Recent Posts

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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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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