Interface Design

What does the product feel and look like?

The Seed of Apple’s Innovation.

Borrows, P. (2004). “The Seed of Apple’s Innovation.” Business Week. Retrieved on 12 October 2004. http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/oct2004/nf20041012_4018_db083.htm This article is an excerpt of an interview with Steve Jobs following his return from work from cancer surgery.  The interview focuses on Apple’s innovation process and how they differ from other technology companies. Jobs points out how HP’s philosophy of creating great products influenced Apple in its early days. Apple was at the forefront of innovation when it created the first PC and desktop GUI in the 70’s.  But because Apple had achieved a certain monopoly in the PC market, it shifted from an innovation/products company to a sales/marketing company.  This ultimately led to the Apple’s stagnant growth in the years before he returned. Jobs explains that people are loyal to Mac because Apple hires the right people for the job.  Their employees work tirelessly to ensure the highest quality of their products, often sacrificing sleep and holidays working on hardware and software details.  From a consumer’s point of view, this translates to enjoyable experience throughout the entire usage of the product.  Even when customers become stuck or try something unfamiliar, they can quickly resolve the situation because Apple considered and designed for it. Another interesting point Jobs makes is the…

Teaching Boys and Girls Separately

Article: Weil, E. (2008). “Teaching Boys and Girls Separately.” NY Times. Visited on 2 March 2008 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/02/magazine/02sex3-t.html The article explores the potential impact that differences in emotional and/or cognitive development in boys and girls have on a child’s ability to learn.  In order to address these inherent difference and subsequently the ‘chronic achievement gap between richer and poorer students and between white and minority students’, one school of thought promotes gender segregation in schools. The most outspoken proponent of this solution and the main focus of this article is Leonard Sax, a former family physician with a Ph.D. in psychology. According to Sax, the basis for the need to separate boys and girls is biological as opposed to social. He sites psychological as well as neurobiological studies which utilize brain scan technology. The need to segregate boys and girls in the classroom is rooted, according to Sax, in biological differences such as: •     boys do not hear nor smell as well as girls •     boys and girls respond differently to different shades of light •     boys are more apt than girls to see action •     boys are not as capable as girls of recognizing subtleties in…

Miles of Aisles for a Gallon of Milk?

Article: Carless, W. (2008) “Miles of Aisles for a Gallon of Milk?” The New York Times. Visited on 10 September 2008 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/10/business/10grocery.html Conceptual Design: In a world of giant grocery stores where consumers have to make mentally-taxing decisions on every product they consider purchasing, create a grocery store that caters to grab-and-go shopping patterns for prepared meals and a few items rather than the big shopping trip for the week. Tailor the experience to “time-starved” shoppers. The average person spends 22 minutes shopping which is not enough time to see all 60,000 products in the store. Interaction Design: User surveys have shown that consumers would rather have high-quality products they can trust than 50 feet of ketchups they aren’t sure about. The store should offer fewer choices to speed decision making on the consumer’s part. Personal extrapolations to Interaction Design: Optimize for quick sales and discourage long shopping trips which would in turn result in a consumer having a lot at the register to purchase which slows everyone else down. Interface Design: Lay out the store with fewer aisles, stocked with only one or a few kinds of each item (one spaghetti sauce that is really good as opposed to 50…

Mobile phones expose human habits.

Article: Fildes, J. (2008). “Mobile phones expose human habits.” BBC News. Retrieved 4 June, 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/7433128.stm Summary: As the title suggests this article concerns the discovery of human mobility habits via the use of mobile phones. In other words over 100, 000 mobile phones were tracked in an attempt to build a comprehensive picture of human movements. The study showed, that humans are creatures of habit, mostly visiting the same few spots time and time again, and that most people move less than 10km on regular basis. The study is seen as important as it can help when assessing the situation during a viral outbreak such as the Avian Flu and in the forecasting of traffic. Previously similar studies had been performed with GPS which proved to expensive, surveys which proved unreliable and dollar bills. Dollar bills were tracked in order to reconstruct human movements however this seemed only to prove random patterns and did not give a complete picture of people s movements. The phone tracking worked differently. Each time a participant made or received a call or text message, the location of the mobile base station relaying the data was recorded. The results showed that people moved around…

Why Japan’s Cellphones Haven’t Gone Global

Article: Tabuchi, H. (2009). “Why Japan’s Cellphones Haven’t Gone Global” The New York Times Company. Retrieved 20 July, 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/20/technology/20cell.html?_r=1&hp As the title suggests the article talks about how the Japanese-made cell phones have not made themselves into a global market. The article refers this to as Galapagos Syndrome, where the Japanese develop a product that evolves isolated from world markets. Despite the fact that Japan has been introducing new innovations almost every year since 1999, with new features such as email capabilities, camera phone, and digital TV, many of these innovations however turned out to be too advanced for most markets overseas. The second generation network standard introduced in the 90s was rejected everywhere else in the world and has contributed to the isolation from the global markets. In addition, many analyze that the issue is in the Japanese phone makers focusing more on hardware design rather than on software, and as a result, the development of handset models becomes time-consuming and expensive. The emphasis on hardware also makes the design to be more bulky and not something that is appealing to the overseas market. The introduction of the iPhone to the Japanese market has not yet proven to…

On “Who’s Driving Twitter’s Popularity? Not Teens”

Article | Miller, C. (2009). “Who’s Driving Twitter’s Popularity? Not Teens.” The New York Times. Retrieved 22 Octover, 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/26/technology/internet/26twitter.html Summary | Traditional early-adopter models assume that the youth – teens, tweens, and children – are core to the success of new technologies. However, recent products (e.g., iPhone, GPS devices, Kindle) have proven this to be largely myth. The notable example chosen by Claire Cain Miller is the exponential growth of Twitter over the last couple years. While many factors have contributed to the success of twitter among adults, core among them are the nature of the different groups’ social structures/interactions, existing application ecosystem, and (not discussed) Twitter’s design. Whereas a child’s (and even young adults’) main interactions occur within their core social group, an adult’s interactions often include a much wider and more loosely defined sphere of individuals. Twitter, with its “one-to many network”, is much more suited to this collective experience. Additionally, the nature of their online social interactions is not dictated by “the music [they] listen to and the quizzes [they] take”, but participation in an ongoing social dialogue. Twitter’s ability to facilitate diverse conversation on many topics with an audience far beyond one’s social circle differentiates…