Western lifestyle is at crossroads. We have two options. To ruin ourselves or find a way to prosper through listening to ourselves and our bodies.
I’ve been digging into this subject due to personal interest.
What’s it all about?
Well-being of our population is being vanished into thin air. People are medicating themselves with painkillers and antidepressants to be able to handle the stress and the emptiness they are feeling inside. Stress, anxiety and other psychological disorders are increasing constantly. People, especially in westernized countries have turned into walking zombies, human DOINGS instead of human BEINGs.
Human doings all around us. You might be one.
Here’s how to recognise one:
Calendar full of stuff, likes to present it to other people
“Can’t make it, I have 15 things to do between 5pm and 10pm.
Seeking happiness through materialistic means
Inability to sit down for even 5 minutes
You know when you meet one.
Luckily there’s some light at the end of a tunnel.
I think we’re standing on the verge. Mindfulness is one of the most promising new things to be included in modern Western medicine. People aren’t afraid to try it, since it is non-religious. I can recommend it! It’s simple yet effective.
Western medicine treats body & mind separately. Luckily the interest towards Eastern medicine is growing, and thereby people are getting interested in Mindfulness, yoga, meditation, soul, purpose of life, etc.
So, now it’ time to take it easy and give yourself some spare time without any disturbations.
Start here with Mindfulness. Honestly, do it.
I could go on about this subject forever, so feel free to ask more.
For years I wasn’t sure about my career choice (IT). At my most depressing times I thought I would quit studying it and do something different. Things have clarified a bit during the previous years but I still find myself sometimes wondering… Is this really what I want to do? The problem is I like to do lots of different things!
Mostly I am happy about my career choice. I mean… I love internet and the phenomena surrounding it. When I first tried the internet during the 90′s, it was amazing. I wasn’t much more than a toddler++ but it was a nice feeling to access things around the world.
Nowadays I’m using internet A LOT – one thing I am beginning to hate is sedentary job (see my other blog post). I wish I were able to move more! Besides that there really isn’t nothing wrong with working with computers.
What I Do?
Back to topic. I’ve been focusing solely on web UX during the last months. What intrigues me with UX/HCI is that the knowledge doesn’t grow old. Sure thing we’ll get new technologies and yada yada but it just means we’re applying the same underlying rules of human-computer interaction to different media/gadgets.
UX is great, since I can combine lots of my knowledge and apply them on it. Even better, I’m thinking of concentrating towards service design in future. Must be just another step on the way of becoming who I am.
Good & Bad Choices
What I’ve wanted to be? Architect, photographer, cinematographer, artist, doctor, teacher, musician, programmer, journalist, writer… among others.
I sometimes consider art being the ultimate form of expressing yourself – this is the driving force I rely on with my artistic fantasies.
One can always imagine what it would be like to do something else? Could I be happier, wealthier, content? There’s nothing wrong in doing this – but your choices ultimately define what you really are? Here’s a quote to sum up the thought:
There are no choices. Nothing but a straight line. The illusion comes afterwards, when you ask ‘Why me?’ and ‘What if?’ when you look back, see the branches, like a pruned bonsai tree, or a forked lightning. If you had done something differently, it wouldn’t be you, it would be someone else looking back, asking a different set of questions.
Steve Jobs wasn’t stupid either:
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking. Don’t settle.
Quotes and clichés are great – I’ve started to believe that they are the ultimate truth.
When something bums me or I am feeling down I just google for good quotes about the topic and voilà, I’m happier and feeling more confident of what I’m doing.
But going back to the Steve Job’s quote – does this mean I haven’t really found what I love to do? I guess so. Another options is that what I love to do cannot be pointed out precisely. Let’s face it: some people spend their whole lives looking for it.
Take nothing for granted. Carpe Diem instead!
If you’re not sure what to do…
Keep searching what you like
Try new things outside your comfort zone
Don’t panic (you’re not the only miserable soul on planet)
Don’t multitask too much (stay focused on something and see if you like it)
If possible, wreak havoc in your life
Every decision you make is right – it’s your life!
Stop wallowing in the mire
Live for today (try mindfulness!)
You’re a fast learner if you’re committed
Ultimately, you have all the knobs and switches in your life – don’t be afraid to pull and rip the control panel apart!
I’ll end this post with yet another quote:
Humans are the only animals that build a cage for themselves
Alright, now I’m off to wreak havoc in my life! CYA!
The reason: User (me) is not able to click on the footer’s relevant links (too pissed to elaborate!) – they keep running away from you like Forrest Gump.
