Monday, October 24, 2011

Cute cute cute

Food delivery doesn't need any help being more delightful but Grub Hub is wonderful extension of the already wonderful experience of having yummy food delivered to your door. Here's their coupon for using their mobile app.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

QR codes in a vacation town

I recently was surprised to see tons of QR codes in a small Wisconsin vacation town.

Are we doing this now? Seriously?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Make a break

A "how to" from the New Yorker Business cartoons.

I saw this in a book called "New Yorker Business Cartoons" cannot for the life of me read the signature nor match the style to any of the New Yorker cartoonists listed here so if you know, please tell  me so I can source this!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Infinite Kitty Theorem

At times my cat enjoys the Mac UI. Here she is using the Dashboard App (probably just for the weather. But if you imagine many Kitties and many Macs and all the time in the world, they certainly would have crafted designs like: Google, Twitter, and Facebook.

What you see on the left is a cat-crafted email.

She tabs through the fields. Imagine if she really focused on the user experience.

Laptops are warm and cats can click.

PS: The infinite Kitty Theorem is a reference to this

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What's the most lame product you've ever seen?

How on earth do products like this make it out the door? When you think about how many stages there are in a product life cycle, market research, sketching, prototyping, manufacturing it boggles my mind how this one got past the first stage. Here are just some of the things that make me want to find the person responsible for this and shake him/her:
  • The over $4 price point. The banana packaging makes me think kids might find this desirable, but this is way too expensive to delight a sane parent. 
  • This isn't bubble bath--it's hair product. So this is in the same category as CREW, Bed Head, Dove, and other brands that scream "you respect yourself and we respect you. Let's make you look good." This brand screams "We are very silly and gross! Massage this on your hair."
  • I'm all for Zagging when others Zig however, it needs to be done with your market in mind. Who on earth is this for? Is it human?
  • The monkey theme is cute but monkey brains aren't cute.

What's the most lame product you've ever seen?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Hip Happenings

I adore architecture and sculpture. Somehow, I generally don't love it when cities try to sell their neighborhoods with poorly-designed sinage or art. Below find an apt description of the Temescal district: Cool shops, Global Eats, and Hip Happenings. Yes, all of this is true, but somehow saying it . . . like this . . . I guess what I'd rather see is a font & design that works to capture the image of a world-class neighborhood.

Berkeley shines a spotlight on the border it shares with Oakland. This  split "Here" on the Berkeley side and "There" on the Oakland side is called playful by some, irksome by others.  I do like the font and sheer size of the sculpture. Can't say I like the message, though.

Laurel's archways in Oakland are loud and proud. Providing two archways at the start and end of the Laurel's main street, this is expressive, easy to read, easy on the eyes, and seems to be happy to see you.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Extra Packaging

While at Target (maybe my favorite store) I was checking out the kettle bells when I passed these weights. Weights are designed to be held. Yet here are some 3 pound weights with a strap. Hm.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Our site launched!

Last year, after over a decade as a full-time interaction designer, I started working as a contractor. Along the way I started collaborating with a former Mills College classmate, Raye Oldes. We worked well together and we decided we were no longer contractors, we were acting and working more like a small company. Our clients thought it was a good idea too! Neat, huh?

It's with great pleasure that I introduce TUX Studio. What's TUX mean? It stands for our obsession:  The User eXperience. As we wireframe, storyboard, usability test our hearts out, we never forget why we're here: To provide users an excellent experience while making our clients feel pretty awesome too.

Friday, July 22, 2011

End on a good note!

Regarded as one of the most influential living psychologists, Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize for his pioneering work in behavioral economics. His lecture "The riddle of experience vs. memory", teaches us two important lessons:
  1. Our perceptions . . .well, don't trust them all the time. 
  2. The final parts of an experience are disproportionately  heavily weighted in our minds. They leave a more lasting influence. So if you are crafting an experience, end on a strong note.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Do you sketchboard?

One of the more fun activities in user experience design is working with a group to sketch and plan. Nothing is more enjoyable than watching a group construct an early draft of a customer experience on paper, thinking through the process and coming up with something that can be put into a more formal document.

