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Category: Design

A look at Apple competitor advertising

It seems Apple has no competition these days, and judging just from advertising, I’m thinking we’re a good ways off from seeing any. Why? Try as they may to copy, companies like Samsung just don’t get it. My colleague Alex and I today were discussing the striking difference in advertising, in the latest issue of Fortune magazine (which is full of Samsung Galaxy ads.)

User interface review of the new and improved Securitas Alarm.

A few weeks ago, a Securitas salesman popped into the office, offering deep discounts should we be interested in upgrading our three-year-old alarm system. Given three years of technological advances, my expectations were high, and Securitas certainly delivered. In addition to the old features, we’ve now got magnets on the entrances, and their latest, easy-to-use alarm panel — which you’ll have to see to believe.

User Experience & Software Engineering

I remember, as if it were yesterday.

I was sitting in the ground station laboratory at the European Space Agency, needing to setup a test configuration using the “Monitoring & Control Module,” and staring at a grey screen full of mis-aligned, inconsistently-sized tabs on top of three-dimensional squares, on top of more squares on top of more tabs. The feeling was one of hopelessness and nausea. Who designed this thing? What were they thinking? Was the UI simply given to the most available “resource,” or perhaps the summer intern?

It was at that moment that I decided to start a company—MakaluMedia—in which “user experience” would drive everything we do.

CapitalOne User Experience

CapitalOne could have emailed me with the following short note:

Due to forthcoming changes in our online banking, please visit the following URL if you access Bill Pay via Quicken: capitalonebank.com/betteronlinebanking . If you don’t do Bill Pay via Quicken, you can safely ignore this email.

I don’t do Bill Pay at CapitalOne via Quicken, and so I could have immediately got on with my day. Instead, CapitalOne chose a process which unnecessarily cost me about five to seven minutes of my time.

DabbleDB / User Interface / User Experience

A while back, there was quite some chatter about DabbleDB, “a better web database to share, manage and explore your information.” The web application is apparently based on some impressive technology, at least based on a cursory exploration of the demos.

So today a friend of mine created an application at DabbleDB, and shortly thereafter an email arrived in my inbox inviting me to participate. I clicked the link, logged in, and was greeted by the following screen. I was left speechless. Regardless how good the technology is, in my humble opinion, the chances of this (or any product’s) success in the marketplace are severely handicapped by such disregard for the importance and critical roles that user interface and experience play.