LinkedIn did it a little better, they have infinite scroll that reacts to scrolling for some time but at some point they switch it to button. It’s a creative solution that takes into account users that want to use the footer links.
I just put together a simple A4 print for mobile app wireframing.
It consists of 5 gridded views: 1 main view and 4 other views that can be used to do alternate designs for same view or alternate views. I also included couple of lines for text. This template should keep you focused on wireframing without too much focus on details.
I suggest you to print 7-12 copies of it for each mobile app and coming up with alternate designs.
Grab your pen & Enjoy!
Mobile Mockupversion (click to open full-size GIF version)
Forms are a key component that made web pages interactive. We’ve come a long way visually from the basic input styles – but inputting data seems to be staying as hard as it used to be. That’s why I’m sharing my tips on how to simplify user input.
1. Allow users to do mass-actions
If you have lots of on/off selections to be made, be sure to provide a “change all” functionality.
2. Create pre-filled forms
Find out what users do most often and provide them a the pre-filled form. Pre-filled forms can be used also like they did on Freelancer.com – see the button “post a project like this”. Great idea!
3. Organization & Flow
How long did it take from you to know what this was about? Maybe a more familiar organization would work. You could also group similar items next to each other. For example…
First name… Last name
4. Inline tips
User’s don’t have customer service personnel when they’re using your web site. Instead, you should provide helpful tips in context. Use the title attribute & inline tooltips for forms.
EDIT: HTML5 introduces an autofocus=”autofocus” attribute.
6. Amount of steps doesnt matter
Using more than three steps in wizards is okay, as long as you have a clear and meaningful order for the steps.
7. Server-side & Client-side validation
Validate user input as soon as you can, instantly or after a short delay on client-side and on server-side too for black/gray hat hackers.
EDIT: HTML5 offers lots of validation stuff. Google for it.
Consider typing in Information Technology vs. Typing “Inf..” [at this point the interface provides you a result]… Whoaa, easy, you think. And it’s still not too often you come up with sites like this!
EDIT: HTML5 introduces autocomplete=”on” attribute. It can be only used efficiently with fields that are for email or phone since it gets data from user agent. Turning it off is a better solution – provide it some other way.
Primary action should be distinctly separated from the secondary action. (actually I learned this today!)
Primary actions are links and buttons in a form that perform essential “final” functionality, such as “Save” and “Submit.” Secondary actions, such as “Back” and “Cancel,” enable users to retract data that they have entered. If clicked by mistake, secondary actions typically have undesired consequences, so use only primary actions where possible. If you must include secondary actions, give them less visual weight than primary actions.
10. Naming conventions
Especially old people are scared of clicking an action unless they’re certain of it. If your form creates an account, the button label should say “Create an account”… if your form sends a car sales ad to the moderators, the button label should say “Send ad to be moderated”. (first learned from Vellu a year ago)
I have been wondering why my Spotify premium won’t play music on my mobile phone. Right now I’m sitting on train on my way to Helsinki and listening to Monster Magnet – thank god it works now.
Well what was the problem? Spotify kept telling me it’s in offline mode. I thought it was a connection error. The problem was wrong login info!!!! This is probably the most notably case of hideous and misleading error messages I’ve stumbled onto.
Spotify brand suffered cuz of this experience. And it will suffer more when people read this.
Explicit and constructive error messages should be on every top 10 checklist of software. Man, pay attention to UX!!!
This blog post is about raising your awareness about the health impacts of sedentary job. The “facts” I’m representing are mostly based on tiny facts learnt along the recent months. You can google this stuff if you don’t believe me!
I remember when I saw an exercise timer desktop application review 10-15 years ago on an IT magazine. The purpose of the software was to remind you to stand up and not spend all day long sitting. I laughed.
I was young and naive back then. I am not laughing anymore.
One of scariest quotes I heard about sedentary (sitting) job goes like this:
Sitting on chair kills millions of people every year in western countries alone.
This quote got me concerned – am I killing myself by sitting at work? How do I prevent it?
What Amount of Exercise is Enough?
If your daily routine sounds like this, you should be worried!
Travel to work, sitting in a car or on a bicycle (15 min)
Sit at work (8 hours)
Travel to home (15 min)
Sit down on pc or tv at night (1-3 hours)
That’s 10-12 hours of sitting! You can tell me you do daily workout at gym (1 hour) – it is not enough. Are you sitting on the gym bench or on the exercise bike!?
One of the most interesting trends is the doctors’ ever-changing recommendation for continuous sitting. It’s something like 15 minutes nowadays. I know, it used to be 1-2 hours or even more. But it’s steadily declining. After every 15 minutes you should do stretching or at least stand up and walk for a while.
