Category Archives: UX

Training vs. User Experience, Part 1

Just sort of thinking out loud here. What is the ultimate goal of user interfaces, user experience testing, training, learning systems, etc.? Isn’t it to provide the user a better experience, whatever that might mean? What’s the best way to do that?


Haven’t we believed, or at least said, for a very long time now, that computers are here to make our lives better? How is that working for you? A favorite quote of mine, which is probably not even real, was in the movie Jobs, and is attributed to Jony Ive. I expect he has said something pretty close to it sometime:

“I think you [referring to Steve Jobs] believe that the computer, or the Walkman, or whatever it may be, should be a natural extension of the individual, and it’s that mission, that devotion to quality.”

 Through the years, we’ve said “simple,” and “easy,” and even “friendly,” but natural extension is a great expression.

But how do we get there?


Password “type-ability”

Typing100A quick follow-up on password thoughts. One extra thought on passwords is that no matter how good a password is for other reasons, if your fingers can’t type it, it quits being a good password! Test type your password a few times before committing to it.

An open question: is there ever a need for all-numeric passwords? Prior to smart phone days, cell phone passwords that were just numbers were far easier to type. If you have some such device, it’s probably worth having a standby, all numbers, password. A really old phone number, or phone number of an old friend, or some such, is a great choice here. By the way, this is pretty good for some WiFi encryption needs as well.


Generic Staff Orientation: Login & Logout

Your username, your password. If someone else has used your computer, you’ll have to switch to your username. (when your password doesn’t work, check the username before trying more than a couple of times; otherwise you might lock yourself, or someone else, out)

Logging into another on-site computer: same thing. With the exception of some special software and other minor differences, it doesn’t matter what computer you use.

Logging in anywhere. You still access the same files, the same email, calendar, etc. Your username and password are consistent whenever you log into any computer belonging to the organization. “Computers don’t have passwords, people do.” (don’t take that too literally, but keep the thought) .

Logging out
When you are done for the day, or leaving a computer for any extended time, please log out (log off, sign out, sign off, or any other similar term). This is good for security, it also lets the machines get updates when you’re not around, and it leaves the computer available if someone else might need it.

Logging out vs. Shutting Down
Generally logging out each day is the right thing to do. If you know that a computer won’t be needed for many days, then shutting down might be more appropriate, but rarely. When machines are on (but logged out), routine maintenance operations can happen during the night without impacting your daily work. This is also a good bandwidth saver, as updates during the day compete with your regular work.

Over-explain and Under-explain

I’m afraid I’m often guilty of providing way too much information when somebody just wanted a summary. Been working on that, but have had a few backfires in the product support area.

What I said: “Be sure you leave your computer turned on tonight and log out before you leave.”

What I didn’t say: “Be sure your [notebook] computer has the power adapter connected.”

What else I didn’t say: “Be sure your notebook is connected to the network.”

Remote support is so much harder when either of those minor things are overlooked. Oh well…