Skip to content
June 16, 2011 / fayafshar

Android Design Guideline

I’ve always had trouble finding a detailed Android design guide, similar to the one for iOS that Apple regularly update, so i’m pleased that Mutual Mobile have put one together. Thank you!! 🙂
I think its a more comprehensive version of the design guidelines from Android Developers. It also includes the learnings from the design team at Mutual Mobile, who developed these guidelines as a consequence of not being able to find enough for the platform.

Android Design Guidelines v1.1

Check out Android Design Guidelines version 1.1

April 14, 2011 / fayafshar

Interactive Sales Online

3 mobile are developing an interactive store, where customers get to see and speak to a sales person online.

I’m not sure if this is actual live yet, but its certainly going to mean a big change for eCommerce thats for sure.

February 20, 2011 / fayafshar

Putting physical feeling into touch keyboards

This is very cool…could lead to interesting developments on high end touch devices.

January 4, 2011 / fayafshar

Sign designed to confuse you

I was looking for  my friends place (unit number 20) the other day, in a large block of units and was having no luck locating it. You would think that unit 20 would be located next to 19 and 21, but no, not in this place.

So you can imagine how pleased i was to see a sign (from a distance) which looked like it might help.

Then i tried to read it…..

It almost looks like who ever created it, finished the line about block A, and realised he/she left out the block B units 17, 18 , 25-32 and then decided to just continue and make a fresh start below with a new block B label. And just left the incorrect text at the top.

Seems strange that who ever ordered it, didn’t bother to send it back to be corrected.

October 27, 2010 / fayafshar

How long before you give up on a website?

They say that most people spend less than 1 minute searching, browsing and clicking through a website before giving up and leaving.

Recently CityRail streamlined their long term ticket purchasing process, by selling tickets without getting any customer details, and then asking customers to go onto the CityRail website and register their details in case they lose their ticket. This sounded like a great idea to me initially, because i didn’t want to hold up other commuters waiting inline behind me while i filled in a long paper form (which is why they went electronic).

The problem is, the CityRail website makes this impossible to do. There is no way of figuring out where to register when you land on their homepage. None of the global navigation drop down menus include anything about registering. There is nothing in the footer either.CityRail NSW homepage

I even tried clicking on ‘My CityRail’, thinking there would be some logging in mechanism that might then let me register my ticket, but no luck.

My CityRail landing page

Even the FAQs list is of no help. My last hope was ‘About CityRail’ thinking there might be something useful in there, but no luck.

So its ironic that this huge revenue collecting organisation tells commuters to ‘remember to register online as we won’t be able to help you if you lose your ticket’ but effectively makes it impossible for commuters to register their tickets.

It almost sounds like they prefer not to honour refunds for lost tickets, judging by the design of the website. After all, it would be a win for CityRail if i lose my $1,630 ticket and then buy another one to replace it with!

Something as important as this should always be accessible either from ‘My CityRail’, a tool bar of some sort as well as the footer and homepage in general. It would be so easy to fix and reduce the frustration of end users, if some usability testing had been completed on the website. And i’m sure this fix would reduce the number of calls to their contact centre as well!

PS: after clicking on every link i could find on the site, i eventually clicked on ‘Tickets Online’ which took me to some sort of login page, which had a link to the registration page. It took 30 minutes to find, so perhaps the idea is that all commuters will have no choice but to click around top find the registration page… afterall the tickets cost a fair bit.

So to back to my original question, how long before you give up on a website?? I guess it depends on how badly you need to find a solution to your problem and how much time you have on your hands.

August 22, 2010 / fayafshar

TiVo deliver a great customer experience

Well i just purchased a TiVo unit, and just finished the setup process, and it was so pleasant. The box comes with a quick setup guide, which clearly demonstrates how you need to install the cables, and once turned on, the interface walks you through the setup process step by step.
It was such a breeze! Even the remote control has been designed in a ergonomic manner, feels good to hold but more importantly the buttons are labelled in a simple manner, and most only perform one function.
For example, the select button is labelled “Select” and is only ever used for selecting. Believe it or not, there are many remote controls with buttons which have a 1 to many (or at least more than 1) functionality mapping.

