Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

How real people use the internet

February 22nd, 2010

What happens when an article about logging using Facebook Connect achieves a high ranking in Google? You get an extremely interesting and humorous insight into the way many people use the internet.

Rather than typing Facebook into the address bar, many Facebook users get to their beloved social media by searching Google for “Facebook login”. Unfortunately earlier this month Read Write Web published a post about Facebook Connect which appeared above the actual Facebook login in Google results. Believing Facebook had changed it’s design and unable to login, hundreds of disgruntled Facebook users began venting their frustration via the comments on Read Write Web.

Check out the first couple of pages of comments on ReadWriteWeb for a laugh.

From a UX perspective it’s particularly disturbing that so many people missed so many cues that they were on the wrong website. Even when other uses pointed out the mistake they still didn’t understand the mix up and kept commenting.

RunKeeper iPhone App Review

October 25th, 2009
RunKeeper iPhone App Review

Unfortunately exercise has become something of a seasonal activity for me. Try as I might, the running and riding inevitably taper off with the onslaught of Winter. So now as the Southern hemisphere limps back towards Summer the mind games have begun. I know it’s going to hurt using those muscles that have been inactive for so long. Gotta be committed though. Once I start I’ve gotta keep it going. There’s no turning back. Hmmm, but the weather’s still a bit dicey. Yeah, I’ll hold off a bit longer. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Exercise – there’s an app for that

So this weekend the stars were aligned – no work to do, the family were out for the day and the weather was perfect. No excuses. It also presented me with the perfect opportunity to road test some new toys. Months earlier the iPhone I had been holding out for had finally arrived – the 3GS. I was quickly sucked in by the lure of apps. Even though I wasn’t exercising I was keen to find one for keeping track of my progress (when and if I ever got back into exercising). I have a Shimano FlightDeck on my bike that tracks the basics (speed, distance, etc). But I was keen to take advantage of the GPS built into the iPhone.

About the same time I noticed a Twitter friend was posting summary updates of their morning run using RunKeeper. The summary linked back to their profile on the website where you could see a map of their exercise activity, a detailed graph of their speed and elevation over the course of their exercise as well as the calories burned. All of this data was of course captured using the RunKeeper iPhone app which is available in both free and pro versions.

Going Pro

At a cost of $12.99 AUD the Pro version has no advertisements, but it does have audio cues, training workouts delivered via your headphones, geo-tagged photos/status updates and iPod playlist integration. As someone who takes their exercise seriously (even though I wasn’t doing any) I thought it seemed like a reasonable price.

Obviously the name RunKeeper implies it’s specific to running, however the settings allow you to select from a number of activities including cycling, hiking, skiing and walking. You can also change the units. I’m being picky here, but I found it frustrating that while the iPhone seamlessly syncs a mammoth amount of data with the website, you need to set the units on both. Surely if I’ve selected kilometres on the iPhone it’s safe to assume I don’t want miles on the website.

Getting Started

So once you’ve registered with the website and set up the app with the correct activity, units and music playlist (from iTunes) you’re ready to go. From there on all you need to do is hit the “Start” button to begin exercise. The screen gives you continual feedback on your distance, time and speed as you would expect from any exercise equipment with digital display. The beauty of the Pro version is the audio cues that give you this information via your headphones. This is ideal if you’ve got your iPhone tucked away in the back pocket of your jersey and you’re unable to see the screen. The downside is the music you’ve selected to play does not stop or dip in volume. So the audio cues are often muffled by the music. This is particularly annoying and hopefully future updates will address this. A great implementation of this is way the TomTom fades down the music to give you driving instructions before fading the music back up when it’s done.

Public service announcement: I should point out that while I do love to work out to music it’s also potentially quite dangerous if you’re cycling on public roads. As a result I only cycle with the curb-side earbud in place so I have an ear free.

Post Exercise

When you’ve completed your exercise simply hit the Stop button. The app will then ask you if you’d like to save the data. It then reads out a summary of the exercise and sends the data back to the website. There’s also a Pause button should you need to stop for natural breaks and the like while exercising.

Once my legs had recovered from the shock of exercising for the first time in months, I gingerly climbed the stairs and sat down at the computer. I logged into the RunKeeper website and was pleasantly surprised to find all of the data from my exercise already uploaded and waiting for me to examine. I was actually quite surprised by the accuracy of my route plotted against a Google map. Below the map is a graph showing my speed and elevation. Rolling over the graph identifies the corresponding location on the map so you can dissect your performance with incredible accuracy.

