Recent Posts

Critique: T-Mobile Customer Service Nightmare

Even when the initial user experience of a product is good, the total customer experience suffers when a company ignores service after the sale. We at Design Critique argue that service after the sale IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF A PRODUCT’S DESIGN because it directly affects the customer experience. Only bad companies isolate product design from customer service design. In Tim’s case, T-Mobile destroyed a loyal, 8-year customer relationship for its monthly prepaid service by

* Refusing to help replace a smart phone under warranty when it broke, in any kind of  realistic time frame,

* Refusing to unlock the phone after selling it on the condition it would be unlocked after 90 days, and

* Implying its monthly prepaid customers are not worth helping because only long term contract customers deserve good customer service.

It’s a comedy of errors unless you’re the one who wasted hundreds of dollars and hours of time dealing with T-Mobile’s agressively anti-customer practices. What lessons can we draw from T-Mobile’s mistakes?

One anecdote does not make a statistically significant trend, but anecdotes provide useful insights into the how and why of customer service failures.

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Critique: Nokia Lumia 710

Tobby Smith returns to help Tim provide a longitudinal review of Nokia’s Lumia 710 Windows phone. After over eight months of use, the Lumia 710 proved itself a terrific value in smart phone quality, including
* Convenient, portable size with grippy back cover that can be switched with other colors to personalize the phone
* Hardware buttons for the three standard Windows Phone buttons, instead of the soft buttons so often found on other models. We find dedicated hardware buttons much more usable.
* Clear and bright screen with high contrast.
* Good video recording.
* Superior applications specific to Nokia phones, such as Nokia Drive.

Problems included
* Tim’s phone broke after only five months without any abuse or dropping.
* Still camera images are average at best.
* Volume of speaker is not loud enough to hear nav instructions above road noise or  stereo playing.

Despite the dislikes, the Lumia 710 is a great value-priced smart phone. As Windows 8 phones roll out, it may become even cheaper to buy and thus an even better value for customers who don’t need the advanced functionality of Windows Phone 8.
See Nokia’s profile of the Lumia 710 at
http://www.nokia.com/us-en/products/phone/lumia710/

Photos of the 710 from Nokia.com are used entirely without permission.

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Wordcast: Haptics

Listener Costan Boiangiu rejoins the show for a wordcast on haptic feedback in product design. What is it, how is it used currently in product designs, and how could it be used? We discuss designs that have haptic feedback innately as well as designs where the haptics have been added. Thanks for Tim’s coworker, Gary, for suggesting this topic for the show.

Check out Costan’s automotive design blog at
http://www.drivingroom.com

And remember to visit Haptics-e: The Electronic Journal of Haptics Research
for the latest in scholarly research at
http://www.haptics-e.org/

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Interview: Peter Morville at Internet User Experience 2012

“From Information Architecture to Ambient Findability to Intertwingularity: An Inspiring Conversation with Peter Morville

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Recorded June 18th, 2012 at IUE2012.

Peter Morville (above, left), best known as a founding father of information architecture, co-authored the profession’s best-selling book, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web.
That was 1998. Since then, Peter continues to be a prolific author, practitioner, and thought leader for our industry and profession amidst this ever-expanding and reinventive internet landscape that continues to provide communications, information, and commerce to the world.
To most effectively tap into Peter’s current and historical thinking, he was interviewed live and interactively with the audience by Design Critique’s Timothy Keirnan.

Visit Peter’s blog and more at http://semanticstudios.com/

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Critique: Windows Phone 7.5

Tobby Smith joins Tim Keirnan for a longitudinal review of the Windows Phone 7.5 mobile operating system. Both guys have been using it on Nokia Lumia 710 handsets since last winter and are ready to explain why they enjoy the Windows Phone customer experience, as well as complain about the negative points which they hope Microsoft will fix in the upcoming Windows Phone 8.

Tobby is a long-time veteran of smart phone use, while Tim is new to smart phones, so both ends of the user continuum are included.

To see the user interface of Windows Phone, head over to a cell phone store in your area and try it for yourself OR point your browser to
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsphone/en-US/features/default.aspx

The episode of Design Critique with Matt Hard that covered the Zune HD, the predecessor to Windows Phone, can be heard at
http://www.designcritique.biz/podcasts/critique-microsoft-zune-players-zune-4-0-software-and-zunepass-music-service

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Mailbag Episode 3

 

A very special mailbag episode in which

* Internet User Experience 2012 is promoted. Check it out at
www.iue2012.com

* Costan refers us to a terrific article on Airbus airliner cockpit interface design. Read it at
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/9231855/Air-France-Flight-447-Damn-it-were-going-to-crash.html

* An anonymous listener complains about Tim’s articulation. When is enunciating for intelligibility a problem, if ever? Do listeners speaking English as a second language appreciate clear articulation, or is it not needed?

* Jason thanks us for the MINI Cooper critique episode.

* Eric responds to the listener feedback episode with Lynn on lack of contrast in modern UI designs.

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Interview: Guidelines To Ensure Voting Intent with Dana Chisnell

Dana Chisnell from Usability Works discusses her latest project, Field Guides for Ensuring Voter Intent. This Kickstarter crowd-source funded project will design, write, publish, and distribute concise design guidelines for usable ballot design to public servants around the United States. And, eventually, beyond.

Learn and contribute (up until April 14th) to the project at
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/civicdesigning/field-guides-to-ensuring-voter-intent

Read Dana’s thoughts on civic design at
http://civicdesigning.org/

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Critique: GoldStar Microwave Oven Model MA65111W

The GoldStar MA6511W microwave oven is a triumph of kitchen appliance interaction design. Featuring only two mechanical controls that are all too rare in an age of overly-complex digital designs, the MA6511W deserves as much praise as can be put into this 16 minute episode. The adjective “intuitive” is often over-used, but it applies to this small microwave oven.

Microwaves are functionally simple devices often made difficult to use by manufacturers who put frivolous features and buttons on something that doesn’t need to be complex. A mad dash for “features” at the expense of audience needs and usability is common in microwave oven design, but GoldStar’s design team tightly focused this oven for a particular audience (re-heating in space-cramped kitchens) and did NOT try to please everyone. The result is a wonderful appliance that has also proven very durable–7 years of trouble-free service at the time of this episode’s publishing.

The How Stuff Works website referred to in the episode has some podcasts you might be interested in:
http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/hsw-shows/hsw-podcast.htm

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Listener Feedback with Costan Boiangiu, February 2012

Listener Costan Boiangiu joins the show with comments on episode DC84, The State of the Internet User Experience 2011 panel session from Internet User Experience 2011.
Costan shares his ideas on
* The lack of usable bookmark titles on etail product pages
* Some websites’ frustrating lack of consistent overall navigation
* Some websites’ not revealing their national identity up front, especially if it’s an etail site

You can find Costan at his photography site here:
www.costanimagelab.com

and his work website here:
www.georgianc.on.ca

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