User Interface

January 14, 2014

Five Second Tests: Avoiding the Non-Response when Using Online Tools

The main selling point of the five second test method, and of using online tools such as, is that you can get specific feedback about a design quickly and fairly effortlessly. It is therefore very dispiriting to receive the results of a test and see multiple instances of empty or “I don’t know” responses. (Indeed, experience has shown that in crowdsourced tests, respondents are more than willing to communicate the “I don’t know” response in more creative ways.) Design and user experience research can be difficult to justify from a time and resource standpoint – results like this undercut the research effort and make the job that much more difficult. It is therefore critical that precautionary actions be taken to minimize the likelihood of “empty data,” so that the researcher has not wasted his/her time. – Read More –

October 10, 2013

The Five-Second Test: A Wealth of UX Data


The Five-Second test — also known as “timeout test,” “exposure test” and/or “memory test” — is one of the easiest and most convenient rapid testing methods available.  Displaying a visual or informational design for five seconds and asking what aspect(s) were recalled most easily or vividly can help pinpoint (a) what stands out most about a design or product, and (b) how the viewer’s perception of the overall design is impacted.

However, the method’s value can be compromised by ignoring its restrictions, and by designing the tests to encourage empty or unhelpful responses.  After participating in dozens of such tests using widely available unmoderated testing tools, I found myself giving far too many responses like “I have no way of knowing this” or “I cannot answer this after only 5 seconds of exposure” — and getting far too many similar responses to my own tests.

Convinced there was a better way, I set out to examine the method more closely — how it become an established UX method, how it has evolved in light of new technologies, and whether users are using the tools effectively. – Read More –

August 27, 2013

Why a dazzling User Interface can cause failure

I have discovered that I may have lost work to more dazzling portfolios. This concerns me, but not at the potential loss of work. It concerns me because the people hiring UX designers are often looking for “rock-star” portfolios. I won’t even get into the fact that “rock-star” implies to me: ego that exceeds talent, focus on the irrelevant or unimportant  areas of strength, and the idea that being great at one thing presumes that talent automatically spills into another area (particularly one that seems unrelated or tangential at best.) The focus has become more about visual, marketing and sales impact at the cost of a good user experience. – Read More –

August 11, 2009

Touchable Holography, an Emerging Technology

Mid-air displays have been seen in Science Fiction movies for several decades. As an example of this interactive holographic experience, the recreational “Holodeck” in Star Trek, instantly springs to mind.  While holograms already exist as virtual objects hovering in front of the user, you cannot touch and feel this object. However, amazingly the University of – Read More –

July 15, 2009

Caution: 5 Common Usability Testing Mistakes to Avoid

Usability testing is not an easy thing to perfect. However, a good starting point is to identify where most mistakes are made throughout the process. And through this awareness, you should fine-tune your approaches to planning, moderation and analysis, in order to attain truly insightful findings. – Read More –

June 24, 2009

20 User Experience Books you should own

user experience books
These highly recommended user experience books cover everything from user research and interface design, to information architecture and UX strategy. If you’re really serious about your career as a user experience professional, these books should be the cornerstone of your personal library. – Read More –

June 4, 2009

Designing the Palm Pre: An interview with Michelle Koh

Palm PreIt’s the question on everyone’s lips these days. Is the Palm Pre going to make an impact large enough to save both Palm and Sprint? We shall see how this plays out once the anticipated savior descends to earth on June 6, 2009 AD.  But launching alone will not a savior make. Rather, Palm’s destiny lies largely in the hands of the passionate, talented and empowered individuals who have defined and designed the Pre’s user experience.

To better understand the Pre’s design and differentiators, I caught up with user experience colleague Michelle Koh, a member of the human interface team at Palm. She played a large part in designing the user experience for Palm’s new WebOS platform and the core Person Information Management (PIM) applications that Palm is legendary for. Specifically, she designed the global device search, phone, and contact applications, as well as contributing to the overall device navigation and system UI design. – Read More –

April 27, 2009

VisionAire Multi-touch Holograms

Obscura Digital has teamed their special multi-touch software with the Musion Eyeliner Hologram Projection System to produce an amazing interactive tool for presenters to use whereby they can manipulate 3-D holographic images in the air. Aptly called VisionAire, the single or multiple users can shrink, zoom and turn the images by simply moving their hands. – Read More –

March 12, 2009

Nintendo Wii 2.0: A mind-controlled console

Moving away from sloppy remotes, Nintendo Wii is entering the brainwave era with a slick mind-controlled console. At least this is the thrilling desire of hi-tech dreamers over at T3 Magazine who want to see jaws dropping and brain cells working their way through gaming. The ground-breaking concept, part of the magazine’s future tech feature, – Read More –

March 1, 2009

Text-to-Voice Wand: The "Voice Stick"

The ‘Voice Stick’ concept enters to revolutionize the life of the visually impaired and offer a breath of fresh high-tech air to script recognition. Designed by Sung Woo Park, the cutting-edge device is a portable text scanning tool, utilizing the OCR function to identify text and convert this information into voice. This advanced technology allows – Read More –

February 17, 2009

Nano Ink "Tattoos": the next user interface?

A special tattoo ink that changes color based on glucose levels inside the skin is under development by Massachusetts-based Draper Laboratories. The injectable nanotech ink could eventually free diabetics from painful blood glucose tests. “It doesn’t have to be a large, over-the-shoulder kind of tattoo,” said Heather Clark, a scientist at Draper. “It would only – Read More –

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