ux: Lists should be presented in an easy-to-understand order

How could this experience be improved?

Notifications screen in iOS.

This is so bizarre that I can’t believe Apple missed it. The notification settings screen is in no discernbile order.

If you want to turn off or change notifications, you have to scroll through the list until you find what you’re looking for.

Continue reading “ux: Lists should be presented in an easy-to-understand order”

redesign | ux: Localization should be personalized

How could this Uber experience be improved?

Uber dialog

The text in the dialog here is in Spanish. It’s of no use to me, who speaks only English. Uber knows my language preference because I use it primarily in the United States to get cars in the United Statest.

It’s extra frustrating because the prominence implies that it is imporant.

Messages like this should (ideally) be translated into the language of the user.

Continue reading “redesign | ux: Localization should be personalized”

redesign | retail: Target’s new in-store tablets miss the bullseye

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Target has a history of trying to keep their stores fresh, with user experiences and industrial design that is cohesive and friendly. They don’t always succeed, but the latest changes have been interesting, as Target upgrades their in-store price check experience. It’s important to focus on delivering the features people need, and not more.

One area where Target is trying to improve the user experience is the price check scanners that are placed around the stores, usually at the end of aisles, next to a red phone.

Target is no stranger to technology. They use iPod touch in custom cases with barcode scanners built in to manage inventory and print tags for the shelf with a wirelessly paired printer.

iPod touch with scanner
iPod touch with scanner
Wireless label printer
Wireless label printer

Continue reading “redesign | retail: Target’s new in-store tablets miss the bullseye”

redesign | UX: Why the American Express mobile app is one of the best in fintech


I love the American Express mobile app for one big reason: it turns boring credit card data into visual, actionable information.
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Whereas many apps just show you your transactions in a manner not much different from your monthly statement, AmEx lets you analyze transactions.IMG_0006

You can see some of the tools above. And it’s not just pretty charts. Continue reading “redesign | UX: Why the American Express mobile app is one of the best in fintech”

redesign | UX: A human-centric approach to design is what makes this page great

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Easy passwords

There are a couple of things that I really like about this site.

The first is the use of easy, human readable passwords. Where some companies use complex order numbers, sometimes 20 or more random alphanumeric characters, this site uses words that will stick in your head. What would you rather say to a customer service agent: miffed-wispy-crab or JKS421DA9oC?

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redesign | travel: How would you improve this St. Regis hotel bath collection?

The big issue here is that all three bottles look alike. There is shampoo, conditioner and body wash. But it’s not easy to tell which is which without picking up the small, likely wet bottles.

That’s bad enough for the typical person. But for people like me, who are blind as a bat, it is a serious issue. Without my glasses or contacts — the standard when I’m taking a shower — I couldn’t read the text until the bottle was within 5″ of my eyes.

Unfortunately, this is the status quo at hotels. They all have tiny bottles that are impossible to read. Some hotels have their amenities in clear plastic bottles, which makes it easier to distinguish the blue shampoo from the white conditioner. But you still have to figure out which is which.

My ideal solution has two parts:

  • Large letters on each bottle. S = Shampoo, B = Body wash, C= Conditioner.
  • Different shaped bottles. For example, circle for shampoo, square for conditioner, triangle for the body wash.

Changing the labels is relatively easy. Changing the shape of the bottles is more complicated.

Because chains use standardized toiletries, learning one would help you at multiple hotels. (On the flip side, it makes the roll out process longer.)

This isn’t just a usability issue; it could be an issue under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

This quiz was so easy that a lot of people got the correct answer:


Which is why it’s odd that hoteliers don’t seem to see the problem.

But at least St. Regis hotels have a sense of humor. They responded to my question:

redesign | apple: What’s wrong with how Siri is responding to a request to send a message?

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The big issue here is that Siri says “I’ll send your message.” Was it sent? Or is it stuck somewhere? Will it be sent immediately or 10 minutes from now?

Continue reading “redesign | apple: What’s wrong with how Siri is responding to a request to send a message?”

redesign | google: What’s the most obvious thing wrong with this Google Maps experience?

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Google is telling us “No route found”. This a fairly simple request, from my location to Target. But Google didn’t check to see if there was connectivity before presenting the error message. This shows a common problem in UX design.

Continue reading “redesign | google: What’s the most obvious thing wrong with this Google Maps experience?”

redesign | apple: How would you improve this iMessage experience?

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There are three keys to solving this puzzle:

  • The hashtag #lowbandwidth.
  • The E indicator in the status bar, showing that the phone is on and Edge network.
  • The stuck “Sending…” indicator.

My answer here is to fall back to SMS when the data network doesn’t work. Apple has created its own messaging system that runs over your phone’s data connection. In most cases, this is good. It allows Apple to deliver a richer set of features, free international messaging and can be faster.

But SMS is more robust because it uses a separate signaling channel. (This is why you should use SMS in emergency situations.)

One of my frustrations with a lot of mobile design is that it ignores low-bandwidth use cases. That’s important for areas where there is sparse coverage. It’s also important if you want your app to work reasonably well in international markets.

Some other answers from Twitter:

This really works best in normal- or high-bandwidth situations. Pre-fetching also uses data that a user on a metered data plan might not want to use.


I use Glympse for this, largely out of habit. But the latest version of iOS does include sending location.

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