience every day is based on a series of learned behaviors. Someone once said that, "The only intuitive interface is the nipple. Everything else is learned."

For example, using something as simple as magazine seems like a piece of cake, but in reality a series of interaction involved in using such object is quite complex — as depicted in the parody of iPad reader/ebook apps below created by Khoi Vinh.

Khoi Vinh and Andrew Losowsky poking fun at the failures of magazines on iPad

Often times, conjecturing up an image of known disposition to communicate how a system works is very effective. When Apple released Apple Macintosh 128k, an one of a kind personal computer ever released, Apple introduced a handful of mental models to help understand basic principles such as file system and page scrolling that were not clearly understood at the time.

Apple Macintosh manual - explaining how mouse works

Apple Macintosh manual - explaining how scrolling a page works

Apple Macintosh manual - explaining how file system works

Play Macintosh 128K Guided Tour Tape (1984)

Jon Wiley's Approach Towards Material Design

"We did it in order to come with the most simple solution. Try to design the simplest possible thing for the user first. See if you can get away with that. Prove you need more complexity before you're at it." -- Jon Wiley, Principal Designer, Google Search & Maps

Acceptable Boundaries of Use by Jan Chipchase

Here is an excerpt from Jan Chipchase's new journal titled Today's Office, talking about his visceral journey in Hokkaido and user experience.

Today’s office is a ryokan halfway up a mountain in Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. I’m here with Raphael, a research colleague to catch up on the last year, figure out where we want to go in the next and somewhere along the line make the most of what the mountain has to offer. In the village outside it’s minus ten and for the third night in a row it’s dumping it down.

The building we are staying in was at first glance a disappointment — semi- industrial in a run-down-damp sort of way, but after three days the room starting to feel like home. It helps that every evening the staff leave a thermos of hot water in the room (we happen to have some decent freshly ground coffee and a cafetière), that there is a spacious open air onsen 5 minutes away, and that some- one nearby has left their Wi-Fi unsecured, bless them.

I’m tucked up in bed, and on the floor to my left a digital camera has been broken down into its composite parts and is (hopefully) drying out after being submerged in the snow. The challenge of capturing data in difficult conditions is a familiar one but tonight presented some new hurdles: a combination of the cold (around minus eighteen on the mountain); horizontal in-your-face winds; the need to remove outer glove-wear to be able to properly handle equipment; and a constant heavy snowfall meaning that after twenty seconds or so a new snow-drift has built up on the edges of the lens. Given the circumstances the only way to clear the camera lens of snow was to lick it whilst avoiding having my tongue stick to its metal frame (the alternative is to piss on the lens protector, I’m not convinced I’d be sufficiently agile to direct the stream where it is needed, and am not pre- pared for my colleague to do the deed).

In all I’m satisfied that the camera continued to work and that photos and memory card survived the cold.

User experience practitioners often use personas and scenarios to understand and communicate how a product will be used. But what are acceptable limits, and what happens when use falls outside acceptable limits? Is it reasonable to expect a camera to function in these conditions? Is it reasonable to expect your phone to work after being run over by a car? For your iPod to sit in your pocket without it scratching?

There are three trends that are likely to considerably shift consumer perception of what constitutes acceptable use: miniaturisation; the availability of flexible components; and the ability to track products over a lifetime. Once objects reach a certain size the range of places that they can be comfortably carried and stored increases making it feasible for it to be carried without significant extra burden for the user, comfortably placed in a pocket or tucked in amongst other objects in a bag. The new range of contexts in which they can now freely roam stretches the perceptions of their acceptable boundaries of use. It is more comfortable to carry a flexible object next your (soft, fleshy, human) body than a hard object. Smart use of flexible components will further expand the range of use cases for many products and along with it, user expectations. Finally the ability to track objects (and for objects to track us) from purchase, through usage to disposal (and for objects to the disposing of us) will change our notions of ownership, use and abuse, which will change our perception of the consequences for going over these boundaries. Which in turn changes our notion of receipts and warranties. Pretty much everyone carries some receipts, whether its to make an expense claim, for personal accounting, because the objects might need to be returned, or as proof of purchase because without it the shopping experience feels more awkward, as if everything in your bag might be stolen.

