Links for 2008.01.15

» QR-Code enhanced scarf [via cookin’/relaxin]
Geeky clothing adverts for website. QR codes are ‘physical hyperlinks’ – take a photo of the matrix code with phone and visit the webpage.

» More info on those QR Code
Pictographic representaitons of URLs.

» QR-Code Generator | QR-Code
Get your own QR codes here.

» Jonathan Ive’s passion for simplicity and honest design is rooted in the work of Dieter Ram [gizmodo via blackbeltjones]
His passion for “simplicity” and “honest design” is at the core of Dieter Rams’ 10 principles for good design. Both designers shape their products around the function with no artificial design, keeping the design honest.

» Looking increasingly likely that the UK government will repeal the law against blasphemy [davblog]
“Following a debate the Justice Minister, said that the government had “every sympathy for the case for formal abolition” and that, subject to a “short and sharp” consultation with the Anglican church, they intended to table their own abolition amendment.

Link for 2008.01.02

» When thinking changes your mind, that’s philosophy. When God changes your mind, that’s faith. When facts change your mind, that’s science [O’Reilly Radar]
Tim O’Reilly changed his mind about social software

» End of Support for Netscape web browsers [The Netscape Blog]
AOL to finally pull the plug on Netscape. Netscape never recovered from browser wars with Microsoft – of course it didn’t help they went to battle with a broken stick aka Netscape 4.7.

» Eyetracking research highlights the importance of the resource [useit.com]
Appears to show that people focus on the centre of the page and then the ‘more info/related content boxes’ and only a cursory glance at the left hand nav – possibly to help locate themselves on the site, not for navigation?

» Steve Furber one designers of the BBC Micro and ARM processor made a CBE [BBC]
The BBC micro was my first computer and got me hooked on computing and technology – and I know lots of others that owe a similar dept to Steve.

Designing products that people like

Jamie has just written an excellent piece over at the BBC’s Radio Labs blog about his recent work on the design of the /programmes website. Jamie explains his analysis of existing ‘competitors’ using Polar Maps and Topography.

It reminded me of an article about the design of the Xbox 360 who also used Polar Maps to help understand what people wanted and to then align the designers and Microsoft Execs.

Patterns arose in the responses. People wanted a softer look than the original console. They wanted Microsoft to tone down the logo. They loved the use of chrome as an accent color.

At the same time, the team solicited the opinions of Microsoft executives. Jonathan Hayes, the 37-year-old design director for the Xbox platform, didn’t show them actual models for fear that each executive would pick one to champion. Instead, he asked them to consider four themes: mild, wild, architectural and organic.

The original Xbox was certainly on the wild end of the spectrum. And, with its complex geometry and lines, it was architectural as well. Should its successor have the same look?

The executives talked about vehicles as a point of comparison. A Hummer had the same wild, architectural sense as the Xbox. On the mild, organic end was the Porsche 911, which had a well-evolved and distilled feel. That’s the look the group eventually settled on.

Apple Computer’s iPod is mild, executives said. Mild will still look fresh five years from now. Wild and aggressive will seem dated.

As I’ve said before I don’t believe that asking people what they want works. Polar maps do. They help understand what our users’ expectations are and that means we can design products that fit our users mental model – it helps us design intuitive products.