Recent Posts

WordCast: Verbal Protocols (Thinking Aloud)

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.

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Critique: Android Phones Longitudinal Reviews of LG Motion and Google Nexus 4

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).

LG Motion:
* 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

Nexus 4:
* 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.

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WordCast: User Experience 101

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
http://www.aegeanpublishing.com/phaser1.html

You can learn about ISO standards for usabilty at the wonderful Usability.Net:
http://www.usabilitynet.org/tools/r_international.htm

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Bad UI Labels Part 1: The Chaos Button

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:
http://www.onlinewebdesigndegree.com

Plus email from Ben in an episode that had to be trimmed because there was just too much good stuff going on.

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8th Anniversary Show with Tom Brinck! Step Stool Critique

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
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FIE6SO/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004SAC3/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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!

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Editorial: In Praise of Brick & Mortar Stores

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
http://blog.intuit.com/trends/browsing-fees-a-new-retail-strategy-or-the-end-of-bricks-and-mortar/

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)

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Critique: Garmin Nuvi 50 GPS Longitudinal Review

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.

http://designcritique.net/dc86-longitudinal-review-tom-tom-xl335tm-portable-gps

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.

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Critique: Bad UI Labels Part 1: The Chaos Button

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:
http://www.onlinewebdesigndegree.com

Plus email from Ben in an episode that had to be trimmed because there was just too much good stuff going on.

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Interview: Site Maps As Design Tools with Caitlin Potts

Caitlin Potts discusses using using site maps as website design tools. You can have her Omnigraffle template for free at the following link:
http://michichi.org/helping-sitemaps-get-their-groove-back/

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.

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Critique: Nokia Customer Service Success

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”.

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