I love user interface forensics like this analysis of iPhone Mail scrolling behavior, digging deep into some small and easily missed detail of an interface that adds tremendously to the user experience and usability of a product.
Turns out there’s a tumblr called Little Big Details for collecting these interface details. Not all examples are great, but some are. Worth subscribing.
This one’s making the rounds lately – Academy Award-winning film editor Walter Murch details in a letter to Roger Ebert why 3D doesn’t work and never will:
The biggest problem with 3D, though, is the “convergence/focus” issue. A couple of the other issues — darkness and “smallness” — are at least theoretically solvable. But the deeper problem is that the audience must focus their eyes at the plane of the screen — say it is 80 feet away. This is constant no matter what.
But their eyes must converge at perhaps 10 feet away, then 60 feet, then 120 feet, and so on, depending on what the illusion is. So 3D films require us to focus at one distance and converge at another. And 600 million years of evolution has never presented this problem before. All living things with eyes have always focussed and converged at the same point.
Which, as far as i understand, at least doesn’t preclude holographic 3D displays from being enjoyable.
Also, even though i agree that 3D cinema sucks most of the time, i’m really looking forward to Tron: Legacy in IMAX 3D (a shame we had to wait this long for its release here in Austria).
Facebook touts its social authentication feature as an alternative to captchas. They show you photos of one of your friends and you need to name the person in the photos.
Once I came back home from traveling, I found that both Blizzard and Facebook had blocked my accounts for “suspicious activity”, caused by me having logged in from a different IP. Facebook was especially annoying, demanding I identify my “friends” from their photos to be allowed back in. Unfortunately I’m “friends” with 288 people I found via this blog, none of which I ever met in real life, and there are only a handful among them from which I know the face.
The widespread adoption of seemingly small and isolated features like this one could have a significant effect on long term usage patterns. I wonder if Facebook consciously considered (or even planned for) the effect of deterring people from adding friends they don’t know personally and face-to-face when designing this feature.
Siobhan Ambrose did some research on WordPress themes and found that only one in ten themes was “clean” and without any questionable exploits or malicious code. WordPress seems to be a victim of its own success, with scammers, spammers and exploiters focussing their attention on WordPress because of its popularity.
Optimizing a system requires sub-optimizing the subsystems. Conversely optimizing a subsystem sub-optimizes the global system.
This paper on the unsuccessful self-treatment of writer’s block seems like a worthy submission to the Journal of Universal Rejection.
I don’t know what kind of stories you’ve heard from your friends or the ladies in your book club. Sometimes, old people will spread around what they’ve heard from other old people. This can make things even more confusing and scary. That’s why it’s important you get the straight facts from me.
Great short documentary about The Sartorialist Scott Schumann: