Category Archives: UX/UI Design

How humans interact with the world around them, online and off, has always fascinated me.

Google’s Useless Homepage

Sometimes I think I have to be missing something here.

I click in the text box and as soon as I type the first letter the screen changes to the results view.

When do I get the chance to click that “I’m Feeling Lucky” button?

This has bugged me for a while, so if anybody knows about a setting I have or whatever then please let me know.

-J

Choke Point

There is a tactic that you’ve seen in every war or cop movie. The hero is surrounded by bad guys, ducks down an alley or hallway and sets up a position there, picking the evil-doers off as the funnel in after him.

In the military this hall or alley is referred to as a “choke point”. It’s an environmental feature which funnels the users into a single line.

This term has also been adopted in business. A perfect example is if five people are writing requirements documents at the same time but they all have to be blessed by one person. That means that five people can only work as fast as the one approver. Choke point.

The reason that this came to mind is my house. We have a lovely, fairly large home. Very open floor plan in the front of the house with the ability to block off the back of the house for privacy. For instance, if we have workman in the house we can close one door and they don’t have access to any of the bedrooms. Nice.

EXCEPT that this means that the entire back of the house is served by one narrow hallway. Excellent for security. Sucks for everything else. I can count at least three times where we’ve bought furniture for a back room and had to send it back because there was literally no physical way to get it into the desired room. It makes walking down the hallway impossible as well. If two people are coming from opposite directions there is that inevitable dance- “After you.” “No, come on.” etc etc.

The moral of the story is this: Usability is not only for the online or business world. I made a mistake 15 years ago and it has since impacted my family and I on an almost daily basis.

Would we still have bought the house had I noticed the issues with the hallway?  Probably, given my wife’s “Ohh’s” and “Ahh’s” over everything else about the place. It is a nice house. But maybe I could have shaved a few thousand off the price.

Could have used that money for skinnier furniture…

-J

Steven Seagal Points The Way

Hey Everybody!

Sorry for the long absence. Life happened and I forgot to duck.

What brings me back this time?

The sheer genius and acting ability of this man.

The film is “Under Siege”: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105690/

For most of us the only highlight of the movie at the time was Erika Eleniak coming out of that cake. However, I was watching it last night for the first time in more than 10 years and came to the scene where he smuggles this huge backpack into the little wooden rowboat which was for some BIZARRE reason hanging ON THE SIDE OF AN IRON BATTLESHIP!! What could possibly happen to that ship that would make the little wooden boat which MIGHT seat 6 the preferred option?

Anyway, that’s not what stopped me dead. It was when he unfurls this big antennae dish (which he promptly COVERS in the boat- different rant), does some vague button pushing and then goes back inside where a perkily dressed Erika is waiting for him. She sees the “phone” in the pic above and asks “What is that?” He gives her some techy crap about a “SEAL phone” and she goes “Oh, like a car phone.”

1- When was the last time you heard the phrase “car phone”?

2- How different would this movie have been if he had just whipped out a Galaxy S7 Edge and called the Admiral?

Now the scary part. This movie is from 1992. Yes, it’s “celebrating” it’s 25-year anniversary next year. The entire paradigm in communications has changed in less time than it take to mature a good bottle of Scotch.

What will it look like in 2041? Will my daughter just wave at the air and get a connection to her kids? The mind reels.

That’s it for now. I’ll try to be back here more often.

-J

 

 

 

ESPN’s Floating Nav

I’m not a fan of “cute” navigational elements. As a rule all they are good for is showing off the coding skills of the developer and giving the user a brief “Oh, that’s cool” moment. Very quickly, that “cool” factor devolves into “God, that is so annoying. How do I turn it off?”

An excellent example of this is ESPN’s navigation. When you first enter the site, you see this- a typical primary nav (black bar) and a corresponding sub-nav (white NFL bar):

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However, if you scroll down a bit the sub-nav jumps into the primary position, covering the main nav:

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Where this gets REALLY annoying is that if you are a mouse scroller (as most of us are) once you get past a certain point on the screen every UP click exposes the black bar and every DOWN click hides it again. So if you are reading an article and wheel-scrolling it through it there is an almost constant black/white strobe going on at the top of the page.

ESPN- give me a way to turn this off. Please.

MLK Day Flyer- What happens when the organizers just don’t care.

Today is MLK Day here in Atlanta. Since Dr. King is a native son of Atlanta this is a pretty big deal around here.

The organizers have known for months precisely where the festivities would occur… including the center piece for the weekend, today’s MLK Day Parade.

Despite this advance notice (it follows the same route every year) it is painfully clear that the organizers didn’t give a damn about publishing a useful and coherent map.

Have a look at the mess below. When I first clicked it on the AJC site it displayed in portrait, meaning I had to rotate it just to read it. Then the bad really started. Whoever created this mess was either painfully incompetent or brutally lazy- ditto for the person or persons that approved it.

Dear MLK Day Organizers, 

Next year, get with me. I’ll provide you with a usable map for free. It’ll take me less time to make than it took to write this post bitching about your current artist’s incompetence. 

– Jay

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ESPN’s new mobile strategy: fewer apps on more screens

Thank GOD!

That is all.

Gigaom

A few years back, ESPN was in a bit of an app hell: The sports network had 45 different apps, and sports fans had to figure out whether they needed the SportsCenter app, the WatchESPN app or one of a number of other apps targeting fantasy leagues and specific sports to find what they wanted.

The ESPN Digital team has since worked hard to reduce the app overload, and the sportscaster is set to take another big step towards a simpler experience for its mobile users next year. The SportsCenter app will simply be called the ESPN app when it relaunches early next year in time for the Super Bowl, and the app will feature more personalization to do away with the need for specialized apps around different sports.

The app will be all about cricket in India, more about soccer in other places of the world, and about that…

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