Published: Sat, 30 Jul 2016 13:24:19 +0000
Last Build Date: Tue, 18 Oct 2016 17:06:10 +0000Copyright: Timothy Keirnan
Sat, 30 Jul 2016 13:24:19 +0000
Alvaro Vargas joins Tim Keirnan for a thorough discussion of the customer experience of eReaders, in particular the offerings from Kobo. Tim is the newbie, having recently bought a Kobo Glo HD as his first eReader, and Alvaro provides the longitudinal review of Kobo eReaders, having bought four of them over time. His current model is a Kobo Glo.
As usual, the discussion follows Tim's list of Customer Experience Phases:
Out of the Box
In addition to critiquing the Kobo software and hardware, the guys discuss the nature of physical books versus eBooks, the reasons for a single purpose device like eReaders over tablets, and the challenge of getting accurately created eBooks from source material. Among other things. It's 90 minutes of commercial free analysis and discussion! The shownotes photo for this episode features shots of the two eReaders.
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 02:22:56 +0000
Brian Shunamon from the USA sent us a message so on point that I asked him if I could record it and publish it. As an Information Technology professional with corporate clients, as well as a guy looked to for tech advice by friends and family, Brian addresses the concerns of our last several episodes on Microsoft's customer experience mistakes with its Windows 10 upgrade policy and behaviors. He reminds us that enduring patterns of mistreatment is a bad precedent not only in our personal relationships, but also in our relationships as customers of products and services. You don't have to take it! Nor should we.
Brian's longer written article, "NIXING Windows", about why Microsoft's behavior is a threat to your personal and professional computing life, and how you might consider an personal computer operating system such as Linux, is on his LinkedIn profile at
Thu, 26 May 2016 04:18:02 +0000
Microsoft hit a new low in their obnoxious campaign to upgrade customers' PCs that were Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10. The user interface is almost impossible to say "no" to when the dreaded Win10 upgrade message appears.
Anecdotes about affected customers Tim knows and a critique of two freeware utilities that can keep a Windows machine under the user's control are featured in this short episode. When will Microsoft learn to respect customer's private property and offer an honest UI to upgrade to Windows 10? Never, probably. The brand is suffering as Microsoft demonstrates contempt for their paying customers and tricks customers into forced upgrades.
Hypnotically cool documentary of Lenny's Shirts:
Lenny's Shirts store on Etsy:
Paul Thurott's excellent article explains the whole mess:
Steve Gibson of GRC created Never10 to let owners regain control of their Windows PC:
GWX Control Panel is not as easy to use as Never10, but offers more configuring options:
Sat, 30 Apr 2016 02:33:17 +0000
Tim Keirnan and Mike Velasco critique three generations of the
AppleTV: 2, 3, and 4. Mike's experience with Gen 2 and Gen 4
provide a backdrop to Tim's first month with his refurbished Gen
It's 90 minutes of thorough discussion on three iterations of the same product. Where else will you hear this level of detailed critique on product design? Nowhere! And not one commercial to fast forward through.
Wed, 24 Feb 2016 05:44:45 +0000
The Windows 10 upgrade has become infamous for its pushy, hard sell approach and its "phone home" data tracking "features". Did you know the "hard sell" is known by such other fun names as "advance consent" and "inertia selling"? It's all about disrespecing customers' property rights, personal rights, and using people as objects for short term gain instead of offering them a decent value proposition.
As recounted in this episode, even the technical implementation has flaws that result in a customer experience that disappoints at best and enrages customers at worst. At least, this customer was not satisfied.
For those of you who share my concerns at Microsoft's disresepctful, anti-customer approach, the GWX control panel may offer some relief from the Windows 10 upgrade annoyance. Check it out at
NOTE: This critique is of the Windows 10 upgrade process itself, not of Windows 10's user experience as an operating system and user interface.
Wed, 23 Dec 2015 15:57:49 +0000
In service design and delivery, people are the user interface between an organization and its customers. This anecdotal episode recounts two excellent customer experiences with two seemingly well-run companies. Both employ people whose friendly personalities and professional skills, backed by efficient business processes, won them Tim's business.
Story 1: WOW Internet makes switching from internet service provider AT&T Uverse painless and affordable.
Story 2: A Plus Auto Repair & Transmission shows how to win expensive repair jobs over Hodges Subaru, an official dealership.
A bonus critique of the ConnectSense CS-TH Wireless Temperature Sensor shows how crucial first time setup is and the consequences of it failing. Product setup is your brand's ambassador! Don't screw it up!
Merry Christmas, Yuletide Greetings, and Happy New Year. Please submit a review on the iTunes Store if you want to thank us for another year of episodes.
Wed, 14 Oct 2015 00:53:01 +0000
Wayne Neale, CEO of Kaydak, joins Tim Keirnan for an interview that ranges across several topics:
* Experience Design: From UI to User Experience to Customer Experience and beyond
* Design Thinking
* Service Design
You can find Wayne at
The service design episodes of Design Critique Tim mentioned can be heard here:
The Tim Cook interview that gives Tim a glimmer of hope that Apple isn’t completely a lost cause:
Listener Garrick Dee emailed to say he liked our Sustainable Shaving Tools episode and he’s written his own article on traditional wet shaving. Check it out!
Mon, 07 Sep 2015 13:55:23 +0000
Time for a mobile episode! Aravindh Baskaran, UX researcher and designer, joins Tim Keirnan to look at the user experience of Android Lollipop. What did we like about it and what do we think could be better? With Android Marshmallow on the way, it's time to reflect on Lollipop's effectiveness.
Android is used, in one form or another, by more customers around the world than any other mobile OS (stats we found on this were so inconsistent that we gave up looking, but Android was clearly in the lead in all mobile OS usage stats). We used Aravindh's Nexus 5 phone for this episode because Tim's Nexus 4 now has Ubuntu Touch on it. The blog post image is Lollipop's list design that you'll hear us discuss when we refer to Google's "Material Design".
Note when critiquing Android UIs: Aravindh and Tim are critiquing pure Android as designed by Google and used on their Nexus devices and (for the most part) on Motorola's smart phones. Other manufacturers can and do take advantage of Android's open source nature to create their own Android UI that can be grossly inferior to pure Android or innovative, depending on one's point of view. So the UX of Android is not one thing as with iOS and Windows Phone, but a fragmented mix of competing interpretations of Google's Android reference design.
Email from Jan Jursa and Costan Boiangiu concludes this episode. Head over to Jan's wonderful Information Architecture Television and take advantage of all the great material there:
Thu, 09 Jul 2015 03:51:40 +0000
The Design Critique podcast celebrates its tenth anniversary! While others have podfaded, we have persevered.
In this anniversary episode, show co-founder Tom Brinck returns to discuss the customer experience of Starbucks coffee shops with Tim Keirnan. Tom is the power user and Tim is the newbie. Two very different perspectives.
This anniversary episode's album art features a cake with a Star Wars action figure on it, as befits any ten-year-old's birthday cake. And you must admit it's cool to have Palpatine himself with us, ready to slice, dice, and fry hypocritically corrupt Jedi. As they well deserved.
Thank-you for listening to us for ten years. And thanks to everyone who appeared on the show with us. Customer Experience research and design is more popular than ever, and if this show has helped you improve your products and services, or helped you acquire really good products that truly improved your life, we have accomplished our goal.
