Notebook

The Economist, the magazine and news site, provides access to the excellent editorial style guide that every journalist for the company is given. The book, written by John Grimond, is also available for purchase in the printed book form.

This is a very topically focused blog I can appreciate. Kate Rutter of Adaptive Path started, StickyNote Ninja, a site dedicated to using sticky notes for more than just to do reminders.

From her about page, she says "...I’ve been using them in my work, my personal life and as a tool to help companies work faster, more collaboratively, and to make smart decisions that stick. In 2007, I began speaking to groups about these simple, cheap, ubiquitous and powerful tools. This site is a resource for stickynote ninjas everywhere as we journey in our quest for perfection via stickynotes."

Love it.

Video of a paper prototype created for Daum's AJAX-based hanmail.net webmail service. It's a little hard to know what's going on without hearing the test participant think out loud, but it's a nice demo of the prototype.

Via IATV.

I've updated the OmniGraffle web design template formerly hosted on my blog at urlgreyhot. The new UX template is now formatted for OmniGraffle Pro version 5.

In this template you'll find shared layers (masters) for a title page, wireframe, wireframe/storyboard hybrid, simple storyboard, and storyboard with notes. Guides and adherence to a regular grid make it easy to use. The doc is sized so you can work at 100%, and print at 8.5" x 11" or 11" x 17".

You you can view screenshots and download here at Konigi.

Dmitry Fadeyev's new blog, The Usability Post is posting some thoughtful entries on design usability.

Fi do a little show and tell of their Visio wireframes and discuss their use on Think Swedish.

Hillcrest Labs provides a vision of the pointing and navigating future with their demonstration of Freespace motion-controlled TV remote.

I came across the video demos of Hillcrest Labs' remote control via NewTeevee. The video above shows a demo at the Consumer Electronics Show last winter, but check the NewTeevee link for the more complete demo of their Freespace motion control technology (sadly they won't let me embed it here). The demo shows a proof of concept software interface for the TV that allows the user to navigate and access media on their TV/Computer using the "Loop" concept remote control.

The prototype TV interface shows the flexibility and scalability of navigation that is possible with a motion controlled remote pointing device equipped with scroll wheel and selection buttons. The software they demo is a zoomable user interface (ZUI) that was created to demonstrate the possibility for navigating a media space on the TV. The remote provides tremor control, so panning motions with the remote don't produce the jiggle you see on the Wiimote.

This demonstrates the great potential and possibilities that ZUIs provide for a simple hierarchical interface like this. Other options could have been explored, but the ZUI provides a very intuitive experience using pointing rather than an up/down/left/right control for navigation, e.g. in your TiVo and Apple TV remotes.

The technology will be licensed to consumer electronics companies, so we might hopefully see this navigation paradigm on set top boxes in the future.

Researcher provides another Wii Remote hack, this time to help business users create interactive whiteboards on the cheap.

You might remember the incredible Wiimote hacks by by Johnny Chung Lee, who gave us head tracking demo for desktop VR displays. Lee, a PhD student in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University is back with some more useful Wiimote hacks, this time to turn any surface into an interactive whiteboard. He shows how to turn a wall into a whiteboard with a DIY LED pen interface, and also how to create a multi-touch desktop or laptop LCD display using 2 LED pens. These are incredibly useful ideas for creating inexpensive interactive displays.

Using an LED array and some reflective tape, you can use the infrared camera in the Wii remote to track objects, like your fingers, in 2D space. This lets you interact with your computer simply by waving your hands in the air similar to the interaction seen in the movie "Minority Report". The Wiimote can track upto 4 points simultaneously. The multipoint grid software is a custom C# DirectX program.

Jakob Nielsen reveals the winners of a competition to identify the 10 best-designed application user interfaces for 2008.

The winners:

  • Campaign Monitor by Eyeblaster (Israel): Integrated management of multiple advertising campaigns for media buyers.
  • CMSBox by CMSBox (Switzerland): Content management system
  • FotoFlexer by Arbor Labs (USA): Photo editor
  • PRISMAprepare by Océ (The Netherlands): Print shop software.
  • Seating Management by Magellan Network and DesignBox (USA): Hostess-stand reservation book for restaurants.
  • SQL diagnostic manager by Idera (USA): Database performance monitoring and diagnostics
  • SugarSync by Sharpcast (USA): Synchronizing files across multiple computers.
  • SuperSaaS by SuperSaaS (The Netherlands): Creating and hosting scheduling and reservation systems.
  • Wufoo by Infinity Box, Inc. (USA): Online forms, surveys, invitations, and payments.
  • Xero by Xero (New Zealand): Accounting for small businesses.

Bill Buxton gives a lecture at the Stanford University Human-Computer Interaction Seminar (CS 547, June 1, 2007) giving an excellent deep dive into some of the topics in his book, Sketching User Experiences.

Designing for experience comes with a whole new level of complexity. This is especially true in this emerging world of information appliances, reactive environments, and ubiquitous computing, where, along with those of their users, we have to factor in the convoluted behaviors of the products themselves. In this talk, Bill discusses the design process itself, from the perspective of methods, organization, and composition.

His discussion of the necessity of sketching and ideation in the design process ultimately describes what design is about. While engineering might be about getting the design right, design is about getting the right design. To arrive at the right design, we have to be willing to produce many ideas, to present and argue them, and to want to be wrong so that we can learn and improve on what comes out of the design critique.

If you ever get tired of writing sample copy in your design documents, at least be semi-lazy rather than completely lazy. Use Corporate Ipsum.