Posts Categorized: mobile ux

San Francisco: There and Back Again

>Break in the Clouds, Driving to San Francisco San Luis Rey Resevoir Cindy and I practicing for our UX Web Summit Presentation Cindy and TnkGrl Brother Joe at Lunch before driving back home to SoCal Truck Stop on Hwy 152 The Tejon Mountains at the Grapevine dusted with Snow

I left Tues 4.20.10 in the morning and returned Thurs 4.22.10 in the evening. It was a very quick turn around time trip from Seal Beach to San Francisco to co-present with Cindy Li on Mobile UX for the UX Web Summit. I enjoyed the Summit, I enjoyed presenting on one of my favorite topics: designing for the mobile web, I enjoyed co-presenting with Cindy, I enjoyed seeing various friends, and I enjoyed my drive home with my brother, who happened to be in SF at the same time for work.
Big Thanks to Cindy Li and the Matt Harris for hosting me and having me at their apartment!

The UX Web Summit and San Francisco

Sun 04.18.10 – Just want to remind folks about the UX Web Summit that will be this upcoming Wed April 21, 2010, at a connected computer near you.
I will be departing for San Francisco on Tuesday morning so that Cindy Li and I will be able to conduct our session together at one computer rather than have a split screen.
If you are in San Francisco on Wed 04.21.10 and would like to get together for dinner and drinks, let me know, as it would be good to see folks, even if briefly.

The UX Web Summit : User Experience Design Curious?

UX Web Summit - The Online User Experience Conference

Next Wed., April 21, 2010 is the UX Web Summit, of which anyone anywhere in the world with an internet connection can attend.

Our online Summits bring the experts to your desktop! Forget about the hassle of travel or leaving family so you can focus on diving deeper into Web design and development topics.
A great user experience (UX) can mean the difference between merely having a web presence and truly engaging your visitors so they’ll gladly come back over and over again. Practical techniques to create the best UX are hard to come by, though.
Join some of the Web’s most experienced UX professionals as they share experiences culled from working on sites big and small. Learn from the pros how to tackle user experience difficulties head-on with proven methods in use by some of the most popular sites on the Web.

Cindy Li, the fabulous designer and illustrator, and I will be speaking on Mobile User Experience Design, both from the perspective of native mobile apps and the mobile web. Cindy will be presenting on how to best approach the UX of iPhone app design and I will be tackling the UX of the mobile web. I am very excited to co-present with Cindy on this topic as both of us are passionate about User centered design and the mobile space.
More info on our session:

Mobile UX by Jenifer Hanen & Cindy Li Online
Mobile platform has become more and more important part of the web experience, but how do you design for it? Presented by Jennifer Hanen and Cindy Li, this session will cover resources for mobile design, what you need to get started, principles for mobile design, and prototyping your next mobile application.
Topics covered:
* Resources for templates in Fireworks and Photoshop
* Principles to consider when you are designing for mobile
* Keeping the essence of your traditional desktop web site
* Is it a mobile app or website?
* Designing for a mobile location-based mobile app
* Creating a test without coding
* What to send off to Apple to get your iPhone/iPad app approved

The UX Summit will also have sessions by Dan Rubin, Daniel Burka, Juliette Melton, Nick Finck, Donna Spencer, and Rob Goodlatte.
For a registration Discount, go to http://uxwebsummit.eventbrite.com/?discount=UXHANEN10 or use the discount code UXHANEN10 for 10% off!