Tim and Tom
Sat, 13 Jun 2015 18:33:51 +0000
In this first audio editorial episode, Tim relates how he rediscovered the advantages of small electronics devices over their larger-screened brothers. Thanks to Dad for inspiring this one.
Besides mobile phones, cars are another example of a product range that used to punish customers who wanted a small size by not allowing superior materials or features in them. Thankfully for small car fans, it's getting better.
Smart companies recognize that small size product buyers actually have two categories: those who can only afford the smaller size with no extras, and those who want a premium customer experience and will gladly pay for the extras if made available in a smaller form factor. Small doesn't have to mean cheap!
Nice article on small but premium Android phones:
I forgot to say that as amazingly good as the Lumia 820 is, its camera is not why. This article details current Windows phones and sadly, their trend of providing terrific premium small phones is going in the wrong direction (still great phones if you like 5 inch screens):
More good reads on premium small cars:
Mon, 18 May 2015 00:40:40 +0000
Hi everyone, this is a reminder that Internet User Experience is coming back to Ann Arbor, Michigan this June. Also, we have email falling out of the previous episode about the Beluga Razor design.
Visit the IUE2015 website at
Sun, 22 Mar 2015 14:17:56 +0000
Zac Wertz, inventor of the Beluga Razor, joins Tim Keirnan for an interview about the design of both the Beluga Razor prototype and the BelugaShave.com website. Across 80 minutes of uninterrupted, commercial-free conversation, Zac and Tim discuss hardware and digital designs, including
* Their mutual dissatisfaction with modern cartridge razor shave quality, its high cost, and environmental problems
* Their appreciation for traditional safety razor shaving
* Zac's origin story for inventing the Beluga razor
* How Zac designs mechanical prototypes
* The design of the BelugaShave.com website to reinforce the Beluga brand
* Tim's experience shaving with the prototype
The Beluga razor combines the advantage of the modern cartridge razor--a pivoting head--with the advantage of the traditional safety razor--its single, double-edged razor blade. Users thus have the low cost, superior effectiveness, and environmental advantages of traditional safety razor shaves without having to learn the fine motor skills needed for using a traditional safety razor.
P.S. You can listen to older shaving-themed episodes:
Tue, 17 Feb 2015 02:34:27 +0000
Jonathan Tilley, voiceover professional, joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion on how user experience professionals can find freelancing opportunities, either full or part time.
This episode is about designing one's career instead of designing a digital or hardware experience, and closes with a discussion of how college students could use list building to find an internship or first job.
Jonathan's websites are:
Audiophiles take note: As a professional voiceover artist, Jonathan already sounds good. His choice of the Neumann TLM 103 microphone is why his good voice sounds so amazing in this Skype recording with Tim. There is no additional processing on Jonathan's voice. What you hear is his voice through the proximity effect of a magnificent and expensive-but-worth-it cardiod mic.
Mon, 19 Jan 2015 03:47:16 +0000
Melissa Smith returns for a special Human Factors News Desk episode that reports on the HFES 2014 annual meeting. If you missed the conference, or if you want to hear about sessions other than the ones you attended and the overal trends and themes she noticed, listen to this half hour with Melissa!
Link to HFES2014 twitter hashtag:https://twitter.com/hashtag/HFES2014
We also read email from listeners Costan (about GPS unit designs) and Reed (about interactive voice response systems).
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Brad Jensen returns to help Tim critique the Magellan RoadMate 2230T-LM portable GPS. This completes our series on portable GPS for the car and provides a fascinating look at how three manufacturers have designed similar solutions. The strenghts of the Magellan include
* Text entry is spoken by the unit to confirm input
* Dynamic rerouting around traffic problems works well
* Effective use of corners for touch points
* 4.3 inch size is not ungainly as the 5 inch Garmin was
Usability problems with the RoadMate could be summed up as bad color choices in the UI. The garish display and the difficult to read road names, plus general clutter that is unnecessary to help the user, are unfortunate negatives.The update software is also poorly designed and confusing to use.
Melissa Smith joins us for another Human Factors News Desk segment. Citations to follow as soon as I find them...
Thu, 29 May 2014 02:00:32 +0000
Mike Velasco returns to discuss the Windows Phone 8 duo from Nokia, the Lumia 520 and 521. These smart phones may be the best value in a phone ever sold to this point. The guys explain why the design, including the price point, is so attractive.
Paul Thurott inspired this episode with his article here:
Melissa Smith returns with the Human Factors News Desk to discuss the following:
Gaspar, J. G., Neider, M. B., Crowell, J. A., Lutz, A., Kaczmarski, H., & Kramer, A. F. (2013). Are Gamers Better Crossers An Examination of Action Video Game Experience and Dual Task Effects in a Simulated Street Crossing Task. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
Yanko, M. R., & Spalek, T. M. (2013). Driving With the Wandering Mind The Effect That Mind-Wandering Has on Driving Performance. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 0018720813495280.
Finally, contributor Costan Boiangiu told us about this article on step stool design, which echoes our 100th Anniversary Episode topic!
Tue, 11 Feb 2014 01:44:11 +0000
Human Factors PhD student Melissa Smith joins Tim for an experiment in bringing human factors-related research to you in three short summaries. Melissa is at George Mason University and donated her time to discuss recent human factors research with Tim.
Learn more about Melissa on her website at
The articles Melissa discusses are:
--Beller, J., Heesen, M., & Vollrath, M. (2013). Improving the Driver–Automation Interaction An Approach Using Automation Uncertainty. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. doi: 10.1177/0018720813482327. [http://hfs.sagepub.com/content/55/6/1130.full]
-- Finomore, V. S., Shaw, T. H., Warm, J. S., Matthews, G., & Boles, D. B. (2013). Viewing the Workload of Vigilance Through the Lenses of the NASA-TLX and the MRQ. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. doi: 10.1177/0018720813484498. [http://hfs.sagepub.com/content/55/6/1044.full]
--Goldsmith, K., & Dhar, R. (2013). Negativity bias and task motivation: Testing the effectiveness of positively versus negatively framed incentives. Journal of experimental psychology: applied, 19(4), 358. doi: 10.1037/a0034415. [http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/xap/19/4/358/]
Fri, 29 Nov 2013 01:36:00 +0000
Dr. Robert Youmans from George Mason University joins Tim Keirnan for a wordcast episode on verbal protocols. Why and how do we ask usability research participants to think aloud about their task performance, and what does using this method do to our data? Dr. Youmans covers four different methods of thinking aloud:
1. Concurrent Verbal Protocol
2. Retrospective Verbal Protocol
3. Interruptive Verbal Protocol
4. Prospective Verbal Protocol
The remainder of the episode covers research on how using concurrent verbal protocol can affect your data. People do not normally think aloud while doing tasks with products, and having them vocalize during user research can change their behavior, but the degree of change may not be a problem for the goals of our studies. Sometimes thinking aloud can improve their performance--which also affects your data. The result is not obvious and the literature is conflicted.
Wed, 30 Oct 2013 01:06:00 +0000
Mike Velasco joins Tim Keirnan for an episode to discuss the customer experience of two Android smart phones: the LG Motion and the Google Nexus 4 (also manufactured by LG). These two very different Android phones each have their own advantages, as do the carriers Tim used them on (MetroPCS and Solavei, respectively).
