Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Simplify User Experience: Make It Physical

These days I spent most of my time thinking about user experience. I see increasing importance of getting the user experience right. As I discussed on my earlier post, I believe that good user experience is human-computer interaction designed to be so intuitive that almost invisible to the users.

I Had To Struggle With This Perfectly Functional
In-Flight Entertainment UI Built Pre-iPhone
If you are international traveler, you are now accustomed to seeing personal in-flight entertainment system. I just had a pleasure of sitting in front of one for 14 and half hours. When you are stuck on a plane for that long, perhaps it is expected that you'll learn how to navigate through different screens with controller.

Before touchscreen user interface, interacting with controller looked perfectly normal thing to do. If you want to move the cursor around, you use four arrow keys. If you want to select something, you first highlight it then press enter. That's how we've been interacting with computer, Nintendo, XBox, and Playstation. Things were perfect. Until iPhone came out, that was.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Get Federated Or Get Obliterated

About 15 years ago I was happy with my desktop applications installed. Computer was a glorified calculator, typewriter, and video game machine back then. When I powered up my desktop, I was either going to write quick proof-of-concept Pascal code, type up school reports, or play Doom. All executables and contents that I used was installed on my hard drive. Whenever I wanted to talk to friends, I picked up the landline phone and called. Whenever I needed references checked, I headed out to library.

These days computer has turned into all-in-one communication device. When I open my laptop, I immediately open my browser, check out the latest tech news on Twitter, read what my friends are up to on Facebook, and respond to emails. No longer I have to pick up the phone or drive. I just open my IM client to chat with my friends, or use Google to look up any fleeting question that I may have at any moment. I cannot possibly imagine using a computer without network connection. Computer without internet connection is as good as dead weight.

In this post, I would like to make a case that this increasing connectivity is not a trend isolated to computer networks, but applies to social networks as well. Urge to share things and get connected has deeper roots in our human nature. It is something that cannot be ignored, and must be harnessed to make the leap into next stage of networking.