The Atlantic Monthly’s Website Redesign & Hosted Comments

Atlantic Redesign

Between Thursday night and Friday morning of this past week The Atlantic launched a new website redesign and switched the comments on the various blogs from self-hosted to Disqus hosted comments.
My first shock upon my morning review of the website was the new colors: Red – White – & – Blue – UGH! I find red, white and blue to be very divisive and a cheap, cheap, cheap visual shot.
During the 2000s, the red and the blue of Red, White, & Blue were used to separate out Us Vs. Them. At that time, the Us was the Red and the Them was the Blue. Still is. I just hate that American politics has dissolved down into color. UGH.
What was the rotten, pus-y cherry on top of the political sundae was the summer of 2006 when I spent a good deal of time traveling around Northern Ireland, where the colors of Red, White, and Blue are used as a symbol of war and hate. Driving through towns that had painted red, white & blue curbs as well as flags and placards was beyond creepy.
Heaven forfend that the United States of America devolve into a Northern Ireland style division, warfare, and ideological hatred. But the continued use by a variety of media of the colors red-white-&-blue only furthers a cheap visual metaphor about supposed patriotism and political partisanship.
Why did the Atlantic Monthly, formerly one of the most intelligent news sources, decide to join the ranks of creepy and division? Could they not afford a graphic or brand designer who could explain the concept of visual literacy and metaphor to them?
I showed the Atlantic’s site redesign to other web designers at Tuttle Club LA on Friday morning and they were as horrified as I was. One thought it looked like a conservative business website and the other went on a discussion about hosted comments and HTTP Request loads.
As my visual acuity was assaulted by the new color scheme, I went to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Altantic blog to read what others in his community of readers thought only to be confronted with the fact that the comment section had been switched over to Disqus hosted comments.
Disqus. My blood boiled at 212F and my blood pressure went sky high. I hate Disqus comments.
I don’t really like hosted comments, but I understand why bloggers use them for ease of AJAXy goodness with ratings, liking, and threading. The big but is that Disqus login fails about 2 out of every 1 time(s) that I try to login and then a good portion of those failures also deletes my carefully crafted comment to the blog in question.
My problems with Disqus occur regardless of computer or browser. Yes, I have my third party cookies set to on. Yes, I have been in dialogue with Disqus’ one man support team.
I have come to dread encountering a blog that uses Disqus, as it normally takes me 3 times as long to comment on a Disqus blog as a blog with a complicated self-hosted comment system, if Disqus lets me comment at all.
On one hand, I understand why a large site like The Atlantic would prefer to use Disqus, as it reduces the load on their database, but given the amount of readers on the site, Disqus is a bad idea for two main reasons: usability and privacy. When I went to comment on Ta-Nehisi’s blog, it took 3 times of attempting to login before Disqus would post my comment and it took over 5 minutes for the 3rd login to commence and post the comment.
When my comment finally posted, it made the title to be “404 Error“. Perfect. Yes, Disqus is one big 404 error waiting to happen on a website with as many users as The Atlantic’s website due to the heavy load of HTTP Requests from theatlantic.com to the disqus.com’s servers. Good thing Andrew Sullivan does not have comments on his blog or Disqus’s servers would melt.
Beyond HTTP Requests and error messages, the more important part of the Disqus Fail is that Disqus publishes one’s comments not just to the website that one has decided to comment on and participate in that community, but Disqus also creates an automatic page for ALL of one’s comments on the Disqus website of which one cannot make private or switch off.
Go look at my Disqus Profile, of which I can’t make private: http://www.disqus.com/msjen/
Yes, every comment I have ever made to a blog that uses Disqus’ hosted comments is now available and search-able on the Disqus website out of context and without my permission. I have searched the Disqus site for a way to make my comments not publicly viewable on their site, but there is no way to turn off the comments from my profile page.
I don’t mind the information that I placed into my Disqus profile to be viewable publicly, I do very much mind that Disqus makes all of my Disqus blog comments available to anyone to view.
This breaks the community of comments and the context of the comments to the blogs where they were originally posted.
To that end, I am a bit surprised that the web had a collective apoplexy last week about Google Buzz and the original lack of the ability to opt-out of a public display of one’s Buzz’s but no one has said a thing about how both Disqus and Intense Debate do not give the registered user the ability to make their comments private on the Disqus or Intense Debate websites. This lack of ability to opt-out is just as egregious as the first week of Google Buzz, as in all three cases the display of the comments/threads without permission and context breaks the original posting of the comment within the blog or media community that it was posted in.
Some folks may want all of their comments to be public beyond the blog they originally posted them on and search-able for that matter, but many of us may not. Disqus and Intense Debate, offer your users a profile privacy option.
For a magazine as web savvy and web successful as The Atlantic has been, this redesign is both a tired political branding trope in the color choice and a social media privacy bomb waiting to happen.
********
Update, Sun 02.28.10 10:30pm (PST): I am not the only one who doesn’t like The Atlantic’s redesign, Mr. Sullivan doesn’t either for different reasons.
Wow. I am more than a bit stunned that the Atlantic would go ahead and do such a big visual and content management redesign without consulting the main bloggers/writers who create their content and draw in the readers who form the community of the site.
Now I am just sad. Sad as a faithful reader & subscriber of the Atlantic and sad for my profession of web design. In web design, we talk a lot about User Experience, but UX is just not the experience of the end user, but also of the authors, bloggers, and content creators of the websites in question as they are also our clients who we must design a good experience for.

