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The experience, the whole experience & nothing but the experience

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The experience, the whole experience & nothing but the experience

I was walking through my village the other day and spotted this sign taped to the inside of a neighbour’s front door. It read: ‘Parcel courier – please ring bell and wait (elderly lady – bit slow)’.

Think about that. Think about the whole chain of user experience which had caused this self-labelled ‘elderly lady’ to hand-write this sign and stick it to her front door.

Do you think the existence of this sign was ever considered by the user experience designer who created the digital ser…

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Moto 360 impressions & thoughts on smartwatches’ poor retail experience

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Moto 360 impressions & thoughts on smartwatches’ poor retail experience

The Moto 360 feels disappointing. The screen is more pixelated than I expected and the materials lack the weight and solidity to suggest quality. It’s not bad, and it’s probably the best feeling smartwatch on the market today, but that’s more a reflection on the weakness of the wider selection.

Let’s put it this way: it’s not a classic in the making.

The relatively poor quality of the current generation of smartwatches is one of the reasons they remain confined to a niche of early adopt…

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User story: typing tablets & coffee house friends

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User story: typing tablets & coffee house friends

Her computer, a Microsoft Surface, was the least colourful thing about her. She wore blue jeans, a bright turquoise sweater, luminous pink plastic wrist band and a deep purple neck warmer. I’d say she was 24 years old.

Sitting at the narrow wooden counter of the coffee house, she’d positioned herself at a slight angle, so that her legs swung free of the bar stool and she could face out towards the window.

I couldn’t tell for sure which model of the Surface she was using, but it was too…

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Robots & digital actors as the new frontier for experience design

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Robots & digital actors as the new frontier for experience design

Is a new category of digital products emerging, defined by their ability to create physical change in the world, as opposed to the purely virtual outcomes we currently associate with digital experiences?

There are many products which fit this description, from ‘helper robots’ descended from science fiction fantasies to seemingly mundane home appliance controllers. However, is this specific characteristic of having a physical impact on their environment a sufficiently unifying factor that i…

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Experiences should be self-evident in their natural environment

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Experiences should be self-evident in their natural environment

Busy commuter stations are hardly conducive to good experiences, but standing at London’s Kings Cross yesterday, I was particularly struck by this example of how design can go awry. There are some lessons for digital industry here.

In the middle of the concourse stood a branded desk, backed by a large, free-standing poster. It was, no doubt, advertising something to the hordes of commuters who pour through Kings Cross every evening. However, it was most noticeable not for the quality of…

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User story: the airport & the lipstick charger

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User story: the airport & the lipstick charger

It was a white Samsung Galaxy S4 and she held it in both hands, typing with her thumbs. Her friend, sitting across the lunch table, talked non-stop, but nothing caused the Galaxy user to raise her eyes from the glowing rectangular touchscreen.

Stansted Aiport, on the outskirts of London, serves short-haul European trips, while Heathrow and Gatwick Airports cater to long haul traffic. Options for refreshment are limited to fast food burger chains, high street sandwich cafes like Pret a Ma…

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Designing for the intensity of the future

At the frontier of digital, the industry is poised to ask a new question of its users: how do you expect technology to behave when it no longer requires your direct control and is all around you?

There are many names ascribed to this transition – context-awareness, robotics, autonomy – but they all point to one importance difference. Instead of digital things being extensions of users’ own actions, understood as a discrete subset of the physic…

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OnePlus’ impersonal yet over familiar marketing

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OnePlus’ impersonal yet over familiar marketing

The marketing email began “Dear fanboy/girl…” and went down hill from there. OnePlus, of course, will never be short of coverage while it continues to offer above average smartphones for below average price. However, a few months after the debacle of its ‘Ladies first’ competition, which invited women to draw the OnePlus logo on their body so forum members could vote for their favourite, the company remains curiously inept at judging the tone of its marketing messages.

The competition …

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Retail user experience & permission to browse

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Retail user experience & permission to browse

I was early for a meeting and found myself on a London street full of homeware showrooms. I’ll admit my intentions were spurious: this was an exercise in killing time and perhaps getting a sense of what passes for ‘hip’ in the world of interiors these days.

Wandering around the shop floor, navigating between the individual mock-up worlds the store had laid out to tempt customers, I spotted a tablet attached to the wall by a swivelling arm. I was intrigued, not least because it was incong…

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Saying what you mean, meaning what you say

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Saying what you mean, meaning what you say

Apple sent me an email today, along with presumably several million other customers. The message I took away from it: I should buy someone an Apple product to enable them to unleash their creativity. It’s the sort of thing you get from every company in the run-up to Christmas as they vie for a spot at each of our personal altars to consumerism.

However, Apple’s was notable for one thing: it didn’t make a single mention of a specification or even the features of its products.

It concen…

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