Archive for the ‘usability’ Category

The Universe of Jonathan Harris

July 12, 2007

Jonathan Harris recently released a project called Universe.  It is an interesting way of exploring information space if you’re looking for a way to see the constellation of connected stories in an artsy kind of way.  However as a practical way of finding specific information I would use another tool.  One thing that bothers me is the non-obvious user interface.  There is a search box in the top left of the applet but I didn’t know it was there until I was told.  Another is I don’t like chasing clickable items across the screen with the cursor.  But it is worth checking out for the visual effects.Update: The applet really sucks down CPU cycles.

Video Fast Forward

July 12, 2007

Why don’t the on-line video players have fast forward buttons?  I would watch more videos if watching didn’t take so long.  And while they’re at it, adjust the pitch of the audio playback so voices don’t sound like chipmunks.  There’s a bunch of players so this is far from an exhaustive list but I didn’t see a fast forward button on any of these …

Does any player have FF?

Boo Who?

June 6, 2007

James says that boo.com is doomed. I’m inclined to agree.

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Type Phoenix into the big search box and hit return. Nothing. Sante Fe, nothing. Las Vegas, nothing. Huh? Try Phoenix again and click the magnifying glass next to the search box. Ahh, a selection list with Phoenix AZ, Phoenix OR and Phoenixville PA. OK, pick AZ. There’s basically no user content, OK, so say they’re new. But the weather?
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Weather.com has it as mostly cloudy and 78F, although it’s the wispy high clouds that just keep it from being a scorcher (I looked), not really cloudy and certainly no showers.
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A Shopping Experience?

June 6, 2007

Suppose you’re walking in the mall and you come to a store. It seems they’re offering some printing services but it is not exactly clear what. Before stepping through the door to find out more they want your email address.
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Well. There’s not even a promise not to spam, so maybe you enter a fake email and poke your head inside the door for a look. After you give them the email you still don’t get to look at the products, they want more information.
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At this point, I think you’re likely to say that your time and personal information is too valuable and walk on down the mall. There’s no privacy statement to say what they will or won’t do with your information. Without the web site demo to Refresh Phoenix last night I would have concluded this was an email harvester and been thankful it was a fake email they got. Only after all this information is entered does it become clear that they do business and promotional cards with the common themes from the free blogging sites.
A thorough review from a usability standpoint is in order. Involving a usability expert at the beginning would have saved time, money and generated more business.