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UX Stories from around the World

Idyllic browsing on the World Usability Day threw up an unexpected gem.

There is a free eBook made available by UXStoryTellers- Connecting the Dots. There are 42 UX professionals who’ve shared their stories — personal, anecdotal and indeed helpful professionally, or just as a reference if you’re connected to the UX profession in any way.

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Delight and Joy

When a simple object is reinterpreted to create a whole new meaning, and actually makes sense in usage while giving a message, and having fun at it!

The Leaf tie is easy to use. It is simply used in the same manner as the cable-tie. All you have to do is wrap the Leaf Tie around the loose cables. The design of the Leaf tie makes the cables look like wrapped twigs. For young children or people that live in the city that tire from the artificially modern environment, the Leaf tie can for a short while let them experience a hint of nature.
– description from the Lufdesign site

Now it may actually look insignificant when you look at the array of cables and the cable management solutions that promise to solve all those problems for you. But then, the simplicity, and the delight it brings cannot be mistaken. There are many a products that works fine, and there should be more product that should make you smile. This does!
As Don Norman says about Visceral Design, “Visceral design is what nature does, it is biologically prewired! Visceral design is about how things look, feel and sound – the world of blue skies and apple pie” and the leaf ties fits like a T there. And yes its only $7 a pack, and profits made from this product are used to benefit causes for ecology campaign.

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A new Metaphor for the Interaction Design

or, Why every UX designer should read Ted Nelson

or, at least for a short read, Ted Nelson’s Computer Paradigm, Expressed as One-Liners.

There are days in a design professional’s life where one seriously has to wonder whether people actually play buzzword-bingo with industry jargon, or use a jargon-generator (even poetically) just to sound knowledgeable, or to lament on something that better be not discussed in concrete terms like implementation, value-add etc ….Well, sometimes it helps, and I’m specially a fan of doing this to jump out of comfort zone. But then, what are the safe constraints within which this can be used? Does this always have to be based on a moderator’s approach, or are there conventional techniques emerging around this, say like brainstorming? How much a humorous, irreverent take on prized and often taken for granted concepts in UI/UX design are challenged, and challenged in a thoroughly humorous way….

On such a day, if you are discussing about a metaphor, here is a good reference

… I have never personally seen a desktop where pointing at a lower piece of paper makes it jump to the top, or where placing a sheet of paper on top of a file folder causes the folder to gobble it up. I do not believe such desks exist; and I do not think I would want one if I did.

Ted Nelson [actual quote picked from Interfaces- Issue 58, and not found in its entirety elsewhere essentially because WWW consists of only forward ever-breaking links with no reference back to source at all, and largely because today’s WWW is mix of PDF, Flash and larger evils that Ted did not foresee]

But why is it important for UX designers?

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Crafting an experience

Of late, its quite a fashion to cite “craftsmanship” as a selling point (especially if you’re in the camp of people who think using terms like “USP” is very 90’s).
and, its amazing to see anything that is done thoughtfully to be passed off as crafted….and to get out of that zone, here is something to look at as examples of craft -in context of a sale-able, commercial product with the right pitch and having an online presence.


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Craft and the Designer

Adam Richarson in “Why Apple is the New Master of Craft ” mentions

Good craft comes from intimate familiarity and ongoing hands-on manipulation of the material and the forms it can make, not from abstractly visualizing the form as is often done through CAD renderings.

While this is true for Apple as a company, and especially evident in all the Industrial design coming out of their stable (including the commercial failures like infinitely drool worthy Power Mac G4) it is also notable that this principle applies to all things design- not just those involving materials, or hardware, but almost anything.

Calling Apple a master of craft is very very interesting; because the recent Apple product designs are distinctly identifiable with their master designer – Jonathan Ive- who has led the Industrial Design at Apple since 1997 and was preceded by an illustrious linage of at least eight Industrial Designers – Jerry Manock (1977–1984), Bill Dresselhaus (1979–1983), Terry Oyama (1980–1983), Rob Gemmel (1981–1985), Hartmut Esslinger (1982–1989), Richard Jordan (1978–1990), Jim Stewart (1980–1984, 1987–1994),  and Robert Brunner (1989–1997).

Now ICSID (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design) defines Design as:

“Design is a creative activity whose aim is to establish the multi-faceted qualities of objects, processes, services and their systems in whole life-cycles. Therefore, design is the central factor of innovative humanization of technologies and the crucial factor of cultural and economic exchange.”

Whereas Craft is simply defined as:

“A craft is a skill, especially involving practical arts. It may refer to a trade or particular art.”

Notice the difference in vocabulary and the absence of anything material, object, process, service, systems, technology, or economy in the definition of craft. It is this difference that is even more significant when we herald iPhone 4 or any other product from Apple as an example of design excellence.

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The Spectrum of User Experience

A very nice and comprehensive visualization of UX domain.

More details at

Windows XP Fail

More often than not, XP crashes, and thank God for Windows 7 for that!
now, one of the most annoying crashes ever encountered was while changing the wall-paper…