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Winners and Losers In the World of Interfaces: 2013 In Review

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the more-than-just-a-pretty-picture dept.

GUI 116

An anonymous reader writes "A review of the top UX successes and failures of 2013 covers hot topics ranging from Snapchat to the Nest thermostat to David Pogue's departure from the New York Times. The author begins: 'In terms of UX milestones and missteps, 2013 failed to produce industry-altering innovations like 2007 with the introduction of the first iPhone or 2012 with the demise of Blackberry. Yet on another level, UX design in 2013 gave us a glimpse at the rapidly broadening definition of UX design as a structural concept and its role in the future of new media device design, content creation and even the status of product reviews created by leading tech journalists. In a critical way, I personally find this more interesting than blockbuster introductions that alter the technology landscape.'"

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116 comments

OpenBSD + Truecrypt + Rip Anywhere Mp3 player (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45801913)

Give me an mp3 player which has the following features:

1. OpenBSD
2. TrueCrypt - choice of encrypting all of device with 1st run and in settings
3. Rip from any device - an extension to the device (like the front part of ST:TNG ship's dish which separates for example) which allows CDs to be inserted and ripped on the fly without a computer connection, and the ability to plug into any electronic device which has the ability to contain audio files, scan for, and rip any audio files - all with the option to convert them to a format of your choosing

Re:OpenBSD + Truecrypt + Rip Anywhere Mp3 player (2)

savuporo (658486) | about 4 months ago | (#45802191)

Why would you want a patent encumbered audio format on your BSD machine ? This is slashdot after all ..

Re:OpenBSD + Basketballs + Nigger Anywhere playa (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45802341)

I hereby propose we rename "basketball" to "NiggerBall". Do you not agree?

Re:OpenBSD + Truecrypt + Rip Anywhere Mp3 player (4, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | about 4 months ago | (#45802481)

Because some people like to listen to something other speeches by Richard Stallman...

Re:OpenBSD + Truecrypt + Rip Anywhere Mp3 player (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45804241)

Barack Obama?

Why bother with the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45801919)

Losers:
Ubuntu
Slashdot

Winners:
Everyone else

Re:Why bother with the article (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45801947)

Microsoft was also a loser with Windows 8.

Re:Why bother with the article (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45802141)

And Apple with iOS 7. Yeesh.

Re:Why bother with the article (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45802179)

Unity is Metro of the Linux world. It doesn't look like, it just sucks like it.

Re:Why bother with the article (2)

snowraver1 (1052510) | about 4 months ago | (#45802583)

Slashdot - What's up with the no-download-necessary hentai porn sidebar ad?

Re:Why bother with the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805293)

Slashdot - What's up with the no-download-necessary hentai porn sidebar ad?

You see ads? Oh. I forgot what that was like.

The real winner in the world of interfaces: (2)

pepty (1976012) | about 4 months ago | (#45803571)

The Real winner is Healthcare.Gov

Why? Because they managed to herd 36 recalcitrant states that did not want to be clients into a super jumbo IT project that is more or less working within a few months of its ORIGINAL deadline, despite attacks from congress, governors, and the meanies on Slashdot.

The Loser? Oracle, who couldn't create a health exchange website for ONE SINGLE STATE, a state that actually really wants a health exchange website, in the same amount of time. Oracle's Oregon site is projected to be working "after January".

Re:The real winner in the world of interfaces: (2)

rossz (67331) | about 4 months ago | (#45803847)

Anyone who's had any dealing with Oracle knows they have never completed a single project on time and within budget. Their entire business plan is to keep you paying for as long as possible. "Forever" being the preferred target.

Re:The real winner in the world of interfaces: (2)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 4 months ago | (#45804247)

So you're saying that Oracle is tantamount to the government?

Re:The real winner in the world of interfaces: (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 4 months ago | (#45804629)

the end evolution of all companies is government.

for the pikeman generation

First your start small your company is cute, adorable, maybe with a few good tricks.

It then evolves into a larger stronger version, it can push a few people around and it gets pushed around occasionally but it can weather the fights usually okay. This is where most companies stop.

then it usually merges with other companies either by force or choice,(a select few can just grow this big) you have a very large international client base, you buy and sell politicians on the used lawyer lots, etc.

Next up you hire private armies to help enforce your point of view. Only a few have become this large as government get jealous and pushes back. see East India Trading company for details.

