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…
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.
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):
However, if you scroll down a bit the sub-nav jumps into the primary position, covering the main nav:
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.
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.
10 biggest tech fails of 2014 | Fox News.
A very interesting list. Give it a look.
They agreed with an earlier post that I made about the Blackberry Passport being a total piece of crap from a UX perspective.
I think it’s a little early to put a stake in Google Glass, but it is hard to imagine how much damage in the market the term “glasshole” caused them.
This blog’s name comes from an old joke that any child knows the answer to:
“What is red and smells like blue paint?”
The idea that an adult would think of the most complicated answer while a kid would just look at you like “Duh” appealed to my sense of simplicity.
Something just happened to me that reinforces that.
Have a look at an icon you’ve seen a thousand times:
We adults know what that is… an old 3.5 disc. However, it’s very doubtful that a teenager like my daughter has ever even seen one. Yet, the icon is so engraved in their brains that they know WHAT it does without knowing WHAT it is.
Out of curiosity I asked my daughter’s boyfriend (God it kills me to type that) if he knows what that is.
His answer… “You mean the thing that looks like a SIM card.. or a floppy?”
It never dawned on me that it could be read to look like a phone SIM card. He took an icon that dates back to 20 years before he was born and re imagined it to something that makes sense to him.
At least my little girl isn’t dating a moron.