Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The inmates are running the asylum, and Mr Cooper needs to whine about it

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity (2nd Edition) The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity by Alan Cooper

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
If this is meant to be the business case for interaction design, it's a pretty sad business case. The ideas are good, but they way it's put is frustrating.

There's some useful material in this book, but it's hard to dig out in the constant noise of Mr Cooper's whining. You could easily scan the first 120 pages, then read about half of the chapters on persona and goals, and you'd have it.

I am left with the taste of BUFD in my mouth too. That may be a misunderstanding, but it seems that we need to have a big interaction design to get it all right, right from the beginning. This is not something I like the idea of.

Yes, interaction design should be handled by pro's. Thanks Alan.

A book to borrow, quickly scan through, then return.

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Goal based design (with bad photos)

I don't get excited about car parks ("parking lots" for any non-Australian, or "core porks" for any South Africans) , if I had to list my top five car parks I'd be hard pressed to get beyond the first, and that's only because I now have one.  I drove into a car park a few weeks ago and was greeted by a big sign informing me how many spaces they had for my car. Blah, seen it before.

This sign was curiously different, rather than "We have 786 spaces where you aren't", it looked like the information might change. 

One of my daughters asked "What are those lights for?" and before you could see "geek car park love in" all was revealed.

It's a wonderful arrangement, when the space is empty the light is green (see above).  When the space is occupied (by a car or silly people), the light is red (below).  So when I drive around the level I can see where to aim my car without the hassle of driving up and down trying my luck.


If you deserve a special space, you get a blue light (no disco, sorry). 
What struck me was that someone thought about what you want from using a car park - a space as fast as possible and or as convenient as possible - and came up with a nice way to help the driver achieve that goal.  Having been back on a wet day with the car park near full, it was fantastic, child yells out "there's a green light" and off we go to the empty space. There was only a short drag race with another car heading for the spot, but my van had the momentum, they backed off and we won, woohoo.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Christmas weirdness

My mother bought this tin of biscuits for my family because she thought "you might like the picture on the lid". Strange idea in itself, but biscuits are biscuits and I'm not going to say no.

Bothering to read the side of the tin to see just how messed up the ingredients are I noticed that the "Photograph is a serving suggestion only". This may be fine if you're Bertie Wooster, but I had trouble getting all this arrange just to eat some shortbread.

After I got over the locomotive weirdness I noticed the extra-sureal bonus. "Biscuits not at actual size". How does that work? How are the biscuits in the tin not at actual size? Is this why I sometimes didn't feel sated after just one?