ZenStorming

Where Science Meets Muse

Archive for the ‘User Interface’ Category

Design Better Products Using These Seven Tips From SongWriting

Posted by Plish on July 2, 2015

You know how much I like music. You also know how I like using parallels from other industries to supplement what I do.  I came across a great article from BMI (that happen to be the Performing Rights Organization that I belong to) that discusses 7 things to look for in improving one’s lyrics.  After all, a song has less than a few minutes to hook you and if the lyrics don’t work, the song doesn’t work.  It dawned on me that focusing on these 7 facets can also improve your products/services.

Here are the seven tips and how they apply to product design:

  1. Is everything you’re writing related to the hook/message of the song?  Is everything in the design related to the message/meaning of the product?    What message or vibe do you want your product to convey?  Are buttons, directions, colors, shapes, feel, smell all working together to convey the same message?
  2. Have you used details in your verses? Have you used details appropriately in the product?  Architect/Designer Charles Eames said, “The details are not the details. They make the design.” Details call attention to the various centers of a product.  They can work together or provide distraction.
  3. Have you already said it?  Are there unnecessary redundancies in the product?  Not only is excess information (excess detail) annoying it can be confusing and lead to errors in use.
  4. Have you said enough?  Just as saying too much is a problem, not saying enough is equally bad.  Designers can assume that a person using a product knows everything the designer knows about the product: the context of use, how it works, etc.  These assumptions can then covertly get built into the design resulting in frustration and product misuse.  As a designer ask yourself, “Does using this product require knowledge that only I have?  Will the person using this say, ‘I didn’t know I had to do x for y to work!'” If the answers are “Yes” or “Maybe” then find a way to overtly communicate that knowledge.
  5. Is your chorus lyric the main message of your song and is it memorable?  The chorus is the part of the song that most people remember and join in singing.   It sticks in our heads.  Is the main use of the product memorable – does it get stuck in your head?  Does the product create a type of obsession?  Do you want to go back for more?
  6. Do your words sound good sung?  Does the product communicate naturally?  Is the product communicating in ways that are congruent with the desired experience?    Is there a unified brand experience? Does something seemed forced about the product interaction?
  7. Are the little words like “and,” “but” & “’cause” used properly, or can they be removed altogether?  Every action leads to an action and/or reaction.    Do I have to press this and hold that to make something work?  If I swipe but don’t use four fingers will it cause something undesirable to happen?  Does everything in a product get straight to the point?  If it doesn’t, it should be by design, not by accident. Little words like “and” and “but” create connections that can lead to confusion and a lack of intelligibility.   If they can be removed, remove them.  If you can’t remove them, make sure that each “and” or “but” in the product design is important and essential.

There you have it. Next time you hear a song that you’re singing along with, think about what makes that song work.   More importantly, think about ways to make your designs sing! 🙂

 

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Posted in creativity, Design, Experience, innovation, Innovation Tools, Musical Creativity, Service Design, The Senses, User Interface | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

An Amazing, Innovative Way to Collaboratively Manipulate 3D Objects and Data – The (T)ether from MIT

Posted by Plish on June 20, 2012

I’ll let this video of the (T)ether from the MIT Media Lab speak for itself

From their website:

T(ether) is a novel spatially aware display that supports intuitive interaction with volumetric data. The display acts as a window affording users a perspective view of three- dimensional data through tracking of head position and orientation. T(ether) creates a 1:1 mapping between real and virtual coordinate space allowing immersive exploration of the joint domain. Our system creates a shared workspace in which co-located or remote users can collaborate in both the real and virtual worlds. The system allows input through capacitive touch on the display and a motion-tracked glove. When placed behind the display, the user’s hand extends into the virtual world, enabling the user to interact with objects directly.

Posted in Conveying Information, Information Visualization, innovation, Innovation Tools, User Interface | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Leap – A New, Very Cool Way of Interacting With Computers

Posted by Plish on May 22, 2012

 

“The Leap” has serious ‘fun’ potential; and if something is fun, coolness and utility follows.

*I’ve already pre-ordered one. Stay tuned…

Posted in Design, innovation, invention, Play, software, User Interface | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A Proposed Solution for Wrong Site Surgeries

Posted by Plish on June 24, 2011

Came across this article about how current measures aren’t addressing wrong site surgeries as much as hoped.  So it got me to thinking that perhaps something like the below solution could be used to help minimize these adverse events.  The patient’s bar code is scanned and the surgery team is presented with the preferred orientation of the patient for that surgery, and the location of the surgery on the patient.  Three people, including the surgeon, have to cross-check the patient with the information presented. When all check boxes are filled, the surgery can proceed and hopefully at the proper site.

Suggestions and thoughts are welcome!!

Click for Full Size

Posted in Customer Focus, Design, Health Concerns, Healthcare, Information Visualization, innovation, software, User Interface | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Innovation and Music – The “Space Palette” Paints Possibilities with Kinect

Posted by Plish on June 22, 2011

Tim Thompson has developed an amazing tool for making music….and more.

Using the Kinect system by Microsoft, Tim’s “Multi Multi Touch Touch” device (The Space Palette) is an awe-inspiring piece of work.

It:

  • Is fun
  • Appears simple
  • Makes one scream, “I WANT ONE!”
  • Can be used alone but it’s better when used with others
  • Makes one ponder what else it could be used for

Can you think of any other innovations that have these traits?

Posted in creativity, Design, Experience, innovation, Innovation Tools, invention, Musical Creativity, Research, User Interface | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Power of Words Over Images – A Lesson From a Bad Design

Posted by Plish on October 3, 2010

I know it’s easier to criticize bad design than to compliment good design but sometimes a bad design screams for recognition. 

The other day I needed some color copies for a lunch meeting so I got up early, and with bleary eyes, trekked over to Kinko’s.  The copy was on the light side and I needed to darken it up.  I was getting frustrated because I kept adjusting the image quality and my copies weren’t getting any darker. Take a few seconds to look at the image of the touchscreen below and see if you can see what the problem was.

Yup, it’s the Lighten/Darken terminology on the screen.  The problem is that the word ‘lighten’ corresponds with darker bands and ‘darken’ with lighter bands.   Sure if I only looked at the bands I would have realized that moving the slider towards the ‘darken’ side would actually make the copy lighter but I didn’t.  It was early, I was in a hurry and I trusted the words on the screen to describe exactly what hitting the arrows would do: lighten and darken.  I kept hitting the arrow on the right and my copies weren’t getting any darker. I seriously thought there was a bug in the software.

Words are important.  Eye-tracking studies of websites showed that people go to text first then to images.  When looking for instructions on a touchscreen, words are used to guide users to the section of the screen where programming changes can be made.  But, in this case, the words confused the matter.

The bottom line is, don’t underestimate the power of words – after all, you’ve read them in spite of the arrow pointing up at the top of this entry.

Posted in Case Studies, Customer Focus, Design, Ergonomics, problem solving, User Interface | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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