smörgåsbord choice cuts (vi)

Today was a watershed. I visited Scandinavian Kitchen for fikka for the first time since Anna left us. It was lonely. I got asked if I spoke Norweigan, I don’t, but takk som spør. Here are the things I’ve been thinking and reading about recently:

Persuasive Design
Almost everyone in the advertising and marketing world reads PSFK so perhaps this isn’t new to anybody reading this blog but occasionally we all miss stuff. In Finland at less-busy intersections, a little proximity sensor detects the presence of pedestrians and alerts other road-users with a little light. It’s a great nudge to help with nighttime road safety.

Again, from PSFK, this little chart from Leo Burnett is worth a look as they attempt to represent behavioural archetypes in simplified form.

Human Computer Interaction
Saneel Radia writing on BBH Labs‘ blog dug up a great little piece from David Bryant at Google where tells a compelling tale about the rise of the Human Operating System. It’s an often over-looked element of the success of some of the most lauded devices and innovations in recent years, that by using humanised nuances that trigger limbic responses, the designers have made products that simply feel more human and instinctive. Thinking about what might be dismissed as interaction frivolity, behaviours like inertia, resistance, sliding, bumping, flying and so on are of profound importance.

Related to that thought, but worthy of more exploration at a later point, is a piece by Joshua Allen on “Transience” (UX Magazine) and another one by Suzanne Ginsburg (also at UX Magazine) on “The Evolution of Discoverability“.

Design Pattern
Jason over at Signal vs. Noise has piqued my interest with this charming transfer of inspiration. I’ll let him tell you the story of how a notice on a rest-stop booth on a recent journey challenged 37 Signals to re imagine the FAQ. As someone with a love-hate relationship with the FAQ (though mainly hate) it might just be a new pattern to appropriate from the marvellously fresh-feeling 37 Signals showcase.

Restaurant Websites
Mark Hurst found a nice piece on the Boston Globe site which popped-up in my Good Experience feed yesterday. I often cite menu-design as an example that choice architecture is nothing new and better-understood by restaurateurs the world over than many people paid to be in the persuasion industry. It concerns the fact the restaurant websites are often atrociously designed pieces of design-wank, portfolio pieces for one-man-band flash designers. (The BG article doesn’t use the term wank though, more’s the pity).

The Oatmeal gloriously lampoons the practise but please do read the post at Good Experience as Mark’s appropriately gutted (ahem) the Boston piece for us.

Crowd Mapping
It’s not a new thing to do but I was new to me. Anne Czernek drew my flighty attention to a Google-sponsored “ladies mapping party” in Kenya. Here 70 educated and not-so educated community members lent their hands to populating, correcting and otherwise improving the state of their local community’s map at Nairobi’s iHub last month.  It’s easy to think sometimes that with enough people and enough time that crowd-sourced knowledge like this just happens but occasionally you just need to get a lot of people in a room and give it a bit of a kick in the proverbials. These Kenyan ladies did just that.

Have a great weekend.

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