Recent Posts

Longitudinal Review: TomTom XL335TM Portable GPS

“Attack of the Pointless Modal Confirmations”
Tim critiques almost two years of experience with the TomTomXL335TM portable GPS in a longitudinal review plagued by a ragged voice from a nasty January filled with mishaps, and a mental wooziness that we hope isn’t too obvious. But food poisonings, auto wrecks, and seasonal colds cannot prevent the fact that the XL335 is a GPS that has terrific voices which sound wonderful, but unreliable software and horrid modal confirmation abuses throughout.
Just reflect on this one example of interaction design gone wrong; sadly, it is typical of the TomTom Way:

It takes eleven, that’s 11, taps to change voices on the XL335TM. I am not making this up.

And here are TomTom’s excellent marketing of its Star Wars celebrity voices:
Darth Vader in the recording studio: http://youtu.be/2ljFfL-mL70
Yoda in the recording studio: http://youtu.be/FdcJVuylmsM

Two feedback emails round out this 46-minute episode.

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Listener Feedback with Eric Gauvin, December 2011

A new Design Critique episode type is born. When someone sends feedback on an episode, they may be asked to come on the show and discuss what they had to say. That’s how Eric Gauvin from the USA got roped into doing an episode with Tim regarding Eric’s email comments on episode DC84, The State of the Internet User Experience 2011 panel.

Thanks to Eric for making time to talk with me.

And season’s greetings, everyone!

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Critique: Sustainable Shaving Tools

In which Tim Keirnan and Mike Beasley discuss vintage shaving tool designs, featuring the safety razor and straight razor. Shaving with these old methods has many advantages, including:
* Closer shaves that last longer before the dreaded 5 o’clock shadow appears
* Improved skin condition due to premium creams and soaps used
* Lower cost of ownership (unless you start collecting gear as a hobby)
* Sustainable technology compared with disposable plastic-dominated, modern, overpriced crap
* Better user experience due to mindful nature of single-blade shaving that many find relaxing and even fun, due to the “gourmet” shave creams and soaps, brushes, and blades used. As Mike says, it’s more classy.

Two forums in particular helped us convert from multi-bladed cartridge monstrosities with industrial “goop in a can” to vintage shaving:
http://straightrazorplace.com/
Mike frequents this forum and likes it a lot.

http://www.pogonotomy.com/
Tim favors this one for forum owner Bruce’s blog and the very international nature forum that is small enough to feel neighborly and doesn’t overwhelm you with millions of posts per day.

Legendary Zack’s article on boar bristle shave brushes, and some other blogs:
http://www.shavemyface.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=35880
http://www.shaving101.com/
http://sharpologist.com/

YouTube channels that helped us greatly include:
http://www.youtube.com/user/mantic59
Legendary Mantic59’s Shave Tutor channel. Excellent how to videos.

http://www.youtube.com/user/geofatboy
Geo does a lot of terrific reviews of razors old and new, shaving with them while doing his reviews.

http://www.youtube.com/user/mokujingris1
http://www.youtube.com/user/MrGuysRazors

And Michael Ham’s reference how-to book on safety razor shaves:

http://leisureguy.wordpress.com/shaving-book-reviews/

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Panel: The State of the Internet User Experience in 2011

Recorded live at Internet User Experience 2011 on October 11th, it’s the panel session “The State of the Internet User Experience” starring
Marti Gukeisen
Dave Mitropoulos-Rundus
Dante Murphy
Susan Weinschenk

and Tim Keirnan as the moderator.

Learn more about the panelists at
http://www.iue2011.com/presentation_stateofux.html

Thanks to all four panelists for allowing Design Critique to distribute this recording.

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Critique: Logitech Customer Service

In this followup to episode DC82a, Tim describes the conclusion of his interaction with Logitech Customer Support. Unlike the MINI/BMW car maker attitude towards service after a sale, Logitech proves itself exceptionally good at listening to a complaint about a defective product and fixing it quickly without hassle.

If only more companies took their customer experience after the sale as seriously as Logitech does! Service after the sale is as important as the product design itself. Indeed, it IS part of the product design. Only arrogant, “take the money and run” companies, such as MINI, fail to understand this. Long-term brand loyalty is usually increased by responsive customer support.

