venerdì 4 ottobre 2019

The refrigerator top freezer handle

The refrigerator top freezer handle

I was recently cooking food with my girlfriend, and she goes into the fridge to pull out something.  Next thing I knew, BAM and “AAHHH” were the sounds ringing in my ears.  She had stood up and smashed her head on the freezer handle of the refrigerator.  After a string of unmentionable words from her, I told her I’d blog about this.

How many of us have felt this same, unbearable pain?  Why, does this keep happening?  WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?  Well, the issue here is two things (besides the worst head pain ever):  memory and placement.  The handle is placed at a point where our short-term memory will completely forget about it.

When we kneel down to reach for something, we have the inclination to look around us to see if we are in a “safe zone”.  Once we have identified the area as “safe” we proceed into doing what we initially set out to do.

At this point, our minds are focused on what our goal is now and have pushed out that short term memory that initial “safe zone”.  The resulting factor is a head-splitting headache and a string of bad words.

This design does not understand how users think.  We as designers need to fully understand the process of which users take use of our products.  This includes their thought process.  The design of this refrigerator does not take into account how users’ minds function, and it sometimes results in a very frustrated user.

Again, we can avoid this by understanding our users’ needs and goals.


How do you open the refrigerator?

At my new job there is a refrigerator where employees put their lunches. The first time I tried to open the refrigerator I didn't see a handle on the front, but I found one on the left side of the door. (See arrow.) I pulled on the handle, but the door would not open. I thought maybe the refrigerator door had a really strong seal, so I pulled harder. I pulled so hard the whole refrigerator started moving! Someone standing nearby told me, "It opens from the other side. I had the same problem when I first tried to open it."
I looked on the right side of the refrigerator and sure enough, there was a handle there too! When I pulled on that handle, the refrigerator door opened easily.

Apparently, the refrigerator door was designed so it could be hinged on either the left or the right side. Thus, handles were put on both sides. However, people only expect to see one handle on a refrigerator door. When the handle doesn't work, they assume the door is stuck or locked.

Design suggestion

It would be best to put a handle on the front of a refrigerator door so that it can be easily seen. On a reversible door with handles on both sides of the door, there should be a way of removing or concealing the handle on the hinged side. There should not be visible handles on both sides!

domenica 11 agosto 2019

Why Is Bad User Experience Design Still A Thing?

Why Is Bad User Experience Design Still A Thing?

The other day I decided to set up two relatively common household products: (1) a wireless router and (2) a portable steamer. The instruction manuals and the resulting experiences of each setup couldn’t have been more different. Can you guess which required more energy, brain power and patience?

Ding ding ding ding ding! It was the steamer!

Why did setting up an appliance with mechanical engineering akin to a kitchen kettle feel like preparing a space shuttle launch…while a device manufactured by a cable company took five minutes with zero aggravation or ambiguity? The answer: User Experience design.

Good UX: The Router Setup

Setting up routers used to involve sitting on the phone with the cable company and wishing it was somebody else’s job. Now it’s as simple as flipping open a glossy, single-page pamphlet and following clear, colorful diagrams placed alongside highly legible text.

There was even some witty Easter Egg copy as if a real human being wrote it and not just a systems engineer:

Relax? No problem! In fact, when the blinking lights stopped flashing after just two minutes, I felt like a technical genius.

Bad UX: The Steamer

The steamer was another story. A list of 14 steps with essentially no visual hierarchy made it nearly impossible to skim for the most important information: how to avoid burning yourself. In fact, this nugget is all the way at the bottom of list item 13, below a mountainous, monotonous section of text. “The water in the reservoir can severely burn skin.”

The visual aid stresses the importance of moving the steamer up and down. This doesn’t seem like the most important and/or complicated piece of information for a user to grasp.


Here’s how I would have written this information: 

Before You Begin:
1. DO NOT fill with water past the max line.
2. DO NOT tilt the steamer back and forth or water will drip out.
Use an up-down motion, not too long in the same spot. 
3. When you’re done OR need a refill, unplug.
Wait 5 minutes after unplugging for unit to cool before handling.

