Category Archives: Real-World Usability

Why Adults Have Fed Twitter

Very interesting results from a study on twitter usage. It turns out older people are using twitter more than young people – not the results you would expect from a new social networking experience. “The tech industry has been perplexed by the fact that Twitter has grown extraordinarily quickly even though young people do notContinue Reading

Above and Beyond: Airplanes ARE social media

It’s time for user experience designers to break out their wings! Airlines are beginning to realize that air travel is a shared experience where travelers can share informaton and experiences and the airlines can learn more about their customers! Jay Vidyarthi, a User Experience Designer and Research Coordinator at Yu Centrik, a usability and designContinue Reading

Healthcare Usability: Physician Resistance to German e-health Cards

While hospitals are implementing EMRs throughout Germany, they are resisting the German government’s push to roll out health cards for individuals. So far, they have refused to purchase the systems necessary to read the cards, saying that the paper process works better and faster for them. “The concern, as voiced by many health IT professionals,Continue Reading

Usability Problems with “Cash for Clunkers” Forms

New York Times (August 20, 2009) reports automobile dearlers are having trouble using the rebate forms the government designed. Yet another example of unusable forms!! “In many cases, the administration says incomplete forms or errors in the information submitted by dealers are slowing the process. Workers have reviewed about 40 percent of the applications filed,Continue Reading

Classic “This is Broken” Seth Godin Video

Seth Godin, bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change in his Gel 2006 video. Why are so many things broken? In this entertaining talk – one of the favorites of Gel 2006 – Seth Godin gives a tour of things poorly designed, the reasons why they are that way, and how to fix them. WatchContinue Reading

Let’s take back the beep from cell phone companies

Please join David Pogue’s effort to organize users everywhere to tell cell phone companies to turn off their gratuitously long voice mail intro-messages (“At the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, you may hang up, or press 1 for more options.”). These messages are a complete waste of time for millionsContinue Reading

Techno-Surfing and Whirling Dervish Drivers

Are you driving and talking on your cell phone? Have you seen someone texting while driving? Here’s a new article and research from the New York Times: “Americans are so addicted to techno-surfing that they

The iPhone Myth: Mobile Web a throwback to the ’90s

Interesting article in USA Today on Jakob Nielsen’s group (NNG) research on the mobile web. Their results show it is much slower and less accurate to use the web on a mobile device: A study to be released Monday by the researchers

Gadgets that Kill: Drivers and Legislators Dismiss Cellphone Risks

Despite human factors and other research that highlight the dangers of using cellphones while driving, few laws are being passed to address the deadly problem. Extensive research shows the dangers of distracted driving. Studies say that drivers using phones are four times as likely to cause a crash as other drivers, and the likelihood thatContinue Reading

Usability and Emotional Design

For the marketing types…tongue-in-cheek look at usability and marketing. Also a website at www.usability4evil.com   Chris Nodder, Nielsen Norman Group chris@usability4evil.com Our knowledge as usability practitioners can be used for evil as well as for good. As evil usability practitioners, our job is to create purposefully designed interfaces which make users emotionally involved in doing somethingContinue Reading

Finally – Usable, Real-World Products!

Ping Pong Door! Designed by Tobias Fränzel, this innovative door turns into a ping pong table when needed. After the game is finished, it goes back to being a regular door. Everything the techie or apartment-dweller needs! www.toxel.com/tech/2009/07/07/ping-pong-door-by-tobias-franzel/

National Federation of the Blind and American Council of the Blind File Discrimination Suit Against Arizona State University

It was bound to happen soon…Companies and universities implementing new technology that should enable all users to use the technology, yet has not fully addressed accessibility issues…and they are now caught in the act and are rightfully getting sued. In a new Press Release: Lawsuit against Arizona State and complaints against Princeton, Reed, Pace, DardenContinue Reading

Healthcare IT: Vested Interest in Inefficiency?

A Pound of Cure: The federal government is about to spend big on healthcare IT. Too bad the medical industry has a vested interest in inefficiency. Provocative article about the inability of the healthcare industry to move forward with critical software and technology upgrades. Worth a read. >> View Article

Continued Usability Problems in Patient-Doctor Communication

Yet another stumbling block in the ongoing struggle to build Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and the effort to improve patient-doctor communication – people don’t know their own anatomy!! A study of patients and members of the public has shown that most lack even basic knowledge of human anatomy. The research, featuredContinue Reading

What makes a “User Experience expert”?

Good summary of what is a “User Experience” expert. Read the follow-up comments and posts your own comments. http://www.insideria.com/2008/12/what-makes-a-user-experience-e.html

Solution, or Mess? A Milk Jug for a Green Earth

Who says you can’t improve on years of well-established tradition? Wal-Mart and Costco have adopted a new gallon-sized milk container that looks to save the companies lots of money. However, there may be some usability issues they’ve overlooked! A New York Times article describes the following impressive improvements in business metrics: * 180% higher utilizationContinue Reading

T-Mobile Designs More Usable Phone Bills!

“Historically phone bills have been as bland as a tin of condensed soup but T-Mobile saw an opportunity to make its bills more valuable as a regular interface between its brand and its customers.” Good article about improving the readability and usability of one of those things we take for granted as being difficult-to-use –Continue Reading

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