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Longitudinal Review: 2009 MINI Cooper

The longitudinal review of Tim’s 2009 MINI Cooper is here! A car so unreliable that he had to get rid of it after only 2.5 years. Automotive human factors engineer Ken Mayer (cohost from our earlier Saturn SC2 car critique) returns to help Tim on this very detailed critique of the second generation MINI Cooper, a stunning mix of greatness and disaster (the car, we mean, not this critique). If you love cars, you’ll love this episode. We put the long in longitudinal product reviews!

Basically, the second generation (post-2006) MINI Cooper is a frustrating mix of unreliable components assembled unreliably. MINI refused for over a month to send Tim’s dealer a new piston and rod when those went bad at only 31K miles. The flaky electronics are infested with more gremlins than, uh…that movie named “Gremlins”. An addictively fun car such as the MINI almost makes you forgive its shoddy quality…almost but not quite. Tim broke his addiction and is now in MINI detox. Please pray for his recovery.

But there’s still a lot to praise about the things MINI got right in this car. Buckle up for a rollicking, passionate, detailed review that covers everything you want to know about a car that inspires passion, both positive and negative, in an era of unloveable, boring “familymobiles”.

Then join TrueDelta to tell the world about your car’s reliability. Write your own reviews for your car(s) to tell the world what you’ve enjoyed and disliked. Check it out right now at
www.truedelta.com

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Critique: Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere 2

Tim critiques the Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere 2 portable speaker system for iPods, iPhones, and other sound-making gadgets. The Pure-Fi Anywhere was Logitech’s sequel to the highly successful mm50, which Tim and Alan reviewed way back in episode DC39.
This longitudinal review covers two years of experience using this product, including the new user interface, the industrial design that both delights and disappoints, the improved sound quality of the bass response, and a problem with the battery that we should all be upset about in consumer electronics.

Internet User Experience 2011 is coming to Ann Arbor, Michigan, this autumn! Check out what this terrific annual conference has to offer this year at
www.iue2011.com

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6th Anniversary Episode with Dr. Susan Weinschenk on 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

Sixth Anniversary Edition! Dr. Susan Weinschenk joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion of her latest book, 100 Things Every Designer Should Know About People. Not just a collection of opinons, 100 Things… presents up-to-date research on the fundamentals that uderpin our work as UX professionals, while exposing several popular myths and misconceptions along the way.
Thanks for listening for six years! I’m proud of what Tom Brinck and I started back in the summer of 2005, and appreciate any and all feedback you send.

Susan’s blog is at
www.whatmakesthemclick.net

Her Twitter is
@thebrainlady

Check out the Colours In Cultures color wheel by David McCandless at
http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/colours-in-cultures/

You can read Tim’s article about usability testing for entrepreneurs at the Entrepreneurial America website at
http://www.entrepreneurial-america.com/2011/07/product-usability-testing-for.html

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Interview: Calculating ROI for Usability at Ford Motor Company with Chad Esselink

Time for another wordcast episode, this time on ROI. Chad Esselink from the Ford Motor Company joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion on calculating return on investment for UX projects and forming a usability team. While at Ford, Chad used case studies backed with return on investment calculations to get buy-in from his superiors to create the Creative Design & Usability team.
We all think we know about usability’s ability to cut costs, but Chad tells us that increased throughput is just as important (and quite different). When should we use one and not the other while attempting to persuade executives that usability pays for itself and more?
Throughput. Cost cutting. Know the difference! And no, I’m not going to tell you in the show notes, you have to listen.

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Interview: Author Giles Colborne on Simple and Usable: Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design

Author Giles Colborne from CX Partners joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion about his book Simple And Usable: Web, Mobile and Interaction Design. To quote the back cover:
“Simplicity is a discipline that can be learned. This book shows you how with humor, powerful examples, quotes, and case studies. You’ll learn to strip away complexity by organizing, removing, hiding, and displacing. And you’ll discover how to create focused, elegant user experiences that people will love.”

Here is Giles’ website for the book:
www.simpleandusable.com

Does Giles’ voice sound familiar? It should! I had him on the show back in 2006 after the UPA international conference that year. Episode 18, in fact:
http://designcritique.net/index.php?post_id=108542#

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