STEP 1: Fill steamer with water.
- Twist reservoir cap clockwise to open.
- Add tap water up to the maximum line. Do not overfill.
- Replace reservoir cap and twist counter-clockwise to close.

STEP 2: Turn on device.
- Plug device into power outlet and press ON.
- When on, the switch will light up.
- Wait 2-3 minutes for unit to heat up.

STEP 3: Steam clothing.
- Always keep unit in an upright position.
- Point steam holes at wrinkled fabric. Move steamer in an up-down direction.
- For best results, pull fabric firmly in place while steaming.

STEP 4: Unplug and allow to cool before handling.
- Even after turned off, any water inside the unit will remain boiling hot.
- Wait 5 minutes before handling.
- Once cool, empty excess water and replace cap.
- Store in a cool, dry place.


People who buy portable steamers value convenience. It should be easier to assemble. My revision lists key safety concerns at the top followed by a logical order of steps, told in fewer words.

source: emsok

lunedì 29 luglio 2019

Design Critiques

Design Critiques

 design critiques - Pratt Institute

About IXD@Pratt

IXD@Pratt is a collection of articles about User Experience and its related disciplines. The website is maintained by faculty and students at Pratt Institute’s School of Information and all content is written by students, alumni, and faculty associated with the Master of Science in Information Experience Design and User Experience (UX) Advanced Certificate programs.

Pratt Institute, School of Information
144 West 14th Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10011-7301

Examples 2019

Design Critique: MYmta (iPhone app)


The MYmta iPhone app is a travel app designed to provide relevant information related to New York City’s many public transit options: subways, buses, LIRR and Metro-North rail services, and the Access-A-Ride program. The app allows for real-time scheduling and service changes, as well as personalized settings and trip planning, and station accessibility information.


Design Critique: Netflix (Desktop App)

Fig 1.1 – Before signing into Netflix

Netflix is a major streaming service that allows users to watch TV shows, movies, animations and more. It has so much entertainment that you can never say, there is nothing to watch. In order to use Netflix, the new user could start with a one month free trial (which they can cancel anytime) or subscribe by paying monthly. The app itself is free, which is available in mobile, tablet and desktop versions.

Design Critique: Notes (iPhone App)

The iOS built-in Notes app empowers users’ note taking capability by providing seamless synchronization feature, supporting multimedia input/insert, and even integrating the sketch feature to simulate the analog note-taking experience. This article would critique the Notes App based on some usability factors mentioned by Don Norman’s book- The Design of Everyday Things.

sabato 8 giugno 2019

25+ Epic Design Fails

25+ Epic Design Fails That Are So Bad We Can’t Believe They Actually Happened

I Don’t Even Have Words For This
bad design

This Gray-Scale Pie Chart
worst design products

I Felt Quite Lost In China, But Fortunately, I Found This Sign
bad user experience

Human Traffic Jams

and many more examples

domenica 2 giugno 2019

Epic Design Fails That Are So Bad, We Can’t Believe They Actually Happened

Epic Design Fails That Are So Bad, We Can’t Believe They Actually Happened 

 Nothing Like The Smell Of Coffee And A Good Eye-Stab In The Morning

worst design products

I Was Looking For A Soap Dispenser Labeled “Ketchup” With A Picture Of Grapes

epic fails

That’s Gonna Be An Easy Ride

bad design

and many more examples

lunedì 27 maggio 2019

Best Conferences for UX Researchers 2019

Best Conferences for UX Researchers 2019

by Ania Mastalerz

Conferences for UX Researchers 2019

Upcoming UX, Usability, and UI Conferences in 2019

Looking to update your knowledge and connect with other professionals at UX Conferences in 2019? Here’s the list so far for UX Conferences including user experience, design, usability and UI topics announced around the world with many more that we’re tracking waiting to announce their 2019 dates. Find the right conference that meets your needs: focus topics, timing, location or cost. 

lunedì 24 dicembre 2018


Free Wireframe Kit

by AlterSpark Corp.

