Articles (2013)

 

 

 

 

 

UI Design Blinks – Overview (2013)

Updated: November 27, 2013

Gerd WaloszekWelcome to this column of brief, blog-like articles about various UI design topics – inspired by my daily work, conference visits, books, or just everyday life experiences.

As in a blog roll, the articles will be listed in reverse chronological order – and if the roll becomes too long, I will start a new one.

Please note that the articles will appear at irregular intervals as time permits and inspiration comes... And from time to time, there may also be guest columns.

GoSee also the overviews of Blinks from others years at the top right.

 

2013 Blog Roll

November 22, 2013: Thank You and Good-Bye!

Goog byeIn October 2010, I eventually came to the conclusion that I ought to join a trend which, at the time, was no longer really new – and publish a UI design blog. I already had some experience with writing blog-like articles, because, between 2005 and 2007, I had published an internal SAP design blog. However, with hindsight, the new articles, called "SAP UI Design Blinks," were often much longer than what you would rightfully expect from a blog...

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November 20, 2013: A Lesson from Colin Ware's Book Information Visualization

Information Visualization, Third Edition: Perception for Design by Colin Ware was the last book I reviewed for the SAP Design Guild website. In the final chapter, I hit upon a surprising figure for the capacity of our long-term memory, which inspired me to remember my roots in physics and attain a perspective based on the powers of ten. ...

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October 24, 2013: A Tour de Force of Designers in the Software Realm

Types of designersIn various articles on this Website, I have discussed the different kinds of design and designers. Therefore, a colleague asked me to describe them in less than 500 words for an introductory article on the SAP UX Community. However, I not only failed to comply with the 500 words limit, I also did not bear in mind that the intended target audience knows very little about design. So I went back to the drawing board. For this column, however, my article seemed appropriate to me after some updates. So here is my personal view of what kinds of designers populate the software world in (fairly) short form. ...

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October 17, 2013: Keyboard Schizophrenia...

Apple keyboardIn my previous UI Design Blink, I mentioned that columnist John Dvorak called the integrated application Jazz "one of the great flopperoos in computing history." In this Blink, I would like to complain about what I myself find "one of the great flopperoos in computing." While it seems to be only a "minor" and peripheral issue, it nevertheless annoys me nearly every day...

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October 8, 2013: Milking the Wooly Sow for Eggs

egg-laying, milk-bearing woolly sowWe Germans have a name for something that "does everything": We call it an eierlegende Wollmilchsau. That's an egg-laying, milk-giving, wool-bearing sow. Such a sow would, of course, simplify a farmer's life considerably. This is also the idea behind universal tools such as the Swiss army knife, food processors, and other "all-in-one solutions." ...

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October 2, 2013: Making Life "Easier" on Vacations?

Plugs We are constantly being told that technical devices make our lives easier and more pleasant. We therefore accumulate quite a bunch of them during our lifetime. As vacations are an important part of our lives, not surprisingly, some of our devices come with us. In this UI Design Blink, I will not only reveal, which devices my wife and I took with us on our recent vacation, I will also discuss how these complied with the notion of "making life easier." ...

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September 11, 2013: With a Smile on His (or Her) Face…

SmilieIn the last few months, I've often had to take the bus instead of ride my bicycle when commuting to work. During that time, I observed a lot of people using their mobile or smart phones. I noticed again and again that people started to smile when they picked up their phones, and while they talked with their friends, relatives, or loved ones. Of course, I also observed a number of incidents in which people were not friendly at all when talking on their mobile phones. But as a general rule, I can state that the smiles won hands-down. ...

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August 30, 2013: Swinging Between Designing the Big and the Small Things

Some of the inspirational sources for this UI Design BlinkIn this UI Design Blink, I fit various puzzle pieces together to produce an Aha! experience and the insight that I "knew it all along"... I'm talking – in design terms – about tackling "big problems" versus devoting one's attention to the "small ones" which were only recently dubbed "microinteractions." ...

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August 6, 2013: Coffee Machines, the Burdens of Experience, Resulting Mental Models, and a Lack of Attention – and the Role of Design

Section of coffee machine control panelRecently, my team moved to a new building, meaning that we not only were confronted with a new environment, but also with a new coffee machine. Actually, the new machine is the same model as the ones I am used to. But, as always and, as my story shows, the devil is in the details. ...

