well, if it looks like a cat, it’s a catty, huh? or would it be pussy? ^_^
playing with sketchbook pro at rapture cafe.
back button troubles
reading at slashdot about usability problems on OS apps, i remembered some nightmare cases from the company i worked with, still in brazil.
we were building a corporate CMS, the program was getting bloated (impossible marketing promisses, lack of planning) and we reached an impasse: in addiction to the task at hand, some other tools were added - like IM, bookmarks, notes, quick tutorials - and with just a window to navigate, each new task competed for the user’s attention.
our solution (me and another interface designer, amid a sea of 11~12 programmers) was to divide the window in frames, separating the central tasks (workflow, word processing, programming) from the peripheral ones (messages, dictionary, to-do-list, quick tutorial).
the problem: we invalidate the back button (back what? the message? back the work at hand? back the action of sending the message? undo?). since it’s the most used feature, we had to find a solution.
and we did: a small log window on the bottom of the peripheral tasks window, with a history of what you did, and the possibility to return to where you were, and possibly undo some features. the default would be 3 lines, but a multitasker user could change the preferences to 10, 12 lines. with a better back button than the original one, we could drawn the users to our interface and reduce confusion.
they loved the ideas, both. sadly, they implemented the first one (the frames), but not the second one (the log window). dunno why, everytime i asked for the second feature, they answered it was easy and could be done later. i assume that the mindset of programmers works this way: if it’s hard to do, it has to be important. if it’s easy, it’s probably irrelevant. that is, a subset of loving to do hard mental jobs, is the impression of any easy job as a personal offense to their abilities.
don’t get me wrong, i love work surrounded by technical people. they are straightforward, they love a new challenge, and if they are in a project with you, they are all to this, with no passive-agressive, competitive sabotages that some artistic people are full of. but if you get this only-hard-work feature unchecked, you soon get trapped in a bloated, neverending project, with a lot of contempt for criticism.
well, in the end they accomplised the first feature, but never the second one. the back button was still there, confusing users. some months later, we were moving to another floor, but two programmers were busy finishing something “really important” for the client. i asked what it is, and they said “it’s a fullscreen for the system”.
“why would they need a fullsccreen system, anyway?” (at the time, it was already know that users feel annoyed by fullscreen browsers, and tend to move away, simply. they didn’t know why the fullscreen. i asked some other people around.
in the end, all the client wanted was to get rid of the back button. it was his solution to the problem, because we failed to offer a complete one.
and yeah, the users complained later…
MEA convention @ rochester NY
i’m in rochester, NY, near-near toronto, canada (i didn’t know it was so far away - it’s my first big travel thru USA), for the media ecology association convention.
after being alone in the train station (1 dollar stolen from the phone booth, so i couldn’t talk with jeff, and jonathan still sleeping), i got a cab, to see a familiar face on RIT.
and i found it. janet was there, i’m with my xxx right now, and a lot of papers, and a copy of exit strategy book (douglas rushkoff will be attending).
i’ve been in a rush to finish my last project, and switch server providers (for nonlinearmatters.com), and switch telecoms (from sprint - expensive and confusing - to vonage - VOIP, and cheaper). technically, i got it (except that vonage calls are too choppy on softphone), but i can’t relax, my unconscious up and ready for more challenges.
gotta tell it it’s over!
i’m writing an essay about the fotolog phenomenon and just decided to left my raw ideas in the open. it’s true it looks like a powerpoint presentation by now, but bit by bit i’ll populate the topics with complete paragraphs and republish it when it’s all done.
well, it’s a blog, and it’s natural of digital media to blur the production stages (no original to preserve), so get used to it. also, part in portuguese, part in english, because that’s how it came to my senses. get used to it™ too.
- com advento da web, teóricos professam a vitória da imagem. postliterate world.
- corporations offer content/news (mc luhan)
- contact, no content (rushkoff)
now, critical mass of
- digital cameras
- started as a photographer community
- turn out as a social column
- o que eh? atualmente…
- usabilidade ruim
- personalizacao grosseira (no copy templates, just colors with no clue)
- problemas de administracao
- trafego, shutdown
- friends/favorites features (blogroll? clusters)
- personalidade fixa (menos flamewars, deleta)
from now on:
- narrativa aprovada de sharing the fotos
- feedback loop entra cameras digitais e sistema
- tutoriais e apps que reduzem a curva de aprendizado e organizam as fotos (photoshop elements, iphoto) s?o bem vindos
- still cameras/moving pictures
videolog? convite para videos
a mail i sent for a friend of mine. wait a lil bit, and i translate it
mexer em elementos analogicos (desenho, instrumento de sopro, escultura, etc) eh mexer
-numa estrutua que chega num limite de refinamento (tipo, se vc tentar refinar mais, quebra, chega-se ao limite) e
- em algo nao isoformico (a medida que vc aprende a mexer com a ferramenta, percebe seus gaps, e usa ao seu favor)
mexer em instrumentos digitais (para musica, design, etc.) eh mexer
- numa estrutura com zoom infinito, e que cabe a vc (e sua obsessao) parar por um ponto ou continuar a esmerar em niveis minimos (ou quebrar a si proprio, deadlines ou escopo, nao a ferramenta. ela quebra o que estah em volta, e continua impavida).
- frictionless, a entropia nao age no sistema. isso inclui resultados como o blurring entre os estagios de concepcao, layout, atre final e publicacao e os conceitos de autoria (muitas maos podem fazer o projeto, e muitas ferramentas diferentes podem ser usadas) e originais (tudo eh copia, tanto fisica quanto ideologicamente).
- isoformico, o que te permite automatizar funcoes, e junto com o plataform independence (qquer ferramenta, resultado, meta-ferramenta ou layout eh tudo 1 e 0, no final das contas), permite trocar experiencias com outros usuarios e montar resultados em comum (exercer o controle do escopo da sua obra passa do fisico, superar o material, para o gerenciamento de diversas mutacoes, uma selecao artifical entre os melhores crops).