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Month: July 2013

Housing in the Bay Area

When I was a kid, a million dollar house was a mansion.  People in million dollar houses were rich, very rich.  Now, a million dollar house (in the SF Bay Area) is nothing.  It’s a 3 bedroom, 1,700 sq ft house in San Mateo. San Mateo is not a rich neighborhood at all.  Someone owning that house sends their kids to public school and doesn’t have excess money in the bank.   In Palo Alto (more affluence), that same house would be 3+ million dollars.  Insane! One of the problems is that there just isn’t enough land developed for housing…

Bad UX: Sharp TV Support

Still perfecting the new TV.  I tried plugging in a USB 2.0 thumb drive into the USB port to watch a 4gb movie.  Voila! It worked and played without flaw.  The remote control worked properly.  Only problem was that the thumb drive was too small to hold ALL of my movies. So I upped the ante and plugged in a 500G USB 3.0 hard drive with the same formatting scheme.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work.  I wanted to know: Does this thing not support USB 3.0?  What is wrong? I looked on the website for some technical specs.  Nothing.  However, I…

UX Lesson: Understanding the Domain

When designing something, it is critical that you understand the domain.  This means that you understand the context the design will be used and the underlying subject matter the design is used for.  It includes many factors: The People Who are the people who will use your designed product? What are their personalities? What motivates them? What ARE their perceived goals? What SHOULD their goals be? How technical/smart are they? Are they troubleshooters? Any physical limitations? Of course, people aren’t 100% anything.  You will need to form an amalgam; a blending of personalities that form a persona help you focus your…

The UX of Teaching UX

Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand. – Confucius, BC 450 Sounds good, right?  Confucius had a way with words.  However, reality is more murky and messy.  How exactly do you involve someone to achieve the best results? The goals are pretty straight-forward: (I think) Learn quickly Learn with solid fundamentals Don’t create bad habits Maintain energy and interest of student Progress towards more depth/complexity There is a designer that I am teaching.  He prefers that I let him design something and then I give him feedback.  I am…

Occupy Wall Street Revisited

Almost two years ago, I wrote up a UX critique of the Occupy Movement.  Sadly, I was right.  The movement faded away and hardly anything has changed.  Banking is the same, the 99% is still the same.  Corporations are still considered people with rights.  Nothing substantial changed.  There were some conversations, but no laws. On The Newsroom (good show) they are also revisiting the topic. The writers have the luxury of 20/20 hindsight, but we all know where it goes.  Lots of movement, lots of energy, no leaders, no coherent message.  No results. I boil this down to people all the…

Time to Bake

Design needs time to develop properly.  You can whip out stuff super fast, but it probably won’t be very good. Design can have logic bugs, sub-optimal flows, unintended consequences, poor usability, unhappy customers and other nasty results.  The worst case is the design hampers your business growth in the future. What do all of the following professions have in common:  designer, doctor, electrical engineer, architect, programmer, copy writer, teacher, artist, handyman and the guy who writes bills for the senate to approve? They all require time to do their jobs properly. This is not to say that infinite time =…