Download PDF (need Email)

Mini prototyping templates (8.5 x 11)
We use the Digital Psychology Wireframe Kit to help our students develop their skills in applying behavioral science strategies to a wide range of interactive media.
After rearchitecting our wireframe kit in 2017, our students and friends started asking for a copy.
To share the love with the wider community of digital media pros, here's a copy of our smaller 8.5 x 11 wireframe kit, under a flexible creative commons license.

About the wireframe kit
Paper is the ultimate wireframing tool for building quick concept mockups and prototypes, with full creative freedom.
We use the oversized version of the wireframe kit in our digital psychology training, where we focus on applying psychology to various interactive design, UX and marketing applications.
Since our focus is on creative concepts, rather than pixel-perfect specifications, the kit provides ballpark dimensions across a wide range of popular devices, for websites, apps, wearables, advertising and more.
This wireframe kit does not include our training system; only device specifications.

Prototype specifications
Our grid system is inspired by the Bootstrap CSS system and uses a format that is convenient for adaptive or responsive breakpoints, at 3, 4, or 6 column divisions.
The grid is 1,200 pixels wide, divided into 12 columns, with dark gridlines every 100 pixels, each with 10 light gridlines, each at 10 pixels. This is a rough approximation of the sizes typically used in grid systems, with some smaller and others larger.
Our prototype wireframe specifications follow the proportions of popular products, such as the iPhone 8, iPad Air, and Apple Watch Series 3.
Our Facebook ad templates are based on 1200x1200 and 1200x628 pixels, which are common image dimensions used across various social media ad platforms.
Our banner ad templates are based on the most common display advertising formats used in Google's adaptive ads and AdRoll’s remarketing banners.

FREE to use, under Creative Commons
This 8.5 x 11 wireframe kit is distributed for free, under Creative Commons License Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0). If you distribute any variations, please respect our licensing and show your love by crediting us with a link to: To view the license, visit:

Stay in touch
If you have any suggestions on how we can make it better, get in touch by email or visit us online at:

Gallery of wireframe prototypes


Walking You Through The Audience-Influence Model

Download PDF (need Email)

In “Walking You Through the Audience-Influence Model”, you'll learn the essentials of digital psychology in an intuitive and visual mini-publication. You'll also enjoy templates, worksheets and research questions that you can implement immediately.

domenica 9 dicembre 2018

Robots have power to significantly influence children’s opinions

Robots have power to significantly influence children’s opinions

A study published in Science Robotics provides an interesting insight into how robots could be used positively within society
Credit: Alan Williams
Credit: CITEC/Bielefeld University
Young children are significantly more likely than adults to have their opinions and decisions influenced by robots, according to new research.

The study, conducted at the University of Plymouth, compared how adults and children respond to an identical task when in the presence of both their peers and humanoid robots.

It showed that while adults regularly have their opinions influenced by peers, something also demonstrated in previous studies, they are largely able to resist being persuaded by robots.

However, children aged between seven and nine were more likely to give the same responses as the robots, even if they were obviously incorrect.

The study used the Asch paradigm, first developed in the 1950s, which asks people to look at a screen showing four lines and say which two matches in length. When alone, people almost never make a mistake but when doing the experiment with others, they tend to follow what others are saying.

When children were alone in the room in this research, they scored 87 per cent on the test, but when the robots join in their score drops to 75 per cent. And of the wrong answers, 74 per cent matched those of the robot.

In their conclusion to the current study, the researchers add:
“A future in which autonomous social robots are used as aids for education professionals or child therapists is not distant. In these applications, the robot is in a position in which the information provided can significantly affect the individuals they interact with. A discussion is required about whether protective measures, such as a regulatory framework, should be in place that minimises the risk to children during social child-robot interaction and what form they might take so as not to adversely affect the promising development of the field.”


