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Month: February 2016

How to React to New Ideas

In general, people don’t like new ideas. What I mean by this is that the first reaction “most” people have to a new idea is FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.) It’s natural based on how our brains work. We love patterns. Things in motion stay in motion, things at rest stat at rest. A new idea would change that pattern and make us uncomfortable. This is not meant to put anyone on the defensive. This is how our brains work. This idea itself makes people uncomfortable. We like to think of ourselves as open to new ideas. MY statement above…

Abstractions vs. Literal Names in Branding

Take two brands: Apple and Microsoft. The word “Apple” is an abstraction. It doesn’t mean anything related to computers or phones. Microsoft, on the other hand, is named for the fact that the company started by making micro-computer software. Although Microsoft has been incredibly successful, their branding has always been less than they deserve. Contrarily, Apple’s brand has had die hard fans no matter what Apple did. (OS9 and Newton, I’m looking at you!) Let’s be clear, Apple’s branding has more to do with their style and products than just the name. For this post however, we are focusing on the…

Logo Projects

Designing a logo is never easy. After a while every single logo looks the same. You start playing that game where you are trying to tell the difference between 18 different kinds of the letter g. Serif, sans, friendly, edges, the options are endless. Finding a logo is like searching for a black cat in a dark room that is filled with small dogs. – Glen Lipka There is never a right answer. Although there are logos that people think are great and others people think are terrible, the reality is that there is no perfect logo for your company.…

The Presidential Charisma Rule

Presidential Elections Rule #1: The one with more charisma will win. Since presidents have been using television to communicate with the people, the one with the most charisma has won. I’ll start conservatively with 1952, but it really was 1960 when television really took off. 1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) – 442 Adlai Stevenson (D) – 89 1956 Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) – 457 Adlai Stevenson (D) – 73 1960 John F. Kennedy (D) – 303 Richard Nixon (R) – 219 Harry F. Byrd (D) – 15 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson (D) – 486 Barry Goldwater (R) – 52 1968 Richard…

GotoMeeting Strange Sentence

Open a new GotoMeeting meeting. Now, dial in with your phone. After you put in the meeting number you should hear the following sentence. You will no longer hear beeps until someone else joins the conference. What does that mean? Did people used to hear beeps until someone joined the conference and now they don’t? Is this a thing? Do people miss the beeps? Why are they gone? Isn’t that an odd thing to say? Besides, what is wrong with beeps? I like to know that the silence isn’t because of a disconnection as I wait for the other attendees.…

Privacy vs Value

The news today about Apple is very interesting. They were ordered by a federal judge to give prosecutors backdoor access to the San Bernadino shooter’s iPhone. Many privacy advocates are aghast. Apple has refused to comply. This is likely to go to the Supreme Court in the future. It raises a larger issue when weighing privacy vs. value. In this case, the question is asking whether expectations of privacy are more important than law enforcement ability to detect and deter crime (value). Over the last century this question has been tested against numerous technologies. Wire tapping, audio amplification, search and…

My Favorite Part of Design

I saw a rockumentary about the band Kansas. They told the story of how Carry on My Wayward Son was written by Kerry Livgren. From Wikipedia: On the last day of rehearsal for the new album, Livgren brought the band one more song, which they performed once before heading to the studio. The song, “Carry On Wayward Son“, became Kansas’ first hit. Specifically, he said that he was finished writing songs for the album and all of the sudden, the song as a whole appeared in his head as if it had been beamed there from outer space. I know this feeling very well.…

Feature Idea for OS and Cloud Storage

The rise of randomware is terrifying. Can you imagine losing all your files unless you pay ransom? Ugh! The best protection is the backup your files to the cloud. I use a combination of services for different things. One feature I don’t see on these services or on the operating system is the ability to make a folder public but with a shared password. This is very useful for things like portfolio pieces that you don’t want to be indexed by search engines or generally available, but you want to give access to particular people.  Sharing is too complex to…

Feature Idea for Calendars

People at work often have very (VERY) busy schedules with back-to-back-to-back meetings. Of course, they are usually in different places so you end up being late to every single meeting when you just count travel. Additionally, travel isn’t the only thing you need to do. You need to prepare for the meeting. This means reviewing notes and emails. For interviews it means checking LinkedIn. For User Research it means preparing your materials and UI presentation. All of this takes time. The feature I propose is to automatically put 30 minutes before every single meeting you accept called “Meeting Prep”. This…

Unicorn Meat

Recently, at Engagio, I have been talking with customers looking at the details of the different problems (opportunities) to solve. I am looking for a particular situation with the following characteristics: A task that happens all the time, preferably by lots of people. Clearly sub-optimal workflow with incredible pain in every step. Computers could help. People are willing to pay to have it better. If you have all three, you have the makings of an incredible B2B Startup. If you build a company that is worth a billion dollars, that is called a unicorn. I think I have stumbled across a…

UX Candidate Design Challenge – v3

UX Candidate Design Challenge – v1 UX Candidate Design Challenge – v2 This was the last design exercise I made for people interviewing for jobs. People didn’t do great on it, like the previous ones, but I keep trying. Design Challenge A rich, famous comedian (Louie) employs 4 aspiring comedians. Their job is to write comedy with Louie. Being funny is often not a solo effort.  Many famous comedians got their start working for someone else. Design a way for the 5 people to work together on the scenarios above.  They are usually not in the same location/time zone. There…

The UX of Google Calendar (2016)

I reviewed Google calendar previously (2007). It was quite good. I had very nice things to say. Fast forward 9 years. It’s the same damn thing. No noteworthy enhancements. What the hell is going on over there? The styling is old and crusty. Do I really need to see 12am-6am? Can’t it zoom? Free busy scheduling is clunky. When I make an all day event, it doesn’t even change the view. Microsoft Outlook/Calendar is much better. Office 365 is outpacing Google on innovation. The UI is fresher and the functions are more useful. Come on Google, pull it together! I…

The “Just Sayin” Rule

I’d like to make a new rule. Any sentence preceding the phrase Just Sayin, should not be said in the first place. “Just sayin” is only said after obnoxious or insulting sentences. These are better left unsaid. We all say things that hurt other people, intentionally or not. Shrugging your shoulders are muttering, “Just Sayin” diminishes the feelings of the other person. It doesn’t create an excuse, it makes it worse. It’s like saying the mean thing and then saying, “I know that’s hurtful, but I don’t care. I didn’t break their bones, I just hurt their feelings. Feelings are…