* Small size easy to hold and put in pocket
* Fast data speeds
* Replaceable battery
* Custom Android user interface by LG that isn't bad
* Outright purchase from MetroPCS on a monthly, non-contract plan
* Large screen easy to read for older eyes and for gamers
* Pentaband GSM radio frequencies ensures it works anywhere in the world
* Pure Android operating system with the UX that Google intended, gets updates instantly from Google as they appear
* Outright purchase from Google at very fair price, can be used on any GSM carrier including monthly, non-contract plans
Listen to the episode for other facets of the customer experience of owning these phones.
Sun, 01 Sep 2013 12:29:00 +0000
Dave Mitropoulos-Rundus returns for a wordcast episode on the user experience profession that probes the origins of our field. Where did it come from, and how did we come to have jobs in it? And is "customer experience" a better phrase for what we do?
For us, UX is about managing risk on projects by doing our trio of research, design, and testing to ensure products and services will meet business goals. And it's about taking pride in one's craft.
Learn more about a foundational book on our user experience research/design/testing careers, Set Phasers on Stun, at
You can learn about ISO standards for usabilty at the wonderful Usability.Net:
Sun, 30 Jun 2013 00:00:00 +0000
On the 8th anniversary and 100th episode of Design Critique, Timothy Keirnan is joined by a celebratory guest who is no stranger to long-time listeners of the show. Our topic is the design of an everyday object that helps everyone reach a little higher in life: the step stool. We like how such a simple object has so many facets, features, and personas for design consideration.
We'd like to thank everyone for listening the past eight years and helping us reach the milestone of episode 100. If you appreciate Design Critique, please write a review of the show on the iTunes music store. We need more reviews and it only takes a couple minutes.
The first step stool we discuss is designed towards children and a product description is at
The second step stool we discuss is suitable for adults who need one that folds up when not in use and can be seen at
This episode closes with some old outtakes from the early recordings we did at Country Squire Studio 1 from 2005-6. Ahh, memories. Thanks for listening!
Sun, 12 May 2013 18:54:09 +0000
In an audio editorial, Tim asks if the supposed death of bricks 'n mortar stores at the hands of online sales is greatly exaggerated. What do you think?
The article mentioned in this episode can be read in full at
Design Critique does not accept advertising, but the following merchants deserve honorable mention due to their bricks and mortar customer service:
Averill Racing Stuff, Inc. (customer education & advice)
Best Buy (in-store warranty service on Logitech & Phillips products)
Staples (website easily & accurately displays product stock at particular locations)
Sun, 31 Mar 2013 00:30:00 +0000
Brad Jensen and Tim Keirnan present a longitudinal review of the Garmin Nuvi 50 portable GPS. What does it do well, and how could its interaction design and interface design be improved?
An earlier episode of Design Critique reviewed a TomTom portable GPS and you might want to go back and hear that along with this episode.
Both TomTom and Garmin solve the navigation problem for their customers in ways that are both familiar and different. Neither unit provides a perfect solution, but it's fun to talk about.
Sun, 24 Feb 2013 18:27:43 +0000
The first in a series of Bad Button Labels We Have Known. Brad Jensen joins Tim Keirnan to discuss the Chaos button on his father's new microwave oven. Why do companies allow such dreadful UI labels? Mr. Jensen's microwave is the first of many terrible examples we plan to cover on occasion in future episodes.
Desiree Scales has a website called Online Website Degree where students, teachers, and potential returning students can learn about the interrelated fields of web design. Lots of free information here:
Plus email from Ben in an episode that had to be trimmed because there was just too much good stuff going on.
Sun, 27 Jan 2013 16:58:16 +0000
Caitlin Potts discusses using using site maps as website design tools. You can have her Omnigraffle template for free at the following link:
Note: Caitlin based this episode off a presentation she gave the Michigan chapter of ACM-SIGCHI in December 2012, called "Helping Site Maps Get Their Groove Back". Thanks to MichiCHI for a great holiday event and speaker. You can find Michigan Chi at www.michichi.org.
Caitlin Potts is a User Experience Practitioner (Designer + Researcher) at Covenant Eyes, Inc. in Owosso, MI. Working as part of an Agile team, she spends her time collaborating with the Developers to design web, mobile, and client application interfaces. She is also leading the development of a brand standards guide for Covenant Eyes.
Fri, 21 Dec 2012 20:14:59 +0000
A heartwarming holiday tale of good customer service after the sale. Nokia politely and efficiently repaired Tim's Lumia 710 Windows Phone, using a combination of good website design, excellent customer service desk people, and a "do it right the first time" service department.
Companies that care about their customers will save the brand's relationship with the customer when something goes awry. In particular, Nokia did three things to keep Tim's loyalty to the brand when disaster struck:
1. Effective and consistent communication, both on their website and in person via telephone.
2. Action that matches words with deeds. No hypocrisy or lies.
3. High speed of resolving the problem--efficient solutions done right the first time.
Thanks to their professional handling of the problem, Nokia has not lost a customer. Obviously this is something that T-Mobile doesn't care about, as evidenced by our previous episode, but to Nokia's credit they "get it".
Wed, 21 Nov 2012 03:56:35 +0000
Even when the initial user experience of a product is good, the total customer experience suffers when a company ignores service after the sale. We at Design Critique argue that service after the sale IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF A PRODUCT'S DESIGN because it directly affects the customer experience. Only bad companies isolate product design from customer service design. In Tim's case, T-Mobile destroyed a loyal, 8-year customer relationship for its monthly prepaid service by
* Refusing to help replace a smart phone under warranty when it broke, in any kind of realistic time frame,
* Refusing to unlock the phone after selling it on the condition it would be unlocked after 90 days, and
* Implying its monthly prepaid customers are not worth helping because only long term contract customers deserve good customer service.
It's a comedy of errors unless you're the one who wasted hundreds of dollars and hours of time dealing with T-Mobile's agressively anti-customer practices. What lessons can we draw from T-Mobile's mistakes?
One anecdote does not make a statistically significant trend, but anecdotes provide useful insights into the how and why of customer service failures.
Mon, 05 Nov 2012 15:19:00 +0000
Tobby Smith returns to help Tim provide a longitudinal review of Nokia's Lumia 710 Windows phone. After over eight months of use, the Lumia 710 proved itself a terrific value in smart phone quality, including
* Convenient, portable size with grippy back cover that can be switched with other colors to personalize the phone
* Hardware buttons for the three standard Windows Phone buttons, instead of the soft buttons so often found on other models. We find dedicated hardware buttons much more usable.
* Clear and bright screen with high contrast.
* Good video recording.
* Superior applications specific to Nokia phones, such as Nokia Drive.
* Tim's phone broke after only five months without any abuse or dropping.
* Still camera images are average at best.
* Volume of speaker is not loud enough to hear nav instructions above road noise or stereo playing.
Despite the dislikes, the Lumia 710 is a great value-priced smart phone. As Windows 8 phones roll out, it may become even cheaper to buy and thus an even better value for customers who don't need the advanced functionality of Windows Phone 8.
See Nokia's profile of the Lumia 710 at
Photos of the 710 from Nokia.com are used entirely without permission.
Sun, 21 Oct 2012 19:07:07 +0000
Listener Costan Boiangiu rejoins the show for a wordcast on haptic feedback in product design. What is it, how is it used currently in product designs, and how could it be used? We discuss designs that have haptic feedback innately as well as designs where the haptics have been added. Thanks for Tim's coworker, Gary, for suggesting this topic for the show.
