Mapping, is it that difficult in life?

Which side should the computer in the computer lab? So many time I have use the computer in a public lab and mistakenly plug in my flash drive to the wrong computer. And realize I am wrong after 5 minutes because I can not find my flash drive folder. I was embarrassed about it. But after couple time, I wonder is this my own false or  can the design of the lab can do something to help me , a graduate student to better find my place. It is place the computer on the right the solution? How about the people who is left handed, will they want the computer on their left? Personally, if the computer monitor have USB port build-in or a extension cable for the USB cable can illuminate this mapping problem once for all. But if the cost is not allowed, we can use a screen -> arrow to indicate the locate of the main computer or just a sticker can be very helpful.

Other example of mapping problem I found is imagine when you try to find a class room for the first time, have you ever pass the door of the class room, then you realize you have passed and have to go back. This happen to my many time. Why can the room signs place before the room? I believe with a little through, we can design product that fit the user nature behavior.

What other real life story which you have encountered some of these usability issues? Next time we design something think about who will use it.


Project meeting management tool help schedule meeting

For the past two week, we have the opportunities to work with others to finish some team project in class.

Somehow, I had the privilege to help organize group meeting.

So purposely, I picked two of the online meeting scheduling tools Doodle and Tungle to help schedule different group meeting.

Doodle Screenshot


1.  Meeting schedule is simple, don’t require to create a account.

2. Easy manageable admin page, allow use to editor event quickly.

3. Automatic Email notification when different people sign up a time.

4. Users can access the event with a link.


1. Users beside the admin are not allowed to propose a new time.

2. No Calendar view when creating a new events, it is only for viewing the event.

Tungle screenshot


1. Interactive one click new time slot adding new events in calendar view.

2. All participants are allowed to propose a new time

3. Easy event reminder to admin and other participant if any participants didn’t reply.


1. Require participant to create a account or other social account login (google, twitter, facebook) for each participants.

2. User can not join the meeting without a invitation from admin.

The Doodle scheduling is ready to use, we have a easier time using it as a team, although non-admin participants, they can easy to common and admin can add a time slot from the request. Doodle is great for simple event meeting schedule even you don’t know the number of participants. In the other hand, Tungle offer more features,  but it is better to use it in company environment for more security and contact searches. Personally, doodle is much more use-centered and friendly to use.

Go try them out yourself, please let me know if uses other meeting manage application, and compare them.

Want to save time and money, Rapid Evaluation Method.

Hartson, R., & Pyla, P. S. (2012). The UX Book: Process and Guidelines for Ensuring a Quality User Experience. Waltham, MA: Elsevier Science. Chapter 13

Although human research takes time and effort, and the result can be promising and surprising to many research. In this rapid changing society, many time we do not have time or simply can not afford to do human testing during a product cycle. One of the way to still use to create a user-centered and good user experience is rapid evaluation method. Researcher and developer can easily apply many usability principle during this self evaluation process.

But it is very hard for us to predict the outcome of the evaluation for many reason. Because this evaluation process require experts simulate the users in using the product. It so hard to test a product you have created. The developer usually knows the product very well, the evaluation can be subjective or the expert simply have not trouble to use the product. Many time I have been the designer/developer/programmer of an application, it often take me a long time to see what the user see. Sometime I have to find out the issue though user feedback.

The author of the book points out many good point to help designer in the rapid evaluation process. One of them is try to see a big picture. It is so easy for me to focus on little details of the product and forget or do not even have time to look at what is the purpose of the user, the bigger goal which the users is trying to accomplish by using the products. For example by reading an usability blog, the reader is trying to learn more usability principle, and becoming a expert in this area. And not trying to understand everything about the blog writer. Another helpful tip is taking good note. Many time when I try to read a textbook, I forget many important concept because I did not write down some important word or just ideas I have during the reading. This is the same when we apply to the rapid evaluation process.

Alan Cooper; Robert Reimann; David Cronin. (2012). Designing Smart Products. In About Face 3 (pp298–307). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Chapter 2

Continue reading, I realize I should read this chapter first before I read the Ux book. It is so important to know the human mental model before we can be a expert in simulating user during the evaluation process.

Knowing or predicting what the users will think before they use the process can be very helpful in the design process. So that we can plan to ask the smart and right question to get to know what the participant thinks during the evaluation process.

Thank you for reading, again please tell me how can I make this reading more pleasant to read.