Wednesday, July 24, 2013


On the website for Driver and Vehicle Services in my example of the importance of sticking with the basics.

Apparently, someone thinks social media integration is more important than browser compatibility. Sorry, Mac folks. You can connect with us on Facebook, but you can't renew your tabs online.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Nickelodeon Win

This week, I got a very helpful e-mail from Nickelodeon regarding my child's Neopets account. I could not be more pleased--they address the information they (don't) capture about my child, what to expect, and how to opt out of it. Wouldn't it be great if every policy statement was written so clearly?

Nice, eh?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Coca-Cola Freestyle

So, I used one of these machines at our local Noodles & Co. restaurant. It's super-elegant looking, and clever in its screen interface. But there's a fatal design flaw in the dispenser unit.!/about-the-soda-fountain/

The ice dispenser is behind the beverage dispenser. As you reach back to fill your cup with ice, the last couple of drips from the last beverage dispensed will drip on your sleeve.  Wouldn't that have been uncovered in user testing?

Friday, March 22, 2013

When good templates go bad

Among the problems I had at the Stouffer's/Nestle site, this was one. On submission of a Contact Us form, this was the confirmation screen I got:

1) I already submitted my question....right? Did I? Now I'm not sure.
2) There is no form "to the right" to use.

I suspect they had a design template that changed, and no one checked the content to ensure it matched the template.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Show Me the DATA!!!

Me: "Do we have data about how effective search is for our users?"
Them: "Search is really quite effective! Here's why it works well..."
Me: "Yes, I see that, but do we have data about how effective search is for our users?"
Them: "Well...we would hear about it from our users if it wasn't!"
Me: (Sigh)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Recent Thoughts on Windows 8 (+ Tablet)

I've been using Windows 8 for awhile on two different systems: 1) an old 2005 tablet (stylus-type), and 2) a new Windows Surface tablet. I posted initial thoughts immediately on installing in the 2005 tablet. Here are some observations now that I've used it for awhile, and now that I've experienced Surface:

  1. I dislike that you have to go to the Desktop to get to certain functions. As a tinkerer, I appreciate being able to do it, but I wish the new interface would expose these functions without resorting to the Desktop app. It's like they ran out of time to make everything work in the new paradigm.
  2. I dislike that I have to remember how to access the controls (left-swipe, top-swipe, right-swipe or bottom-swipe). They aren't intuitive human interactions, and there's no visual hint for each function (that I've found, yet.) I'd be very curious to know how this works for folks with dyslexia.
  3. I have a personal Skype account that I like to use from work; however, it can only be associated with one Windows Live ID. So I can't sign into Skype using that account when logged into Windows 8 with my corporate login.
  4. I dislike that other things are hidden: Search, for example, and viewing tabs in the browser, shouldn't require an action. Right-clicking in the lower-left of the screen gives you a tools menu. This would have taken me forever to find on my own (if ever), but I read about it. And it's GREAT.
  1. See "Dislike 1" above. As a geek and a tinkerer, I appreciate being able to access things "behind the scenes", which I've not been able to do on my iPad.
  2. Prefer the swipes on the Surface tablet to the interaction afforded by traditional mouse/keyboard inputs. 
  3. Surface USB port allows some peripherals. I plugged in a Microsoft Mouse and it worked without installing any drivers. Nice for those of us who don't like to use the touchpad (unless we're on an airplane).
  4. I like the magnetic snap of the Surface keyboard. The TV ads show how nice this is, and it is true. Dumb, but cool.
  5. I like that it uses cloud login IDs, but I'm still not sure about how to sync things between Windows 8 systems (or if you can).
  1. I think the Surface tablet with Windows 8/RT will be a great tool for business. It was really simple to set up with my corporate mail, and I feel it will integrate better with the security models and tools people use for work productivity.
  2. It supports multiple user profiles (hear that, Apple?).