Children put on by robots

Source: Bielefeld University 

An adult participant in the study. Image: Vollmer et al., Sci. Robot. 3, eaat7111 (2018)

Conducted by computer scientist Anna-Lisa Vollmer of the Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) at Bielefeld University as well as her colleagues from Plymouth University (United Kingdom), the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Berlin) and Ghent University (Belgium), this study appeared on Wednesday (15.08.2018) in the scientific journal "Science Robotics."

The research team used the "conformity experiment" - the experiment psychologist Salomon Asch became known for in the 1950s. The experiment shows just how much a group can influence the opinion of an individual. "The test subjects are tasked with evaluating a visual image, and they hear the incorrect assessment from the others in the group - who are all 'in' on the experiment," explains Anna-Lisa Vollmer, who is a member of Applied Informatics, a research group led by Professor Dr. Britta Wrede that is part of the Faculty of Technology and CITEC.

In this new study, it is not people who are "in" on the experiment, but rather three Nao robots. These humanoid robots are able to speak and gesticulate, and are significantly smaller than adult humans (standing at approximately 60 centimeters). The study was divided into two parts. In the first phase of the experiment, the researchers investigated whether adults adjusted their assessment based on the one put forth by the three robots present. In the second phase, 7-9 year-old children took part in the experiment. The study participants viewed a vertical line on a screen. They had to compare the length of this line with three other lines (A, B, and C), and then say which of these lines was the same length. If the right answer was "B," the robot would, for instance, incorrectly claim that "C" was correct.

The results: "Children give into the social pressure induced by the group of robots," says Anna-Lisa Vollmer. "Adults, on the other hand, withstand this influence, even though they would be influenced by other humans in the same situation."

According to Vollmer, the factors responsible for the Nao robots exerting peer pressure or not have yet to be determined. The size of the Nao robots might be the reason why they were not able to influence the adults in this experiment. "Due to their appearance and size, the Nao robots might be more likely to be perceived as being on the same level by the children." That said, the researchers made effort to compensate for size: in both experiments, the robots' seat level was adjusted to that of the participants.

The current study is pioneering work: "Even though children are considered to be an important user group in the future, it is not really known what influence robots have on children, and how robot behaviour impacts childhood development," says Anna-Lisa Vollmer.

The results of this study are also of practical relevance for the use of humanoid robots. "There are applications in which having influence is advantageous, such as in healthcare or education," says Anna-Lisa Vollmer. "But of course we cannot disregard abuse or erroneous use. For example, how do we deal with a situation in which several robots in a store advertise a product and get a person to buy it even though they would not have done so otherwise? Other risks include cases in which autonomously learning robots draw incorrect conclusions from their sensory data and then go with this to people who trust the robot's assessment," as Vollmer explains.


Children conform, adults resist: A robot group induced peer pressure on normative social conformity
Anna-Lisa Vollmer1, Robin Read, Dries Trippas and Tony Belpaeme
Science Robotics  15 Aug 2018: Vol. 3, Issue 21, eaat7111  DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.aat7111

mercoledì 7 novembre 2018

What is Universal Design?

What is Universal Design?

by National Disability Authority

Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. An environment (or any building, product, or service in that environment) should be designed to meet the needs of all people who wish to use it. This is not a special requirement, for the benefit of only a minority of the population. It is a fundamental condition of good design. If an environment is accessible, usable, convenient and a pleasure to use, everyone benefits. By considering the diverse needs and abilities of all throughout the design process, universal design creates products, services and environments that meet peoples' needs. Simply put, universal design is a good design.

The 7 Principles

The 7 Principles of Universal Design were developed in 1997 by a working group of architects, product designers, engineers and environmental design researchers, led by the late Ronald Mace in the North Carolina State University.The purpose of the Principles is to guide the design of environments, products and communications. According to the Center for Universal Design in NCSU, the Principles "may be applied to evaluate existing designs, guide the design process and educate both designers and consumers about the characteristics of more usable products and environments."

The 7 Principles


OXO Good Grips

The OXO "Good Grips" range of kitchen utensils began with a goal: to produce a vegetable peeler that was easy to hold and use, regardless of strength or manual dexterity. This resulted in OXO applying a universal design approach when designing any of their kitchen products.

