Multi-touch Interaction by Cory

touch_screen2.jpgI just saw a video that blew my mind. At NYU they've developed a touch screen similar to the one featured on the iPhone...only much larger. Jeff Han demonstrates it's possibilities in this video. Interfaces like this will be a huge leap forward in how we interact with computers.

Jeff Han is a research scientist for New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. Here, he demonstrates—for the first time publicly—his intuitive, "interface-free," touch-driven computer screen, which can be manipulated intuitively with the fingertips, and responds to varying levels of pressure.

Feature ridden complexity not the way of the future by Cory

thumb220x275-images794007.jpgConsumers are becoming aware that the more features a product has, the less easy it is to use. They have demanded feature ridden products without understanding the impact on usability. Technology companies in competition have been compelled to meet these demands...cramming as many features and functionality as possible so that their products can be everything to everyone. These products do a thousand things poorly, and nothing great. The success of the iPod is a perfect example of a product that does one thing extremely well...and is a good indicator of things to come. I believe that we'll start to see more products like the iPod...instead of 1 product that does a thousand things, we'll see 5 or 10 products that meet specific needs.

The CEO of Phillips, Paul Zeven, recently made some enlightening comments on this topic and shared some results from a study they performed:

"Clearly, the American consumer believes that we are still cramming features and functions into our products simply because we think they will sell or in response to fierce industry competition.

We need to change that. As makers of tomorrow's gadgets and gizmos, we need to take a lesson from the success of Google. It rescued users from complexity by presenting the simplest Internet search interface possible. Another Web site, Craigslist, has done the same to maintain simplicity and to-the-point information at users' fingertips.

The fact that some products have been able to deliver this should have raised the bar for all technology products. My industry needs to better understand the impact technology is having on our lives and find ways to simplify the overall consumer experience. And consumers should demand that we deliver this, always. After all, what is the purpose of designing a product for consumers if they are not able to use it?"

Study Results:

  • more than half of Americans believe manufacturers are trying to satisfy perceived consumer needs that may not be real.
  • two out of three Americans have lost interest in a technology product because it seemed too complex to set up or operate
  • Only 13 percent of Americans believe technology products in general are easy to use.
  • only one in four consumers reports using the full range of features on most new technology products.

Adobe open sources Virtual Machine technology to Mozilla by Cory

adobe-logo1.gifAdobe announced that they will donate their virtual machine software to Mozilla, to work on as an open source project. Mozilla will use it within Firefox (by the first half of 2008) and Adobe will continue to use it in Flash Player 9. The name of the open source project is Tamarin and it will be governed and managed by developers from Adobe and Mozilla. News.com calls it "the largest code contribution yet to the open source Mozilla Foundation". As Kevin Lynch, chief software architect at Adobe, told news.com: the move furthers the company's plan to allow developers to mix and match programming technologies, including AJAX-style Web development and Flash for media and animation. I foresee this as a bold move to the inevitable...making photoshop, flash, and dreamweaver web applications. Its a ways off, but I think that eventually all applications will be web-based. Heck, computers will likely end up being just an internet host...and all file management will be hosted (and backed up!) online.

Today is world usability day by Cory

wud1.jpgNow in its second year, we celebrate world usability day today. This day is meant to bring more awareness to our professions, and to making things, well, more usable. I encounter websites, applications, and material things on a daily basis that aggravate me how difficult they are to use...which in turn inspires me and gives me hope for the future of usability. Theres a lot of work to be done!

With that, on pretty much the worst day for this website to go down, the world usability day website displays a bunch of code. I'm guessing this is not the intended display. Woops!


UPDATE: The World Usability Day website is now back up and working beautisly.

The internet is not the devil by Cory

inetdevil.gifThe other day I was watching a Texas governor debate (there was nothing else on ok?!)...and one of the guys in his closing speech said "I think the Internet is the devil". At first I thought, "this guy just sealed his own coffin!"...but after further thinking... "humm, perhaps many of the people of Texas haven't caught on to the Internet revolution yet and what he said just might have won him some votes". I believe the Internet is going to change everything...not in a satanic sort of way, but in a rate of human evolution sort of way. Looking historically at our evolution for just the past 100 years, we have accomplished amazing things. Even the rate at which we evolved during that time significantly increased.

I believe that the rate at which we evolve is determined by 2 major factors:

1) Population Increase 2) Knowledge and Information Accessibility

In the past knowledge and information has been accessible by libraries, teachers, professors, and your peers. Most of which you pay for, either with tax money or collage loans. This has been a somewhat fixed level of knowledge and information available to us.

The internet enables us to learn anything we want instantly, accurately, and free. Best of all, it is evolving at the rate that we contribute to it! The Internet removes the barriers of knowledge between countries, religions, languages, and cultures.

What this means to me is that we will see an exponential evolution rate in the years to come, much more than we've seen in the past 100 years. We can now learn from the mistakes of others around the world...pushing us forward faster.

I see a future where structured learning is no more and that we will only be taught how to teach ourselves...leaving the rest up to our own personal pursuit. We will spend more time specializing and less time generalizing. You wont hear..."All that useless stuff I learned in school"...useless knowledge will be your own fault.

I am very excited to be a part of the internet revolution, and something tells me I wont be going straight to hell for it.

The Future of Usability Testing by Cory

hfi_logo.jpgHuman Factors International is broadcasting a free webcast on the Future of Usability Testing on Thursday, September 21st at 3:30 pm ET. Co-hosts: Dr. Susan Weinschenk & Dr. Kath Straub, Human Factors International

Download free whitepaper and connect to webcast at: http://www.humanfactors.com/downloads/webcasts.asp

Susan and Kath will explore new innovations in usability testing and share the research behind them. Learn which techniques will fit your needs best. Topics include:

- Remote testing - Automated testing - Mixed-fidelity prototypes - Testing more than one design at a time - Alternatives to the usual think-aloud technique - Eye-tracking

The Webcast concludes with a live Q&A session, where you can submit questions and have them answered on-the-air.