Thursday, May 31, 2012

Future #UX: There You Are

Johnny Mnemonic, 1995: Keanu Reeves in the expository opening scenes, equal parts Case from Neuromancer, and every noir lead with a hat, lives in a future that doesn't have iPhones or the cloud.  He videochats with a wall screen and a clicker, and the data he carries in the hard drive in his head gets in there with minidiscs, cables, and jacks.

But as much as the #UX of this particular future feels outdated,  if you turn the real future sideways,  it can be amazingly prescient.

Consider the form factor of the old Trimline phone. They got the size and feel of the moving parts -- the interactive part -- very much right.

Side by side, the old phone and the new one look like they came from the same dream.

And when you get to where you're going, there you are.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Obit for Flash-Matic Remote Control's Inventor

Eugene Polley, (1915-2012), inventor of the remote control, has passed away at age 96.

"Polley started work for Zenith back in 1935, straight after graduating from college. He began as a stock boy, then worked on the firm's catalog, then transferred to engineering and worked on radar during World War II.

The invention was soon succeeded by upgrades for TV sets ... and other devices.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Everything everywhere all the time < > Right here, right now

Two different problems, with two different solutions:

1. You are walking down the street in NYC, planning your trip to Paris, and you want to explore restaurants, hotels, museums and neighborhoods.

2. You are hungry and you are looking for a place to eat.

Different needs, different reference points, different solutions.

Same user.

Friday, May 18, 2012

More fun is better than more fast

Which would be more fun in an office breakroom?

o  A vending machine that dispenses snacks for free: no coins needed.

o A tray of free snacks.

Which is faster?

Picking an item and waiting for it to fall takes longer than grabbing something from a tray, but  joy, delight and fun are better than faster.

Note 1: The error message in the center of the vintage dashboard, "Your selection is sold out if knob will not operate," allows the user to fail, instead of preventing that. We can do better than that now.

Note 2: Using radio buttons as a secondary level of navigation for gum choices is a nice touch. Why not extend it all the way across?

TRS-80: The iPad of the '80s

This was as awesome then as the iPad is now.

The TRS-80 Model 100 was an early portable computer introduced in 1983. It was one of the first notebook-style computers, featuring a keyboard and liquid crystal display, battery powered, in a package roughly the size and shape of notepad or large book.