Few more Interesting links

Today’s subscription letter from Communication Arts is really interesting. They have featured four different links. Three of these are really worth mentioning. The first one is about 100 best cameras. These are arranged to form a poster titled “A Visual Compendium of Cameras“. The second one features top 10 poster designs in the past 50 years. And the last one is about FS Emeric, a new font hosted by Fontsmith.

May be you already know this!

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Yeah.. may be you guys are already aware of this but here is an interesting way to discover new things every single day. I have subscribed to Commarts Dot Com daily news letter. Everyday one can get interesting feeds to posts, blogs, graphic work, interaction work and much more. For instance today I came across a visual search engine called Niice. To every single keyword you enter you get a bunch of visuals. I would strongly recommend subscribing to Commarts for your daily dosage of design.

Few of the UI assignments companies ask Designers to attempt

As I ponder on UI design, I am reminded of some of the assignments which I have encountered while appearing for a UX design position with one company or the other. I think these are interesting to list and to share with the audience of this blog. Here are some of those;

1. Design an application interface which could let people plan their circular journeys. The interface should deliver a seamless user experience which will allow users to plan their circular journeys, seek availability through a specific mode of travel (bus, railways or airways) and book reservations. The users should feel in control of the process and close to requisite information as they plan their itinerary.

2. (Re)Design the interface of a social networking game hosted on FB. Start by re-evaluating the existing interface and move close to identifying usability failures. Note down the breaks in information architecture and task flows. Present a complete picture of few of the redesigned task flows and illustrate the user experience.

3. Design the user experience for an online application that lets user browse for a specific medical specialist in an area. Lay emphasis on the geo-tagged medical facilities and their possible discovery by a user who is new to the town.

4. (Re)Design the IRCTC* web interface. Suggest improvements and focus on moments of frustrations and delights that a user goes through while using the interface.

5. Design an interface and list user experience for a universal remote to be used in home settings. Consider the product design of the remote as well. Imagine that the remote has to be used to control an interactive television, a personal computer and a set of multimedia devices.

This isn’t such an exhaustive list of assignments but it seems that these are the latest obsessions of UI design industry in India. I am documenting these for two specific reasons. First to gauge the entire gamut of assignments companies ask their candidates to attempt. Secondly I hope that with this explicit understanding of assignments it might be possible to stretch the imagination of UI design scenarios. May be readers will suggest more!

How simple the things can be?

Here is an interesting read from Wired. The link mentions various patents registered against the name of celebrities. I find this quite interesting for two reasons. First, all of these patents are filed by people who are not scientists. Rather these are the people who were musicians, cameraman, performers and other creative professionals. This asks us to extend our thought of seeing things so narrowly- a kind of skepticism that we had acquired in an age of specialization. Second, all of these patents are so lucidly illustrated or explained that it kind of highlights the simplicity of thought. It also gives one an idea that patents could also be about very simple ideas provided they are novel, illustrative and communicable.

Credits: Wired Dot Com

I have a question!

I have a question. It has born out of a repeated observation. Almost all the times when I have been to washroom to relieve myself, I see that people become completely silent. And I am making this observation against the washrooms which are located in a building where people work and most often know each other in person, for example in an university or in a office. The fact that they know each other makes me wonder why did they even not acknowledge the presence of the people they know. I understand that this might vary from culture to culture but I have tried varying this observation by asking many of my friends and family and they seem to attest the same.

Well the simplest of reasons I am being told of is that it is out of etiquette to do so. But I don’t remember any teacher of mine telling me about this. Or may be I have been to one of the not so good schools. But even if it so I wonder how people could resist saying hello to the people (they know) when they encounter them in washrooms and loos. How could the etiquette gain such an enormous power that it dictates human behavior to become completely strangers to each other during that time? Strange, isn’t it?

The another argument which comes upfront is the following: Washrooms are usually the places where there is always filth and foul smells. So why to stay there to exchange words of acknowledgement. One always tries to leave such a place as soon as possible. Well I could have really considered this argument had I never been to any washroom myself. The washrooms I am talking about since the beginning of this post are actually the ones which are very well kept and sanitized. These are the washrooms equipped with world class toilet fittings. These are fitted with hand dryers and automatic dispensers to release water and soap solution in urinals and toilet seat. To an average nose like mine, there are absolutely no foul smells. So an urge to leave ASAP doesn’t seem reasonable.

Consider the third argument: Bathrooms are usually congested spaces so its not really possible to carry a conversation. To me this also doesn’t seem to be the case. Current architectural plans of bathrooms are quite spacious. They are some times as big as living rooms and have ample of space to move around and relax. Thus this argument doesn’t seems to sustain as well.

I don’t really know why people behave like that. Take all the arguments and see them in parallel but what I am wondering about is the disappearance of a simple acknowledgement in these spaces. Till we find the answers we are free to speculate and off course to observe silence in any such washroom we enter.