Check out Costan's automotive design blog at
And remember to visit Haptics-e: The Electronic Journal of Haptics Research
for the latest in scholarly research at
Thu, 13 Sep 2012 01:24:00 +0000
"From Information Architecture to Ambient Findability to Intertwingularity: An Inspiring Conversation with Peter Morville "
Recorded June 18th, 2012 at IUE2012.
Peter Morville (above, left), best known as a founding father of information architecture, co-authored the profession's best-selling book, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web.
That was 1998. Since then, Peter continues to be a prolific author, practitioner, and thought leader for our industry and profession amidst this ever-expanding and reinventive internet landscape that continues to provide communications, information, and commerce to the world.
To most effectively tap into Peter's current and historical thinking, he was interviewed live and interactively with the audience by Design Critique's Timothy Keirnan.
Visit Peter's blog and more at http://semanticstudios.com/
Sat, 01 Sep 2012 03:30:00 +0000
Tobby Smith joins Tim Keirnan for a longitudinal review of the Windows Phone 7.5 mobile operating system. Both guys have been using it on Nokia Lumia 710 handsets since last winter and are ready to explain why they enjoy the Windows Phone customer experience, as well as complain about the negative points which they hope Microsoft will fix in the upcoming Windows Phone 8.
Tobby is a long-time veteran of smart phone use, while Tim is new to smart phones, so both ends of the user continuum are included.
To see the user interface of Windows Phone, head over to a cell phone store in your area and try it for yourself OR point your browser to
The episode of Design Critique with Matt Hard that covered the Zune HD, the predecessor to Windows Phone, can be heard at
Thu, 12 Jul 2012 00:21:00 +0000
A very special mailbag episode in which
* Internet User Experience 2012 is promoted. Check it out at
* Costan refers us to a terrific article on Airbus airliner cockpit interface design. Read it at
* An anonymous listener complains about Tim's articulation. When is enunciating for intelligibility a problem, if ever? Do listeners speaking English as a second language appreciate clear articulation, or is it not needed?
* Jason thanks us for the MINI Cooper critique episode.
* Eric responds to the listener feedback episode with Lynn on lack of contrast in modern UI designs.
Tue, 29 May 2012 22:12:00 +0000
Listener Lynn Leitte joins Tim for a discussion on how a fad of low-contrast visual design is hurting readability of text and usability of interface elements. What say you?
Episode was recorded in late April but for a plethora of reasons is only available now.
Tue, 03 Apr 2012 03:15:00 +0000
Dana Chisnell from Usability Works discusses her latest project, Field Guides for Ensuring Voter Intent. This Kickstarter crowd-source funded project will design, write, publish, and distribute concise design guidelines for usable ballot design to public servants around the United States. And, eventually, beyond.
Learn and contribute (up until April 14th) to the project at
Read Dana's thoughts on civic design at
Sat, 31 Mar 2012 00:30:00 +0000
The GoldStar MA6511W microwave oven is a triumph of kitchen appliance interaction design. Featuring only two mechanical controls that are all too rare in an age of overly-complex digital designs, the MA6511W deserves as much praise as can be put into this 16 minute episode. The adjective "intuitive" is often over-used, but it applies to this small microwave oven.
Microwaves are functionally simple devices often made difficult to use by manufacturers who put frivolous features and buttons on something that doesn't need to be complex. A mad dash for "features" at the expense of audience needs and usability is common in microwave oven design, but GoldStar's design team tightly focused this oven for a particular audience (re-heating in space-cramped kitchens) and did NOT try to please everyone. The result is a wonderful appliance that has also proven very durable--7 years of trouble-free service at the time of this episode's publishing.
The How Stuff Works website referred to in the episode has some podcasts you might be interested in:
Fri, 24 Feb 2012 04:18:00 +0000
Listener Costan Boiangiu joins the show with comments on episode DC84, The State of the Internet User Experience 2011 panel session from Internet User Experience 2011.
Costan shares his ideas on
* The lack of usable bookmark titles on etail product pages
* Some websites' frustrating lack of consistent overall navigation
* Some websites' not revealing their national identity up front, especially if it's an etail site
You can find Costan at his photography site here:
and his work website here:
Tue, 31 Jan 2012 02:54:00 +0000
"Attack of the Pointless Modal Confirmations"
Tim critiques almost two years of experience with the TomTomXL335TM portable GPS in a longitudinal review plagued by a ragged voice from a nasty January filled with mishaps, and a mental wooziness that we hope isn't too obvious. But food poisonings, auto wrecks, and seasonal colds cannot prevent the fact that the XL335 is a GPS that has terrific voices which sound wonderful, but unreliable software and horrid modal confirmation abuses throughout.
Just reflect on this one example of interaction design gone wrong; sadly, it is typical of the TomTom Way:
It takes eleven, that's 11, taps to change voices on the XL335TM. I am not making this up.
And here are TomTom's excellent marketing of its Star Wars celebrity voices:
Darth Vader in the recording studio: http://youtu.be/2ljFfL-mL70
Yoda in the recording studio: http://youtu.be/FdcJVuylmsM
Two feedback emails round out this 46-minute episode.
Wed, 14 Dec 2011 03:15:00 +0000
A new Design Critique episode type is born. When someone sends feedback on an episode, they may be asked to come on the show and discuss what they had to say. That's how Eric Gauvin from the USA got roped into doing an episode with Tim regarding Eric's email comments on episode DC84, The State of the Internet User Experience 2011 panel.
Thanks to Eric for making time to talk with me.
And season's greetings, everyone!
Thu, 24 Nov 2011 14:48:00 +0000
In which Tim Keirnan and Mike Beasley discuss vintage shaving tool designs, featuring the safety razor and straight razor. Shaving with these old methods has many advantages, including:
* Closer shaves that last longer before the dreaded 5 o'clock shadow appears
* Improved skin condition due to premium creams and soaps used
* Lower cost of ownership (unless you start collecting gear as a hobby)
* Sustainable technology compared with disposable plastic-dominated, modern, overpriced crap
* Better user experience due to mindful nature of single-blade shaving that many find relaxing and even fun, due to the "gourmet" shave creams and soaps, brushes, and blades used. As Mike says, it's more classy.
Two forums in particular helped us convert from multi-bladed cartridge monstrosities with industrial "goop in a can" to vintage shaving:
Mike frequents this forum and likes it a lot.
Tim favors this one for forum owner Bruce's blog and the very international nature forum that is small enough to feel neighborly and doesn't overwhelm you with millions of posts per day.
Legendary Zack's article on boar bristle shave brushes, and some other blogs:
YouTube channels that helped us greatly include:
Legendary Mantic59's Shave Tutor channel. Excellent how to videos.
Geo does a lot of terrific reviews of razors old and new, shaving with them while doing his reviews.
And Michael Ham's reference how-to book on safety razor shaves:
Mon, 31 Oct 2011 03:19:00 +0000
Recorded live at Internet User Experience 2011 on October 11th, it's the panel session "The State of the Internet User Experience" starring
and Tim Keirnan as the moderator.
Learn more about the panelists at
Thanks to all four panelists for allowing Design Critique to distribute this recording.
Sun, 23 Oct 2011 21:25:00 +0000
In this followup to episode DC82a, Tim describes the conclusion of his interaction with Logitech Customer Support. Unlike the MINI/BMW car maker attitude towards service after a sale, Logitech proves itself exceptionally good at listening to a complaint about a defective product and fixing it quickly without hassle.
