UX Rant: Oversimplification and overgeneralisation... plus supportive technology!

This post annoyed me so much that I actually left a comment!

<.< A nugget rarely comments on design blogs, for some reason...

It's a nice, ranty comment, so I've reproduced it here, for my Rant Museum! ^_^

This article kind of annoyed me, possibly because it’s too general, hyperbolic, and somewhat preachy.

It’s all well and good to say:
We will design processes, not screens.
We will design systems, not individual pieces.
We will design less “using,” and more getting results.

How do you propose we ‘design processes’, WITHOUT designing the screens, assuming that the medium is digital, on a screen?

How do you propose we ‘design systems’, WITHOUT designing the individual pieces?

How do you design ‘more getting results’ without LOOKING at the ‘using’ process?

It’s all very well to say, users just want things to magically happen!

Sure they do.

But only in very narrow fields, or very very wide budgets and fields (self driving cars, container automation, subway train scheduling) can you implement something that allows that kind of responsibility-free magic, while absolving users of responsibility.

In many fields, we still REQUIRE the user to go through the process, interact with the product, perform myriad actions, because the onus of responsibility and decision must lie upon them. Because the interactions aren’t simple, and may cause harm. (I currently work in enterprise healthcare software.)

For me, as a designer, what I’d love to see more of (and to work on more of) is the ‘supportive’ system. A good example of this is computer-aided Chess Grandmasters. Where the sum of the two is superior to either one alone, even if the goal is still ‘winning’.

Computer-assisted healthcare professionals, with the goal being better patient care and outcomes. Now that’s something I want to see happen, but it’s still going to involve work on the part of the user, as well as the computer (the supportive system). And that’s the way it should be.

DISC personality test AKA look into this mirror, and I'll sell your image back to you for as high a price as I can extract

Nugget's summary of DISC personality test

  1. Tell me what you think you're like!
  2. Gosh, I think you're just like that! Just like... what you said you thought you were like.
  3. Let me pad that with vague, feel-good statements, worthy of any fortune teller.
  4. Look, I'll even throw in charts that, if you cross-compare with colleagues, are all obviously from a fixed set of variables, but designed to look as if they're customised for you, just you, special little snowflake, you.
  5. Now that you've told me what you think you're like, and I've mirrored that back at you...
  6. Rate the accuracy of the test! WOW! It's ACCURATE isn't it? HOW UNCANNY.

As you can tell, I'm somewhat unimpressed. I am, though, impressed by how attractively and plausibly dressed up it was.

The one I took today was truly a triumph of marketing.

Here's someone who says it much more nicely than me. ;)

ZOMG! New Zealand now has larval Baymaxes for aged care!

University of Auckland researchers are set to publish new results from a study of the use of healthcare robots in the homes of elderly people living in rural areas, showing that robots may lessen social isolation but also help with the provision of medical care.

The project involves small robots that can provide medication reminders, alarms in the case of falls and video conferencing through Skype, as well as a larger robot that can monitor health measurements such blood pressure readings and heart rate and transmit readings to the patient's GP.

According to the university, the robots functioned as good companions, with some participants saying they enjoyed hearing the robot talk and others saying they liked its ability to remind them to take their medicine on time.

Dr Broadbent said the participants said they found comfort in seeing the robot light up, as they felt it was the robot’s way of interacting with them.

“They all reported that they would miss the robot when it went with one patient describing the robot as being part of the family,” Dr Broadbent said in a statement.

Source: Kate McDonald, Pulse IT

Pharmacy in Australia: The 6CPA Agreement - Administration, Handling & Infrastructure (AHI) Fee vs 5CPA's Pharmacy Markup

So I did some calculations comparing the 6CPA's AHI vs the 5CPA's Pharmacy Markup...

Old pack of up to & including $30.00 @ 15% = $0.15 ($1) to $4.50 ($30)
Old pack of $30.01 to $45.00 = $4.50
Old pack of $45.01 to $180 @ 10% = $4.50 to $18.00
New for all up to $180.00 = $3.49
So with the AHI, for prices up to $180, pharmacies will be making LESS for all items above $30.00.

Old pack of $180.01 to $450.00 = $18.00
New pack of $180.01 to $450.00 = $3.49 (on an $180.01 item) to $12.94 ($3.49 + $9.45)

Old pack of $450.01 to $1,750.00 @ 4% = $18.00 to $70.00
New pack of $450.01 to $1,750.00 = $12.94 ($3.49 + $9.45) to $61.44 ($3.49 + $54.95)
Old pack of $1,750.01 and up = $70.00
New pack of $1,751.00 to $2,089.70 = $61.44 ($3.49 + $54.95) to $70.33 ($3.49 + $66.84)
So with the AHI, pharmacies are losing a lot of the 'in between $70.00' fees they had under the 5CPA pharmacy markup.

Old & New Pack of $2,089.71 and up = No change, $70.00 per dispense.

From the 6CPA agreement

From the 5CPA agreement

These are my personal conclusions, statements and opinions, and in no way reflect the opinions (or anything else) of my employer.

