Behind Brown Eyes

21st century flogger. That's food-blogger, fyi. Now if it were the 17th century...
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Posts tagged "customization"

Oh my goodness, I have to chronicle this! Just this past week I was asking a co-worker if he remembered this show. He didn’t. Gah, memories. I love Google for its commemorations and creative designs. Like, who could forget the Pac-Man 30th anniversary? By clicking the animated “Google” image, you were able to play the game right in the browser window itself. Ingenious. Way to go, developers!

Also, I’ve always wondered—considering the fact that I saw this at 12:01AM today—who changes the Google design? It obviously has to be part of an automated system of some sort. But I still want to believe otherwise…that there’s a guy just sitting at his desk whose only role at the company is to create and refresh the Google images daily. We’ll call him the Google Design Man, for lack of a better job title. And he’s diligently staring at his hour-minute-second digital clock like, “Ok, 10 more seconds, and then I have to change the image!” He waits…3…2…1. CLICK! Image change. “Ah, that was a close one. With two minutes to go I ran to the water cooler down the hall. Phewf! Just glad I made it back in time.” Sorry, I’m visual. With me, you’ll get the thought out scenario and the literal picture.

I’ll admit, I’ve thought about deliberately checking Google at 12AM to see if the image would change on-the-dot. Believe me, I have no doubt that it does. It’s Google—and it is the 21st century. How naive can we be? We’re finding more and more ways to do less, by obtaining new gizmos and gadgets that do practically everything for us. So, why wait around at your desk? Why be physically present when you can program a device to automatically publish new content in your absence?

In essence, we’re using technological advancements to minimize if not replace the need for human labor and face-to-face interactions. And while I do believe that technology is a necessary and vital complement to our lifestyles, I wouldn’t want it to ever overtake the job market in its entirety.

While I’m all for new technologies that guarantee efficiency, accessibility, and customization, I’m typically not a fan of decreased face-time. There’s a time, place, and purpose for solely virtual meetings and online interactions. And in some cases, with varying time zones and geographic locations involved, virtual contact and asynchronous communication inevitably become the norm.

However, we never should get to a point where we cut off, or for that matter, consciously avoid all synchronous, face-to-face forms of communication. Because interacting with others in person is irreplaceable. It is how we can honestly get to know and understand those we meet, but more importantly, the key to establishing trust and building long-term relationships.

Design is inescapable. We encounter it in our day to day lifestyle, as it surrounds us and is moreover the foundation and shaper of every environment. While those with sharp, attentive-to-detail eyes are more likely to praise the good and discuss the bad design elements of every day things, the careless or aesthetically unaware observer will subconsciously accept the good, and make it a point to verbalize the bad designs they encounter.

As one who falls into the former category of observers, I am eager to boast about good designs, why I can classify it as such, and what makes it so appealing to a user like me. Top of my list: ease of use, accessibility, efficiency, customization, integration—but of course this list is subject to change depending on the medium to which these ideal components apply. How typical that I would list features that I consider critical to a “good design” for technology-related products and services alike. However, in reality, the importance of design stems beyond technology, playing a vital role in architecture, product development, advertising, marketing, communication services, and nearly every other system we engage with, whether tangible or intangible.

Everyone loves a good design. (This revolutionary product speaks volumes cross-generations.)

iPhone 4 interface

And when it comes to good design, some instantly proclaim it, while others contently accept it. But when it’s bad, you often can’t be silent. Not when a bad design is so painstakingly obvious, or when it affects productivity, or any of the other design ideals outlined above. That’s when there’s a problem. As a user, bad designs irk me—but admittedly, I still have a love/hate relationship with them. While I love to learn from bad designs, and instinctively start thinking about what I would do to improve annoyances “x, y, and z,” I hate it when a poor, ill-thought out design encroaches on the task at hand, and undermines the vitality and overarching importance of accessibility. Because good design puts accessibility at the forefront.

Larissa Harris, in her article 8 Steps to Good User Interface Design on, discusses how the principles of UID, User Interface Design, pertain to website and application development. Seeing as I’m building my own personal website, hard-coding HTML at my job, and am more generally interested in hearing good design tips, I found this a quick, worthwhile read. Harris’s eight steps are simple starting point solutions that will help gear your interface in the “good design” direction:

  1. Start With an Interface Diagram
  2. Be Consistent
  3. Develop a Standards Document
  4. Explain
  5. Don’t Frustrate Your User
  6. Be Familiar
  7. Content is King
  8. Test, Test, and Test Again

Article by Larissa Harris -

    After glancing at my “Daily Dose” e-mail from Talent Zoo to find some quick reads, I nearly stopped dead in my tracks when I came across this article title: “Putting Tweets Under the Tree This Holiday.” What an interesting concept, I thought, and sure enough I clicked the link.

    The Barbarian Group created the Tweet Wrap website to promote Samsung’s “boosted” RF510 laptop; it allows users to create their own Twitter-themed wrapping paper for the holiday season. With the first 3,000 orders being free, I gave it a whirl with nothing to lose, choosing my own background pattern and personal tweet threads to customize my paper. And let’s face it. In today’s world, customization is a growing expectation among the majority, a “desired future,” and a necessary product feature or component. Frankly, as the consumer, it is all about us—and that’s understandable. “What can you do for me?” is the question we should be asking ourselves when making a purchase or using a service.

    Once you receive your customized wrapping paper in the mail, the user is encouraged to wrap a gift with it; upload a picture of your Tweetwrapped gift to the Boosted Facebook Page (sponsored by Samsung and Intel) and you will be entered for a chance to win the RF510! No matter how great your chance of winning is, it’s always fun to enter a competition with the “I really think I’m gonna win this time” mindset.

    I have to admit, the site was quick, fun, and easy to use. Granted, I still got suckered into paying $2.50 to rush the shipping in time for Christmas—but it’s $2.50. Even so, I enjoyed engaging in a clever branding campaign driven by social media. Because social media is the way of our generation, it is the digital age, and it is part of our today and tomorrows. The article makes a valid point, and that is this: How will you, or your company more likely, use social media to involve its customers in creative ways this season? What is your strategy to help you “hit” the digital sweet spot head-on into the new year?

    The impact of social media is prevalent and profound; every day, new technology ideas are designed and discussed as frequently as their tangible counterparts are prototyped and shelved. VP-global digital at Blackberry parent Research In Motion Brian Wallace said it right:

    Success is about getting likes, or shares, or comments. Or maybe the person will click on an ad or post a photo or video he or she took with a Blackberry. In the end, it’s behavior-based. A Facebook fan has no value. Getting a Facebook fan to do something does.

    "Snaps" for Samsung.