Posts Tagged design
Eko traffic light concept, designed by Damjan Stanković, promises to reduce traffic accidents by including a countdown timer that indicates how much time is left before the light changes.
Countdown Stop Light Benefits
Less pollution/fuel consumption: Drivers can turn off their engines while they wait for the green light.
Less stress: Since you know exactly when the light will change, you can sit back and relax. No need to keep your foot on the gas.
For more concept designs by Damjan Stanković, visit relogik.com
Summary: A UX guy – Dustin, totally frustrated about the usability of AmericanAirlines website, decides to create a simplistic usable design and publish it on his blog. A AA UX person who stumbles on this decides to sit and email Dustin about the story behind the screwed up design of the original site!
I saw your blog post titled "Dear AmericanAirlines," and I thought I’d drop a line. Sorry for the length of this email, but let me sum up the gist of what I’ve written below: You’re right. You’re so very right. And yet…
First, an introduction. I’m Mr X, and I work here at AA.com. I’ve been doing UX design and development for about 10 years with a variety of companies in a variety of industries, and I work with a team of other UX specialists on AA.com. I like to think I’m decent at what I do, and I know the others I work with here are all pretty good. The problem with the design of AA.com, however, lies less in our competency (or lack thereof, as you pointed out in your post) and more with the culture and processes employed here at American Airlines.
Let me explain. The group running AA.com consists of at least 200 people spread out amongst many different groups, including, for example, QA, product planning, business analysis, code development, site operations, project planning, and user experience. We have a lot of people touching the site, and a lot more with their own vested interests in how the site presents its content and functionality.
Fortunately, much of the public-facing functionality is funneled through UX, so any new features you see on the site should have been vetted through and designed by us before going public.
However, there are large exceptions. For example, our Interactive Marketing group designs and implements fare sales and specials (and doesn’t go through us to do it), and the Publishing group pushes content without much interaction with us… Oh, and don’t forget the AAdvantage team (which for some reason, runs its own little corner of the site) or the international sites (which have a lot of autonomy in how their domains are run)… Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that AA.com is a huge corporate undertaking with a lot of tentacles that reach into a lot of interests. It’s not small, by any means.
Oh how I wish we were, though! Imagine the cool stuff we could do if we could operate more like 37signals and their Getting Real philosophy (http://gettingreal.37signals.com/)! We could turn on a dime. We could just say "no" to new feature requests. We could eliminate "stovepiped" positions. We could cut out a lot of the friction created when so many organizations interact with each other. We could even redesign the AA.com home page without having to slog through endless review and approval cycles with their requisite revisions and re-reviews.
But-and I guess here’s the thing I most wanted to get across-simply doing a home page redesign is a piece of cake. You want a redesign? I’ve got six of them in my archives. It only takes a few hours to put together a really good-looking one, as you demonstrated in your post. But doing the design isn’t the hard part, and I think that’s what a lot of outsiders don’t really get, probably because many of them actually do belong to small, just-get-it-done organizations. But those of us who work in enterprise-level situations realize the momentum even a simple redesign must overcome, and not many, I’ll bet, are jumping on this same bandwagon. They know what it’s like.
OK, so it’s not all bad. The good news is that we have a lot of UX improvements coming down the line, most of which we’ll incorporate over the next 12 – 18 months as new projects go live. Some of our slated efforts include improved navigation; 16 column grid-based layouts; a lighter, more airy visual design; improved user interactions; and an increased transparency to fares and sales policies across the board. We’ll work it all in organically, as the site evolves to include new features. But it won’t be done via an explicit, massive redesign. Can’t be.
So, since it won’t all get done overnight, don’t give us a bad grade if you don’t see it happening fast enough for your taste. Even a large organization can effect change; it just takes a different approach than the methods found in smaller shops. But it’ll happen because it has to, and we know that. And we’ll keep on keepin’ on, even if most of us really and truly would prefer to throw it all away and start over.
Very truly yours (and hoping I don’t get fired for being completely incompetent),
BusinessWeek: The handset maker went to citizens of Mumbai, Rio and other megacities for new ideas—and got designs that find graffiti, test water, and emit peace vibes
By Kerry Capell
In the three rapidly growing cities of Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro, and Accra (Ghana), Nokia’s design team set up open studios where members of the local community could sketch their dream phones. Nokia provided the space and the drawing tools, and more than 220 people offered up their vision of the ideal handset. Pictured is Sam from Accra with his design. Nokia asked participants to address the following questions:
- What does it look like?
- What does it do?
- How will you use it?
- When and where will you use it?
Other questions were aimed at providing Nokia’s researchers with deeper insight into the broader issue of identity within these fast-growing urban environments. The team gleaned information on participants’ tastes, style, personality, profession, religion, sense of heritage, and community. Some of the participants knocked off sketches in 20 minutes, while others spent two full days on the project.
Click on for a look at 15 of the remarkable mobile phone ideas generated by consumers around the world.
