Cognitive psychology, design thinking, usability, usability testing, User Behaviour, User Experience, User Psychology

When Don Norman talked about my “How I explained the solar system to my mom in Hindi” story in his speech

Tales of UX in childhood:

As soon as I shared a childhood episode with Don over lunch, he immediately called out his colleague and asked me to repeat what I said, with a confused face I thought I said something unsuitable,  nevertheless I repeated and said “One day when I came back from school, my mom asked me “What did you learn in school today? I was wondering how do I explain to her the Solar System in Hindi today? And in a way which is digestible to her? Hailing from a village, my mother had never been to school but she was always curious to learn. That was probably my first step towards simplifying ideas into bits of chewable information for the right target audience.

Sharing stories of my childhood experiences with UX

Stories are exciting

Don Norman and I share an immense passion for education, as we believe that is one important aspect is shaping the future of this world and after hearing my story he quoted “We need curiosity in our education system, a learning form which can never be replaced”

Who is Don Norman?

Don-Norman

Don Norman

Recently I had the opportunity to host world famous Donald Norman – a cognitive scientist who joined the team at Apple in the early 90s as their User Experience Architect – making him the first person to have UX in his job title. He came up with the term “user experience design” as a way of encompassing all that UX is. By this time Don had also written his classic book, “The Design of Everyday Things,” which championed design for usability and functionality rather than aesthetics. it remains hugely influential for designers today. At the heart of his approach is human and activity-centered design, combining knowledge of cognitive science, engineering, and business with the design.

Hosting Don Norman in India

Being an active member of the Ispirt Volunteer team and having shared my usability expertise on mega projects like Bhim, UPI, EkStep and DigiYatra, It was time for the next big thing for Ispirt.

Ispirt works to transform India into a hub for new generation software products, by addressing crucial government policy, creating market catalysts and grow the maturity of product entrepreneurs.

The conversations started with the living legend with an exclusive closed-door meeting at [24]7.ai situated in the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore where various solutions/products were discussed to get his unbiased feedback.

Public Speech by Don Norman had for over a hundred designers, developers and product folks. I remember before the talk Don asked me a peculiar question, “Shaheena; should I use a presentation?” and I said yes sure. But then an entire conversation went around why presentations are needed or why they are not. Well, eventually I was of the opinion how about experimenting and not using one? Well to my surprise he did not use one.

During lunch and coffee, we shared stories and spoke about cultural behaviours from an Indian perspective and hearing his insights too. As we walked to meet the press and waited at the elevator area he looked at me and said “how does one know which elevator to call and how to do these buttons function” and we had a sneered at each other like we knew what we were referring too.

A complex problem does not have a simple solution: The Talk of the Legend

20190222_160343(1)Don started off by imploring designers to ask a question to themselves, what is the problem that they would want to work on? Healthcare? Education?

A complex problem does not have a simple solution, it is solved bit by bit because in the process of helping some people it might harm some other people. Hence it is important to test the solutions on a smaller set of people and then learn from that and iterate and keep iterating.  We learn from testing and its important that we tell ourselves that we have not been proven wrong if we fail but we have learnt a lot more than what we knew before. This term was fondly called “Muddling Through” because as per Don, Experts do not always understand cultural nuances, behavioural biases and deeply hidden insecurities of the people the solution is eventually built for.

He is a strong advocate of “Community Driven Knowledge” i.e Citizen-Based Knowledge Systems, this is the most sustainable form of design solutions because they are conceived by the people for the people.

This is the role of a designer to get people together for a common cause.

Understand the Problem Deeply:

Helping Don sign the booksA designer is someone who designs something that has an impact on society. A solution that is aimed at technology first is a good recipe for failure, we will never to able to start by finding technology solution. What we must do is understand the problem deeply.