If only more companies took their customer experience after the sale as seriously as Logitech does! Service after the sale is as important as the product design itself. Indeed, it IS part of the product design. Only arrogant, "take the money and run" companies, such as MINI, fail to understand this. Long-term brand loyalty is usually increased by responsive customer support.
Tue, 13 Sep 2011 01:38:00 +0000
The longitudinal review of Tim's 2009 MINI Cooper is here! A car so unreliable that he had to get rid of it after only 2.5 years. Automotive human factors engineer Ken Mayer (cohost from our earlier Saturn SC2 car critique) returns to help Tim on this very detailed critique of the second generation MINI Cooper, a stunning mix of greatness and disaster (the car, we mean, not this critique). If you love cars, you'll love this episode. We put the long in longitudinal product reviews!
Basically, the second generation (post-2006) MINI Cooper is a frustrating mix of unreliable components assembled unreliably. MINI refused for over a month to send Tim's dealer a new piston and rod when those went bad at only 31K miles. The flaky electronics are infested with more gremlins than, uh...that movie named "Gremlins". An addictively fun car such as the MINI almost makes you forgive its shoddy quality...almost but not quite. Tim broke his addiction and is now in MINI detox. Please pray for his recovery.
But there's still a lot to praise about the things MINI got right in this car. Buckle up for a rollicking, passionate, detailed review that covers everything you want to know about a car that inspires passion, both positive and negative, in an era of unloveable, boring "familymobiles".
Then join TrueDelta to tell the world about your car's reliability. Write your own reviews for your car(s) to tell the world what you've enjoyed and disliked. Check it out right now at
Wed, 31 Aug 2011 01:30:00 +0000
Tim critiques the Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere 2 portable speaker system for iPods, iPhones, and other sound-making gadgets. The Pure-Fi Anywhere was Logitech's sequel to the highly successful mm50, which Tim and Alan reviewed way back in episode DC39.
This longitudinal review covers two years of experience using this product, including the new user interface, the industrial design that both delights and disappoints, the improved sound quality of the bass response, and a problem with the battery that we should all be upset about in consumer electronics.
Internet User Experience 2011 is coming to Ann Arbor, Michigan, this autumn! Check out what this terrific annual conference has to offer this year at
Fri, 29 Jul 2011 01:31:00 +0000
Sixth Anniversary Edition! Dr. Susan Weinschenk joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion of her latest book, 100 Things Every Designer Should Know About People. Not just a collection of opinons, 100 Things... presents up-to-date research on the fundamentals that uderpin our work as UX professionals, while exposing several popular myths and misconceptions along the way.
Thanks for listening for six years! I'm proud of what Tom Brinck and I started back in the summer of 2005, and appreciate any and all feedback you send.
Susan's blog is at
Her Twitter is
Check out the Colours In Cultures color wheel by David McCandless at
You can read Tim's article about usability testing for entrepreneurs at the Entrepreneurial America website at
Tue, 19 Jul 2011 01:34:00 +0000
I just published an article on usability testing for entrepreneurs at Entrepreneurial America's website. It's a great place and I encourage you to check it out.
Fri, 01 Jul 2011 00:28:00 +0000
Time for another wordcast episode, this time on ROI. Chad Esselink from the Ford Motor Company joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion on calculating return on investment for UX projects and forming a usability team. While at Ford, Chad used case studies backed with return on investment calculations to get buy-in from his superiors to create the Creative Design & Usability team.
We all think we know about usability's ability to cut costs, but Chad tells us that increased throughput is just as important (and quite different). When should we use one and not the other while attempting to persuade executives that usability pays for itself and more?
Throughput. Cost cutting. Know the difference! And no, I'm not going to tell you in the show notes, you have to listen.
Fri, 29 Apr 2011 03:49:00 +0000
Author Giles Colborne from CX Partners joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion about his book Simple And Usable: Web, Mobile and Interaction Design. To quote the back cover:
"Simplicity is a discipline that can be learned. This book shows you how with humor, powerful examples, quotes, and case studies. You'll learn to strip away complexity by organizing, removing, hiding, and displacing. And you'll discover how to create focused, elegant user experiences that people will love."
Here is Giles' website for the book:
Does Giles' voice sound familiar? It should! I had him on the show back in 2006 after the UPA international conference that year. Episode 18, in fact:
Fri, 01 Apr 2011 02:18:00 +0000
Tim interviews Carol Smith about the Usability Professionals Association's body of knowledge project. Carol led Michigan UPA members in a body of knowledge work day hosted at the offices of Tec-Ed, Inc., in Ann Arbor on Saturday, March 26, 2011.
If you would like to assist us in developing the UPA body of knowledge for our profession, contact Carol at
project at usabilitybok.org (substitute the @ symbol for " at ", no spaces before or after)
See the body of knowledge project at
You can find listener Yannig Roth's blog at
Sat, 26 Feb 2011 19:11:00 +0000
Davin Granroth joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion of a structured design review method. This way to critique a design obtains maximum useful feedback with minimum pain to people's feelings. Tim refers to it now as "The Granroth Review Method" but Davin is quick to thank some writing professors at Michigan State University for the concept, which Davin has adapted well to our UX professional needs.
You can read about this method over at Davin's blog:
You can read about Sugru, a clay-like fixit and "mechanical hacking" material, at
their very well-done and fun website:
Finally, here's a link to Red Green, whom I referred to in the closing minute:
Thu, 20 Jan 2011 04:39:00 +0000
Dr. Nelson Soken, co-author of Lead the Pack: Sparking Innovation that Drives Customers Wild, joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion of the book and its principles. At the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society annual meeting in 2009, Dr. Nelson Soken delivered the keynote presentation to the Product Design technical group based on his book. Tim like it so much he bought the book and is now proud to interview Dr. Soken on Design Critique.
User experience research and design concepts underlie a majority of the book's themes and this episode is valuable for anyone doing human factors or UX work in support of product design. As Dr. Soken emphasizes, people and our relationships to them in the workplace are a very big part of innovating.
You can find the book at:
In addition to the "Contact the Authors" link at the above website, you can also find the authors at their LinkedIn pages. Just log in to your LinkedIn account and search their names:
Fri, 24 Dec 2010 03:30:00 +0000
The ultimate longitudinal review, five years in the making. Sennheiser has changed their once-terrific PX-100 headphones for the worse. We don't often do negative reviews on Design Critique, but it's useful to analyze how a great user experience can disappoint after several years ownership. Reliability is the Achilles heel of the PX-100 and now it's even worse with brittle plastic, reduced cushioning, and wickedly tight pressure through the headband.
In other news, Tim has a chapter in the new UX Storytellers book, which is free for download, and a blog post for Altitude Inc. We have email from two, count 'em TWO, listeners. All this in under 30 minutes.
Interesting PX-100 reviews for the PX-100 and PX-100 MkII can be found at
Tim's chapter in UX Storytellers, UX Professional Buys a Car, can be found at
Download the whole book and enjoy!
Tim's "How User Experience Research Saved the Chevrolet Corvette" post on Altitude Inc.'s blog can be read at
Wed, 10 Nov 2010 02:43:00 +0000
Peter Morville joins Timothy Keirnan to discuss the keynote presentation at Internet User Experience 2010 and his new book, Search Patterns, co-written with Jeffrey Callendar.
