Tag Archives: usability

car dash

Revenge of the End User License Agreement

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There are so many cases where we see customers having trouble with befuddling and legalistic user agreements that get them into trouble. Perhaps a customer reveals more personal information than she realized to an advertising aggregator. Perhaps he ceded the intellectual property rights for something he created while using a development environment. Perhaps I agreed to transaction fees and automatic services I never intended to.

In a later call from emergency services made to Bernstein directly, the driver denied all knowledge of any accident. The driver told the dispatcher that “everything was fine,” before the dispatcher said, “Ok but your car called in saying you’d been involved in an accident. It doesn’t do that for no reason. Did you leave the scene of an accident?”


UX Steel Cage Match

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If you haven’t seen it, Don Norman co-wrote an article in Fast Company decrying the collapse of Apple’s commitment to usable design. Then Anthony Franco (from UX Magazine) pilloried him in a Pulse piece on LinkedIn.

No more. Now, although the products are indeed even more beautiful than before, that beauty has come at a great price. Gone are the fundamental principles of good design: discoverability, feedback, recovery, and so on. Instead, Apple has, in striving for beauty, created fonts that are so small or thin, coupled with low contrast, that they are difficult or impossible for many people with normal vision to read. We have obscure gestures that are beyond even the developer’s ability to remember. We have great features that most people don’t realize exist.

Plastic Utensils

Chop Chop Kitchen

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Universal design is an important concept for all of us who practice human factors and ergonomics. What I value most about universal design is that it does not treat people with limitations as fundamentally different populations, but rather simply at the tail end of a distribution that we all fall somewhere along. It is not the case that non-disabled have 100% of their working memory capacity or vigilance and the cognitively challenged all have the same smaller amount. It is not the case that non-disabled have 100% bicep strength or aerobic capacity and the physically challenged all have the same smaller amount. Some people fall high on the distribution, some medium, some lower. The disabled may fall lower on some distributions, but are just as likely to be higher on other distributions.

lots of clothing hangers

Simple but Clever and Effective: True Ergonomics

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This design caught my eye for so many reasons. The designer has a real user pain point that he wants to ease.

Maximizing space in a small closet requires a MacGyver-like resourcefulness. Luckily, the meccas of home organization (The Container Store, Bed Bath and Beyond) carry myriad tools for squeezing storage space out of every square inch. But when it comes to making clothes hangers more efficient, things get clumsy: Tiered clothes hangers, the ones meant for vertically stacking several pairs of pants, tend to be unwieldy, need to hook into place, and can’t accommodate shirts…