Oven with Liftmatic Door

The oven is installed on the wall above the counter. When it is opened, the oven floor can be lowered electronically right down to the counter. This makes it very easy to put things into the oven. The floor surface is made of glass ceramics and can also be used as a warming zone.

Fold-Away Oven Door

The 'slide and hide' features of this Constructa-Neff oven enable the door to be tucked away underneath the oven, providing barrier-free access to the oven. The pull-out trays are fully self-supporting, and thus don't require the user to keep a hand on the tray at all times.

Pop Food Storage

pop food storage
The container can be easily opened and closed by simply pressing an extra-large button on the lid. After the container has been opened, the button can also be used as a large simple handle.

Adjustable Washbasin

Lavabomobile is a washbasin that can be electronically adjusted. Its design makes it convenient for wheelchair users to use as well people of smaller stature, children or anyone wishing to the washbasin while sitting down. It also travels to a higher position to ease access for taller standing users.

Digital Thermometer

digital thermometer
The large LCD display makes it easy to read the temperature. The large, flat shape of the probe enables it to be held stably in the armpit. This provides a more usable design for everyone, from small children, who can't sit still, to older people, who may have trouble reading a small display.

Light Switch

light switch
The 161x161x32-mm sized m-smart jumbo switch is a highly visible switch for your whole hand or other operation. It is potentially suitable for use in public environments such a seniors' residences, hospitals, kindergartens and rehab centres.

Mobile Phone

mobile phone
The Emporia TIME mobile phone is designed for people of all ages that works without a standard menu system. Functions, such as texting, are activated by pressing special buttons positioned on the side of the device, which studies show to be most ergonomically suitable.

Battery Pack

battery pack
A perforation on the packaging of this Panasonic battery pack means the batteries are easy to remove. The word "new" is printed on the plastic so that it is easy to tell the old from the new batteries.

Hearing Aid Battery

hearing aid battery
Part of the packaging is formed as a flap creating a handle for the small battery. When the flap is broken off, the battery can be removed and easily inserted into the hearing aid. The packages are colour-coded to identify the battery sizes.
Credits: © 2014 National Disability Authority, 2012. All rights reserved.
The absence of detectable information makes these nontraditional elevator call buttons difficult for first-time users with reduced vision to recognize.

The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.

The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.

domenica 7 ottobre 2018

Robotic Dynamic Manipulation

Robotic Dynamic Manipulation

RoDyMan pizza robot
Credit: Courtesy of Bruno Siciliano and Prisma Lab
RoDyMan, an acronym for Robotic Dynamic Manipulation, is a five-year research project (2013-2018) funded by the European Research Council to the CREATE Consortium and carried out at PRISMA Lab in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology of the University of Naples Federico II.

The goal is the development of a service robot able to manipulate elastic and soft objects, which change continuously density and shape, as well as to manipulate objects in a non-prehensile way, i.e. without grasping them.

These robots will be used not only in manufacturing but also as an aid to elderly or disabled people, for medical and surgical use, and in other manual activities.
Preparing a pizza involves an extraordinary level of manual dexterity: for this reason, a pizzaiolo robot has been conceived and a pizza chef has been involved in the project to learn his keen motions directly through a biokinetic sensor suite he wears while stretching the dough, seasoning, tossing and baking on the pizza peel.

It is also a tribute to Naples, at the forefront of technology, robotics and automation, but especially of culture and gastronomy, of which pizza is a symbol and tradition.
Creating a robot able to manipulate objects like humans is one of the most sought and difficult challenges of robotics. It means to replicate skills that are the result of human biological and cultural evolution.

This goal is arduous, mainly for two issues. First, we do not have a total knowledge of human nature, but this is the condition to be able to replicate the human functions in a machine. Second, there are many technical limits to implement a bio-inspired robot, not the least those making it user-friendly, safe and aesthetically appreciated.
Source:  PrismaLab rodyman