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Mapping options July 30, 2008

Posted by Levi in Observing.
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Computer Science students (probably in trouble) deciding whether they should show up for some exam. Taken at the Informatics Center, UFPE.

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Vitrine July 30, 2008

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Bottle covers July 26, 2008

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Beer and sauce bottles in a restaurant table. Taken in Garanhuns, Pernambuco, during the Winter Festival.

Poor animals July 26, 2008

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‘Area reserved for smokers and pets’.

Take a seat July 25, 2008

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Saving space July 25, 2008

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Thank you, last washer! July 25, 2008

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Vote for him? July 25, 2008

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“Pedestrians, I mess up your way but I promess I’ll make your life better!”

Hands free July 24, 2008

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An ancient way of carrying stuff.

Next-door rivals July 24, 2008

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Pride for their teams must be exhibited, particularly in the country wherein football is like a religion.

Total convenience July 23, 2008

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Nobody seems expected to own a land number in Brazil any longer.

Male imagery July 23, 2008

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Many stands selling guarana juice (supposed to be an aphrodisiac) in Recife are often named after their female sellers.

Expectation July 23, 2008

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Definitions: to consider probable or certain (Merriam-Webster); an expectant mental attitude (Dictionary.com).

Don’t keep making mistakes June 27, 2008

Posted by Levi in Observing.
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Those light switches are located in an observation room of a usability lab under construction. The first two control the lights in respectively a focus group room (at the right) and a test room (at the left) . The third switch is for the observation room itself.

Clues on the switches

Someone just pasted those visual clues on them today. Great job, stranger!

(By the way, can you guess the rooms where activity was going on at the moment when the photo was taken?).

Usability problems at work June 19, 2008

Posted by Levi in Evaluating.
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My friend Karine posted on her blog some pics of a soft drink vending machine funnily conformed through usage. She told me that the machine was removed from there (a hospital) only one day after the photos had been taken.

That recalled me some usability problems in my vicinity which I photographed about two years ago. Here they are.

The bathrooms in the company I work for are really nice: pretty clean, cool material, stylish sinks and so on. Maybe the designer thought ‘well, I feel that it is a good idea to keep some space at the left of the sinks so that people can put their stuff there while washing hands, such as cellphones and wallets’.

Trouble sink

The problem is that the sink at the right corner had to be placed too close to the door. The image above tells by itself what often happens!

That’s another officemate getting to work early in the morning. He’s marking the time of his arrival, and the act of passing his identification card through the reader and typing his password makes the door unclose.

Getting to work

By the time of lunch when he’s leaving the office, he has to identify himself again to open the door.

Going to lunch

The question is: what is it for at all? Haven’t the people inside the office already identified themselves earlier? I think that the door should be unlocked to everyone inside there. ‘Why do I have to sign in in order to sign out?’. One should reply that he’s marking his lunch time, but he actually does that once he’s outside the office.

Marking the time

Like what happend to the vending machine Karine told us about, that door was permanently unlocked from the inside right after people became aware of that usability problem.

A community unaware of itself June 10, 2008

Posted by Levi in Observing.
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Can you see the vestiges on that wall, above the chairs?

Vestiges of a community

Those chairs are in a waiting room and the marks are made by dozens of waiters a week, each one laying the back of his head on the wall in his turn. Could we call those people a ‘community’? Do they actually ‘collaborate’?

Wikipedia defines community of circumstance as one driven by position, circumstance or life experiences rather than a shared interest. Examples include web-communities for people living with depression, passengers of the same plane, and people in a prision or other correctional facility.

It’s interesting to note that some of those communities might be seasonal (e.g. attendees at an annual congress) or even unaware of themselves (e.g. housewives who use a given product at their homes). When designing to support them, the challenge is often to discover and make explicit what interactions people would engage in to mutually benefit, and then collaborate.

Brave new world May 10, 2008

Posted by Levi in Observing.
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Joao is a 2-year-old Brazilian kid who’s still learning to speak. He is Tassia and Caparica‘s cousin. This video (in baby Portuguese) shows Joao playing a computer game while talking to his parents.

I believe that the further time carries new generations’ mental models away from ours, the more we become capable to perceive the novel behaviors they come up with. Although we, as ethnographers, need to dive into people’s lives like natives, we also have to keep a certain distance to take notice of the new.

It’s Crapanzano’s second paradox: ‘He [the ethnographer] must render the foreign familiar and preserve its very foreignness at one and the same time’. In other words: make the strange familiar, and the familiar strange.

User experience guerrilla April 30, 2008

Posted by Levi in Talking.
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Yesterday we had another UXrecife’s gathering, held at Marista College. Lots of students attended to the presentations, which were about working with user experience in our city. I talked about the guerrilla strategies that we at CESAR have adopted in order to promote user experience inside a mide-sized 12-year-old technology-driven company.

UX Guerrilla

My presentation is in Portuguese, though the strategies are in English. Pictures of the gathering can be found here, here and here.

UXrecife hanging out

After the meeting, some UXrecife members went to hang out.

Personifying objects December 17, 2007

Posted by Levi in Observing.
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Message left on a dirty auto glass: ‘St. Peter, please send rain. Thank you’.

Talking car

Taken by Paulo in an car park, Sao Paulo.

Hotel room or remote office? December 17, 2007

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Hotel-based workplace of two itinerant user experience researches while doing rapid ethnography, brainstorm sessions and paper prototyping.

Remote workplace

The context of use specializes an environment making it a place.

Remote workplace