You can find Peter at his company's website:
And his blog is at
Mon, 11 Oct 2010 01:08:00 +0000
Mark Phillips from Vertabase joins Tim Keirnan at Internet User Experience 2010 to talk about project management's effects on design. Mark's session at IUE was called "Connecting Pixels, Bytes, and Dollars: How Designers, Developers, and Clients Can Work Together."
You can find Mark, and his blog, at www.vertabase.com and his email address is email@example.com
Mark recommends The PM Podcast at
Sat, 28 Aug 2010 03:50:00 +0000
Tim Keirnan interviews the design & development team for TechSmith's upcoming Snagit for Macintosh. Items discussed include:
* How and why did TechSmith decide to do a version of their popular Snagit for the Mac OSX platform?
* What is the design process of Snagit for Mac?
* How is Snagit for Mac related to Snagit for Windows?
* Why did TechSmith decide to try an open beta process and how is it helping their design process?
So check it out before you listen, or while you listen. You can find the Snagit for Macintosh free beta at the following addresses:
Sat, 07 Aug 2010 22:28:00 +0000
Jared Spool of User Interface Engineering joins Tim Keirnan for Design Critique's 5th anniversary episode. That's FIVE years, folks!
The guys discuss some favorite UX-related new media audio and video shows, debate the effectiveness of advertisements in new media shows, and generally engage in freewheeling talk that never takes itself too seriously.
We close with a promo for UIE's User Interface 15 conference to be held in Cambridge, MA this November. Links:
Thu, 24 Jun 2010 02:28:00 +0000
Dave Mitropoulos-Rundus joins Tim Keirnan for a quick promo of the upcoming Internet User Experience 2010 conference, to be held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, from July 24 - 28, 2010. To learn more about IUE2010 and to register, please visit www.iue2010.com
Thu, 27 May 2010 03:41:00 +0000
Jeff Smith of IBM's Hardware Experience Design Group presents part two of our "director's cut" of the presentation he gave at the 2009 HFES conference, "Gathering User Feedback from Internal Sources to Supplement Formal Usability Studies".
In part two, Jeff details the ways in which the following internal departments of employers and clients can help us get informal user feedback to supplement our primary data:
* Test Engineers (QA)
Each of these areas can supply a user experience professional with invaluable insights and observations of customers/end users. Jeff tells us the promise and the limitations of using their data in our own work. Jeff's coauthors on the presentation were Daniel P. Kelaher and David T. Windell.
Tue, 11 May 2010 03:22:00 +0000
Jeff Smith of IBM's Hardware Experience Design Group presents a "director's cut" of the presentation he gave at the 2009 HFES conference. Tim liked it so much in San Antonio that he wanted to hear an expanded version on Design Critique so here it is, titled "Gathering User Feedback from Internal Sources to Supplement Formal Usability Studies".
In part one, Jeff
* Describes his job as a human factors engineer with IBM,
* Tells his interpretation of the field combined with IBM's corporate values,
* Discusses the essential nature of communication to both clients and coworkers
* Shares his "elevator speech" of what he does for a living, and
* Emphasizes the importance of field research if you're able to do it on a project.
In part 2, Jeff will explain the methods of using internal sources to supplement formal user research. Jeff's coauthors on the presentation were Daniel P. Kelaher and David T. Windell.
Fri, 30 Apr 2010 03:47:00 +0000
If we were a commercial show, we'd sing something like "All we are saying is give Zune a chance." Computer programmer (and rumored private detective) Matt Hard joins Tim for a discussion of the user experience of Microsoft's Zune media players, Zune 4.0 software, and the Zune Pass music rental service. Born in ridicule, the Zune ecosystem has matured into something so good that Tim did not want to return Matt's kindly lent Zune8GB and ZuneHD players. Intrigued? Read on...
* Both guys preferred the Zune flash player to their old iPod Nanos. Listen to find out why.
* The ZuneHD has a terrific screen and touch user interface that Matt likes, but that Tim isn't so keen on. Listen to the reasons for their widely differing perspectives.
* The Zune 4.0 software is terrific for music, but stinks for podcasts. Hear how a dreadful installation experience almost made Tim give up on even trying the Zune.
* The Zune Pass service is more rent-to-own than rent, a great idea that was almost ruined by a terrible trial experience that Tim rants about.
You can find out more about the Zune at www.Zune.net. You can try the software for free to see what we're oohing and ahhing about.
Thu, 15 Apr 2010 14:07:00 +0000
Instructions are an integral part of the user experience of products and services. Anne Gentle from JustWriteClick joins Tim to talk about the social Web's impact on creating technical communication in the 21st century.
You can download a free chapter from Anne's new book, Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation, at
Anne's blog is at www.JustWriteClick.com.
Fri, 19 Feb 2010 03:57:00 +0000
Andy Budd from ClearLeft joins Tim for a discussion about Silverback, a guerilla usability testing application for Macintosh computers. Andy also informs us about the upcoming UX London conference to be held in May of this year. You can find information about Silverback at www.SilverbackApp.com You can find information about the UX London conference at http://2010.uxlondon.com/
Wed, 27 Jan 2010 04:56:00 +0000
Serena Rosenhan and her husband, Blair, join Tim for a critique of the Betty Crocker BC-1957 waffle iron. Part one of this episode is a very informal, out-of-the-box usability test recorded live in the Rosenhan kitchen on a sunny Saturday morning as Serena and Blair cooked brunch for Tim.
Part two, which occurs around 42 minutes into the episode, was recorded several months later when Serena had used the waffle iron again and could join Tim via phone for a "longitudinal review" as we like to do here on Design Critique. Even something as simple as a waffle iron has numerous areas of needed improvement or, in the case of the vertical storage ability of this unit, areas of impressive innovation.
Sun, 20 Dec 2009 04:09:00 +0000Colin from Canada returns to discuss his three iterations for the Design Critique blog page redesign. Because this project is not "real" in a commercial sense, we tried three iterations with increasing levels of client involvement just to see how the designs might differ.
Sun, 20 Dec 2009 03:37:00 +0000Here's the image file for Colin's three iterations of the new Design Critique blog page design. You will need to view this file before or while you listen to episode 65b.
Tue, 01 Dec 2009 03:40:00 +0000Hi everyone, the wine glasses Michael Graves told us about in episode 61 from this past August are now finished. You can see them next to bottles of [Yellow Tail] wine in the photo accompanying this blog posting, and also I have put them into the episode art for DC61 alongside the images of Michael Graves hand mixer from Target.
Sun, 01 Nov 2009 01:10:00 +0000Simon Barnard from Cosmic Hobo Productions joins Tim Keirnan and Chad Esselink to discuss the design of The Scarifyers audio adventures as heard on BBC 7. Combining old time radio detective and horror stories with X-Files mystery and dry English humor, The Scarifyers have been "saving Great Britain since 1936"--sometimes in spite of themselves. How does the script, the music, the artwork, and the acting come together to create the experience?
Tue, 29 Sep 2009 04:29:00 +0000Jeremy Keith from Clearleft discusses his session at 2008's UI13 conference called Ajax Design Considerations that Tim attended. What do UX professionals need to know about Ajax to best make use of it in websites and web applications? And why is Jeremy's title at Clearleft currently "Lineman for the County"?
