Articles

Topic: Technology

The Paradox of Wearable Technologies (at jnd.org)

July 24, 2013

Can wearable devices be helpful? Absolutely. But they can also be horrid. It all depends upon whether we use them to focus and augment our activities or to distract. It is up to us, and up to those who create these new wearable wonders to decide which it is to be. Article available at Technology Review.

The Apple iWatch (at asktog.com)

February 6, 2013

The iWatch will fill a gaping hole in the Apple ecosystem. It will facilitate and coordinate not only the activities of all the other computers and devices we use, but a wide array of devices to come.

Hardware Specs vs. User Experience

November 5, 2012

Product quality has to be judged in the context of human tasks, and reviews should emphasize real use—not raw numbers.

Computer Screens Getting Bigger

May 7, 2012

Reasonably big monitors have finally become the most common class of desktop computer screen, dethroning the 1024x768 resolution that was long the target for web design.

Browser and GUI Chrome

January 30, 2012

'Chrome' is the user interface overhead that surrounds user data and web page content. Although chrome obesity can eat half of the available pixels, a reasonable amount enhances usability.

Apple & the Dark Cloud of Censorship (at asktog.com)

May 1, 2010

Many have suggested that market forces will ultimately force Apple to abandon its hyper-control, and that may well happen. While it took Microsoft more than a decade to copy the Mac, it took Google a matter of months to copy the iPhone and begin to eat away at Apple's potential market share.

Stop Password Masking

June 23, 2009

Usability suffers when users type in passwords and the only feedback they get is a row of bullets. Typically, masking passwords doesn't even increase security, but it does cost you business due to login failures.

Productivity and Screen Size

October 23, 2006

A study of the benefits of big monitors fails on two accounts: it didn't test realistic tasks, and it didn't test realistic use. Productivity is a key argument for workplace usability, but you must measure it carefully.

Remote Control Anarchy

June 7, 2004

The 6 remote controls required for a simple home theater illustrate the problems caused by complexity and inconsistency in user interfaces.

Time to Make Tech Work

September 15, 2003

The IT industry is maturing. Hopefully, this maturity will result in a slower introduction of new features, which in turn will let companies focus their attention and resources on making existing technology work better for users.

Let Users Control Font Size

August 19, 2002

Tiny text tyrannizes users by dramatically reducing task throughput. IE4 had a great UI that let users easily change font sizes; let's get this design back in the next generation of browsers.

Making the Physical Environment Interactive

August 5, 2002

Tiny motors and sensors will make physical objects interactive and create a renaissance for gestural user interfaces. As interface design moves from the screen to the material world, the need for simple, easy to use designs will only increase.

Avoiding Commodity Status

February 3, 2002

PCs do not need to be commodities: a focus on quality can differentiate both products and services. Software has great potential for getting better, as shown by an under-appreciated feature in Windows XP that can save users $2,000 per year.

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