Thursday, June 28, 2012

Teacher, teacher tell me what's my lesson?

Last Fall, I had the honor of teaching User Experience at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. It was awesome. I guess I like teaching a lot. It not only was a joy to introduce eager students to a field I love, by explaining complex systems gave me a deeper appreciation of what UX really means.

Check out some of my students work or the assignments on our class site.

One of the highlights of teaching is watching students improve upon the things you've taken for granted. I especially enjoyed watching students do hands-on activities like paper prototype testing (watch/see the cleverness below).

This clever student use "layers" or a plastic film to enable reusing of pages underneath

I want this...something to identify flowers

Not required but some students made keyboards!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stumbling up the stairs - a lesson for usability testing videos and presentations

I love this video.

It shows people literally stumbling because of poor design.

This is a perfect example of what I call a usability testing highlight reel. To me, a highlight reel is a synopsis of similar stumbling moments across several users

In other words, if you have hours & hours of user testing videos, I bet very few people besides you watch, right? The story rapidly changes when you edit the video and share small bite-sized clips. 

Persuade your team to fix something by engaging them. They will cringe when they watch people stumble, and they will want desperately to fix it.

New York City Subway Stairs from Dean Peterson on Vimeo.

What's the default gender?

Whenever I see Male as the default gender on a sign up screen I wonder, is this because there are more dudes on this site? Or is this because unlike the Titanic, it's men first?

A story: I bought a cute puppet recently made by a woman in Texas. Someone said it was a male.
Me: "No, she's female, what makes you think it's a boy?"
Him: "When animals are naked and don't wear a bow or a dress, they are male"
Me: "WHAT!?"
So I guess the muppets, smurfs set the rules. But, men are not the default for me. Probably because I'm not one. Too bad being the majority (barely) doesn't get you default status.

No bow, no dress.  Female!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

From the office...

Here are some photos from my office. You can find more here.
My prized postcard from the one and only, Lynda Barry
I do like to draw fish. I send Lynda Barry a fish like this only red

I love Mighty Mouse and Mary Poppins...but what made me buy this print was absolutely the patterns.

Staple-less stapler

India ink 

Quick charcoal during a meeting (using gmail voice for the call) 

My desk. Never really clean.

It shouldn't matter. And yet...

I'm not applying to colleges or trying to pump up my resume, so when I get a game achievement, a badge, or token of any kind from software, I'm surprised to say I really like it! 

Is there any way your software can make someone's day a little brighter? Just a bit? 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Peddling surveys

(This Meme, Overly Attached Girlfriend can be found on QuickMeme)

One of the persistant scientific concerns about surveys is that the statistical inferences are hard to believe unless you have a good sample. In the world of online reviews it's easier than ever for a customer to provide feedback to a company. And not just to the company. With sites like Yelp, your slam or praise can curb or encourage new customers.  

Some companies ask their customers to provide feedback. For example, after a visit to my doctor, Kaiser sent me a survey. The envelope was marked "Immediate response requested!". If you're like me, your heart dropped as you realized you might have some terrible illness. Then you opened the envelope and realized...oh a survey. When I didn't respond, I got the same survey again in the mail two weeks later.

Kaiser's survey was titled "Good enough is not good enough."

Sometimes I wonder, "isn't it?"

Later that month, I visited an AT and T store so that my sim card could be updated on my iPhone 4, and the fellow at the store did it. As I was exiting, he smiled broadly and told me I'd soon get a survey and asked me to sing his praises. Did he do an amazing job? Mmmmm, he did his job.

I'm guilty of writing reviews when I'm amazed at awesomeness or awfulness, but is that bad?

Similar to the approach of UnMarketing author, Scotty Stratten, I wonder if asking for feedback with too much desperation or too persistently starts to smell bad. Kind of like marketing.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Logos..not just for the upper right

It's with my last ounce of energy today that I write this. Last week I found one of most beautiful homepage headers I've seen in years. Mayo Clinic. Look at how they've busted a taken-for-granted convention (upper left for the logo). Good God this is beautiful.

 Most UX designers will bristle at recognize the hero image & three column "what we do" at the bottom...but I'm just marveling at the beauty of the logo placement. Here it is in context