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Quick start guide to research on human factors in software engineering
Papers, references, books

Could have used this three years ago, but better late than never.

Betteridge's Law debunked
Usability on mobile is getting worse.

Although apparently people are getting better at understanding what a hamburger menu is.

Things I'm skeptical about that are maybe actually okay
  • Natural language interfaces
  • Centralized social networks
  • "the death of the filesystem"

Still terrible: the impact of illegible UIs and constant unnecessary UI changes on older users.

Jolla / Sailfish
Mobile OS with a design that emphasizes spatial navigation, gesture-based interactions that work well on devices of varying sizes. Not beautiful but seems like there'd be something soothing about working on one of these devices.

Ignore this and die
"People's trust in the cloud ó in technology ó is based on a trust that it will work predictably and at their direction." - @grimmlem

Quick, not-fully-baked thought: Twitter's successful because it's a better place to have conversations than Facebook or Google+. It's public by default, so new people can join conversations. It doesn't have the fiddly UIs that Facebook and Google+ have for comments on posts (sometimes it feels like Facebook/Google+ let you have conversations in comments only grudgingly) partially because there is no distinction between a comment and a post.

I'm not really sure what role the 140 character limit plays here, if any. (It means that it's always easy to scan your feed without worrying that you're missing something, but that's more about the reading experience.) Keeps it flowing, keeps it about the conversation?

Icon usability
"... if it takes you more than 5 seconds to think of an appropriate icon ..." then don't rely on an icon there. Nielsen/Norman on icon usability.

What I Want From a Blog
  • To continue to use this as my home base - homebrew CMS, archive accumulated over years.
  • To selectively cross-post to Tumblr, Twitter, whatever
  • To be more usable on mobile one down
  • To have an interface that lets me see social interactions from Tumblr, on-site comments, maybe Twitter/FB shares, all in one place - ideally, the same place I consume RSS
  • Basically I want to blur the line between reading and writing, and I want to interact with the walled gardens without being trapped there
  • (stretch goal) integrated with Notational Velocity Making local filesystem blog integration work

Because I want a headache?
Detailed diary of designing a syncing engine for a note-taking app.

In case I want to remember what clear design thinking looks like, or (heaven forbid) if I end up working on a product that involves syncing.

From New York's School of Visual Arts. Don't have any of these books, but want them all. (That's right: I don't own a single Tufte book.)

I didn't understand Fitt's Law as well as I thought
"Visualizing Fitt's Law" reviews a basic principle of UI design:

  • "Basically ... the time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and size of the target."
  • "Although the basic message is obvious (big things are easier to select) it is the precise mathematical characterization that is exciting ... small increases in size for small objects make it much easier to select them (whereas small increases in size for big objects donít make that much difference). And the same applies for changes in target distance."

Ben Chun's got a new blog on his experiences teaching computer skills to high school students.

Where user experience comes last
Let's say I want an MSDN subscription. I don't, but somebody might.


Measuring visual clutter
From BoingBoing:
MIT researchers have designed a software tool that measures "visual clutter". According to the scientists, the system could someday help designers create better displays, maps, and data visualizations and steer our attention in various ways. The prototype tool, written in MATLAB, is freely available.

Yet Another List of Stuff. Lots of pretty pictures though, which are obviously useful here. (via MeFi)

Mostly basic principles of survey design, so applicable beyond software. Plenty of useful nuts and bolts stuff.

Human-focused, machine-parseable formats. When I first saw it I immediately thought "textile & markdown!" but those aren't mentioned at all.

My interest in Textile and Markdown stems from a desire for a rich editing experience that degrades gracefully to plain text. (Basically, I want a slick outliner when I'm at a PC, and a usable text file on my phone or other limited-capabilities client.)

the elements of user experience
Us consultants love these one-slide frameworks. Isn't that right, Eric?

we love you, yes you
Mean Valentine's Day cards.

User Interface Engineering -- "Seductive Design for Web Sites"
  1. Give users what they want.
  2. Give them (ideally related) other suggestions while they're sated and digesting.
The "engineering" part of the organization's name is a bit of wishful thinking, but I applaud the idea.

Designing Visual Interfaces: Communication Oriented Techniques
"Ironically, many designers of graphical user interfaces are not always aware of the fundamental design rules and techniques that are applied routinely by other practitioners of communication-oriented visual design -- techniques that can be used to enhance the visual quality of GUIs, data displays, and multimedia documents."

"Imagine the web as a continuum..[of] idioms of user-experience." Yes, content starts about 63 slides in. Fun stuff though.

"It seems that in every field there is That One Book that people will point you to as the ultimate source to quickly get a sense of what it is all about. This book plays that role for the HCI field."
(Or maybe one of these.)

Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker on why paper is important for knowledge work. Of course, if we get e-paper, things get way weirder. Hope hope hope.
Peter Merholz replies.

Excellent directory of HCI-related resources.
HCI is kind of an obsession with me (as it is with a lot of the people whose blogs I surf). I think about it in a kind of fruity holistic way as tying in with the fundamental Quality of the product. There's a longer essay about this percolating.

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