A designer must understand which discipline is necessary for designing a solution. They must know a bit about every aspect of the ancillary problems associated with the core problems. It’s important to know about the other fields that he is exposed to as opposed to just blinker focus on your core area. We must not simply design solutions, they must be accepted by the society that’s the goal of every solution. A human mind understands the cause and effect of the actions he will be doing. Hence it’s easier to build for behaviours of people as opposed to changing the behaviour because behavioural change eventually happens on its own. Human mind understands the cause and effect relationship, hence give them a problem they care about that’s when they learn and change. Build something first quickly, and give people to try also called “Research Through Design” is the way by which you learn much faster. Ending the session with autographs on his books, it was now time for the press.

Ending the day discussing some social projects that affect the medical and education sector of the country, it was amazing to share the table and discuss hypothesis, assumptions and biases with Don.

Advice to Designers: Be curious

The 82-year-old Don Norman is anything but an old, he is curious and would always like to be that way. He tries anything that is different. Humble and asks tonnes of questions.

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An Autograph as unique as the man himself

 

Cheers,

RuthlessUX

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#WtfUx, FuckedUpUx, Industrial Design, usability, User Behaviour, User Experience, User Experience Review, User Psychology

#WtfUx : Bad user experience design can make you feel dumb in the washroom

You must have heard of kids getting locked in the washroom but its so embarrassing to imagine if an adult was struggling to find his way out. Washroom is one place you would not want to overload your brain with any form of cognitive processing, i mean getting in and out of a washroom should be a piece of cakewalk right? Not for the washroom designed in the lobby area of The Trident Hotel- at BKC in Mumbai.  The hotel like one of those over-friendly friends who is constantly around for no good reason tried to be “over creative” by designing a very confusing looking washroom lock and in that process successfully flushing down the drain basic principles of user centric designs  which are required to be adhered while designing objects of daily use.

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(Image by RuthlessUx: Lobby area washroom / or as it is labelled in hi-fi settings as cloak room (ladies) at the Trident Bkc, Mumbai)

Why in the world would a designer have an open knob separate and a lock unlock knob separate? And to dig their own grave further add shabby “suggestive” stickers on them which are peeling off! Argh! I have coined a term for these kind of designers – “Creative Assholes” Lol. Because they’re doing something not just stupid and annoying, but mean.

Usability is a common courtesy that designers owe to their potential users and a good user experience designer  (not restricted to digital products, it could be a space experience designer, industrial designer working on ergonomics of usability etc) will always indirectly and lucidly amalgamate the abstract logic of usability with literal understanding of common sense in forms and designs that’s more digestible and intuitive based on the past experiences of the users and seems to be a part of common sense.

Why would a designer make a simple task like opening a washroom lock complicated – to be different? to think out of the box? to be abstract? – unless they wanted to do some sort of ‘IQ’ test on how peoples brain function after peeing or pooping? or may be are people that attentive after they have eased themselves? or can people find their way out of our so called innovative lock system?

 

The moment you make a user think for a task that is “more mechanical or routine” in nature and doesn’t really require “thinking” you have clearly lost as a designer and delivered a #WtfUx. In simple language any routine task where a user doesn’t have to think much and can understand fast from the design and placement of the sections or its intuitive design visuals is more probable to accomplish that task – (in this case its not the first time a person would be unlocking a washroom door to exit. which means its a learnt behavior and complicating that is stupidity)

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The left designs are way more usable and intuitive then the right hand one

Empathy is the key to designing usable products and we as designers should put our self in the position of the person who will will eventually use your product.

I mean i totally buy the fact that you need to be creative but this knob design does anything but give me a delightful experience.  If you wish to reinvent the wheel, then the usability aspect can never be compromised? Be it Maruti or Rolls Royce the wheel shape is round for both organisations vehicles. Rolls Royce simply because they can, don’t go ahead and build a complicated hexagon shape wheel.

I know complaining about a design problem at a luxury hotel might make you question “umm am i the only one who is feeling this knob is awkward? or do other people feel the same? Its intimidating and most people i interact with just feel that its them who are incapable of figuring the way out and feel they will be seen as a fool or a less intelligent person if they speak about a problem such as this.

So keep a watch for that “Creative Asshole” around you.

