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I recently had to retire my tried and trusty alarm clock radio. I never thought it was anything special. I didn’t keep it around because it had superior functionality, a great experience, great audio quality . . . . it was just the clock I had.
But in making a change to a new clock, I realized how good I had it before. It seems that attention to simple human factors principles was not a priority.
So here is the set up. Too many parents have a phobia when they talk about math with their kids. They get visibly anxious and uncomfortable. They describe their interest in and ability with math negatively. “Math is hard.” “I am not good at math.” This leads their kids to think about math the same way. Plus, it reduces the child’s willingness to ask their parents for help with homework. They don’t share their interest in math with their parents over the dinner table. In the long run, it reduces our societal capabilities in math by slowing it down right from the start.
Even children who used the app with their parents as little as once a week saw gains in math achievement by the end of the school year. The app’s effect was especially strong for children whose parents tend to be anxious or uncomfortable with math.
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.
Today we will have a guest post from the content manager and University of Florida PhD Student France Jackson. We are continuing the discussion around HFES 2015. During UX Day at the annual meeting, I was honored to be a participant in the UX Leadership Development Workshop. Today, I want to do a guest post and share my experience. Prior to the event, participants were informed that there three theme areas we would be discussing at the workshop and to prepare our thoughts and talking…
We have discussed the phenomenon of the uncanny valley here before. It is the phenomenon in which a robot or animation looks enough like a human to trigger our neural human recognition system but unhuman enough to trigger our neural mismatch/somethings wrong system (I can go into the neuroanatomy if someone asks in the comments).
Recent experiments suggest that I’m not alone in my discomfort. Colin Strong, a marketing consultant in the UK, storyboared several high tech customization scenarios, ranging from the simple (targeted direct mail) to the sophisticated, like health insurance companies crawling info on your food purchase habits to adjust your premiums. When he showed the scenarios to subjects, he found that the more personalized the services got, the more people liked them – until they got too personalized.
There are enough flaws in search engine results page (SERP) design to fill several articles, but I will focus on one today that was a completely fortuitous discovery for me (I love those). It was a casual comment from a listener of the Daily Tech News Show that was read and very briefly discussed on the show. The person who called in was commenting on the common wisdom that few people click to the second (or later) pages of the results. Most people will either take the best option on the first page, change their query, or give up. They assume that if a result is not good enough to make it to the first page, it probably isn’t worth the time to check out. In Google we trust!
According to a recent study by CB Insights, the number one reason that startups fail is that their cool new product doesn’t satisfy any need that real users have in a way that real users want. Too many startups focus on their personal excitement about a technology or to solve their own problem without thinking about UX and CX. The app Secret, which launched to wide fanfare two years ago, just closed down due to lack of interest.
In a piece posted on Medium Wednesday, Secret cofounder David Byttow said that after less than a year and a half of availability, the app would be shuttered and money returned to investors; the reason, he said, is that Secret “does not represent the vision” he had when starting it. The app, which had been free to Android and iOS users, is no longer available through the app stores for either mobile platform.
The latest issue of Fast Company has their list of the 50 Most Innovative Companies. There are countless insights hidden away in this list and I strongly recommend reading through them all. Some of them are innovative in their technology, which is typically what we think of. But others innovate their business model, their customer experience, and other parts of the design process.
This is a very disheartening article. Sapna Cheryan at the University of Washington has spent the past several years looking at the design of classrooms and has found them inadequate for learning. All the way from kindergarten to university. There are many different deficiencies to choose from, but many of them are related to human factors and ergonomics issues. She has a TEDx talk here…
First Build is a crowdsourcing platform that works with companies to facilitate R&D. The advantage to the company is that the time from concept to working model is radically shortened. The crowd gets a percent of revenue. In one pilot project, GE Appliances submitted a project for innovations on its washing machine and I think the crowd got 1% of revenue for three years…