Midwest UX 2014 Recap: Abuse It or Use It

Ever used one of those smart faucets that seems to cut out exactly when you to rinse your hands? Ever experience a park bench or architecture that feels designed to prevent you from using it? Too often things get designed in ways that hinder a positive experience to account for infrequent edge cases. In this talk Edward Stojakovic presents ways that user experience can be used for good to prevent the proliferation of antipatterns and bad design.

Read More

The Pleasures of Reading

As designers and programmers it is tempting to think that digital is always a "better" format. Digital formats let us compact what would have taken rows of bookshelves into devices that weigh mere ounces. It allows us to aggregate and process vast amounts of information more easily than at any time in history.
Read More

Common sense defaults

Over the years I have read a large number of pieces advocating the use of sensible defaults. Stephen Anderson's book Seductive Interaction Design devotes two pages to the topic with proof about the why and how (one of many reasons to order a copy as soon as you can).

Today Jared Spool provides even more validation. By performing a simple experiment with Microsoft Word he found that less than 5% of users change any settings. In other words 95% of people touching your product will assume there is a reason that the default settings are configured the way they are. Rather than fix them they'll go with the status quo.

I highly recommend reading the piece when you get a minute. The questions it asks apply not just to those of us trying to design the experience but the people actually writing the code. You may be surprised at all the assumptions that sneak through into the final design.