Then you are a government. a jealous, large beast made up with lawyers, bureaucrats who hold the real power of the group. the leadership likes to think they are in charge but the leadership comes and goes the bureaucrats remain forever

Beta.slashdot.org (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45801931)

I will admit it works better on iPhone than Classic but it's useless on traditional mouse pointer driven interfaces.

Re:Beta.slashdot.org (1, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | about 4 months ago | (#45802315)

Who is reading slashdot on a phone and why? If that's not a sign of addiction and/or lack of a social life, I don't know what is.

Fuck, next week is a new year. Resolve to take a bath and get some strange.

Re:Beta.slashdot.org (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45802527)

Because nothing helps loosen my bowels like an uninformed opinion and my laptop gets hot. Deal with it.

Re:Beta.slashdot.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45802933)

Because outside of work, I don't use a full computer much anymore.

Re: Beta.slashdot.org (1)

Jess Portnoy (3015089) | about 4 months ago | (#45805739)

Sometimes I am at the laundrymat or in bed but can't sleep or waiting for the bus, or pretending to listen to a girlfriend, whatever.. My advise: use an RSS client from your phone. Looks fine.

bb10? (3, Interesting)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about 4 months ago | (#45801943)

Having used a Z10, the blackberry UI was definitely uninspired, but the gesture controls? Genius.

Unlike the iOS gestures, the BB10 gestures actually increase my workflow.

Still not as customizable as android...

Re:bb10? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 4 months ago | (#45803063)

Unlike the iOS gestures, the BB10 gestures actually increase my workflow.

So they add extra burden into your workflow? ;) You probably meant "improve my workflow".

Re:bb10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45803715)

2012 with the demise of Blackberry Flamebait??

I'm confused about this one. BB still exists, lots of corporation still rely on it... heck Obama, the US president still uses it. And that above applies?

Re:bb10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45803743)

Having used a Z10, the blackberry UI was definitely uninspired, but the gesture controls? Genius.

Unlike the iOS gestures, the BB10 gestures actually increase my workflow. .

Yeah, no doubt the BlackBerry will increase your flow, but not your work flow.

David Pogue left the NYT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45802011)

Oh thank goodness. He was really cloying and sycophantic, IMO. His videos were like something from 1980s Nickelodeon channel-- not speaking to us as adults... I think we were supposed to get caught up in his childlike wonder (didn't he put his actual kids in his videos) at the golly-gee miracles of technology, without really any critical filter or skepticism, especially when it came to whatever Apple was "introducing" (aside from a rare cursory "some folks may be scared by the potential loss of privacy here, but..." asides). As technology changes the essential nature of our culture, is it too much to expect a tech reviewer/writer cover the implications of technology beyond the "...but my 9-year old LOVES the boingy-boingy noise it makes..." stuff?

Somehow Yahoo (something no one uses/reads) seems to me to fit his style more than an actual newspaper of record that ostensibly covers current events with some depth and maturity beyond the shiny glossy stuff media consultants want you to know (valerie plame excluded)...

Re:David Pogue left the NYT? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45802067)

Try watching some of his NOVA "Making stuff whateverer" shows. It's like watching 1962-era Jerry Lewis interview real scientists. Excruciating.

losers: everybody (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45802029)

As interfaces get more and more simplistic to suit 4 inch screens people jab at with their thumbs, losers are everybody.

There's been a constant dumbing down of computing devices for at least 20 odd years now, until they actually not general purpose computing devices any more, but mere locked down tools to spy on our every move.

Re: losers: everybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45802519)

+1

Re:losers: everybody (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#45802575)

As interfaces get more and more simplistic to suit 4 inch screens people jab at with their thumbs, losers are everybody.

There's been a constant dumbing down of computing devices for at least 20 odd years now, until they actually not general purpose computing devices any more, but mere locked down tools to spy on our every move.

The scary part is that they are still not as dumb as most users. We've a ways to go yet.

We're doomed.

Re:losers: everybody (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 4 months ago | (#45802909)

As interfaces get more and more simplistic to suit 4 inch screens people jab at with their thumbs, losers are everybody.

Obviously, the goal is a single button that simply does whatever you intend - the UX equivalent of Marklar [urbandictionary.com] (thanks South Park).

I dub this the "Marklar Limit".