Cheers & Keep it #RuthlessUx

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design thinking, FuckedUpUx, usability, usability testing, User Experience, User Experience Review, User Psychology, ux review

The new LinkedIn is so bad its not even funny anymore!

With installing the LinkedIn app and then uninstalling in within 3 minutes i knew they cannot get it more wrong than what they already have.

I knew way back im using LinkedIn for UTILITY and not usability.

The recent update in LinkedIn’s UI made me go “What a cheap imitation of Facebook‘s UI! These guys refuse to learn!”

The overall site looks like it has been robbed of its “Freedom of Expression” hope this not the Trump effect.!

There is so much thats hidden and is left for the user to explore and help themselves. Features important are hidden only to make the experience more distasteful.  Amy Parnell, the company’s senior director of experience design,  said it had “too much noise, too much cognitive load.”  But i guess atleast we had something then now we are left with BLANK SPACE to eat!

List of hate items: *not limited to but 5

1) White Space: Its too white spaced for my comfort. Everything looks scattered and hanging. Empty! Amy Parnell, the company’s senior director of experience design, felt it had “too much noise, too much cognitive load.”

Probably she thought users using linkedIn -who let me tell you had already adapted to the previous matrix of your UI – certainly could have put up with a little more.

Sadly underestimating “Users Cognitive Abilities” is the last thing one might want to do especially in terms of user experience.

This only points out two things either you were over confident and landed up doing a bad job or you just lived in a matrix where you felt your users are stupid to handle an upgraded ui.

 

 

 

 

2)Publications / Projects : So you decide to show less and make us click more to see more? what kind of handicapped user experience is this? And then show us less relevant content and shove us with more white space? trying to get the KKK way are you?

Surely you don’t seem like a white spremacist then why is that the0ry adopted in your UI? It’s only making is very difficult to view things at one glance or let us check out a connection’s latest project, publication, or article.

 

 

 

3) Groups hidden too: C’mon why do you think you got it all right? did you even do user testing with real users? or your experience design team went to japan and hired a bunch of robots to get the made-to-order feedback. There are like 4 clicks i need to do before i actually get to My Groups Page.

 

 

 

 

 

4) Menu sticks around like an overfriendly pal: So you have decided to live in the Stone Age time and not improve your icon design or menu? like i totally understand you wanted to copy facebook but then the menu icons look like a garnishing which is more compared to the quantity of food.

 

 

 

 

5) Achievements, Awards, Certifications and Honors  given step motherly treatment:

Why are things just hidden?

In the previous version the awards, certification honors and achievements and certifications were not hidden. Now you can barely see them at all and to add to your Cognitive Load is that your mind has to figure that you keep to keep clicking on the fu***ng “See more” link all the time to well SEE more of things that you should be seeing by default.

Another annoyance is that t is a full-width arrangement and one column instead of two, which drastically increases the page length as well as it ceases to show you less information which you could have probably viewed at a glance.

It’s like placing the refridgerator in

 

 

Bummer!!!

There isn’t a way to go back to the old version of LinkedIn. Sadly you can’t throw rotten tomatoes on your screen for a mistake thats not even yours. However, If you are still enthusiastic about nagging go follow this thread https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/forum/question/474766 and give your feedback

Thank me later.

RuthlessUx

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design thinking, Interesting Marketing, Out of the Box, Product Review, User Experience, User Psychology

Durex Brinjal & Indian Food

 

Durex has just announced a launch an eggplant flavored condom.

These all dishes might taste a bit different but have a common ingredient? No points for guessing

 

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What if one fine day they decide to go extremely “Local” what would the brand look like then?

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Idli flavor? Misal flavor? Wada Pav flavor? Im sure our political parties would be more than happy to capitalize on this opportunity and regionalise and communalize the condoms.

Moving on to the Reason :

Durex is using this marketing stunt to promote a condom emoji because durex feels that introducing this emoji will help people talk freely talk about safe sex while chatting.

