visual design & credibility

"An organization of real human beings who are trying to address genuinely complex issues ought not generate a webpage as smooth and featureless as a bowlful of Maalox." http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/005850.html this is why Google's old design (2003 - 2009) was friendly...

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MSFT usability disasters: Ignoring results

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I recently questioned whether executives, CEOs, and some product managers are even able to truly listen to the findings of user research. Quite a few of them, I've seen, are not able to truly absorb feedback that fundamentally conflicts...

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Design and uncertainty

"We want a designer who really BELIEVES in their design. They should be willing to fight for it." "But what if your belief is wrong?" When I was graduating from CMU's HCI program a while back, I was asked to...

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Steve Jobs & the power of ideas (via Give it Five Minutes)

http://37signals.com/svn/posts/3124-give-it-five-minutes If you aren't sure why this is important, think about this quote from Jonathan Ive regarding Steve Jobs' reverence for ideas: And just as Steve loved ideas, and loved making stuff, he treated the process of creativity with a...

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Apple: Tabbed Inspectors Suck; Adobe and Omni get it right.

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Could you PLEASE redesign your OS conventions for big screens? Or at least afford some expert accelerators for people with big monitors? This drives me nuts whenever I use Keynote. Most common tasks: Bullet points, type style changes, and borders on...

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Inbox Surprise via @iansilber

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via @iansilber: "This reminds me of an app I made called Inbox Surprise that would basically allow you to spam someone's inbox with something like this: http://cl.ly/3C08030R3M1v1P3M3s0l. Basically take ascii art and deliver each line as a new email....

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EPIC SQUEE: Eames Elephants

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According to dwr.com, "Demetrios [Eames, grandson of Charles] recently took the Elephant on Safari, creating this film for the Eames Office. For a fun twist, mute the soundtrack and replace it with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by The Tokens."...

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Stripper shoes: Still not okay.

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I look at all the stripper shoes on the market and think "Ugh. Who wants to look like a hooker?" And then I think "Uh-oh, I must be getting old." And then I think, "But no. They're stripper shoes."...

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Google Calendar: Your modals suck.

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Seriously, don't you ask your candidates about Fitts' Law during interviews any more? It's not like scheduling recurring meetings is an infrequent event, especially at a business, making this a merely occasional annoyance. This MUST annoy Google employees too. And...

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Groupon is hiring UX people, all levels, all functions.

All roles can be in our Palo Alto product / development office or in our Chicago HQ. We're looking for people in all roles who have a strong grounding in design theory, human cognition, and technical knowledge -- the classic...

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Apps are just little websites in cheap fur coats.

While on the London Underground I saw a poster advertising Potiche, a movie starring Catherine Deneuve, who I think is the bees' knees. I made a note to myself to research it when I got back to WiFi. Back on...

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New job as Dir of UX at Groupon

Today seems like an opportune time to announce that tomorrow is my last day working at LinkedIn. On Monday I'll start a new job as Groupon's director of user experience, out of their Palo Alto office. I wasn't at LinkedIn...

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Disjoint thoughts on productivity

Fried goes on to suggest that the perceived distractions of Facebook and web surfing at work are false, with "M&Ms" (managers & meetings) making up greater, involuntary, more disruptive and expensive distractions. -- http://gigaom.com/collaboration/jason-fried-why-work-doesnt-happen-at-work/ Disparate non-narrative thoughts: I've lately been...

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Damn the metrics, full speed ahead!

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A/B testing is useful, important, and a valuable part of the software production process. (Note that I didn't say part of the "design" process.) You can use A/B testing to compare two radically different versions of an idea or to...

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LinkedIn Today: Congrats to LI UED members...

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LinkedIn just launched LinkedIn Today, its social news aggregator for professionals. Props to the members of the LI UED team who have been hammering away at this for the past many months. Sarah Alpern, Principal Designer. Sarah was the designer...

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When I type "i.e.", I'm not ending a sentence. Thanks.

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I hate you, Outlook....