Re:losers: everybody (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 4 months ago | (#45803189)

Remember when the Internet was full or revolutionaries and free-thinkers? Most of them are still there; but it's like they're loitering on the platform. When's the next train coming? It can't get here too soon.

Re:losers: everybody (1)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 4 months ago | (#45804557)

As interfaces get more and more simplistic to suit 4 inch screens people jab at with their thumbs, losers are everybody.

There's been a constant dumbing down of computing devices for at least 20 odd years now, until they actually not general purpose computing devices any more, but mere locked down tools to spy on our every move.

Exactly, and this continues to baffle me.

Phone-style controls make some sense on, you know, a phone. They make no sense on a large screen general purpose computing device, with real inputs like mice and keyboards.

OK, I finally had to look up "UX" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45802045)

I've heard people say, "UI/UX" and sort of assumed it had something to do with User Interface and some other stuff. It looks like it's "User eXperience" which seems a bit broad to me. I mean... everything in the program contributes to the experience in some way, so it's kind of like saying, "everything that impacts the user", which people who are in "UXD" obviously aren't touching. I mean, I can't believe the "UXD" person is writing the code that determines how fast and stable shit is. Likewise, the people who work under the hood aren't designing the UI.

It looks like somebody realized UIs don't really need much improvement. The only thing they can do is make it worse, so they had to broaden their job descriptions. "Oh, I don't just do UI design. I do UXXXXXXXXXX design".

Just fire all these people.

Re:OK, I finally had to look up "UX" (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 4 months ago | (#45802183)

"Oh, I don't just do UI design. I do UXXXXXXXXXX design".

No, he just does UXXX design. Touch interface, y'know.

Re:OK, I finally had to look up "UX" (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about 4 months ago | (#45802513)

You are right. For an article on the user experience, it really doesn't do much to help the user. Using terminology like UX was a bit silly, but even more so was the massive wall of text that actually told us nothing. For example, on the entire screenful of text about the Philips Hue Light Bulb, the only relevant text about the user interface (sorry, UX) was:

The only problem is that the app sucks...even the pigs in Angry Birds would not be caught dead with this app.

I came away from that article without much insight as to why these things are good or bad "user experiences". They say that a picture tells a thousand words, but in this case the graphic at the top of the article summarizing the product names was just as informative as the 5,000 words that followed.

Re:OK, I finally had to look up "UX" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45804411)

Start with Jensen Harris of Microsoft... 'Derp, derp, derp'... He's the IDIOT responsible for 'The Ribbon' and Metro. How does he still have a job?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAO2wk27Vmk

Shirt of the year...

His dress sense matches his UI design sense...

Yahoo! is the biggest loser all around IMHO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45802055)

Yahoo! Sports is an utter disaster.

This article made me want to kill myself (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45802091)

Reading this article I was left with the impression that it was written by a trendy "UX designer". My suspicion was confirmed when I scrolled to the bottom and found it was written by Charles L Mauro, president of MauroNewMedia; a company specialising in user interface design and UX optimization.

User interface designers are usually the last people you want to get to design a user interface. They're the sort of people who produce crap like Metro, Unity, GNOME 3, the Gmail interface, the ribbon and can cancerous interface that's slowly killing Firefox with each new version. They focus in interfaces that are "innovative", "fun" or "magical", and don't seem to care about speed, productivity, usability, consistency or conciseness.

Surely there's an island we can ship all these UX designers to? They can sit around all day enjoying their latte and generally being trendy, and in the mean time we might start getting some software that's actually usable.

Re:This article made me want to kill myself (5, Funny)

savuporo (658486) | about 4 months ago | (#45802215)

You are apparently unfamiliar with the sorry history of Golgafrincham Ark ship C.

Re:This article made me want to kill myself (1)

Misagon (1135) | about 4 months ago | (#45802461)

That's a very good point. I wish I had mod points left.

Re:This article made me want to kill myself (1)

Tim99 (984437) | about 4 months ago | (#45803575)

I mean do people want fire^H^H^H^H interfaces that can be fitted nasally?

Re:This article made me want to kill myself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45804429)

Hear, hear.
"They're the sort of people who produce crap like Metro, Unity, GNOME 3, the Gmail interface, the ribbon and can cancerous interface that's slowly killing Firefox with each new version."

Spot on, brother! I hate 'UX designers', they should be renamed 'UX destroyers', since that appears to be all they ever do.

