Joshua Klein talks about his book "Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results". Klein is known for his crow vending machine idea, which some believe does not actually work.
As the Internet is increasingly embedded into our physical world, it’s important to start designing for physical and intentional interactions with interfaces to supplement the passive, data-gathering interactions — designing smart devices that service us in the background, but upon which we also can exert our will.
In this episode, Josh Clark (in an interview) and Tim O’Reilly (in a keynote) both address the importance of designing for contextual awareness and physical interaction. Clark stresses that we’re not facing a challenge of technology, but a challenge of imagination. O’Reilly argues that we’re not paying enough attention to the aspects of people and time in designing the Internet of Things, and that the entire system in which we operate is the user interface — as we design this new world, we must think about user needs first.
Understanding problems are common when trying to visualize data. Designing a layout to effectively communicate complex or even simple data can be a challenge. If the visualization isn’t immediately apparent to a user, it requires a level of understanding to get the most out of their experience.
Stephen Anderson has been working to unlock these understanding problems. He says that oftentimes really simple changes can have dramatic effects on a user’s ability to interpret data. He cites the many examples of designers taking stabs at airline boarding pass redesigns and the evolution Target’s Pharmacy prescription bottle went through. Presenting the information in a much clearer way reduces the cognitive barrier.
In this podcast with Jared Spool, Stephen outlines what he calls the 7 Problems of Understanding. These range from problems of comprehension to problems of discovery and more. Each of these problems is usually brought about by a design or display decision. Looking further at these issues, simple changes can greatly increase the experience for users.
Stephen will be presenting one of 8 daylong workshop choices at the User Interface 19 Conference, October 27-29 in Boston. For more information on the workshops and the conference, visit uiconf.com.
Dane Atkinson is a tech entrepreneur who started his first company at 17 and has run almost a dozen more since. He’s so friendly that he manages to sound cheerful while explaining the art of hiring workers for as little money possible.
"I have on many occasions paid the exact same skill set wildly different fees because I was able to negotiate with one person better than another," he says.
Some employees were worth $70,000 a year, but only asked for $50,000 a year. So, he says, he paid them $50,000 a year.
This works great for the company — until the employee finds out someone else at the company with the same job is making far more. "I’ve seen people cry and scream at each other," he says.
After enough of those painful moments, Atkison decided that at his next company, things would be different.
Three years ago, he started a tech firm called SumAll — a tech company where all the employees know each others’ salaries.
When the company first started, there were just 10 people, and they worked together to figure out what everyone would be paid. But it started to get more complicated when they started hiring new people.
Atkinson would have to sit the new candidate down and basically say: Here’s what everyone gets paid.
"I distinctly remember hiring an experienced, seasoned employee who has negotiated through her career," he says. "Her response was, ‘This is unfair because I can’t actually negotiate … It’s a car with an actual price, versus, talk to the dealer.’ "
And, of course, a company where everybody sees each other’s salaries creates new kinds of tension.
Earlier this year, Chris Jadatz took over the duties of someone who’d left the company. The person who had left was making $95,000 a year. Jadatz was making $55,000. "It made me feel definitely underpaid, as if maybe I was being looked over," he says.
So Jadatz went to Atkinson, the boss, and asked for more money. He got a $20,000-a-year raise.
Atkison has meetings like this all the time. He says it gives him a chance to explain why some employees make more than others — and to explain to employees how they can make more.
For a lot of employees, knowing what everyone makes is less exciting than it seems.
I talked to the CEO of another company that’s open with salaries, and he said the reaction reminds him of Americans hearing they have topless beaches in Europe. Before you go to one, you think it’s just going to be the craziest thing in the world. Then you get there and it’s like, OK, nobody’s flipping out because people are topless here. It’s just how things are.
Wondering what info you should collect form your leads in your email form? Here are five great reasons to keep is simple.
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At a news conference after his Wimbledon loss, Ernests Gulbis was asking about getting rid of umpires — letting players referee their own games. He thought he was asked about getting rid of vampires.
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