Thu, 03 Sep 2009 03:58:00 +0000Doug Jung joins Tim for a discussion of the Macintosh they built with the EFI-X V1 boot processing unit. The product enables the building of your own custom Macintosh and works somewhat as advertised, but reputed poor durability and consistently poor customer service from Art Studios Entertainment Media ruin what could have been a terrific customer experience. We even have a Fawlty Towers clip to illustrate ASEM's customer service style.
Thu, 06 Aug 2009 03:00:00 +0000For the 4th anniversary episode of Design Critique, Michael Graves and Tony Hron from the Michael Graves Design Group join Timothy Keirnan to discuss product design:
Mon, 20 Jul 2009 01:50:00 +0000Colin Finkle from www.finkle.ca returns to discuss redesigning the blog page for the show. This episode is the sequel to DC56, and you might want to hear that one first before hearing this one.
Fri, 26 Jun 2009 03:28:00 +0000Mike Elledge of MSU's Usability & Accessibility Center joins Tim for a freewheeling, after-dinner discussion about accessibility in product designs. What is it, why should we care, and how do we achieve it? This episode explores the fundamental concepts of accessibility.
Mon, 18 May 2009 11:49:00 +0000Tim Keirnan interviews Jim Jacoby of Manifest Digital about "big picture" UX and our ideal place inside companies. Jim's presentation was called "Interaction Designers As The Next Generation of Business Leaders". Recorded at Internet User Experience 2009 on April 1st, Jim told us the following points:
Sat, 02 May 2009 15:52:00 +0000At Internet User Experience 2009, Tim Keirnan interviews Dr. Susan Weinschenk about her new book, Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click. How does the human brain process website use, and what can Web design teams do to better design websites for the subconscious as well as conscious mind? Recorded on April 1st, 2009, Dr. Weinschenk provides a brief overview of her book's themes and answers Tim's questions from her presentation earlier that day.
Wed, 22 Apr 2009 03:28:00 +0000This is the first episode in a series wherein host Tim and listener/volunteer Colin redesign the blog page for the show at www.DesignCritique.net. Our process for this "case study in the making" is:
Sun, 29 Mar 2009 18:41:00 +0000Tim interviews Sam Ng from New Zealand's own Optimal Usability about the design and development of Optimal Workshop. This UX design suite combines three applications, including OptimalSort which we talked about in DC42, and we hear how a UX research and design consultancy becomes a product developer. What's it like to walk the UX talk we tell our clients when they create products? Listen up and find out!
Sat, 28 Feb 2009 22:52:00 +0000Recorded live at the poster session of Michigan Tech's first World Usability Day event! Tim Keirnan interviewed the student teams about their posters, the projects behind the posters, and the processes they followed to ensure that project deliverables were useful and usable for end users.
Sat, 21 Feb 2009 23:30:00 +0000Dave Mitropoulos-Rundus joins Tim Keirnan to discuss the upcoming Internet User Experience 2009 conference. IUE2009 will be held March 31 through April 2, 2009, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Wed, 21 Jan 2009 04:38:00 +0000Brian Matt, founder and CEO of product innovation firm Altitude, Inc., joins Timothy Keirnan for a discussion of how Altitude designed the award-winning Worksite Radio for DeWalt.
Wed, 07 Jan 2009 02:52:00 +0000Tim Keirnan interviews Jeff Patton at User Interface 13 in Cambridge, MA, on October 15th, 2008, after Jeff's full-day seminar "Bringing User-Centered Design Practices Into Agile Development Projects".
Wed, 31 Dec 2008 22:34:00 +0000Hi everyone,
Wed, 26 Nov 2008 02:48:00 +0000Tim Keirnan interviews Dana Chisnell at User Interface 13 on October 14th, 2008, regarding her presentation "The Quick, the Cheap, and the Insightful: Conducting Usability Tests in the Wild".
Sun, 02 Nov 2008 15:21:00 +0000Karen Bachmann joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion of the UX Watercooler, a new online community for anyone interested in User Experience research and design. Please check it out at:
Wed, 08 Oct 2008 03:58:00 +0000Ginny Redish joins Tim Keirnan and SpecialSecretSuperSurprise Guest Cohost for a freewheeling discussion of her newest book Letting Go Of The Words: Writing Web Content That Works. Ginny's ground-breaking career, books, presentations, and many articles have been very influential on Tim's and Cohost's professional development in user experience research and design.
Sat, 20 Sep 2008 01:56:00 +0000
Attention all shavers everywhere: it's a shaving razor user experience extravaganza! Tim Keirnan is joined by four count 'em FOUR co-hosts in this special extended edition of Design Critique. Mike Beasley, Dave Mitropoulos-Rundus, John Rivard, and Rodney Hampton donate their time, their insights, their humor, and their razors to a freewheeling discussion of razor design.
What makes for a good shaving razor design? What defines a good shaving experience? What is it about Mike's t-shirt that makes passersby ask him "What is usability?" as he saunters down the street? Why did Rodney switch to a straight razor, and how difficult is it to use? How to be green and save money on your shaving tools...You'll hear all this and more. Ladies, we don't mean to exclude you and some of the content may apply to your world, too.
Here are Rodney's suggested shaving links:
Tim offers the following links:
As per Rodney, look on YouTube for some intriguing videos of single blade and straight razor shaving. There are alternative to the current multi-bladed cartridge razors.
Thu, 21 Aug 2008 02:58:00 +0000Jared Spool of User Interface Engineering joins Timothy Keirnan to talk about designing the user experience of a conference. Jared has attended many conferences, presented at many conferences, and hosted many conferences. Themes discussed include:
Fri, 18 Jul 2008 02:39:00 +0000On the 3rd anniversary of Design Critique, Dr. Paul Green joins Timothy Keirnan for a wordcast episode on Human Factors Engineering. What is it, how does it contribute to user experience research and design, and how do people get trained in it?Dr. Green is incoming president of the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society. You can find them atwww.hfes.orgAt the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), Dr. Green is a research professor in UMTRI's Human Factors Division. You can find UMTRI atwww.umtri.umich.edu/about.phpThe websites for ACM SIGCHI and UPA are atwww.sigchi.org and www.upassoc.orgThe Bad Designs On Campus awards can be found atwww.engin.umich.edu/soc/hfes/The 50th Anniversary issue of the Human Factors Journal is athttp://hfes.publisher.ingentaconnect.com/content/hfes/hfThe Human Factors Short Course is atwww.umich.edu/~driving/shortcourse/index.htmlandhttp://cpd.engin.umich.edu/proed.htm?id=57&gclid=COuj_dGhnJQCFQFIGgodFmdx8QFinally, two books we mentioned wereIntroduction to Human Factors Engineering (2nd Edition) by Wickens, Lee, Liu, and Gordon-BeckerandSet Phases On Stun: And Other True Tales of Design, Technology, and Human Error by CaseyCheck out my interview with Paul Green on usability in driving.Thanks to all listeners for a great third year and for telling others about Design Critique. I hope I can make the fourth year as varied and interesting.[...]
Sat, 14 Jun 2008 15:24:00 +0000Dana Chisnell joins Tim Keirnan to discuss the 2nd edition of the classic Handbook of Usability Testing, which she coauthored with Jeff Rubin.