WTF? (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 4 months ago | (#45802131)

This article makes no sense. What the fuck does Facebook's political stance have to do with UX?

Anyone who's ever used Facebook could tell you their UX is terrible, you don't need to bring politics into it.

Difficult article (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#45802181)

I'm not sure the article is saying anything. For example, #1 on the list is the Nest thermostat. It has a lot of words talking about Nest, but nowhere in there does it explain why nest is so amazing. It has a pretty picture, but it's hard to see why it is qualitatively better than the old fashioned thermostat [langsheatingandair.com].

Seriously, if you're going to write two paragraphs about why something is good, you ought to at least throw a sentence in there explaining why it is good. Below is the relevant paragraph from the article.

Ok, we have heard enough about the Internet of things (IoT). The surprising fact is that, aside from all the hype, there is very thin working evidence that the IoT is actually happening. Like all new and potentially massively important technologies, IoT has lacked all manner of effective working business solutions. Then along came the Nest thermostat, which, aside from some seriously sketchy industrial design decisions that brought out a small army of design patent litigators, is a robust UX solution based on IoT technology. The UX of Nest was created by Tony Fadell, who contributed to the UX design of the original iPod (think original rotary wheel design).

While the Nest UX has a number of fumbled task segments, overall it shows that a well-designed UX configuration can and does drive adoption of a new technology as compelling as IoT. Of course, the power of IoT only surfaces when devices like Nest connect to all manner of other things not produced by Nest designers and engineers. This means a vast universe of other things ranging from Department of Energy databases to your local heating oil provider to the locks on your doors. This can and will happen, but not until those who create the “Things” of IoT agree that the first rule of IoT is simply: “All devices must play nice with other things on the network.” This is no small matter, as the entire thrust of modern management science has been to NEVER collaborate with your competitors. So, now what?

Re:Difficult article (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#45802213)

The article claims Twitter is a user experience failure. That it's too hard to understand or something. Really? I can't think of much that is easier to understand that Twitter.....maybe someone else can parse the words from the article and explain them better than I did:

To be clear, I love Twitter. I love it for its potential but am puzzled by its truly wonky and frankly mystifying UX design that rivals the early days of MS Word (okay perhaps an overstatement). This makes Twitter complex to learn and use. In this critical regard, Twitter’s simplicity as an information propagation engine is in direct opposition to its UX model. This relates to the simple question of how users actually acquire an understanding of any given technology-based service. It is well understood that failing to help users develop both conceptual fluency and procedural fluency means you have, wella Twitter UX design. Having a clearly formed mental model of a man-machine system (Twitter) whose fundamental function is information propagation is, as they say in DOD speak, “mission-critical.” What I mean by this is there is far greater anxiety and fear in using a system in which your inputs are going to be propagated instantly to others than in a system where your inputs have a circumscribed and easily controlled sphere of exposure. Twitter has a rather unique UX design problem, a problem it does not seem to understand. This is the fundamental structural issue with Twitter currently. The solution to this problem is actually a complex UX cognitive science question that will not yield to simple graphic design and navigation tweaking. This problem is going to hold Twitter back until it puts as much effort into its UX design as it did into the PR narrative running up to its IPO. Good UX is good business. Get on the program, Twitter, and your future is brighter than even Wall Street understands.

Re:Difficult article (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#45802605)

Wow. All that to explain Twitter of all things?

What a pile of buzzword bingo. Looks as if he's had way too many lattes.

For his next missive, he should toss the Mac Air, switch to decaf and write the entire article in one Twit. That should keep him out of trouble for a bit.

Re:Difficult article (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#45802653)

Wow. All that to explain Twitter of all things?

Sadly, no.......all that and he STILL didn't explain Twitter.

Re:Difficult article (2)

ApplePy (2703131) | about 4 months ago | (#45802731)

As I understand it, Twitter is a place where vapid idiots can post short throwaway bits of random verbal diarrhea for other vapid idiots to read.

Will that suffice, sir?

Re:Difficult article (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about 4 months ago | (#45804157)

As I understand it, Twitter is a place where vapid idiots can post short throwaway bits of random verbal diarrhea for other vapid idiots to read.

Will that suffice, sir?

Nope, 146 characters.

Re: Difficult article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45804443)

Sounds like you just described /. And every other website that allows comments.

Re:Difficult article (1)

idunham (2852899) | about 4 months ago | (#45803151)

Besides criticizing Twitter, he praises newspapers.
Several of his points are good, but...