Nokia Booklet 3G : Day 16 : The OS Wrap Up : Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu vs. Jolicloud

Oceanis Background app allows one to change the Windows 7 Starter background Boot choice screen with Windows 7, Ubuntu, and Jolicloud Jolicloud Desktop screenshot

Screenshot photos taken by Ms. Jen with a Nokia N97.

Wed 02.10.10 – In the last two weeks of trialing the Nokia Booklet 3G that WOM World/Nokia sent to me, I have had a range of great to ok to just bad experiences with the Booklet, but all of them have been predicated on the Operating System (OS) and not necessarily the Booklet itself. I am of the opinion that the Booklet is a great little mini-laptop that is beautifully designed but hampered with a crappy OS in Windows 7 Starter. It would be great if Nokia were to install an OS that had the same level of polish, attention, and design that the Booklet itself has.
Here are my thoughts after two weeks of testing, installing, uninstalling, and reinstalling alternative Linux based Operating Systems in the form of a Pro & Con comparison of the hardware, and the various potential OSs of Windows 7 Starter, Ubuntu, and Jolicloud:

Pros for the Nokia Booklet Hardware:

Beautiful hardware design
3G with a sim chip port in a netbook is excellent and frees one up to be able to work on a computer anywhere
Lovely screen
I like the chicklet style keyboard, even if a bit narrow
Truly long long long battery time: 10-12 hours. I have yet to run it all the way down.

Cons for the Nokia Booklet Hardware:

