Do you know your icons?

We are swamped with icons. Some we know , some we don’t. Some, some people know. Other people know other icons. The Hanselman blog has a number of icons which he believes we need to dispense with. I have said that on this blog before. Having a floppy disk icon for the save icon makes no sense any more even to those who are well and truly familiar with that icon. There are two games which test and develop your knowledge of icons – Icomania and Icon Pop Quiz. The gaming world acknowledges, at least , we have a problem. There are so many icons. We can’t and don’t know them all. Then there are icon changes with some OS upgrades and we are supposed to work it out. Google is oblivious to the fact we have an icon recognition problem. The internet is blissfully unaware. We are just given icons and told to get on with it. Some of us can and some of us can’t. Given the internet is very much about communication then I think we need to have icon awareness built in to daily living.

download-128I realised that the other day when a 30 something described the download icon as an arrow going into a bucket. It can also mean forward or share if the arrow is going the other way. share-128 (2)

There is no one age group responsible for this lack of clarity.

The    Share-128   icon confuses a lot of people. They cannot work out what it means because it looks like a molecular structure to them. Share icon is the last thing which would occur to them.

In time, I am sure we shall sort this out and generational change will be understood as the way we need to go about icons as each generation of devices brings us new and different functionality.

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Take better pictures with your phone

You learn something very day. I was doing some work on images related to colour yesterday and the images just were not the same as the things I was photographing and I didn’t know enough to improve the situation. The colour yesterday was important. It has not really been an issue before. I have occasionally noticed my phone is not representing a colour accurately but in the scheme of things it hasn’t been a problem. Yesterday it was.  Time to fill the learning gap. Yes, I could use an SLR or one of my digital cameras. They have a better colour representation. Some phones display better colour than others. It all gets very technical. I can adjust the light and contrast. I can play with the display settings. I tried changing the light to no avail. Gizmodo has an overview of devices and displays and some of it relates to having devices which calibrate better automatically. My phone is good on automatic image clarity but not complex colours. UX-stackexchange emphasises looking on your phone for what affects display and colour and considers some of the issues. CNET looks at how you can use filters to improve image colour. Lifehacker comes up with a number of ideas for improving phone images. It is a matter of looking through the information and trying out  the ideas  one at a time so you are clear as to which ones are the best for your phone.

UX and Web Design

UX and Web Design

 

Joe Natoli is a consummate professional and this Udemy course leaves you in no doubt that you are learning well and from someone who knows how to engage you and teach you in the best way. It is a paid course but $15 for 187 well thought out, detailed and content rich lessons is a gift. I got an iTunes card last Christmas and used some of the money to purchase this course. The course has kept me going all year and so I have had more than my money’s worth. Lessons vary between about 3mins, 12 mins and an hour. Joe introduces himself to you by the use of videos and so you get to see and hear him and make a connections with him. There are then a number of voice lessons and , at the end,  the course comes back to video. Nothing is left to chance. It is all throughly mapped out and considered so that as a learner you are immersed in learning and have so many things to know and do.  It says on the certificate I did 23.5 hours . That is not quite right. During the course you get really helpful downloads and emails. These all need to be read if you want to add to what is already a comprehensive curriculum. There is also the processing and practising time. At the end there is a lovely gift of another video. That really is the icing on the cake and tops off the course in a very satisfying way. What I really liked was the show and tell approach. Joe talks you through everything and so you are learning visually and aurally and your brain is engaged all of the time. Nothing is left to chance. The rationale for doing something is explained in global, local and personal terms. You can watch him attend to details and see what a difference it makes. He explains and reasons everything he is showing you. It is about design principles , values, reasoning, being careful. It gives you a lot of insight into WordPress and how to get the best out of it. It teaches you how to be very good at what you have chosen to learn. Everything is there if you want to launch yourself on the web in a competent fashion. I loved this course and even though I didn’t want or need to know everything in it, it has all added to me and it has given me a good way to approach UX issues. At the beginning I had sound issues with the course. When my internet connection was changed from ADSL2 to nbn those sound issues were resolved. Udemy was buffering , as it turned out, under ADSL2. I also had a problem with no video when I viewed the course on my iPad. I had sound but no visuals. I used the contact option on the course and that was resolved within 24 hours. Doesn’t get better than that. I thank Joe Natoli for such an enriching and worthwhile course.

Tablet and phone blogging

landscape view phone

Landscape view – phone

These pictures show you what I can see of my blog on my phone. Yes, I thought the same myself. On my tablet I can see the right side bar and everything else is at the bottom of all the posts. On phones and tablets you scroll down and down to see what else is available on a blog. You might be over it by then. In terms of user experience tablet and phone blogging is less than desirable. You are being cut off from so much information and so much of  the presentation. On a laptop or desktop you get the full experience. All the information. I blogged from my phone once when I was having outage problems with my home phone and internet copper wire connection. Actually blogging is not so hard. Using the blog and trying to do things like follow or find out what else is on the blog is not easy, though.

portrait view phone

Portrait view – phone

The interface is designed to make it hard for you to know there are other things to look at on the blog. Little dot round circles and  menus which can sometimes block even more of your view really do test your patience. The scrolling down to find things can be really annoying to some people. Others would not even know you need to scroll down. If phone and tablet interfaces are being designed to encourage bloggers to leave out all the other things you can do with a blog then it is an attempt to limit access, information and experience. It is an enforced limited experience because we are trying to save system resources on tablets and phones so the actual pages load faster. We are also excluding ourselves from knowledge  in a way which hasn’t occurred until now. Can we do better? I’ll leave that one as a  developer challenge.

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