Random or structured search instantly possible (go directly to what you want without complexity or scan for higher level content without additional cognitive complexity. This type of information-seeking and process-switching is every site designer's dream although impossible to acheive.)

Um, what?
I can scan a newspaper page in probably 15-20 seconds (5-10 seconds for a very quick overview).
Then read the relevant section, in another 30 seconds or so.
Of course, a third of the stories require a reference to another page, which you must go fumble for to get a clue what they're talking about...

Meanwhile, I could have used Google, or pressed Ctrl+F or /, and found what I was looking for pretty quickly.

Overall, he manages to point in the general direction of problems, but making it into content that actually can be meaningfully applied is something he completely misses...
like all too many "UX designers".

The Nest and all that. (2)

Animats (122034) | about 4 months ago | (#45802835)

I'm not sure the article is saying anything. For example, #1 on the list is the Nest thermostat. It has a lot of words talking about Nest, but nowhere in there does it explain why nest is so amazing. It has a pretty picture, but it's hard to see why it is qualitatively better than the old fashioned thermostat.

The "old fashioned thermostat" shown is the famous Honeywell Round, usually credited to Henry Dreyfuss. It's one of the iconic objects of 20th century industrial design. The Nest thermostat copies that design. That's it's big selling point. There are other thermostats with Internet connections.

All it does is turn the HVAC on and off. It's not for use with systems where outside air intake is controllable with a damper or fan. It doesn't control fans separately from heating and cooling. It doesn't sense CO2 and humidity, and increase the air change rate when more people are present. (That last feature is a huge win for classrooms, conference rooms, and hotel function rooms.) Newer commercial building systems do all that. The Nest could have brought that technology to the home. But it didn't. It mostly just looks cool, and performs like other semi-intelligent thermostats.

Re:The Nest and all that. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#45803035)

Interesting.

The Nest is certainly pretty, but unless you have an iHouse, I don't think it would fit into the decor of your house as well as the Honeywell Round. The Nest is designed to stand out, which isn't really what you want in a thermostat.

Re:The Nest and all that. (1)

Animats (122034) | about 4 months ago | (#45803355)

I don't think it would fit into the decor of your house as well as the Honeywell Round.

That was an important design consideration with the Honeywell Round. The outer plastic ring was originally available in many colors, back when Making Everything Match was considered very important in home decorating. It's still available ($26.98 at Home Depot for the heat-only model), only in beige. But you can remove the plastic ring and paint it to match the wall if you like.

Honeywell has a touch-screen, WiFi, Android/IOS enabled thermostat which also measures humidity and can decide when to run in fan-only mode and save energy. True to their color history, Honeywell lets you change the touch-screen's background color to match your decor.

The Nest isn't a bad product, but it is overhyped for what it does.

Re:The Nest and all that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45803871)

So wouldn't that make it a poor user experience in that case? AFAIK, "UX" is supposed to be about the entire user experience and not just the UI or product design.

Then again, "UX" is a bit of a bullshit term anyway as "UX" encompasses multiple disciplines that already have been doing this for years. In my own experience, I tend to see web designers overusing (or misusing) the term - perhaps in an effort to make themselves appear more knowledgeable - which is a misleading because they often lack the expertise in any of those other disciplines. Which is why I believe that if you are going to use terms like "UX", it should be used to collectively cover teams or even the company itself - as a good user experience depends on -all- of the individual parts (e.g., marketing, IT, logistics, manufacturing, support, finance, etc.) working well.

All IMHO, of course. :-)

http://www.nngroup.com/articles/definition-user-experience/

Re:Difficult article (1)

knarf (34928) | about 4 months ago | (#45804753)

That Nest thing is treated the same way as the original iphone - as if it 'totally re-invents the field' and 'revolutionises ... (whatever)'. It is priced like an apple product, looks like an apple product and is obviously targeted at the apple core of the demography - people with lots of money to spend on things other people tell them they need to buy to earn their stay in their clan. It also attracts the same 'journalists' who fawn over the product without being able to rationally explain its appeal. A smart marketing move, sure.

"UX designers" are why the industry sucks. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45802257)

Has anyone else noticed that the term "UX designer" and "UX" cropped up right around the time everything went to shit?

Windows got Metro.
Apple got iOS 7, and some really idiotic features in 10.9.
Linux got Gnome 3 and Unity.

I work in the graphics design industry, and whenever I see "UX designer" I almost immediately run in the opposite direction. Very, very few people can successfully use that term and back it up with stuff that actually works and works well. 99% of the time it's some self proclaimed asshole who thinks his ideas are the bomb, when they're really just a pile of rubbish. In fact, some of the best "UX designers" out there don't call themselves that and actually go out of their way to avoid the term. Those are the people who don't really call themselves anything- but you can tell from their portfolios that they know what they're doing.

TLDR; UX is a side effect of good UI design. It is an unnecessary department created by failed web designers who want to feel important. Can we please get back to innovating user interfaces that people want and work well now? Because I'm tired of where everything is heading these days.

"UX Designer" is bad design. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45803163)

some of the best "UX designers" out there don't call themselves that

Probably because anyone who is actually good at design realizes that "UX Designer" is a horribly-designed term.

Re:"UX designers" are why the industry sucks. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#45804073)

Good UIs have always been a rarity in the computing world. UX designers are just one in a long line of failures.

Re:"UX designers" are why the industry sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45805803)

I think this whole UX thing is just all the old Flash people trying to rebrand themselves for a post Flash world. They are more about Art then they are about Function. And we all know that Form follows Function.

Re:"UX designers" are why the industry sucks. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45804159)

UX is a side effect of good UI design.

No. A positive UX is a side effect of a number of factors, good UI design being one of them.

User experience is much broader than "easy to use". A user experience can be frustrating, it can be rewarding, it can be feeling in control, it can be feeling like an expert who knows stuff no one else does, it can be feeling cool, it can be feeling smart.

Everything has a user experience. Car analogies are, for once, quite apt - when blasting along a winding city-street in a high-powered sports car, a racing driver will feel like someone who masters the vehicle, who's in control, who's having fun. A soccer mom will feel terrified and afraid of crashing. Switch the sports car for a small compact - the soccer mom will feel at home but the racing driver will feel frustrated and limited.

Producing a product with a positive user experience means identifying your target users, researching what experience they find positive, then engineering the product to provide that experience. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Performance
  • Stability
  • Features
  • UI navigational architecture
  • Visual design
  • Pre-sales - does a prospective user feel welcomed by your company?
  • The packaging - is it shoddy or luxurious?
  • The support staff - are they available and friendly, or roll their eyes at your stupid little questions?

A good UX designer understand this and works to provide it. Sadly, the state of everything user interaction-related has always been piss-poor and the industry is ridden with people who think they do usability, UI design, user testing or UX, when in fact they do nothing of the sort.

Re:"UX designers" are why the industry sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45804287)

Again with the bullshit term "UX designer".

This is what I do not understand. Why does that position even exist? We did fine without it for decades, and then suddenly it became a huge issue right around the time people started inventing some really, really horrible crap.

See, I've been writing iOS apps since the original iPhone OS SDK came out. Scratch that, I started before that- using the unofficial headers and compilers created by the jailbreaking community. I have never, ever burdened myself with all the crap you're talking about. Well, maybe I have- but certainly not consciously. I'll find a good idea that I can build a solid product around, and build the fucking thing. Then I make sure it works, and it works well. I make sure my friends can use it, I make sure my family can use it, and occasionally I rent out a lecture hall at the local university and hold semi-public user testing sessions (for the additional cost of a table full of donuts and some coffee, most people are more then happy to complete a small half-page survey after they've fiddled with your app for a while).

I don't release an app until it's done. I don't release an app until everything makes sense. If it doesn't make any fucking sense, I don't release it. It's pretty much that simple. I have done exceedingly well in this industry because of this- so much so that I can provide for my family's core needs and the majority of our modest wants several times over.

So really, again, I don't know what the fuck "UX designer" means. It just seems like some random term a bunch of folks came up with so they can feel important about themselves. You build a good product... And you've built a good product. If the product is good, the user experience is good. What more is there then that?

PS: Cars aren't software. Nobody wants to drive a car with the peddles on the roof and a steering wheel with the radius of a coffee cup. And I fail to see why a soccer mom would be afraid of a sports car- my mother drove a BMW for 14 years, not because she appreciated the speed and power and luxury- but because it was one of the safest vehicles that handled absolutely amazing on iced roads, which we had a lot of while I was growing up. There's no reason why you can't build a sports car for a soccer mom with a limiter in it that makes her feel more at home. That's called o-p-t-i-o-n-s, you know, options, which is something modern day software seems to have forgotten about.

Americans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45804471)

"more then happy"

It's MORE THAN, you American cretin...

B.S. (4, Insightful)

Lisias (447563) | about 4 months ago | (#45802269)

What 2013 demonstrated us is that UX is not user driven anymore, but marketing driven.

The User Interface is not trimmed anymore to help the user on solving his/her problems or executing his/her jobs.

The User Interface is, now, trimmed to help someone else's job. And this job is to sell something to the user (at best), or simply take something from him/her (at worst).

Winner: Apple, Loser: EVERYONE ELSE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45802429)

Apple is well on track to utterly annialate all its competitors. The PC is dying. Android is falling to pieces and Linux is dead on arrival.

My Honeywell thermostat has a circular dial (2)

pigiron (104729) | about 4 months ago | (#45802529)

And its at least 30 years old! This "UX" marketing droid needs to be taken out and shot.

Re:My Honeywell thermostat has a circular dial (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#45802569)

Yeah, I was expecting him to give some explanation of cool things that make the Nest thermostat better. But he didn't.

Maybe it's not better.

YOU FAiL IT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45802641)

triumphs would soon RoMeo and Juliet

Re:YOU FAiL IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45803085)

Fuck you, bitch.

Strange Innovation (3)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 4 months ago | (#45802661)

"2013 failed to produce industry-altering innovations like [insert innovation #1] or 2012 with the demise of Blackberry"

So the demise of Blackberry was an industry-altering innovation. Good to know.

Blackberry (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 4 months ago | (#45802871)

The new BB10 series, it was almost as if they hired a bunch of high school developers to make an interface.

Hue is not an advancement (1)

Whatever Fits (262060) | about 4 months ago | (#45803101)

So, the Philips Hue is not an advancement in UX as it takes such a deeply ingrained idiomatic interface as the light switch and makes it more complex, adding another layer of control. Flip the switch and nothing happens. Oh, it was already on? Flip it again, grab the phone, adjust the light. Not what I call an improvement. Yes, it can change colors. Wow! So can a whole host of other technologies. Is it $5 per bulb or less? If not, then I don't want it. I have 27 bulbs within my current view in my small apartment. Does it work with my existing switches? All my lights already have switches on the walls. The starter kit is $200 for three bulbs. Sorry, I don't see that as any major UX improvement.

iOS 7 - loss of skeuomorphism (2)

ccanucs (2529272) | about 4 months ago | (#45803255)

iOS 7 - failure in moving away from all skeuomorphism. And I *like* Apple products. Steve would not have endorsed the changes... He was about beauty as well as function - that's why we have the graphic fonts of today. No - I am not a Steve "fan" just stating a fact. I run Linux and Android and HP WebOS - and when needed - Windoze too.

Re:iOS 7 - loss of skeuomorphism (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#45803319)

He was about beauty as well as function - that's why we have the graphic fonts of today. No - I am not a Steve "fan" just stating a fact.

Steve was one person of many who was trying to improve fonts and typography on computers. Another was Donald Knuth.

I'm not trying to detract from the fact that Steve did successfully push fonts forward, but we certainly would have high-quality fonts even if he hadn't been around (it would have just taken a bit longer).

Re:iOS 7 - loss of skeuomorphism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45803397)

IMHO a major intent of this article is to distract from all of the attention iOS7 has received and deserves.
Another major intent is to advertise Nest.

Re:iOS 7 - loss of skeuomorphism (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 4 months ago | (#45803587)

Skeuomorphism in pre iOS 7 was kind of ridiculous.

Good skeuomorphism: the fake mixer board in a lot of audio apps

Bad skeuomorphism: contacts in iOS and OSX

Re:iOS 7 - loss of skeuomorphism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45803709)

Regardless, the balanced design of the skeuomorphism in IOS was good. Additionally and this is even more important, was the "readability" of text. IOS7 has failed miserably in the area of contrast and readability. These designers going nuts with transparencies and white on white transparencies etc. Oh sure artistically it may be cool but reading it is terrible. I doubt Steve Job's would have approved IOS7 the way it looks today.

Praise Bob (2)

gumpish (682245) | about 4 months ago | (#45803277)

2013 failed to produce industry-altering innovations

GOOD.

