Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Illegal, dangerous design: Not just a problem of Big Brother

Do you get an icky feeling when you see a red light camera? Holman Jenkins Jr.'s article on Shortening Yellow lights sheds light on how,
"red-light cameras (which are designed to be conspicuous to motorists) lead to an increase in rear-end collisions"
and that:
"...the solution is usually a longer yellow -- at least three seconds is the recommended minimum for a 25-mph intersection....Half a dozen Georgia towns just cancelled (sic.) their camera contracts after a state law mandating the addition of an extra second to the yellow made them unprofitable."
Pretty gross, no? The Federal government & many states provide laws specifying yellow light duration. Some cities have prioritized their own revenue over safety, the law & common sense and people are fighting back.

Design that violates it's audiences safety is wrong on so many levels. Don't design something that is profitable, dangerous, and hated. If you are encouraged to do so, you probably work for a scummy company. It's not good for your conscious.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ode to Undo

Before you I may have made a mistake or two
dashed off a letter I didn't mean to

because people make mistakes....
a few
of them do

& there you sit through & through
little button labeled "undo"

You also come in the form
of easy returns
for it seems as a system
you've come to learn
I act at times without concern
For my dollar sometimes flies
and doesn't discern
between a right
and a wrong
dollarly turn

So you care
and you hault
like zipcar
like yelp
you help
and you help

delete is so permanent
publish so firm
the recorded message,
a terrible burn

I thank you for the key strokes
I don't need to do
& there you sit through & through
little button labeled "undo"

Friday, April 17, 2009

UI, UX, Interaction, etc.

Most of the time, when I tell people I'm a UI designer they ask "what's that?" Often, what follows is some bang-up job, but I really like Wikipedia's take on User Interface Design.

Oh, don't forget Interaction Design, Information Design, Information Architecture, User Experience Design, Human Factors, Human-Computer interaction & Information Visualization. OK, I know these all have subtle differences but still. Can we stop the madness?

Unlike computer science which tends to overload terms, to assign many different meanings to one word, User experience suffers from term dispersement. Too many terms for the same or very similar things.

Old school UI

A knob which you push & pull

A trigger which you squeeze.

A switch. Which you flip.

Template: An out-of-the-blue email to a potential role-model

Two things you should be good at for the sake of your career is keeping in touch & writing well. Here's a template for getting in touch with someone who you admired at your old job:

Hi, idolname:

I hope you are well. I worked on projectName as a pastJobTitle while you were hired on at lastCompany. I'm now a currentJobtitle at companyName which is a great company & I love it there.

I'm working to define goals in my own career & I feel I could learn a lot in hearing more about yours. I would love to buy you lunch at eateryNearIdolsWork and talk about it sometime next week.

Let me know,