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Yes, I DO often want to see my email and calendar at the same time

Convo in team chatroom: Ellen Beldner: Is there any way in Outlook 2011 for me to simultaneously view both my calendar and email? like, the way I'd be able to do if we used Google Apps and I had a...

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...but Outlook, I don't see a SAVE button.

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Jakob says (http://www.useit.com/alertbox/action-object-closeness.html): One of the oldest principles of human-computer interaction is that things that are close together on the screen are seen as related. (Similarly, users view as related those things that are the same color or shape,...

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Pandora: iPad HCI fail

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"Oooh! Pandora for my iPad, cool! I've been getting into Pandora lately, bought a premium subscription, using it a lot more & becoming a fan...." Download & install -- fairly simple. Could be more sexy of an app. "Oh, I...

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Thoughts on Interface Consistency

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We had a big discussion today at work about consistency. When do you force it? When do you challenge it? On one hand, I understand the point made by a PM: "But I just think it looks bad. I don't...

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My Design Principles

This list is based on the original Google design team's UI principles, which I helped draft in 2004-ish. Google updated its UI principles and published them around 2008, when Irene Au started working on publicly promoting the team and its...

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Happy Diwali from LinkedIn!

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Had my first launch at LinkedIn yesterday. It's a custom homepage, visible in India, that wishes viewers a happy Diwali from different LinkedIn employees. Happy Diwali LinkedIn blog post. We went from mockups to launch in about 36 hours, which...

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In search of books on mobile usability & UI...

Recalling CMU intro HCI course whose capstone project was UI improvements for the PalmOS.... Here's the question on Quora, but haven't yet gotten much of a response: http://www.quora.com/q/What_are_the_best_fresh_up_to_date_academic_type_resources_for_mobile_UI_UX_design...

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Dan Cederholm likes Halvorsen too

Halvorsen is the typeface I recently used for my GreenBetween redesign. Turns out that Dan likes it too. I don't really know Dan, although I hired him via Google to do some fast icons for a small project a couple...

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Published: Thoughts on Interaction Design

Jon Kolko, who I met at CMU, just published his book Thoughts on Interaction Design. I'm a guest author and wrote a chapter called "Getting Design Done". The book's website is http://www.thoughtsoninteraction.com/....

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NYTimes: User hacking leading to product innovation

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/25/business/yourmoney/25Proto.html?_r=1&oref=slogin Summary: Let advanced users hack on your products. They will come up with innovations that you didn't think of. This stands up nicely to an economic interpretation too: If someone is willing to take the time to hack around...

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Usability engineers designing nightclubs

(...I was thinking about calling this post "Ellen on Joel on Software" but I think that would be a gross thing to say.) We had a thread on the UE team mailing list where someone had -- reasonably -- gotten...

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Tag clouds don't work: The Tshirt

As part of the Decidr and Widget Bitch tshirt series, I just published tag clouds don't work to the WidgetBitch CafePress store. Because tag clouds don't work. They're the UGG boots of interaction design: no one really believes in them...

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New dashboard -- Google Base bulk uploads

Woohoo -- new design for the Google Base bulk upload dashboard! The old bulk upload dashboard was a 3-second one-off using our generic tabular data widget. Since most of our bulk uploaders have only a couple of files, the...

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Software specs are not the enemy.

The fact that a lot of organizations cram unreasonable, un-vetted features into the spec and call it a "spec" is not a problem with specs. It is an organizational problem. Blaming the existence of specs for problems caused by bad management is not fair to the spec.

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PRD for my home remodel

Sitting down with my architect this weekend to make decisions about kitchen cabinets, countertops, sink, and how the stairs will work. The kitchen will be monolithic charcoal gray (or maybe white) so it doesn't compete too much with the brick...

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Placement of Toto Washlet controls relative to toilet

At work we have a bunch of Toto washlets. One day I was explaining to some friends about the wall-attached remote control. One of them, in annoyed puzzlement, asked why on earth would you need a remote-controlled bidet control? This...

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