My favorite fitness is solo fitness, but I’m increasingly in the minority on that one (or so it seems). There have always been group fitness opportunities but they seem to be increasing in number. Here in Boston, we have new boutique gyms and studios opening every month, and programs like ClassPass are making them more easily accessible to anyone (although their recent price hike might change that). One of the biggest free fitness movements in the country, the November Project, started here, and I can think of at least three or four free running clubs in my neighborhood alone.
Usually we associate playing video games with being sedentary, but that’s not the case here. Since Pokémon Go was released last week (and became an instant hit), a number of people have observed that players seem to be getting more exercise than usual while playing the game. The game uses geolocation to plant characters in real world locations, where players can detect and capture them with the phone. Being successful at the game requires physically navigating the world. Continue reading The Unintended Positive Consequences of Pokémon Go
Here’s a total click-bait headline: The UX Secret That Will Ruin Apps For You. Even though I rather like apps and don’t want them ruined for me, of course I clicked, only to find a UX “secret” that is a familiar friend.
Here it is: Chances are, your app isn’t really loading when it tells you it is. Those delays when your app is searching for flights, logging into your accounts, or creating your feedback are deliberately added by designers to fool users into thinking the process takes longer than it does. Continue reading Why Your App Isn’t Really Loading (It’s Psychology)
I was browsing through some of my old documents, and came across a piece I wrote in grad school about competition and collaboration in academia, and how academics practice their craft via writing. The course was on creating an academic career for yourself, in the loftiest and most philosophical of ways. The professor was someone I admired deeply; he was generous with his feedback and so smart you couldn’t help but learn from him. This particular paper caught my eye because even though I opted out of academia entirely (no fault of this course!), it presages some of the themes I still think about: Balancing individual and group success. Being authentic. Expressing yourself through writing. Continue reading From the Archives: Competition, Collaboration, and Writing
Got personality? Being quirky and unique in communications can pay off big for a brand. Or, it can fall flat if it’s poorly conceived or executed (or if the recipient just doesn’t jibe with it–something Aarron Walter says in Designing for Emotion may be a sign that you’ve successfully created an emotional experience). I just got a fun example of a brand with personality in my inbox, just in advance of a long Independence Day weekend and close on the heels of Britain’s controversial vote to exit the EU: Continue reading Brand Personality Done Right: Timely Humor
Not every product is right for every person. Or, sometimes, a product is right for someone but it isn’t the right time. In those cases, good design helps keep the door open for people to rediscover the product when the timing improves. That usually means making any goodbyes as painless as possible. Recently I got a vacation rental email from HomeAway (for reasons unknown, as I don’t believe I’ve ever rented through them). In general I try not to subscribe to many marketing lists unless it’s a product I buy very frequently, so I clicked to take my name off this one. I was brought to the screen below: Continue reading Avoid Confusing UX: Today’s Unsubscriber, Tomorrow’s Buyer
Stories are one of the oldest and most common ways of communicating with other people. If you look at some of the most ancient knowledge still available to modern humans, it comes in the form of stories: Myths, legends, fairy tales, and religious texts. In modern times, we see more complex forms of schooling moving toward case-based methods of learning, as in many medical schools, business schools, and law schools. Why, out of all of the tools in the human communication toolkit, do stories have such longevity and power? Continue reading How Stories Are Special: Psychological and Neurological Rationales for Stories as Data
In my years of frequent travel, I’ve learned that nothing comes cheap in an airport. A bottle of water that normally costs $1 in a supermarket or convenience store suddenly sells for $4. Which is why I was did a double take when I saw this water display in the Dublin airport: Continue reading Plane Water and the Honesty Box: An Unexpected Airport Kindness
Whether you work in a formal corporate environment or a laid-back creative one, most of us experience some degree of tension between individual and group success. As we work, we want our teams and companies to do well and look good. Yet, when it’s time for recognition, we also want people to notice our own accomplishments. Striking the wrong balance between individual and group success can lead to several sub-optimal motivational outcomes. Specifically, people may not engage and turn in their best work if they feel like their contributions are either undervalued or under-recognized. Continue reading Organizational Dynamics: Balancing Individual Achievement with Team Success
I visited Ireland for the first time a few weeks ago and was utterly charmed by it. Not only is the country geographically lovely and jam-packed with delightful restaurants, pubs, and shops, but I appreciated what I’d call the Irish attitude. In general, the people were outgoing, interested in conversation, and above all, approached topics with a sense of humor. (And yes, I know this is a blanket stereotype and I am sure there are surly Irish introverts out there, but the people I met weren’t those.) Continue reading Retail Reframing: Adjusting Future Timeframes to Boost Sales