Fantastic UX goes currency
A colleague just brought to my attention a fantastic example for great UX design.
Not only does it make me happy to see that UX values are growing in this fantastic little company I work for in a way that inspires my work too, but this specific example is so simple and great it make my UX heart weep a little.
We all know the experience from traveling and dealing with foreign currencies. The uncomfortable feeling of browsing clumsily through a bunch of coins completely unfamiliar to us trying to read the value, while simultaneously trying to calculate the exchange rate.
On my recent trip to Prague I found myself only giving out 50 Crown pieces cause they were so similar to the 2 Euro pieces I know so well and I just ignored the rest. And don’t even remind me of my visit to the United States a while back where all coins looked exactly the same to me.
Now my colleague brought me these to coins from India, a 1 and a 2 Rupee coin and their simplicity and clear design is mind blowing.
Considering that the rate of illiteracy is still around 40% * in India the hand signs are a very smart option and clearly show that usability was of much higher value in the design than pure look.
Well done, India!
* Source: Statistisches Bundesamt, Länderprofil Indien
My EuroIA VII bag from Prague
Just returned from EuroIA VII in Prague and the overall impression was quite positive. Had a nice workshop, heard interesting talks and had even better conversations after or in between.
I always feel that the main reason to attend these kinds of events is what you take home afterwards. You basically buy a huge bag of inspiration for 1000 quit.
So I thought I share with you what is in my bag.
The keynote talk from Luke Wroblewski (@lukew) was -I have to admit- not my cup of tea. It was a bit too enthusiastic and uncritical for my taste. The “mobile is king” message made me feel a mix of ‘what else is new’ and ‘don’t believe the hype’ (thanks to Jason Mesut (@jasonmesut) for that catchy tune).
Luke encouraged his audience to share till you drop and thought it would be just a matter of time until people would share as generous in the digital space as they do in the physical world (I doubt both). This notion made me feel paranoid and uncomfortable, but maybe that’s just me being German.
Though remembering a comment from the audience “Privacy is not a matter of digital or physical but political” maybe it’s not just me.
What I liked about his talk was highlighting how the restrictions of the small mobile devices forces businesses to focus on the stuff that really matters. That could actually be a good exercise for a design review.
The most memorable talks came from Jason Mesut, stirring up things a bit, Margaret Hanley (@magshanley) who showed great insight and experience and Eric Reiss (@elreiss) who seem to share my vision for UX much more than many others.
Martin Belam (@currybet The Guardian) and Mike Atherton (@MikeAtherton BBC) showcased some of their works and generously shared their experience on what went well and not so well on these projects.
There were also some less pleasant talks, which resulted mainly from lack of public speaking experience. I do not agree here that we should applaud the courage to do so. I think public speaking is a skill that if not naturally can be acquired and practiced and should be done before you torture your audience with a painfully confusing balderdash.
Also, I don’t see much value in slides with long text, which is just being read for the audience. After all it said ‘speaker’ on the box, not ‘reader’.
Many concepts of the conference worked quite well. I appreciated the many short breaks in between talks, which provided loads of opportunities to socialize and meet new people. The poster session was also great. I was later wondering if some of the talks would have worked better as a poster session.
I loved meeting UX people from all over Europe. It’s great to see that there is UX life outside the London universe. Made me feel good about moving to Berlin.
Eric Reiss asked if the conference should have a theme and the general consensus was no. I agree with that. A theme would put an unnecessary limitation on the talks.
What I think could be useful though –and that includes all conferences of this type- is a better descriptive system.
With parallel talks you have to make a decision about what to attend and what to miss.
Sometimes you decide to attend a talk just because you want to hear that speaker and don’t care so much about the subject but most of the time you decide by title/description.
Now some people try to come up with catchy titles, which sound great but give no proper insight into what to expect from that talk.
Often I feel that it would be helpful to know what level of background knowledge is expected to follow the talk.
I understand that a beginner/intermediate/advanced label is a bit clumsy, although SXSW has been doing it in the panel picker and I found it quite helpful.
What I would love to see though is a kind of descriptive label system to get an idea what type of talk to expect. Kate Tarling (@kateldn) and I chatted a bit about it at the conference and came up with a few suggestions based on the talks we heard on the conference.
- Case Study (We did project X, this is how it worked) eg: Mike Atherton, Martin Belam
- Future Visions (What to expect/Where are things heading) eg: Luke Wroblewski
- Practical Guide (How to/What is) eg: Eric Reiss, Stefano Bussolon
- Suggestion (We could do it this way) eg: Boon Sheridan
- Opinions (I think this is/should be happening) eg: Jason Mesut
- Science (Showing research results) eg: Jason Hobbs, Stefano Bussolon
A system like this could help me not ending up in the wrong talk; worrying about what amazing stuff I would miss next door.
And finally I can say that the food at the Marriott was great and visiting Prague again after 15 years was quite a pleasant surprise. Although I agree with Eric Reiss, who described Prague as a “museum city full of tourists”, it has become without a doubt a very beautiful, creative and friendly place.
Visit if you have the chance.
Notes and slides collected by Martin Belam.
UX Collection: Beautiful site, great naviagtion
Just came across the Museum Mile webiste which features a collection of Museums in central London, all in walking distance from each other. The site is not only visually beautiful but also has an excellent navigation. Usually I am not a big fan of horizontal scroll but this is a good example of choosing the right tool for the right task. Well done!
UX Pin Paper Prototyping
Paper prototyping - redesigned.
A bad design day…
…contains a conversation like this:
developer: “I created a new landing page and added it to the navigation, I felt the user needed this info”