One recommendation for IT workers is – you shouldn’t sit at all on your spare time.
I’m not going to rant about the specific health impacts of sitting, since I’m not a doctor. All I can tell you it really is lethal!
My guess is, the problems of sedentary job are widely recognized in ten to twenty years and people
If you have trouble figuring out how interaction design, information design, information architecture, interface design and all other user experience elements interweave with each other – here’s a book for you!
The Elements of User Experience (Jesse James Garrett)
The book contains specific information about user experience on web, but it can be used in other areas as well. Garrett’s text is concise but understandable and it has about 200 pages. It’s a must-read for anyone working with UX!
I come from a web background to designing user interfaces. This means I’m no expert in other areas, but since I’m trying to delve into interaction design and HCI, I’ll take a stab at my Samsung LE40C635K1W TV dialog.
0. User has scheduled a program to be watched on TV guide.
0. User opens the scheduled program.
User goal: Cancel the scheduled program
Dialog opens showing the following options
Bad UX – Samsung TV (original dialog)
Bad UX – English version (translated)
So what’s wrong with the dialog?
It has two options basically stating the same
Button placement is misleading
Similar verbs in the question and alternatives
The pre-selected “cancel” also misleads user to think it’s the appropriate action
A more thorough explanation
I explained the scenario to 20 people and asked “which button would you use to cancel Matlock?” roughly 50% chose right! Doesn’t get much poorer than that, since it’s a 50:50 decision. You would get the same result with no labels on buttons!
So, OK cancels the scheduled program and Cancel closes the dialog. It’ would be an alright dialog, if the button placement were reversed: We’re used in having a cancel function on the left and a more functional button on the right.
Listing OK last improves the flow, because the dialog box “ends” with its conclusion . Also, as withPrevious/Next , you could argue that OK is the choice that moves the user forward, whereas Cancel moves the user back. Thus, OK should be in the same location as Next : on the right.
Since there is no keyboard available on TV sets, one could conclude that placing the return/close function on left would be more suitable.
The verbs used are also misleading: Instead cancel, “back”, “return”, “close”…each one of them would be better. Even a simple “yes/no” would do the trick. All the previous examples describe more precisely a no-action action (a phrase I just invented).
Here’s a mockup of my solution and an explanation of my choices.
Bad UX – The Solution
What have I done?
Changed the question to use a different verb, “remove”. It’s better than cancel, since cancel has been commonly used in dialogs for many decades.
*Return label to describe the no-action action.
*Remove label to describe the scheduled program removal.
Reversed button organization now means that the left button closes the dialog.
**The pre-selected button is return (same as before). This is the decision I made since the user doesn’t know what happens before he opens the dialog.
*It’s often better to name a button to explain what it does than to use a generic label (like “OK”). An explicit label serves as “just-in-time help,” giving users more confidence in selecting the correct action.
**Make the most commonly selected button the default and highlight it (except if its action is particularly dangerous; in those cases, you want users to explicitly select the button rather than accidentally activating it by hitting Enter).
Scratching the surface
The Samsung LE40C635K1W dialog problem isn’t the only UX problem. The TV guide has too little space for content, the remote is hideous and it took me two years to find out my TV goes on without a remote too. What a mess.
[UPDATE: I just received an email from LinkedIn that my profile is in the top 10% most visited profiles of LinkedIn! I guess you should trust my tips!]
Through hard work and active use of LinkedIn I’ve been able to multiply my LinkedIn profile views.
Photo of profile view statistics
Here’s 5 simple tips on how to improve your LinkedIn presence / get more profile views.
Who’s viewed your profile?
To be able to see who’s viewed your profile / let people see that you’ve visited their profile – go to [Your name] – Settings - Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile.
This feature is simple and it leads more people to your profile. To make this more efficient, you need to visit a lot of profiles.
How to turn on your profile views on LinkedIn
One of the most recent features on LinkedIn isendorsements. In a nutshell, this is a way to compliment your connections for their skills. I’d suggest to go through all your connections and endorse their skills. But don’t overdo this! They’ll give you endorsements in return!
The most important thing – Profile headline. Most people don’t understand the power of using a unique headline, so they get something boring like Consultant at a Consulting company. (LinkedIn default headline) Customize this to something describing and tell people if you’re looking for a job! I’ll get back to this one in a couple of months.
Link your profile
Add a link to your profile on social media sites of your choice – but more importantly, on your website if you have one.
Join local groups and get active! Share good links and like other’s updates.