Archives » February 13th, 2003

February 13, 2003

New Boxes & Arrows

Now at Boxes & Arrows —

The New R&D: Relevant & Desirable

But it’s an equally big mistake to focus our attention solely on users (which is one reason I’ve never particularly liked the term “user-centered design”). At worst, I’ve heard people argue we don’t know anything about designing for users except that which we learn through usability testing.

Focusing exclusively on users like this is just plain wrong — it’s the equivalent of software development’s discredited “build and fix” approach. But more importantly, it’s indicative of dangerous tunnel vision, and it hurts our profession, our businesses and clients, and, yes, our users.

What’s Your Idea of a Mental Model?

To illustrate the consequences of having a mismatched mental model, I describe a person who goes into a buffet restaurant and waits for someone to take their order. The person’s mental model of how that restaurant operates doesn’t match the actual situation, and he would experience confusion and frustration until he modified his original model to include buffets.

Unheard Bands

In the comments of a post from a couple of days ago I was pointed to the band Carbon Leaf. I checked them out, and it’s pretty good stuff with a nice Celtic slant to it. On their website they have a few samples for download, and they also have some tracks on MP3.com. Worth a listen if you have some music time in your day.

Also worth a listen is a band I stumbled across, Lazy Fingers. I don’t like country music, so it’s rare for a guitar and fiddle band to catch my ear. But catch it they did. Since they’re from Austin, some of their tunes have the requisite amount of twang, but it’s the songs without that really stood out for me. Their version of the old Herbie Hancock standard “Cantaloupe Island” was one, since for a moment at the start they actually made me think their fiddle was a trumpet. Some of the other numbers are just downright jazzy. And on their site they have eight full tracks for download. Always a good way to get some attention!

Have a listen!