Just gave a fresh restart to my blog. You can find it now at: http://remkovermeulen.com


Nice organization of buttons

So how does this elevator move? Like Willy Wonka's magic elevator?

Seen them, used them, pictured them….
Elevators are the subject this time.
Checking out our Granada office elevator I had some fun with the elevator buttons.

This elevator moves from the left to the right in random order. Maybe if you press both up buttons you fly out of the roof like Charlie’s chocolate factory elevator?
Would be cool, let me try next time….

 

 


Huh? Lower the window, stick your arm out and open the door from the outside? Which year is this train from ? 1870?

Huh? Lower the window, stick your arm out and open the door from the outside? Which year is this train from ? 1870?


Forgot again those funny UK trains where you have to open the window, stick your arm out and open the door from the outside as there is no handle to open the door on the inside…

Reminds me of Vioctorian movies where a well dressed gentleman would open it for you, help you out and a porter would put your 40 suitcases (literally suit cases) onto a trolley…


A great video on what the User Experience designer does in the style of David Attenborough…

Credits for this video go to Lyle Alzaldo


Get in the trenches! User shadowing to really know what your user is doing and to get new ideas

Working in product development for middle to large companies it is very easy to hide behind a lot of walls. The “product manager told me so” or the “technically it is not possible” or the “the CEO thought that was  a great feature” one.

Practically they exist, but in order to get the user experience and product design better you should be the one knowing what the customer wants.

I know what my customer wants, I read the report

1000’s of management books exist that claim to say what the customer wants, but how the heck do they know your customers?

Most probably you have statistical information regarding the use of your product. Great to test your ideas. But do they show how the user is interacting with your product? Does it show what products he uses on the side? How much he has to copy and paste? How he interacts practically with your product? No.

Reports suck half of the time: To the trenches!

Therefore, go shadowing! Visit some customers on-site. Sit next to them for an hour and record it all. Sure you will be to convince anyone of the need for your porposed ideas!

Not sure how to do it?

Do a course: http://www.nngroup.com/events/tutorials/interaction.html

Read a book: http://www.amazon.com/Think-Common-Sense-Approach-Usability/dp/0789723107

Watch a presentation: http://www.slideshare.net/laurenceveale/user-testing-on-a-shoestring-fowa-dublin


The ungrateful task of getting it to work...

The ungrateful task of getting it to work... (Image thanks to Stephen Anderson)

Most of the time I don’t like too woolly theories that practically don’t make any difference at all to what you get. I am sure that a lot of companies that use this theory all the time have a user experience to cry.

Must be: Don’t annoy people

As Steve Krug’s book title: “Don’t make me think” already suggests usability is most about not annoying people and a little bit about delighting people.

At least personally I most of the time choose which app I use based on which one annoys me least. The one that gets me to my objective fastest. Sounds simple, but that is where most of the work is.

It has to be fast, it has to work and it shouldn’t ask you stupid questions.

Delight: Good Usability is just not enough

You can do OK, or you can really get your users hyped up.

Do one thing: change the colour of the background (takes 10 min, right?) of your app. And there you go, reactions will be pretty strong. Take out one step of an often used process: nice, but not such a strong reaction.

Most probably most of your time you are busy on not annoying people, just making it work, but when you have that sorted out (actually before) don’t forget to delight your users. Actually, start with it!

Want to know more?

Check out Stephen Anderson’presentation on seducing customers.


After done the trip so many times and every time being annoyed by how crap the user experience is of the airport to city trip. I decided to make a small diary of getting off a plane and getting to Barcelona.

The city of Barcelona wants to be a to tourist destination, known for it’s innovation and good design. And I must say things are not going to bad at all. But where as a visitor do you start. Right, at the airport and obviously the first thing you do is get to the city. By Taxi, piece of cake. By public transport; not that easy.

Terminal 1 or Terminal 2

Recently a new terminal has been build in Barcelona. So would this be Terminal 1 or Terminal 2? I would say Terminal 2. NO! Wrong, the new one is Terminal 1! So if there will be a new terminal in a few years I guess we will change it all around again. How much fun.

Call the New Terminal T1? So what if you add another Terminal? Call it T-1, or change it all again?

Call the New Terminal T1? So what if you add another Terminal? Call it T-1, or change it all again?

You arrive, how to get to Barcelona?

Got it, I have found the sign directing to the train/buses. Funnily it is positioned not in the viewing direction so you have to look at every door what the sign above it says. This seems to be a problem at the gates too.

Where are the Gate numbers?

Which Bus/Train?

So I got to the platform where the buses and supposedly trains leave. First of all, let me tell you that Barcelona aiport must be nearly the only one where the main terminal has no train or metro connection to the city. Great. So what to do? You have to take a shuttle bus to T2 (yep, the old one) and take the train there. But which one is the one that takes you to the train?

Nice buses! Interurban(?!), Special Service, Connection (with what?), or the Left and Right Train, Bus?

Nice buses! Interurban(?!), Special Service, Connection (with what?), or the Left and Right Train, Bus?

(maybe I am too sarcastic, you would take the one with the train icon (if you know there is a train line to Barcelona…)

Roundabout Bus!

As every self respecting suburban town you need to have roundabouts. The more the better and if you can have a piece of art in the middle, even better. So after 5 roundabouts and your luggage all over the place you arrive to the “Old” terminal. By the way renovated 1 year ago. So “Old” is not the word.

Get to the Train

The signalling from here to the train are pretty good actually. Clear and to the point. But now the fun starts!

The Train to bring Foreigners to Barcelona

You are Peter, just arrived from London and you don’t speak Spanish (not taking into account the “una cerveza por favor”). So there we go. You see this.

So where does this train go to? Which platform? How late?

So where does this train go to? Which platform? How late? (Check out the only text: "To the platforms" No shit? Really?)

Sant Celoni?

You wait, and wait (no indication where and when it leaves) and then it comes. Great, you get in. Train reasonably new. And just to be sure you check on the screens inside where the train goes. Sant Celoni? Where the heck is Sant Celoni? I want to get to Barcelona! So why not check the stops on the route…

Where the heck is Sant Celoni? I want to go to Barcelona!

Where the heck is Sant Celoni? I want to go to Barcelona!

B.P Gracia?

You asked someone if this trains goes to Barcelona and after a positive answer you get in. Your hotel is in the centre next to Plaza Catalunya. The first stations appear: El Prat, Bellvitge. On the screen appear the next stations: Barna Sants and B.P. Gracia. You start to get worried, after those there is Clot Aarago. Doesn’t ring a bell either.

New office for BP or maybe "Barcelona Passeig de Gracia" abbreviated

Abbreviate!!

So what is the case here? An over active employee of Renfe tried to abbreviate the names of the stations to a length that fits on the screens turning them into un-understandable stations names that nobody heard of. So how did this person get his idea through? Is there not such a thing as common sense or even better: Scrolling?

A Hint: Next time you get onto this train and you have no idea where to get off, try Barcelona Sants Station (Barna Sans) or Barcelona Passeig de Gracia (B.P Gracia)




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