Here's Adaptive Path's How to video on creating sketchboards:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A scene from the office

Here are my favorite markers ever. Sharpies. The color variety and as they say in the beauty world "payoff" is awesome. 
Here are the markers in action. I created these using the pages of a book.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The story of two logos: Fliptop vs Versartis

Here are two logos I found while researching companies on the ever useful CrunchBase:
When I see a logo like FlipTop I think:
  • If this is how much time and effort they put into their brand, I bet they are awesome at what they do too.
  • They are modern, fun and competent.
  • I'd be excited to meet someone from this company, not to mention work with them. They get it.
When I see a logo like Versartis I think:
  • This is most definitely a B2B company that is comfortable with minimal branding effort since their products do the heavy lifting.
  • Design is not a priority here.
  • If I work with them, it runs the risk of rolling a boulder uphill. As a UX designer I could have an impact if the product or the platform is new. I'd need to investigate how the team works so I can tell what kind of change the company is and is not open to. This will drastically effect the success of the project. Excellent UX designers want the customer/user to rule. This is much more difficult when the legacy dictates.
  • STILL, their products must be demo'ed, trialed, or sold. A better user experience is something that will help deepen customer trust.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


A friend of mine introduced me to Eddie Izzard and if you've never heard of him I'm excited for you to watch this video. Rather than operate from a script (he credits his dyslexia as the reason scripts don't work for him), he free associates comedy.

This clip was part of an encore in which Eddie Izzard describes his love hate relationship with computers:

Oh and if you wonder about his adorable cross-dressing, watch this:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Four months of inboxZero...

...and all I have to say is I love an empty inbox. Like my regular paper mail, it's either empty or filled with a manageable handful. After working this way for several months, I'm happy to report that this is a pleasant way to live.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A vintage style of spam (edit)


Post Script: Reader Zzamboni points out the "I love you" worm from 2000 which I completely forgot about. Does anyone remember those out of the blue emails flooding your inbox? Luckily I did not click in 2000.  The 2011 version was just a harmless attachment free scramble of nonsense. I think it was about debt consolidation.

I've edited this post title from A new style of spam to A vintage style of spam. By the way Zzamboni has a cool site too.

Friday, March 25, 2011

What I want to do vs What I do

Today woke up very early, went out to buy cat food, and found I had an extra an hour before a meeting. I consciously thought to myself this: I have an extra hour. What should I do? I'd love to relax in some way. Hmmm...

Here are some ideas I came up with:
  • Meditate
  • Stretch out 
  • Sit outside and look at the birds
Here is what I did do:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Real conversation, the touchpoint to end all touchpoints.

Do you ever talk to someone and immediately feel inspired to check out the books or web pages they championed? More than once, I've written said websites into my journal only later to think "what the hell is this?" If I do visit the site, my context is often completely gone and it doesn't resonate. 

I don't have time to check out every single book, web page, or idea people suggest. I would if I could. I love reading. When you're laser focused, it's not productive to add to your already tall stack of things to read unless you feel it's awesome.

A friend told a group of us about InboxZero. In less than five minutes, she described the method of reducing email stimuli and it's value. Simply having a conversation was enough for me to modify my behavior and experience the value of less information clutter.

I have not really checked out the web site, I probably won't buy the upcoming book, and I won't even hit "like" on InboxZero's facebook page, if there is one. Though my feelings won't be expressed through a purchase or digital interaction crafted by the author, Merlin Mann, I'm an ambient fan because of my friend's willingness to share the idea rather than circumvent the story by pointing me to the book.

Next time you find yourself rattling off site after site, book after book, consider simply sharing the high-level takeaway of one. 

You'll dig not being distracted : ) Oh, and "Inbox Zero guy" is also "43 Folders guy"

Monday, March 21, 2011

My goal

My goal is to design my life and work rather than just take what's given to me. 

My goal is to get S&*% done that matters to me. 

