Initial Impressions Of The iPad

Picture of IPadMy (long awaited) iPad arrived last Friday, and I’ve had a few days to start my relationship with it. I have the wireless plus 3G version. Here are my initial impressions, from a user experience point of view:

Fingerprints, fingerprints, fingerprints — I am beginning to understand the use of fingerprints in forensic science… certainly they are all over my iPad! Luckily they are easy to clean off with a little windex and a soft cloth.

It doesn’t replace anything — I’ve read some critiques of the iPad saying it can’t replace your iphone (doesn’t have a phone) and it can’t replace your laptop (not enough storage space etc.) My take is that it isn’t meant to replace anything… it is its own device in its own right. I don’t think that is a bad thing. The iPad is different.

The iPad apps are what it’s all about — As soon as I got the iPad I started downloading apps. Most of them are free, a few cost from .99 to 9.99. The apps are great, and I find myself scanning my 3 news sources more than I do on my laptop. I’ve started reading books. I know, it’s not a Kindle, but I like reading books on the iPad. Apps for the iPhone “work” but essentially are useless… they look bad and show up tiny on the screen.

Small differences have huge results — The user interface for calendar, and email (both ical and gmail) is subtly different than on a laptop, but the difference in the interface makes a huge difference in the experience. Although a keyboard is important for composing an email, perusing emails, reading them, deleting them, looking at your calendar is all much more intuitive on an iPad than on any other device I’ve used. Having said that, you need to add the keyboard (I got the wireless one) if you are really going to type anything. I find I use my laptop when I really need to type, and the iPad when I don’t. I am going to experiment with using the iPad and the keyboard while travelling in place of my laptop.

The iPad is my new pet — Maybe I’ll be able to articulate this better as time goes on, but in the few days I’ve had the iPad I’ve become attached to it. It’s something about the size, the shape, the speed of response, and the user experience of using your fingers to navigate rather than a mouse and keyboard… all of these things make me feel attached to the iPad. It’s like a pet. I want it near me, I reach for it first thing in the morning and often during the day.

It’s not perfect, and I’m sure the whole concept will evolve over time, but there’s a new device in town that I believe is here to stay. Maybe I’ve just got the glow of a new relationship. I’ll let you know if it lasts!

Do you have an iPad? Want one? Don’t want one? Write a comment with your opinion.


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An Interview With Steve Krug: Everyone should do usability testing

Book CoverIn a previous post I reviewed Steve Krug’s latest book, but recently I had the opportunity to interview Steve about the book. It’s a fun interview, and I think you’ll enjoy hearing Steve talk about:

  • who he wrote the book for (not an obvious answer as I discovered)
  • which part of the book he thinks makes the biggest contribution to the field of usability
  • what his “parlor trick” is that he performs when he gives speeches
  • the process by which he came up with the “scripts” for usability testing that are in the book
  • how to locate the free video that anyone can watch whether or not they buy the book

and much much more.

The interview is 20 minutes — you can download it from the Neuro Web Design podcast link in iTunes, or click to listen to the interview with Steve.

I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed talking to Steve.

And here’s a link (affiliate) if you’d like to learn more about the book:


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Book Review of Steve Krug's Rocket Surgery Made Easy

I’ve been a fan of Steve Krug’s since his original book, Don’t Make Me Think, came out about a decade ago. (And Steve was kind enough to write an endorsement for my book, Neuro Web Design: What makes them click? when it came out last year).

Steve’s new book is all about user testing of web sites (or software or products or anything really). The premise of the book is that ANYONE can conduct a simple user test and that EVERYONE who has a website, software, or a product, should conduct user testing.

So the book is a DIY guide to simple, but effective, user testing.

Here’s my review via video, and below that I’ll summarize the take-aways:

What I like most about the book:

It’s very thorough — This really is everything you need to know to conduct an informal usability test.

Useful checklists — Chapter 7 is called “Some boring checklists” and it has great (not boring) checklists of what to do and when to do it.

All the wording and scripts you need — Chapter 8 gives you all the details you need, for example what to say as the facilitator, and what your consent form should contain. You get the actual forms and scripts.

How to interpret the data you get — Chapters 11 and 12 tell you what to do now that you’ve run the user tests and you have information.

How to think about the results — One of my favorite chapters is #10, where he walks you through how to have a meeting with your team and decide what actions to take based on the feedback you got during the test.

Link to an example video — In the book Steve gives you a URL to watch a video. The video is Steve conducting a user test with a real user. He annotates the video with some call outs so you can learn what he is doing as he goes along.

It’s a great book and I recommend it for anyone who has anything to do with designing or improving a website, or software, or technology product that people use. Whether you are new to user testing, or a pro with many years under your belt, you will find this book to be of immense value.

If you’d like to read more about it on Amazon, here’s a link (affiliate):


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Quick Review of Jonah Lehrer's Book How We Decide

Here is a quick video review of one of my favorite psychology books ever written. First the video review and then below I have a text summary of the review.

Jonah Lehrer’s book How We Decide is a best seller. It’s a relatively short book, but it is packed full of all the latest science on how people make decisions, including the latest research on unconscious mental processing. Lehrer is both a science writer and a neuroscientist, which means that the book has lots of substance, but is also easy to read. He uses stories and examples to explain what might otherwise be complicated and difficult science. Continue reading “Quick Review of Jonah Lehrer's Book How We Decide”

10 Best Posts of 2009

It’s that time of year — so here is my list of the 10 best posts from my blog in 2009. I chose the 10 that I believe have had the greatest impact/most thought provoking/most interest from my readers.

#1: Dopamine Makes You Addicted to Seeking Information — I thought this was an interesting post when I wrote it, but it surprised me how quickly it took off virally; more than any other post I’ve written!

#2: Eyetracking — 7 Traps to Avoid — Another surprise to me how popular this post was.

#3: 7 Steps to Successful Web Site Redesign — I think Jacek Utko has an important view of the world.

#4: Your Attention is Riveted By Pictures of People — If people knew how important this is I think they’d change the pictures they put at their web site.

#5: Web Site User Experience Anatomy — Not one of my posts, but a guest post by Craig Tomlin, and an interesting way to think about web sites. Continue reading “10 Best Posts of 2009”

Recovery.Gov Website — For The Average Citizen?…Not

Have you been wondering where all the “stimulus” money is going that the US government is giving away to get us out of the recession? The US government has a website where you can go to look up anything and everything you want to know about the stimulus money.

I’ve created a video podcast review of the site:

Have you been to the site Recovery.Gov? Do you agree with my review?


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