I don’t like the touchpad, rough surface, works poorly in Win7
Overall: The Nokia Booklet 3G is a lovely, little mini-laptop. The only thing cuter is Jackie’s pink Eee PC. The Booklet would be cuter than the Eee PC if it came in hot pink or deep purple.
****
Pros for Windows 7 Starter:
Native 1280×768 screen resolution
Cons for Windows 7 Starter:
Wow! Win7 Starter sucks.
AT&T Sim chip does not *just* work for the 3G side, Al and I had to add our own settings & it still didn’t work. It finally did about 3 days later.
Multitouch on the touchpad does not work or works very badly and intermittently.
Win 7 on the Booklet is slow. Sometimes molasses in a blizzard slow. Unexceptably slow.
Can be quirky on start up and starts in Airplane Mode with wifi/3G turned off. Odd but true.
Windows 7 Starter does not let the user do a lot of normal tasks like change the background, so I had to download a specious 3rd party app to rid the desktop of the Win7 logo.
Overall: Windows 7 does NOT live up to the hype. While it may appear to be an improvement over XP or Vista, any OS is an improvement over those two, so it is not saying much. Windows 7 Starter is a bad little OS. Nokia’s biggest mistake is not the 1 GB of RAM or Intel Atom chip speed on the Booklet, but the inclusion of Windows 7 Starter as the OS as the Windows Bloat slows down the hardware. If Nokia wants to be in bed and having relations with Windows (each to their own), then for the price of the Booklet, they should have Windows 7 Ultimate as the shipped OS, as it is more polished and for the $600 price unlocked the Booklet does deserve a polished OS.
Did I mention how damned slow Windows 7 Starter is to do any task? Ugh.
****
Pros for Ubuntu via Wubi:
Super fast install of Ubuntu via Wubi which uses bit torrent.
Wow! Ubuntu is much nicer than Win7 Starter! Can I say that again?!
AT&T sim chip 3 G data *just* works in Ubuntu after you answer 3 questions, no fiddling with properties & preferences.
Multitouch does work on the touchpad and it is *fast* (it worked on the first two times I installed Ubuntu through Wubi, but not the last two times)
Ubuntu is fast on the Booklet, none of the hesitating or slow loading of Win7.
Ubuntu comes shipped with over 25 applications that provide a wide range of office, graphics, web, and developer tools and programs, including Nokia’s QT.
Cons For Ubuntu:
800×600 screen resolution. As of Jan 29, 2010, don’t try the kernel mod fix to make the res 1280×768 as recommended on the Ubuntu wiki, it makes for a very unstable install, wait for the Ubuntu dev folks to make a stable fix.
Sometimes the multitouch works great, sometimes it runs too fast.
Overall: Ubuntu is my favorite OS for the Nokia Booklet 3G hands down and miles ahead of Windows 7. While at the time of writing this, I could not get the native screen resolution to work with the Ubuntu fix, the Jolicloud folks did, so the Ubuntu folk should not be far behind with a workable fix.
The best part of Ubuntu on the Nokia Booklet is that the OS has a light footprint which makes for a fast Booklet and even though light & fast, Ubuntu is powerful and comes with or one is able to download easily any and all developer tools to really work on the Booklet with Ubuntu. I can code and deploy Django, Google App Engine, and Nokia’s QT with Ubuntu, which I would not be able to do fast or easily with Windows 7 Starter or Jolicloud on the Booklet.
I really do think that Nokia should do a co-promote with Ubuntu’s Canonical and ship a version or a dual boot of Ubuntu customized / polished up for the Booklet, as it is provides much more programs and functionality than Windows. For all the naysayers that don’t think Ubuntu is polished enough, if Nokia were to work with Canonical, much of the polish problems could be solved within a few weeks with a team of devs & designers on the project. The main points are to make sure the native screen resolution and multitouch always work, as well as the syncing with one’s mobiles. If one really wants Windows, then provide a dual boot. Many folks would be happier with Ubuntu after 30 minutes of using it, not just a geek like me.
****
Pros for Jolicloud:
Native Screen Resolution of 1280×768 out of the box (or install as the case may be)
Different User Interface desktop layout
Apple/Mac style keyboard shortcuts work to close windows (ctrl+w) & exit programs (ctrl+q). Ubuntu & Windows do not do this.
Touchpad is fast for moving the cursor.
I like the black background & the colors & icons are easy on the eyes.
Cons for Jolicloud:
First time I tried to install last week, it kept quitting. It worked tonight, but it was very slow.
Slow start up load
Froze completely the 1st time I asked it to use the AT&T sim chip for data connection, had to force re-start.
2nd time I tried to use the AT&T data, it froze again. Not working.
Different User Interface desktop layout
Multitouch does not work, two fingers won’t scroll
While Jolicloud is built on Ubuntu, it does not have as many programs & applications available without downloading or using the package manager
Jolicloud takes over any install of Ubuntu on the Booklet and I had to uninstall both to reinstall Ubuntu to get it to load again.
Overall: Jolicloud has a great deal of potential, esp. as a netbook OS for non-power/non-geek users. The User Interface has quite a bit of polish, the native screen resolution of the Nokia Booklet works on startup on Jolicloud, and I love that some Mac/Apple gestures & keyboard shortcuts just work. The downsides to Jolicloud of non-working 3G, missing programs & tools that Ubuntu ships with, slow load time, and the lack of multitouch on the touchpad make Jolicloud unworkable for me as a geek user who would like to use the Booklet as a mini-laptop that is a mini-dev box. But I will not discount Jolicloud as their developers are ambitious & very responsive and many of these issues may be solved within the month or two.
***
Conclusion:
I may expire waiting for Apple to deliver a cute, tiny, light, fully powered 10 inch MacBook Pro. Nokia has done the next best thing by making a cute, tiny, light, well designed 10 inch Nokia Booklet 3G. But… it is under powered with a bad operating system in Windows 7 Starter that slows the machine down and makes for a bad user experience. Sorry, but the Windows 7 experience does not cut it, even in the upgraded $80+ Ultimate version.
As with many Nokia products the hardware is beautiful, but the OS is either lacking or the wrong fit for the beautiful hardware. In the case of the Booklet, Windows is a wrong fit, but there are options out there and Nokia should give the customer a choice of a great user experience with the Booklet.
Nokia needs to step up their game and either develop a kick ass version of the Maemo OS for the Booklet, which would be delicious, or work with Ubuntu to make a Nokia branded version of Ubuntu that would make the Booklet experience a delight to use and worth the $600 unlocked asking price.
At this point, I would love to buy a Nokia Booklet 3G if it had a great OS, but not if it comes shipped with a bad OS at $600 when I could get a pink Eee PC at $275 and install Ubuntu on it for free.

