Paper Browser. Its a browser only in paper.

Here is a pretty awesome resource to help you wire frame and sketch your rough concepts when designing user interfaces for the web. It is known that ideas are best represented when drawn on paper. At Paper Browser you can download the PDFs that contain a subtle grid, based on standard screen dimensions and a mock template outline of a browser. Ideas and concepts can be quickly sketched on paper after printing. It is great when working professionally and you can present your clients or associates your thinking and design process in a cleaner fashion.

You can also purchase a notebook that comes printed with the browser template.

Paper Browsers: http://www.raincreativelab.com/paperbrowser/

 

A must read article!

I am really enjoying digging more into UX and learning more about it. As I was browsing the net I came a cross this beautiful article from Smashing Magazine. This article is going over the ten annoying usability issues that I am sure we all experienced at some point. I am sure you will find it useful and will enjoy it as much as I did.

Check it out:
10 Usability Nightmares You Should Be Aware Of
By Vitaly Friedman

Not a pleasant experience!

There are so many reasons that a user visits a website. In my case, I went to
Toyota Bob Baker site to find the address and hopefully get the direction to their location. So, as soon as I got to the site, I checked the CONTACT US tab which gave me the drop down menu options …..and…. location was NOT one them! I didn’t bother to visit any of those options because didn’t sound related to my need.

So, I was looking at this busy and moving site(slide show is going on in the main image area) and I couldn’t find the address, I was looking at all the logical places; after 10, 20 seconds which is a long time in a user life :)  I finally found the address styled
in red and underline!

I was happy! Hoping, clicking on the link or I thought it was a link will take me to the map but, no it was just another disappointment. So, I thought I would copy and past the address into the Google map and get the direction but guess what, the address was part of the header image not a text!
I finally end up going back and forth between windows to look at the address and enter it into the Google map.  Not a pleasant experience!

 

Sometimes I wonder

This photo is of the entrance to the CVS on El Cajon Blvd just across the street from Platt. The usability of this sign isn’t very good and for the most part unnecessary. The sign indicates the height of the structure to prevent large trucks from running into it, but it is located on the wrong side of the pole. The side it’s on is an exit and you are unable to make a left hand turn into the parking lot from the west bound side of El Cajon. A truck east bound, making a right hand turn into the driveway would never see this sign.

A Usable M-16 Rifle

After reading the Usability article Shane posted,  there was a section about how Usability was important for how the military puts research into the Human Factors. Factors which include usability that yielded more precision, greater kills, and the effectiveness of a soldier and their weapon. Having been a former Marine I decided to write a quick history of how usability concerns have changed the face of the M-16 Assault Rifle.

This is the most recent version of the M16 which is actually called the M4. Some things to take notice is the location of the collapsible stock (butt-stock), the large magazine, the barrel length, handguard, and the Forward Assist Assembly.

The first M-16 was introduced in the 1960’s as the M-16A1. You can usually tell by the smaller magazine and different type of hand guard that was used. This was an automatic rifle but the magazine could only hold 20 rounds. The M-16A1 also introduced the Forward Assist Assembly in case of a double feed (where two bullets are jammed in the rifle). The handguard was not that durable and the type of powder in the ammunition used left a residue that caused a lot of rifle jams.  Because of the many Rifle jams this Rifle was at first considered to be a failure, when they finally added a cleaning kit to clean out the residue more soldiers began to rely on it more.

This second Rifle known as the M-16A2 Assault Rifle is the current version that the military trains with. The handguard is different and a bit more durable, and the magazine now holds 30 rounds instead of 20. The Rifle now has a three-round-burst option which was changed to save ammunition and help enforce precision over random fire.

This third Rifle known as the M-16A4 is a variant of the M-16A2. On the surface not much has changed between the A2 and the A4 but now certain parts are customizable to fit a soldiers needs. On the Buttstock there is an extra magazine holder,  detachable railing handguards, and a small detachable Handle (its above the Forward Assist -which also has a rear sight post for aiming). The railing handguards (underneath the ones shown above) allow more devices to be attached like a flashlight, handle or laser. The detachable handle can be replaced with a small scope.

This is the last variant callled the M4. We saw this variant in the first diagram of the M-16. A bit smaller than the other variants this Rifle also has a detachable Handle and detachable railing handguards. The handle is no longer there in this picture but it is replaced with a scope. The barrel is also a bit shorter and the buttstock is adjustable. This was the issued rifle for most of the infantry in Iraq and Afghanistan. The reason that the rifle was smaller was because it was used for more close encounters and house-to-house operations.

So you can see how the flexibility changed from the A1 to the A2. The A1 is no longer in production but the A2 is still a standard issue Rifle.  Since the A2 has a three round burst, you wouldn’t have to deal with the inaccuracy of automatic fire.  The last two Rifles (the M-16A4 and the M4) has the option to put more add-ons which will gives the soldier greater efficiency on achieving their specific task. These last two variants are issued depending on the the type of soldier and their current deployment. They give the soldier greater control of his  precision,  kills, and effectiveness their specific weapon. This is what makes the M-16 more “usable” from a military point of view.

smashing magazine artical

What Is Usability?

Early Roots of Usability

If we go far back in history, Vitruvius (1st century BC) was probably the first person to lay forth systematic and elaborated principles of design. His three core design principles became very influential:

  1. Firmitas: The strength and durability of the design;
  2. Utilitas: A design’s usefulness and suitability for the needs of its intended users;
  3. Venustas: The beauty of the design.

Vitruvius’ work was an inspiration to people like Leonardo da Vinci, who drew the well-known Vitruvian Man (fig. 1 below). By empirically measuring and calculating the proportions of the human body, and emphasising the “utilitas” principle, Vitruvius may be considered the first student of ergonomics and usability.

read more

Google Drive

As part of Google’s plan to dominate the World Wide Web, it seems like they’re coming out with a new application that allows a user to share their files with several others computers, similar to an app like Drop-box. The app will be called Google Drive. The app is apparently an upgraded version of the Google docs app where all your documents created through Google docs can be shared on different devices and computers.

You can check out this article at:

Google Drive on the Google Blog

I’m pretty sure Google will come on on top…..