Monday, June 9, 2008

Book Report: Usability Engineering by Jakob Nielsen

One of the most useful takeaways from this book is the listing for “Discount Usability Engineering.” Nielsen bases this on four techniques – User and task observation, Scenarios, Simplified thinking aloud, and Heuristic evaluation. At the last IA Summit, while listening to a lecture on usability testing, the following information came to the fore. Apple did very little “standard” user testing for their iPhone, instead relying more heavily on user observation. They looked at how the user interacted with their system. And the product they came up with is notably user-friendly. This goes back to Nielsen’s “Discount Usability Engineering.” These methods have proven successful in Apple’s case and, more importantly, where the budget is lacking, i.e. in almost every other company.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Communication Design for Container Gardening

This semester at RPI my team has taken on the task of creating a web site for container gardening inspiration and creation. One of the sources of personal inspiration for creating this site was the RHS Chelsea flower show and one presenter in particular. We've used a basic structure (a shallow hierarchy) for organizing the information, using the pictures and evocative titles to say most of the story. If I have free time after this semester, this is something that I would like to build and share with the world. Here's a little preview.