From there you can add notes (like weather or any other mitigating factors), export, compare to previous and share the activity on a number of social networks including Facebook and Twitter. I think I’ll hold off on this until I have some data I can be proud of.


Using this app is incredibly simple, just hit a button to start and another to stop. Yet the data it collects is incredibly detailed. The seamless integration from the iPhone to the website makes it a real no-brainer. Something I found really frustrating with my old FlightDeck was the need to manually collect the data from the device and then log it in some useful way. RunKeeper does everything for you and presents the data back to you in a meaningful way. The maps and graphs give it great visual impact. Which is handy if you want to show it off to your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Speaking of handy, the audio cues are great for providing feedback on you progress without needing to look at the screen, however the fact that the app doesn’t mute the music is really frustrating. That aside, this app should prove to be a great motivator this summer as I track and try to improve my fitness.

Principles of good design

September 24th, 2009

I recently came across a couple of lists of design principles. Whether we realise it or not, all designers work to their own set of values. They are an essential part of the design process. Therefore it’s important to remind yourself of these once in a while and check your work against them.

The first example is the “Ten principles for good design”. I like these because they are universally applicable. You can apply them to almost any type of design in any market. I think this is a great set of values for the individual designer:
Good design: Dieter Rams’ ten commandments

The second example is Facebook’s Internal Design Manifesto. This resonates a lot of the values from the first list but repackages and refocuses them so they are specific to Facebook:
Facebook’s Internal Design Manifesto – Thomas Crampton

Does anyone know of design principles for other organisations?

UPDATE: Here’s a fantastic round-up of principles by fellow designer James Mansfield

UPDATE: The Principles of Good Web Design (with real world examples): Part 1: LayoutPart 2: NavigationPart 3: Colour.

UPDATE: Carsonified » 10 User Interface Design Fundamentals

Facebook and facelifts for

September 22nd, 2009
Facebook and facelifts for

Late last week we rolled out a significant update to The first thing you’ll notice is the revised header which now sports a much cleaner, lighter design with a prominent search box. Once you start a search you’ll really begin to notice the changes. The search results page has been completely redesigned for better scanability. You can also clearly see what other users are voting for and commenting on.

When you click on a result for more information you’ll find the details page has also been redesigned. The new, cleaner, lighter design makes it easy to find the information you need. You can read what other users are saying and leave your own comments. We’ve hooked up Citysearch with Facebook Connect so you can now sign in to Citysearch using your Facebook account. This makes leaving comments on Citysearch much easier and it also gives you the option of publishing the stuff you’ve found on Citysearch to your Facebook wall for your friends to see.

We hope you’ll enjoy using the new features as much as we do.

Blogging tips, tricks and tardiness

September 9th, 2009

About a week ago it seemed as though the Interweb was going into meltdown. I think I first noticed something was amiss when my iPhone denied my my morning serve of email, tweets and analytics on the way to work. The disconnectedness continued at work when it became apparent that a major Telstra connection was down. This was soon followed by Gmail going offline and Twitter went into another tailspin (probably due to everyone tweeting complaints about Gmail being down). Finally there were the reported attacks on WordPress blogs. Luckily my blog is akin to a Mac – it’s small and insignificant so who would want to waste their time with malicious intentions?

While the folio and resume are for public consumption, the blog is really for myself anyway. If someone else finds it useful or interesting then it’s just a bonus. But really it’s just a scrap book of random thoughts and links about design that I want to save for later. It wasn’t always like that though. Back when I started my blog in 2004 there were only a handful of design blogs. I on the other hand was too busy writing about my travels around Europe. Then there was a long period of neglect before I imported my old Blogger database into WordPress. At first I was sceptical of the cookie cutter approach to applying pre-made themes, but now I am continually surprised by the ease with which you can make endless changes and additions. There really is no excuse for tardiness anymore.

It’s still early days in this new format and I’m still finding my feet, or more to the point my voice. Anyway, below is a collection of articles that will hopefully help me to get where I’m going. Where ever that may be.

100 Ways To Improve Your Blog
16 Excellent WordPress Security Plugins To Secure Your Blog
Must See SEO Guide for All WordPress Bloggers
Key Elements to Blog Visibility
The Anatomy of a Blog
Top 7 Crimes Best Bloggers Commit!
9 Things to Do To Make Sure Your Next Blog Post is Read by More than Your Mom
Writing Blog Post Titles That Grab Attention
Designers Discuss the Benefits of Running a Blog
The Benefits of Running a Blog as a Freelancer (Tips Included)

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