As a pastor in Accra, Joseph’s job is to help people get to know God. He loves recording church activities, so his design includes a three-hour video recording feature and displays Bible verses every time the phone is turned on or off.
Alexander is a computer student in Accra who lives alone in a refugee camp. He feels for his friend’s grandmother: her eyes are not very good and so she struggles to use her phone. He designed a phone for people with vision problems who can use voice-aided keypads that read out the inscription when pressed. The phone is shaped like a foot because it symbolizes progress.
Elizabeth is a dance instructor from Rio who took a more surrealist view. She wants a mobile phone with a peace button that when pressed will emit a sound wave that brings peace to any argument, fight, or even war. She designed the phone for stressed or violent people.
For this participant, phones are much more than a communication tool: They can also be a means of survival. The idea behind this bottle-shaped phone is to help carry drinkable water, a valuable commodity in many of the shantytowns Nokia visited. This phone also can act as a float, enabling people living in these towns to survive in extreme conditions such as floods. In the words of the participant: "It’s my style of phone because is helps you and others to survive. I would like to help others with my phone."
A good post on the value of branding and packaging of a product. No matter how good a product is, it will miss the mark, if not handled efficiently on the marketing and placement front.
After decades of research, Kisan Jam (a market leader in the “Jam” category in India), another radiant brand in the HUL portfolio, has realized that children, the main target segment for jams, are finding it difficult to take the jam out of the wide yet narrow necked bottle. Most of the spoons in the household do not go into the bottle and knives have to be used to take a scoop of jam. Obviously knives are a dangerous product to be used by small kids. Added to that ,the bottles are expensive, and is of no use to the customer after its finished.
Kisan Jams has now introduced the latest “Jam Squeeze”, where the product is packaged in the form of a tube, where all one needs to do is to squeeze the jam onto the plate or directly in the bread. (They also have tied up with Disney to print several cartoon characters in the tubes to target young kids) Simple, yet brilliant isn’t it?
Another prime example is Microsoft Vista. Microsoft spends thousands of dollars in understand the way users browse the interface and perform several operations. One thing, they largely found was Windows XP users found it difficult in searching for files in their computer using the find files option. Either it took a lot of time to search or it was complicated and most of the time the search returned with no results. People then migrated and installed the Google Desktop software which basically indexed the entire system, and with a press of few letters, all related files corresponding to the letters were displayed.
Vista, was immediately incorporated with an Indexing service in their start menu itself, that saved several minutes for users trying to find their old files. Another important change in Vista was their packaging. Windows XP earlier was released as a professional and Home edition.(99 % of the users ended up using the professional version only)
Vista is now packaged and sold in several variants such as Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate and Business. Their user segment clearly identified, targeted and positioned.Any advanced user might actually realize all these are the same. The only difference between a Premium and a Business is that in Premium, you get to play those small games like Chess, Pinball etc and while in a business you can’t. But if one actually probes through the settings, one can find the same features in the Add Windows Components in the Control Panel. Be it a Fax Service in Vista Premium or a chess game in Vista Business, the customization is always available. Yet people have a completely different perception for each of these variants.
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Really cool extension. They have only one style so far. But, even that one looks coool!! B) There has been many other extensions in the past that allowed you to apply skins to Gmail and add other cool stuff to Gmail. But, this extension is the only one where I really found the designs like-able and complete. What’s more? This extension also works its magic in GCalendar!!!
Google Redesigned is a Mozilla Firefox extension designed by Globex Designs that aims to fully redesign the look and feel of popular Google services. This is achieved with Cascading StyleSheet (CSS) files which are loaded on the client’s browser. The extension simplifies the use of these styles by providing auto-updates, easy management and notifications of changes. You can also download and use the styles individually by going to their respective pages.
Google Redesigned originally started as a single CSS file which tried to redesign Google‘s Gmail service. It has since grown to incorporate other various Google services and pages. Previously users of these styles would have to rely on other extensions such as Stylish, Greasemonkey or Web Developer to load these styles onto their browser which caused problems with updates, bug submission and version tracking. The Google Redesigned extension aims to solve all those problems by offering the popular Globex Designs styles in a single, self-updating extension.
Google Redesigned is built for Mozilla based browsers (Firefox, Flock, IceWeasel, and such). Users using other browsers will not be to install the extension. Firefox 3 and Flock 2 are highly recommended as certain styles will not work correctly on older versions of the Gecko engine. As well the Firefox 3 engine provides much faster performance for handling these styles.
This is an open source project, which means we welcome all suggestions, comments and bug reports. You can submit your feedback at the Google Redesigned Forums. The Extension and all the Google Redesigns styles are licensed under the GPL license.
This one’s really good. Kind of really explains how people screw up and complicate simple requirements. Here’s a simple problem that needed a simple solution. And the execs add their own (stupid?) ideas to it and mess it up completely. Really amusing!!