Mon, 19 May 2008 00:21:00 +0000Talk about a longitudinal review: 12 years and over 273K miles! Tim Keirnan offers a single-point perspective on owning his Saturn SC2 coupe, which Saturn iterated to a point of near-perfection for Tim's car needs back in 1996. Saturn "refreshed" the model from 1997 onwards and it was never the same. Mechanic Jake Huey and automotive human factors engineer Ken Mayer join Tim inside and outside the car for a thorough discussion of Saturn's innovative designs for the 1996 SC2.* Lost Foam Casting of the engine for smaller size and more accurate tolerances* Polymer plastic body panels for dent resistance, rust prevention, easy maintenance, and end-of-life recycling* Superlative UI design on the dashboard gauges, heating and cooling system, radio, and even the engine compartment (so owners and mechanics can reach the most frequently-serviced parts quickly)* "No haggle pricing" and no-pressure dealership experience* Terrific fuel economy (40 mpg at 55 mph, 36 mpg at 70 mph) (manual transmission)The customizations Tim and Jake did to the car used parts from the following sources that can help anyone's car perform better as stock parts wear out:* Eibach springs at http://eibach.com/* KYB struts at www.kyb.com/products/* K&N intake filter at www.knfilters.com/fipk/fipk.htm* Centerforce clutch at www.centerforce.comThe larger-diameter cat-back exhaust system for the SC2 is no longer made, but anyone can commission a good (mandrel-bending) local muffler shop to fabricate something suitable.We will have an automotive user experience panel discussion later on to continue our look at car customer experiences.Finally, the international Usability Professionals Association conference is coming up! See http:/[...]
Sun, 20 Apr 2008 03:44:00 +0000Timothy Keirnan interviews Andy Budd, author of CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions and creative director of Clearleft, a user experience design consultancy in Brighton, England.Andy and Tim discuss the following items:* Giving site builders wireframes and prototypes instead of text-intensive design specifications.* How guerilla usability testing fits into the user experience design process and how it may offer more value than big-budget summative testing.* Where Andy will be speaking across England, New Zealand, and Australia over the next several weeks.* The value of attending small or large professional conferences and how Clearleft designs its annual d.Construct conference.You can see Andy at the following conferences over the next few weeks:www.futureofwebdesign.comwww.chinwag.com/events/2008/04/chinwag-live-real-world-usabilityhttp://webstock.org.nz/upcoming/http://ux08.webdirections.org/One of Tim's favorite professional books is the oldie-but-goodie Interface Design: The Art of Developing Easy-to-Use Software by Peter Bickford. You can find used copies of this out-of-print gem easily enough online.Clearleft is at www.clearleft.comAndy mentioned Silverback and you can learn about it at www.andybudd.com/archives/2008/02/silverback/Andy mentioned "bar camps":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BarCampAnd finally, you can learn more about the annual D.Construct conference atwww.dconstruct.org[...]
Thu, 27 Mar 2008 02:28:00 +0000They're back! In part 2 of our wordcast episode on card sorts, recorded mid-December of 2007, Tim Keirnan, Larry Rusinsky, and Chris Farnum discuss conducting the sort, what we might do with the data afterwards, and what the end result of the card sort can be. We also mention the following applications that can help you do card sorts: Optimal Sort (www.optimalsort.com) Card Zort (www.cardzort.com) Web Sort (www.websort.net) Here's another one: uzCardSort (http://uzilla.mozdev.org/cardsort.html) The websites Tim and Chris mention during one of the occasional side discussions are: www.nike.com www.miniusa.com www.mini.ca Note how the Mini Cooper website for the United States differs from the Canadian one. Interesting how a company assigns different content and structure to one audience versus another. Don't forget Internet User Experience 2008 to be held next week: www.internetuserexperience.biz Email from listener Dan completes the episode.[...]
Mon, 17 Mar 2008 02:39:00 +0000Return of the wordcast! Timothy Keirnan was joined by Chris Farnum and Larry Rusinsky back in December 2007 for a discussion about card sorts. What are they, why do user experience professionals use them, and how are they sometimes done?
Fri, 22 Feb 2008 02:06:00 +0000Dave Mitropoulos-Rundus joins Timothy Keirnan for a discussion on the value of attending professional conferences, using the upcoming Internet User Experience 2008 conference as an example.
Tue, 29 Jan 2008 04:06:00 +0000At User Interface 12, Timothy Keirnan interviews Kim Goodwin, Vice President and General Manager of Cooper, on November 7th, 2007. Kim's presentations at User Interface 12 were "Integrating Design In Your Organization" and "Essentials Of Interaction Design".
Thu, 13 Dec 2007 03:02:00 +0000While taking a short break from our UI12 conference interview series, Alan Sygrove joins Timothy Keirnan for a longitudinal review of Logitech's mm50 iPod portable speaker system. As well as making incisive comments about the mm50, Alan compares Design Critique to My Dinner With Andre.
Mon, 19 Nov 2007 02:29:00 +0000Timothy Keirnan interviews Gerry McGovern at User Interface 12 on November 5th, 2007, immediately after Gerry's all-day seminar called How To Design A Task-Based Information Architecture: Essential Tips For Creating Customer-Centric Websites.Points discussed include:* "Words drive behavior." Getting the right words is crucial to developing good Web content.* Task-centric is customer-centric. Correct wording is essential to being customer-centric.* The opposite of customer-centric is organization-centric. Organization-centric websites are not very helpful to customers.* People often come to the Web to learn or to do something. So, design for impatience. Are your customers able to quickly and simply complete their tasks?* Advertising often treats customers like Pavlov's dogs. Many Web users see through manipulative ads and instead want useful knowledge that conveys something authentic about the good or service they're after. Most ads are not perceived as authentically representing a good or service.NOTE: When Tim says "marketing" in this interview, he should have said "advertising". It was a terrific but long day :-)You can find Gerry's website atwww.gerrymcgovern.comGerry's most recent book is Killer Web Content atwww.gerrymcgovern.com/killer-web-content.htmSpecial thanks to User Interface Engineering (www.uie.com) for making this episode possible by sponsoring Design Critique at UI12.[...]
Tue, 23 Oct 2007 03:39:00 +0000Tim interviews Mike Beasley, President of the Usability Professionals Association Michigan chapter, about the upcoming World Usability Day 2007. Also, UIE's User Interface 12 conference is rapidly approaching and Tim will be there. Finally, the MSU School of Packaging answers listener Tom's question about episode 35.
Sat, 06 Oct 2007 02:38:00 +0000Tim interviews David Chmura, Chief Instigator of Humble Daisy, Inc., about the design of both Humble Daisy (the company) and ProfCast (the application). This episode has three parts:
Wed, 19 Sep 2007 02:33:00 +0000Virtually all products, from food to electronics, come in some type of packaging. Who designs the customer experience of packaging and how? Join Tim on his visit to the Michigan State University School of Packaging.
Sun, 26 Aug 2007 16:17:00 +0000Tim and Tom are joined by returning guest Serena Rosenhan for a critique of Panasonic's NI-553R clothes iron. What did people in olden times use for ironing and how does the design of the modern-day NI-553R support the task? The gang discusses the merits of the design as well as problems found during its use, and reflects on the classic trade-off of convenience versus safety.
Wed, 18 Jul 2007 03:59:00 +0000For Design Critique's 2nd anniversary episode, Tim and Tom are joined by Jared Spool from User Interface Engineering. Jared shares some of UIE's recent research such as: