Monday, May 25, 2009

Freedom of Choice

We often think that choice – more options – is good, but maybe not. Check out this excellent TED talk video.

Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz's estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.

Add an option; go to jail.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wired to Care

by Dev Patnaik

Patnaik claims that companies prosper when they create widespread empathy. He's so right.

At Hewlett-Parkard we called this next bench, creating products for the person at the next workbench – someone we knew well. At Apple we aimed to create products for mere mortals, often our not-so-tech-savvy mothers.

At Aplia we ask what challenges our instructors and students are facing, and look for ways that technology might help.

In each case, the key is empathy - walking a mile in our users shoes. The book's a great read.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

White Pixels Are Free

Why the name "White Pixels"?

Think of it like this. Most visual design can be improved just by cleaning things up – by removing what's not really necessary.

Pretend that every pixel – every single little dot – on the screen costs you $1000. Every line, icon, or bit of text must justify it's existence, because they're all really expensive.

But white pixels are free!