Nokia 3G Booklet : Day 2 : User Experience Humor

Microsoft Users

Photo taken of the Booklet screen by Ms. Jen with a Nokia N97.

Tues 01.26.10 – Today was also a busy work day, thus my only accomplishments in making progress with the Nokia Booklet was to download and install the Oceanis Change Background program that Vaibhav of The Symbian Blog recommended.
Apparently the version of the Attack of the Redmond Drones that Nokia installed on the Booklet, Windows 7 Starter, is a non-starter in that it does very little and really is only there to irritate the Booklet’s owner into returning it or paying MicroSquash $80+ to upgrade to Windows 7 Home or Ultimate. Since, I have no intention of giving any $$ to the dreaded Mordor, I mean, Redmond, I instead put a call of help out to Twitter and my mobile Tweeps delivered.
When I installed Oceanis Change Background, it put a very amusing cartoon in places of the Windows logo, of which I have taken a photo of and placed above, the caption that satirically sums up MicroSquash:

“It’s a revolutionary approach really…
Instead of developing new software adjusted to the user’s needs, we’ve started developing new users, adjusted to the software’s needs.”

I also let the Booklet phone home to Finland and update itself and add Nokia Ovi Suite and the Nokia Social Hub. Ovi Suite is just the new name for Nokia PC Suite which is the way one is to supposedly manage one’s mobile device’s relationship with one’s PC, but my mobile, currently a Nokia N97, is a Protestant and does not need to a middleman to manage its relationship with its deity, the MacBook Pro in this case. So, I closed Ovi Suite when it wanted the N97 to come to confession and make a connection.

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Nokia 3G Booklet : Day 1, The Attack of the Redmond Drones

The Nokia 3G Booklet sitting on top of my Apple MacBook Pro 15"

Photo taken by Ms. Jen with a Nokia N97.

Project52 : Week 4
Mon. 01.25.10 – Late this morning the Nokia 3G Booklet arrived from the folks at WOMWorld/Nokia for a two week trial review period. I am quite excited about this, I do love to tinker about on a new computer, especially one as lovely and beautifully designed as the Nokia 3G Booklet.
It is cute! It is tiny! It is solid! It is light in weight! It is well-made! Did I mention it was beautifully designed and cute?!?
And then….
I turned it on and I was confronted with the… evil blue background with the light waving Windows logo. Gah.
Fifteen minutes into my new love affair with #37, I had to turn her off and put her back into her wrapping and two boxes and then put her box under my bed, because Windows 7 had so elevated my blood pressure that I was ready to call DHL to take #37 back to London and then write a scathing review of how F*cking Evil Windows is and How it is the Worst Possible Decision… blah blah blah… all because I spent 15 mins trying to figure out how to change the damned Windows background into something more eye pleasing. Big, deep breath.
So, I returned to the work project that is on deadline for tomorrow and then surreptitiously searched Google for ‘Nokia 3G Booklet Hackintosh‘, ‘Nokia 3G Booklet Ubuntu 9.10 USB live boot‘, etc. Yes, I spent most of the rest of the afternoon deep in dual work mode and researching my options for a USB live boot of a real OS, an OS that keeps one’s blood pressure at normal.
Which computer or mobile operating system one likes is not just a matter of brand preference, or what your friends like, or what you have already spent the time to learn, it is also about a mental metaphor and mind map. And that mental metaphor / mind map may still be uncomfortable even after learning how to use a system. Sometimes, one just has to give up an operating system that does not fit one’s mental processes and move on to one that does. After reluctantly using Windows for years, I happily and with abandon switched over to Ubuntu Linux and Mac OS X about 4 – 5 years ago and have never looked back.
I gladly pay the Apple Tax to get lovely, well designed hardware and OS. I am also happy to pay the Nokia Tax to get kick ass mobile cameraphones, even if I continue to be bewildered by Nokia’s hard-on for all things Windows and how their Symbian mobile OS is mapped to Windows and its metaphor. One of the reasons that I am so excited about the Nokia N900 is that its OS is Maemo which is a lovely mobile version of Linux.
All of this adds up to, right now I just can’t open up #37 the lovely Nokia 3G Booklet again, until I have time to create a USB stick with a live boot of Ubuntu or Moblin for the Booklet.

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