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August 1, 2013: Suggestions for Expanding Don Norman's New Version of His Book The Design of Everyday Things

Traffic lightJust recently, a colleague sent me an e-mail to point me to a new version of Don Norman's all-time classic book The Design of Everyday Things and also to a new training course developed by Udacity that is based on the book. When I followed the link that he had sent me, I found out that the book is now entitled, The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition, and that it will be published at the beginning of November this year. So there is still some time left to speculate about how Norman will revise and expand his book. ...

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July 18, 2013: A Journey Across Touchpoints at Heidelberg Main Station

DB ticket machine In this UD Design Blink, I would like to tell a story that Milan Guenther would probably characterize as a "journey across touchpoints." I encountered this notion for the first time, while reading Guenther's book Intersection, in which he writes about touchpoints and their orchestration, a new design discipline. My personal journey was initiated by the simple task of buying a train ticket and consisted of quite a few technical and human touchpoints, and as always, it also involved a number of human and technical weaknesses. ...

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July 10, 2013: iPad Dog Salon

Dog status overview screenWhen you Google the words "iPad" and "children" plus "coloring" on the Internet, the first hits you get are Web sites discussing "young children's addiction to the iPad" and "the best drawing apps for kids." Has the iPad led to children only wanting to draw and color in the digital world? Nina Hollender would like to tell you a (true) story that shows how an iPad can, in fact, inspire kids to draw and color the traditional way, on paper. Read what Nina writes about her niece Josi and her iPad dog salon prototype. ...

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July 2, 2013: An Introduction to Milan Guenther's Book Intersection and to the Enterprise Design Framework It Presents

Milan Guenther and his book IntersectionCurrently, I am in the process of reviewing Milan Guenther's book Intersection. And as the review was getting longer and longer, I felt that I had to do something to limit its length. One option was, to shorten the introduction to the book. On the other hand, I also felt that the long version might be interesting for other UI designers. I therefore decided to publish the original version of the introduction with only minor adaptations as a UI Design Blink. Here it is! ...

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June 18, 2013: Another Sneak Preview of the Book Gamification at Work

Progress indicatorGamification is becoming a common buzzwords in business these days and in UI design as well. I first encountered the concept of gamification in more detail at the Interaction 2012 conference in Dublin, Ireland. There, Dustin DiTommaso held the presentation Beyond Gamification: Architecting Engagement Through Game Design Thinking, in which he discussed self-determination theory and laid out a seven-step "framework for success" in gameful design. ...

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June 11, 2013: A Few Books and Links for Familiarizing Oneself with Charts and Dashboards (Data Visualization)

Data visualizationThe design of charts and dashboards is not usually included in books about information visualization and is covered separately. Sometimes, this field is referred to as "data visualization." Therefore, I'm following this habit and am presenting the books around this topic that I came across in a separate UI Design Blink. ...

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June 7, 2013: Some Books and Links for Familiarizing Oneself with Information Visualization

Information visualizationInformation visualization is a fairly new research field attracting growing interest. Since information visualization has always interested me, I have over the years bought a couple of books about this topic, read some of them, reviewed a subset of these, and also have some books still waiting for being read – and perhaps reviewed. In this UI Design Blink, I would like to provide some pointers to these books and to a few more. ...

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June 6, 2013: Design Guidelines with a Backup in Research – Are There Any?

Research-based guidelinesUI and visual design guidelines are not very popular these days and are therefore often hidden behind labels such as "best practices." But I am still convinced that UI design guidelines are a "developer's best friends." Actually, they should be everybody's darling in the UI/UX design field, because they are meant to support designers, not to constrict their creativity. Often, however, the rationale for the guidelines is unclear. Is a guideline backed up by research? Is it based on common sense? O does it just follow arbitrary conventions? In fact, most UI guideline collections are a mixture of all of these ingredients. In this UI Design Blink, I would therefore like to point you to three attempts at basing UI design guidelines on research findings. ...

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May 29, 2013: Modern Technology Is so Fast! At least, in Theory...

