People walking on treadmills at a gym while watching television.

Supporting Accessibility: Closed Captioning the Whole Experience

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This article on closed captioning came out a few weeks ago, but it has been on my mind ever since. When you are watching a movie or TV show, the words are not the only part of the audio that is important. Even within the words, it is not the word alone that conveys the message. So how can you capture that in a closed captioning window without taking the viewer’s attention away from the video for too long?…

Soma coffee carafe

The Home Team/Away Team Version of User Centered Design

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I wonder what you think of the Home Team/Away Team style of User Centered Design described in this article. “The job of the Home Team is to quickly create designs, then update them based on customer feedback, which is gathered by the Away Teams. Our Home Team–made up of two industrial designers, one graphic designer, and one person who managed communication with the Away Teams–stayed in the office”…

An image of smart watch next to a smart phone.

Do Smartwatches Satisfy a Real User Need or Just a Fun Novelty?

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WIRED magazine recently had a story suggesting that Google is the company that can succeed with smartwatches where others have failed. I completely agree with their justification, but I am still not convinced about the smart watch. “Amidst speculation that Apple’s long-fabled iWatch might in fact be a health-specific wristband, Android Wear is clearly aiming for something much bigger.”…

Image of the MailChimp logo

Great Example of User Centered Design in Action

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I read the Mail Chimp newsletter, even though I am not a customer, because they occasionally have articles that talk about the human factors issues related to email newsletters. I enjoyed the latest issue because it narrated the story of their design process for Release 9.0, a mistake they made in modifying the functionality, and how they recovered from it…

An image of a Starbucks sign

What Is Your Mental Model of Starbucks? Can It Include Beer and Wine?

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What do you think of Starbucks rolling out a bar to attract a later crowd? Right now, most of their business is not just coffee and muffins, but it is also concentrated on the morning hours. Even though they stay open later, business really tanks…

Shared workspace with multiple people working in an open office

Can We Use Social Proof for Workplace Design?

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I just finished reading Jonah Berger’s book Contagious: Why Things Catch On. In his chapter on triggers, he talks about a phenomenon that is pretty well established in marketing. People are more likely to wear the same brand of shirts as their coworkers and friends than they are to wear the same brand of socks. The visibility of the social proof matters, especially for product categories that we don’t talk about a lot (like our brand of socks)…

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