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UI in the wild

Distraction By Design


Where are all the Human Factors engineers when you need them. Especially in the design of dynamic control interfaces. One on the most common dynamic control interfaces is the humble, but ever so prevalent, car dashboard. Driving is fundamentally a dynamic control task, with tens if not hundreds of perceptual adjustments and reassessments occurring constantly.


Heading, Possible collisions, Conditions and usually be assessed by looking outside the car.

Velocity, the most crucial of all numerical variables, is accurately measured by the speedometer and is often the largest and most visible gauge on the drivers dashboard.

So why is the radio portion of the dashboard so big and bright? Granted, the massive glowing panel can be darkened, but not by default.


Is it more dangerous to have a non-essential panel dark by default versus highly visible (but potentially distracting)?




My Magazine Ignores Touch Input

I'm sure this video has done the rounds, but for me, it is so personal. I am young enough to enjoy the technological revolution and old enough to just remember the first home computers.

Watching this little girl struggle with printed matter seems an amazing portent of the next 10 years.

Shellshock. Whiplash. Overload.

What a month or so. Give me half a chance I am sure I will be sitting on a park bench somewhere in 50 years time reminiscing about the two months from September to October '11, 'them were big ones'.

Demibooks, the company I co-founded reached a funding milestone.

There was the release of an apparently deflating iPhone 4S. However, the rush of sales that proved many a pundit wrong or irrelevant. The iPhone 4S is selling like the proverbial hotcakes. It may have something to do with the super sexy Siri (Hal 9000's little sister). The age of the talkative machine is coming and no one knows where it well end (as long as it doesn't end like it does in the movies!)

An IT industry rocked by the news of Steve Jobs death, something that seemed unexpectedly and perhaps irrationally to affect the world at large. A single death that had a much deeper impact on those working in user experience and design.

For a company that appears to scorn the classic UX techniques, they sure produce a vast number of incredible technological hits that in turn create large scale social change. Devices that have pushed experience into the frontal lobes of technologists worldwide.

The Kindle Fire, the first tablet (other then the iPad) that seems to hit a sweet spot of gear + content.

Apple and Samsung take it to the patent ring to duke it out.

Facebook Timeline. Your Life digitized in one long timeline.

Technologies like Tumblr, Twitter, Blogger, Facebook mobilizing civilian armies worldwide to protest socio-economic inequality. Protesters using twitter as a political platform (again) when occupying Wall Street.

Meanwhile, the cynical could argue that the froth of high-technology and social movement has done little to address truly wicked problems, like a famine threatening to break out in the Sudan.

Truly a month made of equal parts joy, sadness, devastation and hope.