smörgåsbord choice cuts (ii)

With a pile of Tabbloids bulging in my tote bag, it is time once again to roll out a few selected links, observations and all-round ephemera from the web. I have decided this is going to to be a recurring but infrequent feature of the ‘bord. I have appended a scalable lowercase numeral thus (ii) as this marks the second of the smörgåsbord choice cuts.

First up is the bystander effect. The Nudge blog reminded me of this well-known social psychology observation whereby passive peer pressure leads to inaction. Most famously observed in experiments where subjects made no attempt to save themselves or other victims when other (acting) persons remained apparently unconcerned. In an observation on the communal fridge (viz.”how long would you ignore [an item that had gone off]”), I would posit that a stronger observation of this could be a packed train carriage. A passenger may stand in acres of space whilst the carriage fills up tightly by the doorway but because no-one has yet asked the person in space to move down, neither will they. No-one wants to be the first, no-one wants to be the outspoken one – even when the group would benefit.

Once again, Nudge blog alerts us to a nice bit of persuasive design. Sweden’s Speed Lottery rewarded the obedient motorist by entering all law-abiding, non-speeding cars in a given zone into a lottery to win 20,000 SEK. It remains to be seen whether such a carrot approach produces the long-term reduction in speeding that a fine-based stick approach has attempted in the past. (på Svenska)

A quick find on Twitter now, apparently the design of the new web-based Twitter user interface is based, at least in-part, on the golden ratio. The extent to which the golden ratio matters is debatable, as is the success of the Twitter redesign. That said, it’s always nice to see someone using principles in design layouts.

Simon Lamb once again finds a sweet cycling link to share and in light of (Le Tour 2010 winner) Contador’s peculiar suspension (a tiny, ineffectual amount, on a rest day … are the regulations just a little excessive?) I thought I would share to build a picture of the Landis allegations against Lance Armstrong. Of course, Landis remains the only other Le Tour winner to be identified as being a doper. Bill Gifford, “The Case Against Lance“.

I will, at some point, write a post about my beloved Rapha and why I am torn in two about their recent (last two years?) brand growth. For the meantime, draw your own conclusions about how I feel about their move into skincare. I cannot deny that the image and product quality are outstanding. The attention to detail that Bianchista outlines in her ‘unboxing’ post “Rapha Skincare – First Look” is typically high and redolent of the tifosi tone they have woven throughout their kit. But soaps? Really, is there anything more to this than simply chasing the indulgent gift market? Does it devalue the brand they established in exceptional race and training garments? That said, if you go to Rapha and use the promo code ventoux5 you get free shipping.

I bought the first edition of Communicating Design sometime around 2006 when Dan Brown came to a NN/g conference in London. I loved it and it changed the way I did user experience documentation and the way I thought about explaining to people what we were doing. So I am delighted to have pre-ordered the updated and revised version. I could get books on expenses through Dare but I choose not to for things like this, I want to own it. It is very much my book for me to consume. In a post last week, Dan talks about his work on the revised Flow Charts section. The little peep-show of the typesetting and diagrams are wonderfully intriguing. I can only hope that this busy family-man can find some time in his schedule to run a workshop or two in the UK in the near future.

Of all the presenters at UX London in 2010, Stephen P. Anderson stood out as offering up the most inspirational – and instantly usable – content delivered in the most friendly and measured style. I was much pleased to see his post “Playing Hard to Get: Using scarcity to influence behaviour“, carries on this clear and measured theme. Stephen’s work is not a dusty academic study and nor is it a soaring aspirational call-to-arms for the Ux community. His observations are genuine, vivid and transferable. If you read one Ux post today, make it that one.

And finally, D&AD curate a section in British newspaper Metro each week which examines and critiques the output of the creative industries. myFry was featured this week and consequently my face was printed on 1.4m pages along with some of my observations given to the charming Seb Royce (Creative Director at Glue Isobar). You can read the article online in Metro (use a made up email address to access it) or on the D&AD site: “I can’t say no to this truly tasty Fry app“.

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