Filed under "Critique"

Who hurt you, John Maeda?

27 March 2019 • Filed under ,

Design personality John Maeda made waves recently in an except from his Design in Tech Report 2019. There’s a lot to unpack, but a couple themes rose to the top for me. Influence as Leadership “The role of design is to not aspire to be a leading actor — it’s goal should always be to become a great supporting actor. Imagine a movie or TV show without any supporting actors. It wouldn’t be a particularly interesting piece of entertainment. Yes? So indeed I don’t believe in ‘design led’ as the winning paradigm. My …


27 January 2016 • Filed under ,

We in the UX business have all heard of dark patterns. These are interfaces designed to trick the user into doing something they probably do not want to do. I’ve noticed a rise in another pattern recently, more subversive than malicious: something I like to call “jerk patterns”. Jerk patterns don’t hide their consequences, but seek to manipulate people on a more emotional level. I think this pattern has been around for a while. In fact, just today I encountered what I would consider one of these patterns as I signed out of my …

500XL Speakers from Fred: A Review for Your Reading Pleasure

26 August 2008 • Filed under

I’ve been eyeballing these speakers ever since they hit the Fred website, so when Patrick Haney pointed me towards a store that was actually selling them, I had to buy. Like, immediately. And they arrived today! Style With a few minor discrepancies, probably due to manufacturing and assembly needs, the 500XLs faithfully duplicate the original iPod earbud design — just scaled up 500 times. They look really cool. As soon as I unpacked them, I had a small audience around my desk putting the giant earbuds up to their ears and such. The scaling up of such a …

More Than A Feeling.

27 December 2006 • Filed under ,

The design community has been all aflutter since Adobe revealed the icon system that will identify and unify both the Adobe and the newly-acquired Macromedia applications. There have been varying opinions on the subject; some designers approve of the new icons (Veerle Pieters) while others (Jason Santa Maria, Dave Shea) heartily disapprove of them. The detractors have pointed out a number of usability problems such as heavy reliance on color for identification, forcing users to read the icons’ “elemental abbreviation” before discerning what application it belongs to, scalability issues, etc. This is all very valid and useful to bring …

The Making of a Lovable Mascot.

25 September 2006 • Filed under ,

Resembles perfect cube of poop? Check. Represents edible food in spite of poop-like properties? Check. Communicates with creepy giggles and hugs? Check. Leaves messy brown smears on all who touch him? Check. Interactive site is made available en español so that El Blocko de Poopo can be enjoyed by all Americanos? Check.

Longstanding iTunes Deficiencies.

23 September 2005 • Filed under ,

While it’s still cool to poke at Apple a little bit, let me address two issues that I believe have been serious oversights on the part of Apple’s iTunes. Oh, I know there are a lot of complaints (gapless playback, anyone?) but these two items are at the core of music navigation, and it seems that after 5 versions of iTunes these issues could have been resolved. Artist Order: What, You’re Too Good for Surnames? I am notoriously anal in the organization of my physical CDs. I organized my collection the way a music …

iTunes 5: Music to My Ears, But not My Eyes.

8 September 2005 • Filed under ,

After feasting my eyes on the latest MP3 wonder that is iPod nano yesterday, I was enthused to be notified this morning of an update to iTunes, my longstanding music player of choice. I definitely should have sought out a screenshot first. First of all, I’m glad Apple has played nice with us poor Windows users for all these years, continuing to release updated versions of iTunes for Windows in concert with its Mac counterpart. Of course, it’s all part of Apple’s strategy: hook ‘em with iTunes, reel ‘em in with iPod and then …

Commerical, Hijacked.

25 November 2004 • Filed under

So have you seen the new Netzero TV spot? My jaw just about hit the floor when I saw it last night. You’ve seen the AOL ad, right? A secretary for an AOL executive is approached at her desk by a line of customers who have suggestions about how to improve the internet service. The secretary goes into the executive’s office to tell him that there are some customers outside who have some new ideas for the company. He asks how many, and she says, “All of them” as the camera angle pans up to show …

© Jared Christensen

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