UX: the field of taking something that's familiar and works well and replacing it with some as different and as "sleek" as possible regardless of the critical importance of visible affordances, constraints, natural mappings, etc.

"We've replaced your boring 20th century 'steering wheel and pedals' interface with our new three shells interface. Drive safe!"

The only people bemoaning a lack of "industry altering innovations" in user interface are the people who want to be paid to throw out every principle of designing things to be usable.

Re:Praise Bob (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45803957)

It also strangely ties in well with the whole 'anything old must be replaced' and 'change for the sake of change' trend that has been going on for the past few years. It's like folks have completely drank the kool-aid! Everything must be as minimal as possible, using the thinnest fonts with the most whitespace - everything must be on one page with lots of scrolling - hardly any colors - all flat of course - and super clean. Essentially, everything must look like a wireframe - and dumbed down - no options. The new cool is retro, but everything else is old-school! Have you noticed how a lot of websites look very similar recently (even that /. beta everyone hates on).

As you say, folks seem less concerned about whether something is a good, solid solution and more about how cool it is. A distinct lack of vision.

In fitting with the season, I say "Bah humbug"! :-)

Re:Praise Bob (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45804061)

Have you noticed how a lot of websites look very similar forever

Fixed that for you.

This bullshittery has been going on since the dawn of the Internet. Do not mistake it for some horrible "new" thing.

Now get off my lawn.

Nest is crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45803381)

I'm sorry, but the Nest UI is utter crap (as is the device's perpetual "learning"). Just for example, if your wifi password is at all secure, it's a real pain in the arse to enter. Then there are the submenus. It's fine if you dig into the menus routinely, like on a daily basis, but otherwise, remembering what you can configure and how to find the controls is ridiculous. I've never used a Samsung Gear smartwatch, but the Nest is kind of like what I gather people criticize the Gear about.

Re:Nest is crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45803557)

This article is supposed to be about 2013. Did I mention the Nest thermostat was released years ago?
There.

This "article" is an infomercial in the guise of a news+review item.

Sorry to the readers (2)

SGT CAPSLOCK (2895395) | about 4 months ago | (#45803945)

This article is just trash. I mean, the whole thing! It's just buzzword-laden bullshit that can't even be parsed into coherent thoughts. There is very little meat in this supposed roundup of interface wins & losses, and to top it off, it doesn't even mention the horrendously well-accepted "interface failures" which have been primary topics of discussion in the wide open world of UX this year.

My take: anything involving the word "UX" this year has most assuredly been a GRAND success at the unstated mission of screwing people (the ones forced to use the interfaces) over, whether it be by way of simplifying (read: removing) functionality, tightening (read: hiding) features, or even just by repurposing (read: obfuscating) old "paradigms".

Well, at least -I- think my summary is better than their article!

Re:Sorry to the readers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45804903)

"Well, at least -I- think my summary is better than their article!"

No, yours is a more insightful and blunt summary of the article. The article itself is a good summary of the fricking mess that's been made of UI design in the last few years by self-proclaimed "UX designers", and it's written in a parallel (bad) style. To the writer, I'm sure it sounds like a beautiful composition representing the best they could do. To everyone else it's like the written embodiment of everything that's awful about recent UI "innovations" like the ribbon, Unity, Windows 8, and the randomly-appearing sucktastic new Slashdot UI.

Don't get me wrong. *I* like your summary better. But I'm sure there are people out there who will be more impressed by the original article, probably CEOs and other managers who are fond of buzzwords and "innovation at any cost".

I Think They Mean "Usability" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45804207)

UX is the new Usability I guess. Surprised they didn't mention Windows 8 anywhere. That train wreck is singularly responsible for a massive augering in of sales. Smartphones didn't help, of course, but I saw dozens of people walk into Best Buy, look around for laptops running anything other than Windows 8, and turn around and walk out because they couldn't find any... and I don't even work there.

Re:I Think They Mean "Usability" (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 4 months ago | (#45804565)

UX is the new Usability I guess.

Nah, Usability is a desirable goal; UX is a meaningless buzzword. It's more like "Knowledge Engineering". Management heard the terms and feared they would miss something really important if they didn't hire some experts. But there's no definition of what either UX or KE really is and certainly no way determine if a candidate is qualified to do whatever it is they're supposed to do. So people are hired, make a nuisance of themselves at meetings for a couple of years, then fade away.

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