Author Archives: Theo Mandel

Wackiest Product Warning Labels

To highlight the wacky side of usability, here’s a CNN/Money article on the wackiest product warning labels. With the stupid things people do and the litigious society we live in, you have to wonder how we came to arrive at this point in time. Toilet brush wins wacky bowl Michigan anti-lawsuit group gives out “awards”Continue Reading

International Translation and Branding Usability Bloopers

Let users do what they want to do, when they want to do it, and how they want to do it.

S.Korea Works on Ethical Code for Righteous Robots – Isaac Asimov would be proud!

South Korea is drawing up a code of ethics to stop humans misusing robots – or vice versa, officials said Wednesday. Just the fact that this is happening now means we are making progress in robotics and artificial intelligence! [Photo] Alex Hubo — the world’s first walking robot with an expressive face resembling Albert EinsteinContinue Reading

The Face of the $100 Laptop – Nicholas Negroponte

Revolutionary computer with an evolutionary user interface. “One Laptop per Child” is an international effort led by Nicholas Negroponte to provide laptop PCs (costing $100 or less) to school children in developing nations. One of the interesting aspects of the new computer is the user interface. The user interface, called Sugar, may turn out toContinue Reading

Call to designers: Consider the user first!

Las Vegas — Developers for the consumer market should worry less about wowing users with gizmos and features, and more about how consumers actually use the devices, speakers and papers concluded at the International Conference of Consumer Electronics (ICCE). Attendees heard repeated calls for a change in their approach to design. “We are part ofContinue Reading

eCommerce Web Usability Blooper

Great! I found the software I’m looking for, and it’s on SALE! $325, with $75 off, ends up at $250! But wait, it says the discounted price is $395! What is going on!!!! Welcome to the wonderful world of web usability bloopers! For more information on how to avoid usability bloopers, visit Mandel’s Golden RulesContinue Reading

Web 2.0 Usability Blooper – The Weather

Wonderful Web 2.0 gives you instant, dynamic information – or does it? Check out the temperature and weather in Scottsdale in this screenshot between one Weather panel on the left and the other Weather web service on the right. One says the current temperature is 70 degrees and sunny and the other says it isContinue Reading

Computer Tech Support Parody: “Introducing the book”

Great video highlighting the usability of “new” technology and tech support. Imagine the usability problems that surfaced when books were first created! “This video makes fun of moderns newbie computer users by illustrating – in a way fully understandable to them – how silly some of their questions are by creating a similar problem 500Continue Reading

Look Ma, No Buttons: Futuristic touch-screen technology is quickly becoming a present-day reality on many consumer electronic gadgets

The high-tech computer touchscreens you see in the movies are not as futuristic as you think! “In the 2002 thriller Minority Report, detective John Anderton, (played by Tom Cruise) uses gloved hands to manipulate images on three-dimensional charts. The depiction of futuristic technology was set in 2054. The future arrived sooner than expected. The featuresContinue Reading

The human factor in gadget, Web design (CNN News)

More good press for my field of usability and web design: “Experts in the field of so-called human-computer interaction, however, say good design like the YouTube interface is the exception, not the rule. For every slick Apple iPod, there are a dozen washing machines with a baffling array of buttons. And for every simple TiVoContinue Reading


Google intends to scan every book ever published, and to make the full texts searchable, in the same way that Web sites can be searched on the company

So You Want to Be a Rock Star (Usability Consultant) – UPA 2007 Panel

Usability Professionals’ Association 2007 Conference: Patterns: Blueprints for Usability, June 11-15, Austin, Texas I am participating on an exciting panel of expert consultants at the 2007 UPA conference. It should be a great time. Please check out the Advance Program. Here’s a brief overview of our panel: So You Want to Be a Rock StarContinue Reading

Articles/Videos: Steve Krug (Web Usability) and Jakob Nielsen (Application Usability)

Read and view interviews with two colleagues and well-known UI authors and gurus, Jakob Nielsen and Steve Krug. Great Minds in Development: Steve Krug talks about Web usability Article Video Great Minds in Development: Jakob Nielsen – Designing Your Applications for Usability Article Video

Web Search Design: Interview with Larry Cornett, Yahoo Director of User Experience Design

Larry Cornett, the relatively new Director of User Experience Design at Yahoo and Kathryn Kelly, Director of PR for Yahoo! Search, speak with Gord Hotchkiss of Search Engine Land. Read the interview here. Gord asked Larry and Catherine about the Yahoo search experience and how their own internal usability testing has led to the designContinue Reading

How the Web is helping TV!

You would think that with the intense use of the Internet today, “googling” our brains out, watching idiotic video clips on YouTube, and our preoccupation with music and MP3 players, we would spend less time sitting down and watching television. Well, it turns out, it’s exactly the opposite! We actually watch more television now thanContinue Reading

Bad Usability Calendar – 2007

“Finally, it

Why the Geek Squad has become a Technological Necessity

Get Me The Geeks! How Tricky Technology Is Giving Rise To The Geeks CBS News – 60 Minutes January 28, 2007 Ever seen those funky-looking VW bugs driving around town? Have you felt the need to pick up the phone and call the Geek Squad? Well, you are not alone. 60 Minutes reports: “We areContinue Reading

New! Two Forrester Research Reports on Usability Testing

Forrester Research has just published two studies on usability testing in their new series, “Usability Testing for Managers.” I participated as one of the experts in the field Forrester surveyed for the studies. These studies are usually not publicly distributed, but you can view them here (shhh!!!). Click on the report title below to viewContinue Reading

World Usability Day 2007 – November 8

Date for 2007 World Usability Day announced… World Usability Day (WUD) promotes the value of usability engineering and user-centered design and the belief that every user has the responsibility to ask for things that work better. The Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA) is doing that by encouraging, organizing, and sponsoring 36 hours of activities at theContinue Reading

Apple’s iPhone – Greatness or Gadget?

Technophiles are drooling over Apple’s announced new iPhone – a sleek and ultra thin combination of a mobile phone, an iPod and a pocket computer. The phone is operated with one button and a 3.5-inch high resolution touch screen. However, the price tag is around $500 and corporate managers may see it as an expensiveContinue Reading