Currently people improvise on current emojis and icon to talk about the topic and rest is upto your imagination. By which i mean “people currently use brinjal icon for more than the purpose of using brinjal literally”

But simply to break the new “this is all just a marketing stunt and durex is not launching this eggplant condom”. Dear veggies you have been saved from being scared for the rest of your lives.

‘Durex belives launching Condom Emoji will encourage open discussions and raise awareness about the use and importance and hence propagate safe sex and protecting people against sexually transmitted diseases like including HIV and AIDS.

This is a good way to put your message across the and humorous too.

But how would this eventually lead to all that durex wants to achieve is a story of the next level.

 

Cheers

RuthlessUX

 

 

 

 

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In the image below Can you figure which one is the door?

and how to open this door? Push? Pull? Slide?

door-ruthlessux.jpg

 

 

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Entering the door of your office is the first th
ing most of the working class does before they start off and reach their desk for work.

Sounds simple ?

Recently i went to a Networking event at a posh corporate park in Bombay and had a great time. But B
eing the “paying attention to the details” kind of person that i am i figured that this entry door nothing
less than an algebraic  equation which i might not have been taught in school.

 

ruthlessux-door

 

So many of our doors are designed in a way that send confusing signals. Look at the doors in malls, Washrooms, Coffee Shops, Corporate offices etc.

I’m so sure we have all faced this one situation where we are pushing a door and someone at the opposite ends gets hit on the nose.

And worse is when we are using the revolving doors. There is a 100% possibility of you fumbling with your own-self and feel dis-balanced.

We are habituated instinctively to pull doors that have handles and  push doors that are flat or have no handles, so whenever a door does not fit in this regular realm of design, a sign or symbol of help is required. But then again it is not a guarantee that the door will be used as desired by the designer.

What may seem like a clever or minimal design soon seems as a design failure. I very often say “Simple and Minimal does not mean Kill the Utility or Make it Non-User Friendly”

Sometimes we might see handwritten arrows or signs or text indicating direction or action that needs to be taken.

For Eg: Toilet out of order! Yes that’s the sign i mostly see around

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At times the stickers are also insufficient to override what those handles are saying.

And sometimes signs alone cannot act as a solution in itself and hence there still must be some way of knowing what action and where it is to be done. Mostly a single word labels fail to signify or rather say build that intuition in a user to take action

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How many of us subconsciously land up pushing the door when it’s written Pull?

Words can be ambiguous when it comes to universal function and understanding. Hence we see Road signs use graphic illustrations. But words and graphics are together are understood much better.

“Doors do not need an instruction manual they should simply be “KISS” – Keep it Simple and Stupid” 

 

single-door-ruthlessux

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And finally when you figure the way the product or item works user has a sense of achievement!

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Cheers

http://www.RuthlessUx.com

User Experience is a facet of design that touches human lives in more than one ways. Its omnipresent. Physical or Virtual “experience” is something people remember more than the product. People remember how they “felt”. Many a times i see a lot of sites or for that matter even physical objects put so much effort in making a product or services complicated that the reaction users subconsciously feel is exactly how Deadpool describes in this reaction below!

 

WHYS USERS FEEL THIS WAY?

Let’s see an example!

What i am reviewing today  the tea cup you see below which is  an apt example of putting the user under stress for no reason. There is a considerable amount of effort gone into making this cup a complicated one!

 

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It’s what we call a bad execution of #productdesign and lack of #ux sensibilities. The cup is difficult to use. So clearly #user and #usability aspects of #userexperience have been blindly ignored here.

Even though the idea of the amalgamation of a wine glass and a coffee cup seems artistic and exciting but not good in terms of #industrial #design — at Khar Social.

cup-industrial-design

To the designer who took the trouble to make this  cup!

Being a good user experience designer definitely involves creative imagination but it must be an enhanced version that’s not too far from usability if not reality itself. Imagine this the tea is hot, the upper portion occupies 75% of the hot liquid. Holding the cup with one hand is like trying to balance a Pyramid upside down on your finger tip. This might help you feel what i’m trying to convey.

Cheers,

RuthlessUX