Steve Wozniak interview

The Verge has transcribed an interesting interview with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. His love of the influential Newton is particularly interesting as it relates to the iPhone:

And that was the first time in my life I had seen a computer understand… I had written something for a human, and the computer understood it. I didn't have to learn its language and it changed my life forever. From then on, I wanted computers to understand me.


The 5 Worst Error Messages

Cracked has a nice breakdown of the 5 worst error messages in the history of technology.

The most frustrating thing about the Blue Screen of Death is how little it tells you, giving you no real indication why your computer crashed or how to fix it. Fatal Exception 0E? What the hell does that even mean? Has my computer been drinking again?


Good news or the bad news first?

PsyBlog has an interesting article on how people deal with good and bad news.

Firstly, about three-quarters of people preferred to get the bad news first. This is a consistent finding: most people prefer to end on a happy event rather than a depressing one.

When creating a customer experience you should make sure your customer is happy and confident throughout the process but focusing on delighting the customer at the end of your process will leave them with better overall feelings.

This is why some retailers offer coupons or discounts on your next purchase. Customers end on a positive note and have incentive to come back.


The benefits of superstition

The New York Times has an interesting article on the benefits of superstition.

For instance, in one study led by the psychologist Lysann Damisch of the University of Cologne, subjects were handed a golf ball, and half of them were told that the ball had been lucky so far. Those subjects with a “lucky” ball drained 35 percent more golf putts than those with a "regular" ball.


What makes someone leave your site?

Nice infographic from KISSmetrics on what makes someone leave your site.

In summary: demonstrate that you can solve your visitors problems quickly.


Make sure you're solving the right problem

Good article about how good UI cannot fix a broken solution.


Wanted: complexity?

I was in Starbucks the other day and I overhead some business folks chatting about their new website design.

"I love it! There's so much going on! It's really complex!"

Yikes. Regardless of the product or service this company offers, I wonder how many of their customers would suggest making it more complicated.


Keep search fields simple and visible

ZURB recently ran some usability tests on the top consumer electronics sites to see what works and what doesn't work when it comes to site searches.

The results? Keep your site search simple and visible. Use page positioning and text to clearly identify it as a search. Don't include too many search options - let your customers type in a phrase and go. Shouldn't we have learned this from Google by now?

Another thing to take away from this - copying the big guys isn't always your best bet. Regardless of how much you spend on a website, if you don't put stock in usability guidelines and testing you're going to make expensive mistakes.


The state of online news

Two interesting articles on the state of online news have recently popped up. News Redux and On News and Advertising are definitely worth a read.


Want to know what your customers want? Ask them.

Ran into a great anecdote at the Contrast Blog:

In 2007 I was sitting in the boardroom of one of Ireland’s renowned universities listening to a group of stakeholders fight over the label used on a web-form. One side thought the users called it an RFPN number while the other was adamant it was a “Prop Number”. The conversation grew increasingly heated, one side demanding we usability test both and the other pointing at me saying “We hired you to solve this sort of problem“. I snapped out of my daydream quickly.

They watched horrified as I went to the corner of the room and started ringing professors, administrators, and researchers. After 10 phone calls, my research findings concluded that it didn’t matter what label we used. No one fills in that part of the form anymore. They didn’t even know what it was for.