Olympic UX Fail

Normally I don’t like to focus on the negative, but a UX Fail of this nature was surprising. For a site that so many people will be using.

I got this error when I was booking passage to the Vancouver Olympic Events at Whistler. Important to note was that unless you had proof of accommodations at Whistler you could not drive up on your own. They required that you take some sort of public transportation and strongly recommended using the Olympic Bus Network. So when I received this “Purchase Error” several times without instruction on how to fix it, I was very concerned. After calling the Olympic Bus Network several times only to get a recording, I resorted to email as the next quickest option. An email was returned to me stating that there was probably a mismatch on my CC number or Event Code. Now don’t you think that would have been very simple to code in there? As much as I loved my Vancouver Olympic Experience, I have to give this one a big fail.

It’s not about new ideas, it’s about getting new ideas made….

In my recent position I’ve been reintroduced to the world of heavy documentation. There’s something to be said about a methodical and precise approach to building quality products, but I tend to get impatient with the urgency to get products to market. The idea of design has become much more than just making plans for something great. I cite the quote below:

It’s not about  ideas, it’s about making ideas happen” (http://the99percent.com/)

I think about this statement a lot. Certainly the in web design world this is very pertinent. In other worlds it’s not as immediate but still relevant. Think about the entomology of the term Architect. It literally means someone who creates plans to be used in making something. In my case “Information.”My desk is across the hall from actual architects for some of the most extravagant hotels and resorts in the world. In speaking with them I get excited to realize we have much more in common than just our titles.  The process is indeed a close parallel. Though web apps are much more forgiving even if we have a zero bug policy. Neither one of us are actually putting the code together or laying the bricks. But the real difference is in how the ideas get made. Which is why Information Architecture is losing it’s foothold. The skills to build the object are closer in nature and much easier to acquire than buildings. All it takes is an RSS feed from KillerStartups.com to realize that the knowledge of how to build products is being implemented at a blistering pace. Hence the catch all phrase Interaction Designer.

(A great foray into another post: Observations on Designers)

“We make our buildings and thereafter they make us…..”

I’ve been thinking alot about this quote which I found on the Case Western School of Design site.

“We make our buildings and thereafter they make us.”
Winston Churchill

It really is a powerful statement about design and architecture. It’s no real mystery, given that we are in an advanced age of creating buildings for specific purposes that design of buildings is important. Do a free flow of all the specific types of buildings that have special architecture created for having experiences; Churches, Temples, Synagogues, Arenas, Stadiums, Studios, Galleries, Showrooms, Theatres, Homes Theatres, Great Rooms, Resort Hotels, Conference Centers…. and many more.

I’ve found in my career, that I am of a better mood, and happier if I’m surrounded by an environment that adhere’s to open communication. It’s not required, but it feels a lot better. I think that’s the phenomenon behind sites like http://wherewedowhatwedo.com/.

I suppose it could also be said about the design of products as well. Does the design of our products make who we are?

 

 

11th Anniversary whoops…

So I’m a bit late on this but didn’t want this “UX FAIL” to go by without a mention.

The Google 11th year anniversary logo celebration was such a usability issue that I got several emails from friends telling me to look at the spelling error on Google. But I have to wonder if they let it roll just to get/keep people talking. Of course by the end of my rant I then discovered their genius. Be careful you don’t get too caught up in your own knowledge you just might miss something… ll-11..;)

11th Anniversay pic

Visualizing; The Real Power of Design

The business world is all about Design Thinking these days. As I contemplate weather or not an MDes/MBA is worth the time, and opportunity cost, I’ve become very cognizant of just exactly why the business world is so seduced by what they previously might have labeled, touchy feeling or to bohemian for the real world.

To start with they can’t help but be amazed by numbers like this. ” The Design Council’s latest research study has come up with a way of measuring return on design investment for the first time. According to the report, Design in Britain 2005-6, ‘design alert’ companies achieve an average return of #225 for every #100 invested in design.

The report also reiterates that companies investing in effective design significantly outperform their rivals on the stock market. Shares in ‘design-led’ businesses have outstripped key stock market indices by as much as 200 per cent over the past decade, says the report.” Design Week |August 2, 2006, | Scott Billings | (http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-149146326/study-pinpoints-firms-return.html)

And there’s about ten other studies that show similar results. This is very helpful for talking to those traditional business types.

While the numbers make their heads turn, the devil is in the details of how design led companies win. However it’s really very simple.They do exactly what those old school biz folks have always done, they just do it with a greater fidelity and better understanding.  They Visualize and attack!

In the past few months I’ve spent a lot of my commute time listening to material that focuses on Self Development, Positive Attitude and the power of Faith. Regardless of what source you prefer to follow on this topic, they all tell the same story of being able to visualize before you realize an idea, thought, process or product.  It’s no wonder that Design Thinking has become the new hot topic in business. Design is the essence of creating a good plan and being able to truly see it in your minds eye, then sharing it effectively.

The act of designing requires the designer to be in touch with it’s audience and create an experience for that fits their needs. And it requires the designer to be human.  In a world where experience is everything, traditional businesses cannot afford to separate themselves with the clinical type approach as they’re used to.

In the world of Self Development what you Visualize over and over again, becomes real and eventually you actualize your thoughts. (See the story of the Illinois Institute of Technology as told in “Think and Grow Rich” .)

Design is the act of visualizing.