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User Experience

Quantifying Feedback

On 09, Apr 2008 | One Comment | In User Experience | By Ryan Feeley

One of the challenges companies face when they are developing a new product is incorporating user feedback into development. It’s often easy to get users to describe what they would like to see in a product, but when the suggestions number into the hundreds, and in Google’s case, the thousands, triaging the feedback becomes a nightmare.

This morning I was frustrated by Google Calendar’s colouring scheme. I can select a similars colours for calendars that are related, which is great, but for some strange reason the calendars I maintain are more pale than the calendars I subscribe to. That means visually my calendars are less important than other people’s calendars. Depending on the path you have chosen for your life, this is a problem. I decided to submit some feedback and came across this feedback page:

calendar.jpg
Partial screenshot of Google Calendar quanitifiable feedback page

While there was a option to suggest “Customize Google Calendar’s color scheme”, my feedback was more specific than this. But in a way it did allow me to express a problem which can be addressed by a redesign of the colour selection. It’s an interesting route to take when you are faced with an unmanageable amount of valuable feedback.

Producing Flash video screencasts on a Mac

On 03, Apr 2008 | 6 Comments | In Apple, User Experience | By Ryan Feeley

screenflowapp.pngIt’s been years since producing my last screencast and I still can’t believe how difficult it is to produce a screencast on a Mac and publish in Flash (FLV) format.

Vara Software’s Screenflow is an incredibly well-designed screencasting tool. Unfortunately it only supports Quicktime export, which just doesn’t have the install-base Flash does–if it did, a Quicktime-based YouTube would have happened ages ago.

Vara’s support recommended I try VisualHub which works beautifully. And for the embedded player we’re using Flowplayer. My original plan was to embed h.264 video in Flowplayer, but that codec is only available in the very very latest version of the Flash plugin.

Here are the Idée screencasts:

What’s happening with Mail.app?

On 07, Mar 2008 | 4 Comments | In User Experience | By Ryan Feeley

It’s things like this that make me pine for Eudora.

mail.png

Apple’s email client has two ways to tell you that there is mail activity, but no way to tell you who, what, and how many. Maybe I was dreaming but pretty much most email clients I have used in the past tell you:

  • Message traffic count (i.e. Incoming message 3/5)
  • From email address
  • Name and size of attachment

They also have a cancel button for cancelling outgoing mail. While there is a button for this in Mail.app, I’ve never seen it work.

Am I missing something?

Facebook bigger than God, Jesus

On 27, Feb 2008 | No Comments | In User Experience | By Ryan Feeley

A recent search on Google Trends reveals that to the Googlers among us, Facebook is now bigger than Jesus, and even God himself.

Legend Facebook bigger than God, Jesus

The Father and Son powerhouse of biblical fame were surpassed by the social utility just before Christmas 2006. While Jesus appears to be more than capable to “take on his old man” in search volume, God the father continues to maintain a commanding lead in media coverage over both Jesus and Facebook.