My first computer and one of my first TV setsToday, we are surrounded by digital technology like never before. Thanks to the mobile trend, the services it provides are accessible nearly everywhere. Not only is it at our command, it is also incredibly fast compared with the old, mostly analog, technology that it has replaced. Thus, speed and ubiquity of these devices make it easy and hassle-free for us today to listen to music, watch videos and TV, or use the Internet with all its possibilities whenever and wherever we want – at least, in theory . ...

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May 23, 2013: Human Memory Is Fallible...

Duplicate shirtsMany years ago, a former university colleague of mine told me a nice story: On a shopping trip, he went into a clothes shop, discovered a shirt he liked, and spontaneously bought it. At home and in a good mood because of his great purchase, he opened his wardrobe to hang up the shirt. ...

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April 19, 2013: Spring Awakened My iPad – and Old Questions

Comfortable computingBack when I eventually bought an iPad, I reported on my change of mind regarding mobile devices in this column and promised to share my "mobile" experiences from time to time. In my last iPad report in February 2013, I asked whether the iPad, or any other tablet computer, is a productivity tool – or whether it could at least be used as one, for example, for the same kind of work done on a laptop computer or whether the iPad could even replace a laptop. But despite some indicators that people also want to use their tablet computers in productive ways, I found overwhelming evidence that people in my vicinity (including myself) use their iPads primarily as a "tool for consumption." Here, I will report on further evidence that, in my opinion, confirms that tablet computers are primarily used as "consumption tools." ...

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March 28, 2013: SAP Sponsors the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF)

Mads Soegaard and Rikke DamAbout a year ago, at DKOM 2012, I heard about negotiations on a potential SAP sponsorship for the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF) for the first time. IDF is located in Aarhus, Denmark, and is well known and respected in the design field for being "on a mission to make free and open educational materials." At the German DKOM 2013 event in mid-March, which was held in Mannheim, Germany, the sponsorship was eventually and officially announced. "Gut Ding will Weile haben (good things take time to ripen)," as we say in Germany. ...

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March 21, 2013: More on Multiple Skyline Graphs

Table lens graphsQuite a few weeks have passed since my last UI Design Blink about multiple skyline graphs. It was written in response to Bill Caemmerer's reaction to my articles about skyline graphs (graphs that convey relative and absolute changes) and, in particular, to my attempt at multiple skyline graphs. In the meantime, and as promised to Bill and my readers, I have taken a closer look at his version of multiple skyline graphs – and feel that the time has now come to share my insights. ...

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February 12, 2013: Is the iPad – or Any Other Tablet Computer – a Productivity Tool?

Productive work requires, of course, a laptop-like look, an external keyboard, and other ingredients…It's more than six since I reported on my usage habits in the – for me – new mobile world (Retrospect after Five Weeks of Owning an iPad, Now I Know What "Cloud" Means). Some readers of this column might therefore be wondering why there has been so little news in the meantime. Actually, my summer vacation caused a major break in my publishing activities, and, thereafter, I had so much other work to do that I found little time for experimenting or being "productive" with my iPad. ...

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February 1, 2013: Bill Caemmerer on Multiple Skyline Graphs

Multiple skyline graphsYou may or may not remember that I attended the Interaction 2012 conference in Dublin, Ireland last year. Not only did I write a report on what I had seen at this conference, I also published two UI Design Blinks, Skyline Graphs – New Insights on the Horizon... and More Experiments with Skyline Graphs, about the topic of a presentation that I was regrettably not able to attend: Bill Caemmerer's presentation Telling the Data Comparison Story Using A Skyline Graph (Instead of Two Pies). Luckily, an attendee told me about skyline graphs and briefly explained the basic concept behind them to me. Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Bill Caemmerer describing his latest investigations in multiple skyline graphs – which were stimulated by my Blinks. ...

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January 15, 2013: A New Approach to the Gamification of Websites – Finding the Relevant Content

Webpage with hard to find content

Many people still believe that everything on the Web should be free. Others regard the Web as a money-printing machine that will make people who take their chances rich. In fact, I would not be too surprised if, one day, we had to start paying for useful content instead of obtaining it free of charge. But even today, free Web content already comes at a price in many cases. The price that you may have to pay is that you have to look very hard to find relevant content on a page. In this UI Blink, I take a look at this trend and come to a surprising conclusion. ...

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