Tag Archive for YouTube

Writing for App Development

In the world of business, the writing process is often ignored. Complete thoughts are shortened to bullet points. Proofreading is considered a luxury, resulting in spelling errors or missing words. Content requirements go overlooked. This video for a large healthcare nonprofit started with a great vision and the outline of a several unique stories. The director created story boards with captions describing each scene but since there were no speaking parts in the video, a script was never written. The models in the video were merely supporting characters to the story’s real stars: the mobile apps. We used the app development process as a proxy for the writing process. The “script” was written into wireframes. However, the words that appeared on the mobile devices needed to be written as a separate document. But because a writing process was not followed, copywriting was done directly in the wireframes, resulting in overly complex wireframes in a format that was inaccessible to the producers. Too often, producers are more concerned with headlines and big pictures, not details. But just as in any app development process, each button needs a label, each alert needs a message, each form field needs a caption, each instruction needs…

Perceptual Focus Error

Early on in my academic career, I did research in a middle school classroom. Computers were just introduced to a bunch of kids that never experienced them directly before. There were very few computers in schools at the time, and students were bunched up in groups around each one. One kid got to sit and control the keyboard, another student controlled the mouse. (I bet you know the genders of these two kids.) Most kids just focused their attention on the screen. The task was to familiarize with how the desktop computer interface worked. At the end of the activity, I got to interview the kids. One of the surprises was how many of the kids didn’t associate the movement of the mouse with the action on the screen. To connect the two actions together, a kid would have had to know that mouse movements and a pointer were related. It was not an obvious observation, especially in a tight crowd of a student group around the computer screen. And to this day, this required double focus is difficult for kids on the Autistic spectrum (iPads are much more intuitive for this population). One of the conclusions of my study…

Daniel Kahneman, Customer Service, and Perception of Quality

Last week, we went to listen to a talk by Daniel Kahneman and by coincidence I’ve just finished reading his book, Thinking Fast and Slow, just a few months ago. The ideas in the book are amazing and worth a read (it would be great if the two academic papers included in the back of the book and for which Dr. Kahneman received his Nobel Prize in Economics were printed in a font larger than 8 points!). And a few days after the lecture, I was struck by an obvious application of his ideas, or more to the point, how his experiential self versus remembering self concepts help explain the customer service phenomenon. It has been known for a long time that politeness of error messages and civility of customer service play a strong roll in how the experience with the product is remembered. Above a small portion of the Google Image Search results for “error messages”. The internet is full of these because people get so irked by such messages that they want to share their bad experiences with others. The results are just as illuminating for “bad customer service stories”. Again, a good bad story has legs! But…

RE: Is Pink Necessary?

How many different ways can someone describe a color? There is a delightful video titled “Luscious” by the Sappi paper company Off Register. In it, the main character attempts to describe the exact shade of “luscious” she wants printed on paper. “It’s like the inside of a baby polar bear’s ear,” she tells the printer. “It’s a nuclear accident, but there’s no problem with it,” she insists. “It’s like King Kong French kissed you … stop it Kong!” All of the metaphors from “Luscious” have another thing in common: They link disparate ideas, a seductive idea with a dangerous one. This is the problem encountered with Annie Paul’s article “Is Pink Necessary?,” which is a review of the book Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein. What color best describes a little girl’s sexuality? But little girls have no sexuality, one may protest. Research indicates they do, that children identify with external signs to determine their sex. What then is the hue of sparkly tulle and chiffon? What is the color of a kiss blown from the palm of your hand or a coyly twirled finger in softly dimpled cheek? From the viewpoint of product design, the article is better contemplated as a…

Interface Design Failure: Man accidentally kills 40,000-sq-ft lawn due to packaging design

What can bad interface design do? Bad graphic? Bad packaging? There are people who think these don’t matter (I had a few clients like that), but here’s an example of how badly things turn out when interface design isn’t taken seriously. And here’s another example from one of my previous posts: eye medicine or super glue? You’d be the judge!