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Mailbag Show #1

Icon of an envelope

Tim & Tom respond to the first batch of listener feedback. How much technical detail do listeners want in addition to the user experience and general product design principle discussed? House band Peter Grey sings “Santa Fe”.

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Interview: Keith Instone of UXnet

UXNET logo appears here

Live from Internet User Experience 2006, Tim & Tom interview friend and fellow usability professional Keith Instone about his work with User Experience Network . What is UXnet, and what do they want from us? How about this: “UXnet was formed to help make connections between the people and organizations that represent User Experience disciplines, and to encourage interchange and cooperation.” Sounds good to us. In a field so widely interdisciplinary, we could use a big tent like UXnet to convene under. Attend the tale of UXnet! Plus, house band Peter Grey sings “Perfect Match”.

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Mourning Minolta: When Innovation and Good Design Aren’t Enough

Photos of Minolta digital SLR and old manual X-700

Sometimes even a company known for innovative products and good designs runs into trouble. After the guys reflect on their respective photography experiences (Tim likes SLRs, Tom’s a point & shoot man), Tom facilitates Tim’s grieving process over the closing of Minolta’s camera division. In the midst of the death of a beloved brand, at least we can celebrate what Minolta did right. The John Dvorak column about Minolta that Tim mentions is at

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Critique: Breadman TL555RC Bread Machine

DC008 Bread Machine UI

It’s fun critiquing good product designs–and this one tastes good, too. Tim & Tom are impressed with the design of the Breadman TR555LC bread machine, but that doesn’t stop them from encouraging innovation in the bread machine market space.

Tim’s sister lends a 3rd perspective on bread machines (she prefers baking bread by hand), Tom gives recipes away, Tim promotes Internet User Experience 2006 coming this February to the great American midwest, and house band Peter Grey sings “Color You”.

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Wordcast: Progressive Disclosure

DC007 Progressive Disclosure

Join Tim and Tom for a discussion on progressive disclosure, an interface design technique seen in hardware, software, and web pages. What is it, how is it best used, and how should it NOT be used? Plus: Tom says Queen Elizabeth II has never used a computer…Tim wants his own situation room…and closing song “Face In The Mirror” by house band Peter Grey.

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Critique: Website and Customer Experience

DC06_CCmusic site
Special holiday episode! Good online shopping requires a usable website and prompt customer service. Tim and Tom discuss their experiences with, website for legendary merchant Collector’s Choice Music. A terrific print catalog does not automatically translate into a terrific website–what do they do well and what needs help?
PLUS the show’s email address is revealed, an interview with a special guest from the North Pole gets out of hand, and house band Peter Grey sings of peace and love. Season’s greetings and lots of luck to you and yours in the new year.
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Critique: Non-Dorky Headphones, the Sennheiser PX-100

Photo of PX100 headphones

You don’t have to look like you’re waving in planes at the airport to enjoy good headphone sound. This is another single point perspective, where only one person has experience with the product. In this case, Tim couldn’t bear to live even a week without his PX-100 headphones, but he allows Tom to at least try them on during the show. What makes a great headphone design? It isn’t only about audio quality and price. New word: cosmesis… Funny stories about cords… Another song from the house band… Email address coming soon!
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Critique: Cyclometers

Occasionally, Design Critique features a single-point perspective on a product because the other guy isn’t able to borrow it long enough to be thorough. Such is the case with Tom’s cyclometers, exercise computers for bicycles. Tom can’t lend his bike to Tim for a month, but he can explain what cyclometers do, how they do it, and why he prefers one to the other. Learn along with Tim about these handy gadgets. What makes a good cyclometer design? Also, more music from our “house band”.
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Wordcast: Luddite

Chalkboard image of the word Luddite
In our first “wordcast” episode, Tom brings us the infamous term Luddite. Is there such a thing as a neo-Luddite? Tim hazily yet fondly recalls Neil Postman’s classic book Technopoly and its warnings against technological determinism. Is your life enhanced or hindered by technology? We all have choices. Finally, the Design Critique “house band” makes its debut.
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DC002 Critique: iPod Shuffle (original)

Pictures of front and back of the iPod Shuffle
Tim and Tom review the originalApple iPod Shuffle. Tim explains Design Critique’s “longitudinal review” approach. After we praise the Shuffle’s strong design points, Tim rages against MP3 players’ tendency to insert gaps of silence between tracks that are seamless on compact disc. The righteous indignation continues as we discuss customer experience with regard to digital rights management. Is the music industry at war with its own customers? Hold onto your hats, folks…
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