In a world where the consumption of goods and services are inherently tied to a known identity (and that known identity’s ability to pay) much of the usefulness of the receipt, as a physical manifestation of proof of purchase goes out the win- dow. Today we are very much shaped by what we carry. Tomorrow (or the tomorrow after that) we will be shaped and defined by what we don’t need to carry.

via D-Rad


“A designer always has a view on what the context is like, but this is always a guess, a personal view, based on personal experiences. Research with real users serves to provide a richer, more dependable view on situations in which products are or will be used." -- from “Contextmapping: experiences from practice" by Froukje Sleeswijk Visser, Pieter Jan Stappers and Remko van der Lught

Trend of Self-Focused & Emotionally-Detached Culture

It should be no brainer to realize that the Internet has become a new breeding ground for the “me" culture — from selfies to pointless tweets and so forth. In fact, the growing number of research studies continue to indicate that Americans are emphasizing individualism more than ever before. Meanwhile, a new study reveals that contemporary English books have been becoming less emotionally expressive since 1960s. The researchers note that the results also coincide with studies finding an apparent increase in narcissism over the decades.

While there’s no proof that this is more than a correlation (not causality), designers of all background should be aware of these implications and practice their work in both appropriate and ethical fashion. Merely copying and executing design trends without thinking through the consequences is a sure way to undo our progress as designers.

Here are the summaries of four articles that describe the trends occurring in music, literature and social media.

1. Music

According to a research team at University of Kentukcly led by C. Nathan DeWall, “popular music lyrics now include more words related to a focus on the self." By analyzing keywords in lyrics of the top ten songs in the US from 1980 to 2007, the research team found that the use of first-person singular pronouns such as I, me and mine have increased over third-person plural pronouns such as we, us and our declined. Furthermore, the frequency of terms depicting social interactions and positive emotions went down.

2. Books

Another research team led by San Diego State University psychologist Jean Twenge reported that the "language in American books has become increasingly focused on the self and uniqueness in the decades since 1960s." The frequency of words and phrases that convey individualism such as “independent," “all about me," “I am special" and “I get what I want" went up while the frequency of communal words and phrases such as “teamwork," “band together" and “common good" went down. The findings also suggest that words that connote hyper-individualism such as “identity," “personalized," “self," “standout" and “unique" experienced the largest increase in usage.

3. Social Media

"Self-esteem and narcissism are often interrelated but don’t always go hand in hand. Some psychologists believe that narcissists—those who have a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, a need for admiration, as well as a lack of empathy—unconsciously inflate their sense of self-importance as a defense against feeling inadequate. Not enough empirical research has been produced to confirm that link, although Mehdizadeh’s study seems to support it. Because narcissists have less capacity to sustain intimate or long-term relationships, Mehdizadeh thinks that they would be more drawn to the online world of virtual friends and emotionally detached communication."

"Although it seems that Facebook can be used by narcissists to fuel their inflated egos, Mehdizadeh stops short of proclaiming that excessive time spent on Facebook can turn regular users into narcissists. She also notes that social-networking sites might ultimately be found to have positive effects when used by people with low self-esteem or depression."

“If individuals with lower self-esteem are more prone to using Facebook," she says, “the question becomes, ‘Can Facebook help raise self-esteem by allowing patients to talk to each other and help each other in a socially interactive environment?’ I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing that people with low self-esteem use Facebook."

via Pacific Standard, Pacific Standard, Salon and Scientific American

LG's webOS Interface + Bean Bird

The key difference between this and other smart TVs is that LG doesn't create a distinction between smart TV apps and regular TV and inputs. They're all just cards. "We wanted unity. Everything is the same, be it your Xbox, your source, or some apps," says Vonshak. "If you're watching Netflix and want to switch to see what's happening in a game, then go back to YouTube, it should be all the same thing." In fact, LG's TVs can automatically identify new inputs and label and name them for you — so if you plug in a PS4, it will appear as a PS4 card, not just "HDMI 2."

When you first boot up your smart TV, Bean Bird encourages you to calibrate your remote and walks you through the steps. The process alternates between guiding animations and short little cinematics that are designed to provide mini congratulations and encouragements for completing each step. There's also discouragement: if you choose not to set up Wi-Fi, for example, an angry Bean Bird marches across the screen with a surrender flag while a mob of his compatriots agitate in the background. LG really wants you to set up all the features on that TV.