26 January 2010

The Tablet of tomorrow, today…

As most of you know, tomorrow Apple is going to make an announcement. How big or little this announcement is depends on who you listen to, but most people tend to agree that the meat of the show will be the unveiling of the much rumored Tablet.
However, I’m wondering if it is going to be more than just a “tablet”.
To me, a tablet, something between the iPhone and the MacBook just makes no sense to Apple. Sure, there’s lots of those already, and I’m sure some of them make money, but for Apple to get involved with it, there has to be a market. They just don’t go and create things willy-nilly and hope for the best. They KNOW (or think they know) that something is going to work before they share it with the rest of us.
That means that this “tablet” is going to have to have some killer functionality to it in order to distinguish it from all the other ones already on the market.
Looking at the logo for the upcoming event (which I must admit I’m afraid to host here so I’ll link to it elsewhere and hope for the best), I think I have an idea of what it might be. You know me, I can’t not analyze something…
Looking at the shape of the logo, it appears to be in a tablet shape. Ok, that’s kind of a no brainer.
It’s also covered with paint splotches. Colorful, isn’t it? But wait, these look…well purposeful.
Also note that said splotches are NOT finger paint. Which one would expect with a tablet “ad”.
What this suggests to me is that this tablet is going to have an optical recognition software where you interact with the device by looking at certain parts of it.
Now, before you say I’m crazy, here’s my thinking.
I’m a User eXperience professional for a living. My job is to make software and websites that people can use easily, and enjoy using. A byproduct of this is that I look at an awful lot of heat maps, which are illustrations created by special cameras that track eye movement and mark on the page where people are looking. This helps us as UX Architects to determine where to put items on the page so people will find them.
Now, look at this heat map and go back and look at the “Latest Creation” ad. Looks kind of similar, doesn’t it? And notice where the largest splotch of paint is? Right on the Apple logo.
So, I may be WAY off base here, but I think tomorrow we’re going to see the beginning of optical input computing on a large scale.
We’ll see if I’m right.

As most of you know, tomorrow Apple is going to make an announcement. How big or little this announcement is depends on who you listen to, but most people tend to agree that the meat of the show will be the unveiling of the much rumored Tablet.

However, I’m wondering if it is going to be more than just a “tablet”.

To me, a tablet, something between the iPhone and the MacBook just makes no sense to Apple. Sure, there’s lots of those already, and I’m sure some of them make money, but for Apple to get involved with it, there has to be a market. They just don’t go and create things willy-nilly and hope for the best. They KNOW (or think they know) that something is going to work before they share it with the rest of us.

That means that this “tablet” is going to have to have some killer functionality to it in order to distinguish it from all the other ones already on the market.

Looking at the logo for the upcoming event I think I have an idea of what it might be. You know me, I can’t not analyze something…

Looking at the shape of the logo, it appears to be in a tablet shape. Ok, that’s kind of a no brainer.

It’s also covered with paint splotches. Colorful, isn’t it? But wait, these look…well purposeful.

Also note that said splotches are NOT finger paint. Which one would expect with a tablet “ad”, as you interact with a typical tablet with your fingers.

What this suggests to me is that this tablet is going to have an optical recognition software where you interact with the device by looking at certain parts of it.

Now, before you say I’m crazy, here’s my thinking:

I’m a User Experience (UX) professional for a living. My job is to make software and websites that people can use easily, and enjoy using. A byproduct of this is that I look at an awful lot of heat maps, which are illustrations created by special cameras that track eye movement and mark on the page where people are looking. This helps us as UX Architects to determine where to put items on the page so people will find them. Here’s an example.

Now, look at this heat map and go back and look at the “Latest Creation” ad. Looks kind of similar, doesn’t it? And notice where the largest splotch of paint is? Right on the Apple logo.

So, I may be WAY off base here, but I think tomorrow we’re going to see the beginning of optical input computing on a large scale.

We’ll see if I’m right. Check me tomorrow…

EDIT: 27 January 2010

Well, I was wrong. Too bad. I would have liked to see that. Regardless, I’ll still buy one.

1 October 2009

A passion for User Experience…

Filed under: Ponderings,Work

I was talking to a friend of mine today I’ve not talked to in a long time and the subject of what I do came up. Now, after all these years, I’m used to having to explain what I do to people. It’s just a by-product of the profession. There’s lots of joke names for what I do, “Bubble/Line Coordinator” is one of my personal favorites, but my term of choice for what I do comes from one of my early mentors in the field: I make software applications (for the Web) that are powerful but easy to use.

It sounds simple, and sometimes it is, but most of the time it’s a deeply challenging, and therefore rewarding, thing to do.

My grandfather used to say “the first time you hit a golf ball correctly, you’ll be hooked on the game for life” (he was right, by the way). Working in User Experience is just like that. The first time you hear from a user “wow, that was so easy”, you’ll be hooked. It was like that for me.

It wasn’t anything glamorous, just an updated setup process for an application to manage a Microsoft Exchange-based product that involved some pretty deep concepts (from MX Records to MobileMail and BlackBerry options). I worked on it for a long time, and finally came to a flow that I thought worked well. When it was tested on users it received high marks, and one of the comments was “wow, that was easy”.

Sure, the design answered the requirements (and increased activations by over 60%, which looked good on my annual review), but what meant the most to me was that one user’s comment.

That was my golf ball, and I hit it correctly. I’m hooked on Usability for life.

26 September 2009

Inspiration

Filed under: Ponderings,Work

I made this and it hangs in my office. It inspires me every day. I hope it inspires you too.

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