All posts from
December 2010

Improving the Usability of e-Book Readers

“The use of e-book readers (e-readers or electronic-readers) has become increasingly widespread. An e-reader should meet two important requirements: adequate legibility and good usability. In our study, we investigated these two requirements of e-reader design. Within the framework of a multifunctional approach, we combined eye tracking with other usability testing methods. We tested five electronic reading devices and one classic paper book. The results suggested that e-readers with e-ink technology provided legibility that was comparable to classic paper books. However, our study also showed that the current e-reader generation has large deficits with respect to usability. Users were unable to use e-readers intuitively and without problems. We found significant differences between the different brands of e-book readers. Interestingly, we found dissociations between objective eye-tracking data and subjective user data, stressing the importance of multi-method approaches.” (Eva Siegenthaler, Pascal Wurtz, Rudolf Groner ~ Journal of Usability Studies Volume 6, Issue 1)

Social Serendipity

“The explosion of communication technologies has made long-range interactions between individuals increasingly easy. Paradoxically this ‘virtual’ shrinking of the world, through constant access to contacts across the globe, often isolates us from those in our immediate vicinity. However, as mobile phone evolve to break computing free of the desktop and firmly roots itself in daily life, we have an opportunity to mediate, mine, and now even augment our current social reality. We are beginning to see advances in communication technology that will enable face-to-face connections between strangers and make a profound impact on our society.” (MIT Reality Mining)

Need Better Data? Pay More Attention to Your Web Forms

“Web forms are like the poor relations when it comes to their getting the attention they deserve from the usability community. Usability bibles, when they make mention of Web forms at all, have barely enough to say about them to fill more than a page. Where authors have given Web forms more attention, their appearance and the placement of elements get the lion’s share of the coverage, while the quality of the actual data researchers have gathered hardly gets mentioned. And on those few occasions where authors do provide data from research, they fail to be truly mindful of the problems people from different countries encounter using Web forms.” (Graham Rhind ~ UXmatters)

Abundance of Choice and Its Effect on Decision Making

“Current research shows that, as the number of options increases, so does the level of complexity of the decision itself. Although people are inherently attracted to having lots of choices, when it comes to actually choosing from among a large number of options, people often find themselves paralyzed and unable to make a decision. Why is it that an abundance of choice can become so overwhelming?” (Colleen Roller ~ UXmatters)

The Holy Grail of Innovation: It Takes an Ensemble to Achieve Inspired Creativity

“Have you ever seen really good improv? Did you walk out of the experience willing to swear that the actors had rehearsed it ahead of time or it was some kind of magic? I’ll let you in on an actor’s secret: chances are the work was neither rehearsed nor magic! What’s more likely is that the group performing the improv was a true ensemble of actors who had trained and practiced the principles of improv and were accustomed to working together.” (Traci Lepore ~ UXmatters)

Touchpoints Bring the Customer Experience to Life

“Taking the time and effort to look at your touchpoints not just as isolated mini-experiences, but as a collective whole, will help you shape them for a better customer experience, and perhaps even point to opportunities to invent new types of touchpoints, as Progressive did. Or, perhaps there are some touchpoints you have been overly reliant on third-parties who are not not upholding their place in the journey.” (Adam Richardson ~ Harcard Business Review)

Social business & service design

“Economists, capitalists, entrepreneurs, public servants and policy makers are on their way to recognize the new source of (economic) value, ‘human experience’ and the designers are delivering the tools & mindsets to create them. Great times for designers and design thinkers, great times for a new kind of multidisciplinary collaboration of formerly opposed mindsets, great new business and public service opportunities and a great moment in human development and history.” (Sylvain Cottong ~

The Elements of Content Strategy

“Content strategy is the web’s hottest new thing. But where did it come from? And why does it matter? And what does the content renaissance mean for you? This brief guide explores content strategy’s roots, and quickly and expertly demonstrates not only how it’s done, but how you can do it well. A compelling read for both experienced content strategists and those making the transition from other fields.” (Erin Kissane ~ A Book Apart)

Designing Media

“In Designing Media, Bill Moggridge examines connections and conflicts between old and new media, describing how the MSM (‘MainStream Media’) have changed and how new patterns of media consumption are emerging. The book features interviews with thirty-seven people who have made significant creative contributions to the design and development of media, ranging from the publisher of the New York Times to the founder of Twitter. (…) You can download any or all of the Chapters here as pdfs, and the videos as QuickTimes. The videos are sized at 1024 pixels width, so that they fit a standard slide format in PowerPoint or Keynote.” (Bill Moggridge) courtesy of markvanderbeeken