Lovely post on cooking without recipes by TerryWG / The Food Canon

Recipes act as a guide at best. There are so many variables so that you can't duplicate the dish exactly. At best, you approximate. Learn instead, to be guided by your own sense of taste and experiment with flavour combination. This often requires some imagination. This is not going to come to you immediately. Patiently, build up your experience and palate. As always, this will come more naturally or easily to some. Some will have a longer learning curve. But if you are always relying on recipes, you will not be able to break out of that. Your learning curve has not even begun.

Recipes are like GPS. There are often helpful to get you to your destination. But over-rely on it, and you will cease to think or map out your own sense of direction. After a while, without GPS, you become a stranger in your own city.

That is the same problem with cooking entirely from recipes. We use the ingredients without asking why and we never seek to understand the essence of the dish. The experience with the dish remains contained within itself, locked in its own recipe, and you will never try to do something else from it.    

- Cooking without a recipe, The Food Canon

The Flat Design Trend & Silly Catty Designer Behaviour aka I <3 Eli Schiff

Today we are told we can rest assured that visual design is no longer so vacuous and superficial, due to the advent of flat design.

I take a different stance. 'Pure veneer' is not an insult in my book. Quite the opposite, it is the very definition of visual design. Thinking visual design is anything but superficial not only requires a profound level of ignorance, but it indicates an incredibly limited view of what visual communication can accomplish.

These rationalizations by newly turned modern minimalists are incredibly telling. If prominent practitioners are being honest with us in claiming that visual design was plagued by harmful decoration only up until the advent of flat design, then they are admitting that for years, for the history of the GUI, and perhaps even the entire history of design itself, designers have been putting on a sham project in order to dupe corporations.

Worse still, claims of visual design's insignificance tell us that design leaders never took their craft seriously. It truly undermines their credibility that it took the arrival of flat design for them to treat the entire spectrum of roles in product design with respect. Of course, as soon as that happened, they graduated from respecting traditional interface design principles.

This so-called 'maturation' in the vast majority of the design industry is in this way a major indictment of the professional history of these practitioners. If anyone should be condemned, it should not be those accused of the crime of visual design, but those practitioners who treat their job as frivolous.

Perhaps the design world breeds a form of narcissism due to its nature as a winner-take-all economy. That would explain the logic of this race to the bottom in which designers feel compelled to attack their craft before others assume they are 'bullshitters' too. In the words of Dr. Sam Vaknin:

By pre-empting society’s punitive measures and by self-flagellating, the narcissist is actually saying: 'If I am to suffer unjustly, it will be only by my own hand and no one else's.'

It is this masochistic status-striving that I find so ugly in this industry. That he who discredits his own craft is the most pious. That the most respected designer is the one who disowns beauty. This perpetual need to be the first to assign irrelevancy to one's own professional practice is the true impetus behind much of the puritanism of modern minimalist avant gardism.

- From Eli Schiff's last article in an amazing 5 part series, Fall of the Designer

Details way better than I could have how the unnerving thing about 'flat is the bestest and the coolestestest and the maturestestest' is in truth paying only lip service to serving our users' needs, while actually serving as a designer's wank.

Go read it, read it all!

Nugget's weird-but-authentic-tasting-sweet-n-sour-sauce >.>

I got a wok!

And I didn't set my apartment on fire! (My last personal encounter with a wok resulted in a fire - just a tiiiiny one - in the middle of my wok, and failed Home Economics exam.)

AND I managed to make *proper* Cantonese sweet and sour pork omg! I was so surprised that it all got eaten without any documentation. :P

Not sure I would make it again though... so much *work*! I guess it depends on how desperate I get to find real sweet and sour pork done right in Melbourne. I found only one place, that did it right ONE time, and then they changed the darn cook! Hrmph.

>.> Now, about that sauce... I hate tomatoes, so I had to find some other way to get a nice, authentic-tasting sauce... (I don't care about authentic ingredients, I just care about authentic taste.)

Behold - my cheaty non-tomato sweet and sour sauce!

As usual, I didn't actually measure anything, so this is me thinking of what I madly shook into the bowl and approximating. :P

Crafting materials
2 large oranges (juice and zest)
4 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 tsp cornstarch
3 drops red food colouring, 1 drop yellow (totally optional, it doesn't look traditionally 'red' enuff without the colouring, cause no evil tomatoes)
Tiny bit of salt (optional - only needed if you think the stuff you're putting it on may not be savoury enuff.)

Crafting method

  1. Zest oranges
  2. Squeeze tiny bit of juice into some kind of microwave-safe container
  3. Add cornstarch and stir until you get a slurry
  4. Add rest of orange juice, orange zest, sugar, balsamic vinegar, and food colouring + salt if using
  5. Stir stir stir until sort of homogenous
  6. Nuke for 3m to 5m
  7. Check on the sauce in 30s intervals. You want it to turn sticky and drippy, but still liquid. Sort of like... wimpy glue in the sponge-topped bottles that they give to kids to do paper art or school crafts (...not sure if they even still make that lol)
    Wait no nevermind, better description! You want it to turn sticky and drippy, but still liquid, like warm honey! Woot! :P
    You can make the sauce on the stove as well if you don't have a microwave... But in that case, I have no idea how long it takes, just what it should be like (see above).

That's it really... >.>