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. ;)

I would like to find the designer who thought it was a good idea for Windows 7 to force-quit all your programs and restart, all by itself, in order to install an update. Without even having the courtesy of informing you of it, or giving you the option to

cancel or postpone the update installation. I would like to write this designer a very nasty email. With demonspawn killer bunnehs with a taste for gnawing and gnashing on gonads attached. That is what I would like to do.

I'm sorry, I don't understand English.

About 2 months ago, I had my right wisdom tooth removed at Ace Family Dental Care.

Procedure went okay, dentist was a pleasant chap, if a bit... odd. And then off I went on holiday for 2 weeks.

Fast forward to the present - checking my mail last night, I find that the dentist was reimbursed for the surgery from my Medisave account over 2 months ago. Their standard operating procedure is to have the patient pay upfront, and then reimburse them by cheque once the payment from Medisave has cleared.

I understand that they may have called while I was away in Australia.

What I do not understand is why there was no further follow up, no information, no NOTHING, with the staff in charge simply sitting on my cheque and ignoring it.

The best part? When I called to enquire in person, the moment I demanded an explanation, the woman who answered the phone more or less immediately passed me to her colleague, who then pretended not to be able to understand English - only, and I must stress ONLY - when I questioned her about the handling of my cheque, or lack thereof.

This is sad as up till now I'd had a very good impression of the clinic, which this handling, or lack of handling of my cheque has tossed down the drain.

Obviously, taking the complaint seriously, rather than pretending not to understand English, and passing me between various people in a show of utter irresponsibility, is something that isn't done in this place.

I'm glad I don't have any more wisdom teeth.

And lest you think I am being unreasonable, this is the 21st century, in Singapore. Can't get someone on the phone? Send an SMS. Follow up with an SMS. Follow up with another damn call. Follow up with my email, which they have.

But no, sit on the cheque, and wait till the patient/customer calls to yell, then pretend not to understand English.

That's the way to do it.

Note to self: Not reading sheet music for over a decade will ensure, when you wish to read sheet music, that you are no longer remotely capable of doing so.

...pity my neighbours, for my shiny new iPad has given me a virtual piano, with which I am attempting to transpose assorted songs by ear.


Also, the main problem with all iPad piano apps is the placement of the hands. If you want to actually play, as opposed to hunt-and-peck typist style that seems to be on most of the demos, then it's really hard to hold the keys - the iPad is either too sensitive, or not sensitive enough, and you don't have the option of resting/trailing your fingers across the keys as you proceed to the next note. This makes the notes sound rather clipped, if the keys aren't side by side. Haven't figured out if there's a way to control that yet.

Perhaps a pressure sensitive piano app? Now that would rock.