The manager was proudly showing off his new IT classroom.
“Where is the projector?” I asked.
“Oh, we don’t need a projector. The instructor can just take over everybody’s screens.”
I have been teaching in environments like this, and it does not work well. When I have a piece of information or a computer screen projected in large format in front of everybody, the class has a common focus on the task. If (more...)
The Heartbleed bug has shown that security vulnerabilities can pop up everywhere. Unfortunately, many IT organizations depend on a single security layer to secure their network – and as the ineffectiveness of the Maginot Line proved, that is a risky strategy. You need multiple security layers – what soldiers call Defence in Depth.This illustration is from my weekly Technology That Fits newsletter – sign up here.
Everybody knows they need good dental hygiene – daily brushing and flossing, regular checkups at the dentist. But many IT professionals don’t realize they need good IT hygiene as well – regular maintenance, security patches, etc.
If you don’t practice good IT hygiene, you will experience pain down the line. I’d like to help you avoid that – get in touch.
I was just in Amsterdam last week, and they have the smallest cars I have ever seen:
At first, it looks counter-intuitive, given that the average Dutchman seems to be several meters tall. But really small cars is actually a very obvious solution for a crowded city like Amsterdam with many canals, narrow roads and very limited parking. These mini-cars are actually parked on the pavement, probably avoiding the 5 Euro per hour parking fee (more...)
The company Nest, recently acquired by Google for the usual billions, makes smart thermostats and smoke detectors. Unfortunately, they did not think through the user experience of their Nest smoke and CO detector.
In principle, it’s great that you can turn off your smoke detector by waving your hand at it – like in “oh, cut it out, I just overcooked my microwave popcorn a bit.”
Less great is that if people experience an (more...)
I watched in horror as the updated application was deployed to the test server. The application was fine, having been subjected to the first test by the developers, but the deployment process was bad. There were various home-built utilities to run with very specific parameters in order to build the deployment package that would then be semi-automatically installed on the test server. It took a new developer a whole day and 20-30 attempts to build (more...)
I subscribe to Microsoft Office 365 and had a payment stuck on an expired credit card. Even though there was a new card, the billing system kept trying the old one.
In a modern cloud service, I would open a service request and expect things to be handled for me. But this is Microsoft. And with the arrogance of the monopolist they used to be, they require you to please show up when they feel (more...)
The business wants IT to deliver a good user experience at low cost. Many people in IT considers these two goals to be conflicting, but they are not. The secret to good user experience at low cost is to use existing best practice, codified in User Experience Design Patterns. So where do you get these magic, cost-saving design patterns? A good starting point is the very comprehensive library of UX design patterns that Oracle is (more...)
AMIS and Oracle are pulling out all the stops – Oracle is flying in their top UX talent to speak, AMIS has lined up some of their experienced consultants, and they’ve even invited a few outside experts (like me).
I’ll be co-presenting with Killian Evers (more...)
When implementing a standard system, too many organizations allow the programmers to reach for the programming toolbox right away. It might initially seem faster than using the customization features of the application, but over time, the cost of custom coding just keeps adding up.
The most crucial decision when implementing a standard system is how much custom coding you allow. Do not underestimate the cost of coding.
The graphs comes from my weekly “Technology That (more...)
It’s the time of the year when the Danish Tax authorities release the annual tax statement, and all 5 million Danes want to see if they have to pay extra or will get a refund.
This used to be a day of crashes, downtime and unavailable systems, followed by ritual gnashing of teeth by politicians and the press. Today, the system simply places people in an orderly queue – I’m number 115,815 and my expected (more...)
Again and again, I’ve seen significant decisions made based on defective reasoning. One of the most common errors is the fallacy of the converse – the belief that if A leads to B, and B happened, then A must have happened.
This fails to take account of all the other things that might have caused B. But many people don’t see this because these other explanations are beyond their cognitive horizon.
Together with other leading experts on User Experience from Oracle like Vice President Jeremy Ashley, Managing Partner Lonneke Dikmans from Vennster and CTO Lucas Jellema from AMIS, I’ll be speaking at the OAUX Expo in the Netherlands on March 18th.
I’m speaking on two topics:
How to tailor an application to your user’s needs without coding
How to implement a good User Experience in Oracle ADF for the cases where you do need to write (more...)
I just had dinner with a very successful consulting colleague, and he told me he was returning his new BMW because he hated the software. Instead, was getting a Porsche that has physical buttons for the controls instead the touchscreen in the BMW.
He was happy with everything else about the car, but a poorly designed interface killed the deal. Just because you can add fancy features like a touchscreen doesn’t always mean you should. (more...)
A long tail is a distribution of some data point where a few data point have a high value, but most of the data points have a much lower value. When sorting the data points by value, there will be a large “head” and a long “tail”.
Application usage displays the “long tail” characteristic: A few screens are used much more than others.
If you are re-developing your application, for example moving from Oracle Forms (more...)
If you have ever rented a car in the US, you will be familiar with the little LCD device on the counter where you sign your rental contract with a plastic stylus. On the same device, you’re also obliged to acknowledge other things. Since the text is written in 6-point font on a low-quality LCD device, it is for all practical purposes illegible. I assume I’m agreeing to things like that it’s not the rental (more...)
Until this month, I’ve never had to interact directly with the user interface of an SAP system. But now I understand painfully well what users mean when they complain about the usability of enterprise software.
There is an inflection point where usability gets so bad that people will actively try to avoid using the system. You do not want your system to be on the left side of this curve.