May 2010

The Spirit vs. the Letter of the Law

People mix these up all the time.  Sometimes for malicious reasons (trying to “game” the system”) and sometimes just because it’s easier to look at the letter of the law.  I am not referring to just legalisms, but rather instructions from teachers or bosses.  The spirit of the more important aspect of the mission, but its often ignored because it takes too much time to interpret. Ethan (10 year old)...

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The UX of Information Camouflage

There is a great way of hiding the fact that you have no idea what you are talking about.  Bury the listener in a mountain of details.  I have seen this many times and it’s depressing each and every time. In government, the initiatives, bills, proposals, etc are presented in a way that makes it impossible to understand what the thing actually is.  You can bury some pretty awful stuff...

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Lickable or Lovable?

I met with a smart guy who is building out a user experience strength at his company.  He said that he was trying to make his product “Lickable and Lovable“.  Of course, I have been a huge proponent of Lovable applications and services.  However, lickable or “sexy” is a different adjective that has different connotations.  I think it’s an important distinction. One metaphor is about marriage and one-night stands.  You...

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Spoon Bending – A UX Metaphor

Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth. Neo: What truth? Spoon boy: There is no spoon. Neo: There is no spoon? Spoon boy: Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. I often see product managers or engineers trying to define how the user should complete their task.  They want to create...

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What would a commadot.com book look like?

I compiled a list of blog posts that I think would work well in a UX book. The Best of Commadot.com The link is at the top too.  I need to look through the archives to see if I missed some.  I imagine I did.  What do you think of the list?  How many of these are enough for a book?

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The UX of Butterfly World

Generally, my trip to Florida was pretty tame.  Swam in the pool.  Swam in the ocean.  Went to the park.  Melted in the heat and humidity.  The boys had fun. One highlight was Butterfly World in Florida.  The bar was set extremely low.  Ethan thought it would be stupid.  When we got there, they gave him a booklet so he could identify the butterflies and check them off.  Immediately, he...

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The UX of Golf

I am pretty good at Baseball/Softball and Pool (pocket billiards).  I can hold my own in Tennis.  All of these spots require good “form” to do well.  Its all about muscle memory.  If you can learn proper technique and repeat it over and over, you can very well at those activities. Golf, on the other hand, seems to be different.  I hit a golf ball on a driving range 20...

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Task Completion or Enjoyment

This is a trick question: The reason it is a trick question is that the guy on the left completed his task too.  However, most organizations align themselves to only solve some form of task completion.  Most software does not let you enjoy the task while you do this.  At best, you are satisfied, but not thrilled. Why does everyone focus so hard on task completion and so little on...

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The Bad Assumption Gap

In the beginning of a project, the plan is laid out by someone.  Often times, a product manager or an executive make the plan and communicate in a way that leaves some key assumptions unstated.  Without explicit statement, people naturally close the gaps and make their own assumptions.  It’s call closure and everyone in the world does it. You might say that people are supposed to ask questions and make...

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