Friday, March 18, 2011


 I can't believe I hadn't heard of JobShift by William Bridges before I'd read it. It changed my view--not of organizations but of how employees, and contractors should think of themselves. What follows are the core messages from JobShift as well my own opinions sprinkled in which align with Bridges' findings: 

We're all temporary. In the past, layoffs were considered an extreme, painstaking measure done out of necessity and with the intent to rehire once things got back on track. Now they're how a company trims expenses and veils talent churn.

High-level positions aren't going to come free If you've ticked the right boxes and are now a VP or director, good for you. Hopefully you didn't trade this career achievement for spiritual growth, introspection, or time with your family. For most of us, this will not happen unless you work at a small startup where everyone is a VP.

Organizations are looking out for themselves--You should too As a job or gig seeker, or employee  learn how to discuss your economic value. Companies don't always care how many awesome documents you can write. They want to know why you will earn for them. If the job market is decent, it is your job to set boundaries. If you don't want to work 80-hour weeks, don't. Get in the habit of taking care of your needs.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Progressive's adorable mobile site

Look at this darling little website made for a mobile device. Useful, well-branded, and easy. Way to go, Progressive! Thanks for thinking of your customers and your would-be customers!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Advice to women, girls, and people around the world

Don't take any guff from these fucking swine

- Hunter S. Thompson via Raoul Duke Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

I can't believe I'm quoting this movie. The point I'm hoping to make is important. Never let anyone tell you:
  • Who you are
  • That you cannot do something, that you are bad at something, that you should instead, do what they think you should do

Some people are mean. Sometimes, you might even believe them. This is bad.  Don't. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I was wrong**

A while back I posted about how I am drawn to easy. Later I then discussed how this Droid Commercial as a representation of us humans being more machine like was so undesirable. My Droid post was totally dead wrong.

I gave a talk at Mills College and asked students "which seems like better life?" showing them the slide below. I colored the question with some further discription: Would you rather have things taken care of for you at the press of a button or would you rather have some droid like features of your own?
I have no idea if the students learned anything from this slide, but I can say with certainty this was a humbling reminder that I am not everyone, I am not the users, and rudimentary research done early and often keeps me in check.

** During my presentation I did not admit to my off-base assumption. I just said "hm" and moved on to the next slide.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Keep your fonts safe from the web

I feel like sharing two practical links for those of you hemming and hawing about what fonts to use on the web. If you're like me you hate making these choices. If you're really like me and you go unchecked, you'd use every font you possibly could on the same web page. Here are two sites to keep you in check:

Kathy Marks's summary is great

 I also like this MIT students summary and it's great to see the font examples. This is by Jacob Morzinski.

I wish all fonts will be safe for this dangerous web. I may have to start blogging in wingdigs. Or maybe just about them.

Monday, February 14, 2011

No Joke: A soda ui

I got a slice and soda near Stanford's campus last week and saw this. This soda machine has two interactions:
  • Select a drink using the touchscreen.
  • Push the button labeled "PUSH"

As you can see below, there are actually five variants to the original choice of a Sprite.  To go back, there's a little left arrow button.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Nerd love: Science and Tech Valentines

Leave it to Etsy to provide a venue for an artist to something this awesome: Science Valentines.
"Tired of handing out valentines with commercial characters printed on flimsy cardboard? Want some classy, nerdy valentines to give to your friends (and sweethearts) that aren't just for kids?" - Stephoodle

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cabin Fever: A study of US Airways user interface

International flights don't excite me. Oftentimes, I do not sleep, so to make the time pass I watch movie after movie, arriving at my destination bleary-eyed and full of anticipation that upon seeing my red suitcase on the baggage claim will result in a dramatic swelling of music.

What delights me about these flights, though, is checking out their user interface. It's a chance to study how an airline does a multimedia player.

The home screen

The Category page for TV
After you choose a category you can play or view a preview

Checkers love this  page,  since it has estimated time of arrival! They offer another page (which somehow I didn't capture) with a map with your departure and arrival countries and a large plane graphic in the current position.

Overall, could the User experience be better? Oh, yes, but it's pretty darned good.