Thanks TiVo, your product has been very well tested on users! : )

July 16, 2010 / fayafshar

Adobe’s new Ad and Apple’s response

Check out Adobe’s Ad

Adobe loves Apple

Adobe loves Apple

and Apples response:

How Apple feels about Adobe

How Apple feels about Adobe

I couldn’t help but post this, it’s too humourous not to. I have to mention i found it on

July 14, 2010 / fayafshar

Consider the Customer Journey

I received the following in the mail the other day from iinet:

iinet BoB advertisement

iinet BoB advertisement

It does catch you attention i must admit, as you try to figure out what word is missing from all the blank spaces. But with obvious clues such as “Sponge….” and “…Dylan”, it’s clear the missing word is Bob.

opening the iinet BoB advertisement

opening the iinet BoB advertisement

After opening the advertisement, it’s obvious what iinet are trying to sell you, broadband. Just like all the other broadband provider.

The iinet BoB advertisement open

The iinet BoB advertisement open

But what makes iinet unique and different is that they have clearly considered their customer’s journey. That is, they have not just come up with a broadband deal to bombard potential customers with. They have taken this further by considering those customers which are currently locked in a contract with another ISP provider.

Below the 1300 number, they state:

Locked in with another provider? No sweat! Visit, enter your details and we’ll get in touch when you’re ready

This for me was great news, because the last thing i want to do is keep this advertisement on my coffee table for a few more months when my contract ends with my current provider. No one needs even more clutter.

I would be very keen to see the statistics for the notify page above, as i have a feeling they could be quite high.

Well done iinet, you have gone above and beyond what’s expected of a broadband provider, with this clever advertisement.

I will certainly be waiting for you to contact me.

July 9, 2010 / fayafshar

Can labels be too much of a good thing?

I came across the following door at our local medical centre the other day:

Medical Centre Door with unnecessary label

Medical Centre Door with unnecessary label

The other side of the door looks the same (with exactly the same handles) but with a label “pull”.

Yet the door can be pushed or pulled just as easily, so it makes me wonder why they have bothered to label the door??

The handles above afford pulling more than pushing, however they can be just as easily pushed.

I wonder if this is actually confusing users rather than helping them? The only way to find out would be to perform some usability testing, but my personal experience has been to pull the door open on either side.

July 6, 2010 / fayafshar

Bad feedback is worse than no feedback

So we’ve had this Philips DVD player for over 6 years, and since the day it was purchased, I have mistaken it’s ON and OFF states, because of a strange red LED light that is lit next to its Standby – On button.

Philips DVD player

Philips DVD player

The problem is, this button misleads you into thinking the DVD player is OFF when it is actually ON, and ON when it is in fact OFF. Why? because the red LED is turned on when the unit is actually off.

Philips DVD player in ON state

Philips DVD player in ON state

Who would have thought that a DVD player that’s turned off, has led lights turned on?

Philips DVD player in OFF state

Philips DVD player in OFF state

You might be thinking that i should have checked the label on this button. Well I did, because initially I assumed it was my misunderstanding.

But the label is even more misleading: Standby – On

What in the world does Standby On mean??????

The formal definition of “on standby” means “waiting” or “ready”

The formal definition of “standby” for a TV means “ready to receive a signal from a remote control”.

So my guess is this button’s label is meant to imply “ready to receive a remote control signal – on”.

Well however you look at it, it doesn’t make sense.

So my point with all this rant is that users need to get constructive feedback when using anything designed well. Don’t complicate things, just let the user know when the unit is off (by dimming lights for example) compared to when the unit is on (use different tone/colour of lights, or some other means to communicate the state of the device).

I wonder if the designers at Philips actually tried testing this DVD player on real users? By real users, i mean people of a wide range of age groups, and ethnographic backgrounds. It certainly requires testing in the natural environment of users.

If you have come across anything similar, drop me a line! Or if you think the label makes sense, i’d also love to hear from you   🙂