Author Archives: Theo Mandel

Business-Software Vendor Finds Business Software Impossible to Use

The Business Technology Blog in Wall Street Journal describes a software vendor’s study: IFS, a business-software vendor, sent us a report titled

Lamenting the Lost Art of the Office Telephone Conversation

Very interesting article in the New York Times on the shift from telephone calls in the workplace to e-mail correspondence and cell phone conversations. While it makes the office a quieter workplace, workers have lost the fine art of handling the telephone conversation: “At first glance, there are reasons e-mail seems a boon. It leavesContinue Reading

Consumers earn Free Stuff with “Free Love”

FREE LOVE: the ongoing rise of free, valuable stuff that’s available to consumers online and offline. From AirAsia tickets to Wikipedia, and from diapers to music. This is the new consumerism on the Web. Read about it at FREE LOVE thrives on an all-out war for consumers’ ever-scarcer attention and the resulting new businessContinue Reading

Rebate Psychology – Understanding Taxpayer Behavior

Nicholas Epley, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, wrote a recent article in The New York Times about the recently passed tax rebate bill. Basically, he says that calling the money taxpayers will receive as a “rebate” will encourage them to save the money. To stimulate theContinue Reading

The Ultimate Multi-Function Cell Phone (Humor)

You knew it was coming…move over iPhone! Here is a cellular phone that *really* can multitask! The Sumsing Turbo 3000 Xi mobile phone! View the video!

Designing Usability and User Experience for Consumer Medical Devices

Usability and comsumer experience are not only important for computer hardware and software. Consumer medical devices must not only be usable – they must be visually and physically appealing: “Today, a medical device must be more than functional; it must also look and feel sophisticated. Device designers can use refined touchpoints to influence users

Usability/User Experience Specialist – Best Careers for 2008 [US News & World Report]

US News & World Report on Best Careers for 2008: Usability/User Experience Specialist listed as one of the best careers! We continue to gain recognition for our contribution to the IT industry. The article notes one drawback about our industry, as we continue to face push-back from our (potential) clients: A potential downside of thisContinue Reading

Scientific Web Design: 23 Actionable Lessons from Eye-Tracking Studies

I conducted eye-movement research on reading comprehension in my graduate work on my M.A. and Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology back in the early 80’s. Eye-tracking hardware and software have come a long way since then and they provide very interesting analyses of user experiences with applications and websites. This article summarizes some results of eye-trackingContinue Reading

Microsoft HealthVault: Device Connectivity

Microsoft’s HealthVault (HV) beta was launched October 4, 2007. The launch was a classic Microsoft launch: big, dramatic, expensive, and well executed, right down to the goody bags (you had to be there to get one). Read more about Microsoft’s Healthvault: – Microsoft HealthVault: Device Connectivity – e-CareManagement Blog – Medtalk: Doctor Geek, M.D.

Truth or Fiction? – Microsoft taps brain scan for UI work

Interesting article on future UI research going on at Microsoft. They are even filing patents on the technology. – Read the article – Microsoft’s Patent application Companies that develop some of the world’s most well-known user interfaces, such as Microsoft and Apple, already know this, but it’s still difficult at times to know exactly whatContinue Reading

Computer Usability – Need we say more?

Police excuse angry computer user for outburst Reuters, Tuesday July 17, 2007 2:35pm EDT (View article) BERLIN (Reuters) – A German man who startled his neighbors when he hurled his computer out of the window in the middle of the night, was let off for disturbing the peace by police who sympathized with his technicalContinue Reading

IT side of medical care: Interview with Dr. Christopher Longhurst

Very illuminating interview with Stanford doctor, Christopher Longhurst, a general pediatrician who works in the IT department there. Recorded from the Scoble Show, a video blog about “geeks, technologists and developers.” The most interesting thing? Just how many mistakes get made in hospitals and how information technology is being used to keep those errors fromContinue Reading

History of GUIs: Interview with Larry Tesler

Good interview with Larry Tesler, one of the innovators from Xerox PARC who created the early GUIs with icons and folders on the desktop. After the Xerox PARC years, he worked at Apple on the early GUI products, the Apple Lisa and the Macintosh. This was an exciting time in user interface design. I wasContinue Reading

World Usability Day – Heathcare: Kickoff Event Summary

World Usability Day 2007 kicked off the year with a special session at the Usability Professionals’ Association conference on June 13 in Austin, Texas. The focus for World Usability Day (WUD) 2007is healthcare. Healthcare usability affects every individual throughout his or her entire life. Every day, issues of medical illnesses and diseases, health insurance, nutrition,Continue Reading

Really BIG Usability Issues – How to Build a Mile-High Skyscraper!

Very interesting article! The idea has been around for over 40 years (see below), but is now possible with modern materials and construction techniques…Just think of the possibilities! In 1956, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, a noted proponent of small, squat buildings, unveiled a design for a mile-high skyscraper. Wright acknowledged that construction

Consumer Experience Parody

It’s always great to see examples of how important the consumer experience is. Here’s a great video parody about the consumer experience. Enjoy!

‘Laura’ Makes Digital Health Coaching Personal

As healthcare chairman for World Usability Day 2007, I’m very interested in advances in consumer healthcare on the Web. Northeastern University computer science professor Timothy Bickmore has created a virtual health coach called “Laura” that can help patients remember to take pills on time or encourage them to get out for a walk. Bickmore hopesContinue Reading

World Usability Day Announces 2007 Healthcare Focus

Theo Mandel, Ph.D. has been named the healthcare chairman for World Usability Day 2007. World Usability Day’s focus for 2007 is on healthcare. The theme is, “We can make a difference.” Mandel will present at the kickoff event at the UPA Conference in Austin, Texas on June 13. Here is the initial press release forContinue Reading

Experts Discuss the Future of “Ease of Use” – Simplicity vs. Functionality


Helvetica Font turns 50 Years Old!

The Helvetica font is a widely used sans-serif typeface developed in 1957 by Swiss graphic designer Max Miedinger. Originally called Neue Haas Grotesk, the typeface’s name was changed in 1960 to Helvetica