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The Straw that Broke the Camel's Back

The risks of dismissing minor usability issues

As a human factors psychologist, I am often asked to evaluate the usability of a product—its ease of use and ease of learning—to predict where users are going to run into problems, or, for products already on the market, to analyze why users are already having difficulties. At the conclusion of these evaluations, I provide […]

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Pittsburgh’s World IA Day 2019

Earlier this year members of our design team attended World Information Architecture Day 2019 in Pittsburgh, a day-long event of thought-provoking workshops and presentations given by remarkable speakers. World IA Day is an annual, global, conference that celebrates the field of Information Architecture, with local events coordinated by volunteers and all following the same theme. […]

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Irredeemable 2-spacers (aka teaching outmoded skills)

A little while back, our office had a rather lively email debate about how many spaces should be typed after a period—no, I’m not joking, this actually happened. Anyway, about half of those chiming in claimed it should be a single space and the other half insisted on two. It must have been a slow […]

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But we’re all designers!

Sooner or later, everyone who works in design hears something along the lines of but we’re all designers – usually from a Project Manager who didn’t agree with the designer and wanted to go in a different direction. Of course, it’s true. We do all design. Most of us have designed the layout of the furniture […]

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Designing for the age enhanced: touch and proprioception

When I started our Designing for the Age Enhanced series, I thought the articles would informative and fun to write. But, since I’m in my 40s, I have to admit that being reminded about how bad my eyes and ears are already getting, what’s going to happen to my senses of smell and taste, and […]

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Designing for the age enhanced: taste and smell

Welcome to the latest article in our “Designing for the Age Enhanced” series — which internally we’ve started referring to as the “Getting Older Sucks” series. We’ve already talked about what happens to our senses of sight and hearing as we age and some of the mental slowdowns that we experience, and, of course, how these […]

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“But we only use 10% of our brains!”

“It is estimated most human beings only use 10% of their brain’s capacity.” That’s a line from Morgan Freeman’s character in the new Sci-Fi movie Lucy, coming out this summer. It’s a sentiment I’ve heard repeated by CEOs; it regularly pops up in commercials; and yes, it is a perpetual favorite of Hollywood (Heroes, Flight of […]

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Silence is deadly

My posts always argue that as designers (and engineers, manufacturers, etc), we have a responsibility to create smart, beautiful, and useful products for our users. But lately, I’ve realized that users have a responsibility, too. As an OmniPod user, I failed at mine. Recently Insulet Corporation and Abbott Diabetes Care issued a recall of the […]

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How to tick off your user….

The other night I was peacefully asleep, enjoying a pleasant dream, when suddenly…. After a few confusing seconds, I realized it wasn’t my alarm clock. It was my Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM) gently reminding me to test my blood sugar. Yes, I was expecting it, but, no … that didn’t make me any less annoyed. That’s what […]

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Designing for the age-enhanced: cognitive changes

If you’ve read the previous posts in this series, you understand the changes that happen to our vision and hearing as we age and, more importantly, how those changes affect our interactions with the products we use. For this article, I want to look at the impact that aging has on some of our basic […]

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