Saturday, December 26, 2009


While chatting with one of the interaction architects at work, he brought upon a topic I have to agree with. Users are very much willing to "forgive" usability mistakes under certain circumstances. For example, when Apple came out with the "puck mouse" back in the late 90s, advanced computer users hated it. Whenever a user placed their hand down on the mouse, they would need to stop working and look at the mouse in order to determine the orientation.

Round mice are a design flaw.

However, Apple users being the enthusiasts they are, willingly forgave Apple because they have a lot of appreciation for the brand. I find this to be a common theme. People are willing to overlook and forgive mistakes when there is a pre-existing emotional attachment to the product or brand. iPhone's initial lack of MMS? Apple iTV? Forgiving is what Apple users do.

Friday, December 11, 2009


When I was first introduced to RSS feeds, the purpose of it didn't make any sense to me. At the time, feed readers would essentially grab the feed and display the content. Each site had their own feed so even if I were to use a feed reader, I'd still need to go through 10 separate feeds to read my news. RSS never solved the issue with aggregation. In order to stay alive, they should have done two things:

  1. A unified tagging scheme. Every website had their own way of producing RSS feeds and it was completely unnecessary. Unify the code!
  2. Timestamping. Rather than creating an ambiguous date/time scheme, have all RSS carry a GMT stamp so that the client can determine the relative time.

These two things would have given users the ability to aggregate their feeds chronologically because for them to do this would have meant users could have gone to one place to get their news; they wouldn't need to click on 20 different "feed" buttons from a feed reader. And do you know what an aggregated feed reader that sorts its news postings chronologically? Twitter.