Design Critique: Products for People

By Timothy Keirnan

About this podcast   English    United States

Design Critique encourages usable product designs for a better customer experience through
* Critiques of products & services we've bought with our own money,
* Interviews with people whose work or books we admire, and
* Discussions of design methods we use in our own user experience research and design careers.
Each episode is different, with the only constant being our demand that design make our lives better and provide long term value. If you care only about whatever latest snake oil the tech industry foists on uncritical minds, go find a bandwagon show to listen to. But if you care about design's impact on our modern quality of life, and appreciate the spirit of reflection from writers like Neil Postman and Henry David Thoreau, give us a listen.
April 11, 2018
Molly Fuller from episode 127 returns to tell us about her Indiegogo campaign to fund development of more stylish and affordable compression clothing for teens with autism and sensory disorders. Check it out at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/molly-fuller-design-clothing/x/16724313#/ and http://www.mollyfuller.design
March 21, 2018
Molly Fuller joins Tim Keirnan to discuss creating stylish clothing for teens with autism spectrum disorder or other sensory needs. Her clothing designs use compression as a form of deep pressure for comfort and relaxation. Medical clothing does not have to look “medical” and she tells us about her interest in fashion design in school, and her tying it together with her career in medical service design, including working at the famous Mayo Clinic. You can learn more about Molly and her products at http://www.mollyfuller.design Molly is "on tour" this March and April! You can see her at the following events: March 25th - 30th: National Alliance for Caregiving, San Francisco, CA April 10th: Design of Medical Devices Conference, UM Minneapolis April 14th: Fraser Walk for Autism, Mall of America, Minneapolis April 21st: Pickin for Autism, Amsterdam Bar, St. Paul
Feb. 28, 2018
Let it snow! This episode finds Tim and guest cohost Mike Velasco talking about the customer experience of snowblowers. Or snowthrowers. Tim relates his newbie snowblower customer experience with the Toro SnowMaster 724 QXE while Mike relates his long history with snowblowers in general and his Craftsman 881730. In a world where the word "innovation" is all too often misused by advertisers and Silicon Valley snake oil salespeople, the Toro is truly innovative. The light weight, the joystick for controlling the chute, the new design for moving the snow, the nimble handling, and the accelerator in its handle are unlike anything Tim found in other brands and models. Its speed is also impressive. As mentioned in the outro, the website movingsnow.com is a terrific resource for learning about snowblowers, and thewirecutter.com also had a good review of the Toro. https://movingsnow.com/2015/2015-toro-snowmaster-724-qxe-824-qxe-picture-review/ https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-snow-blowers/ https://movingsnow.com/2017/2017-craftsman-snow-blowers-whats-new-one-best/
Dec. 31, 2017
Accessibility expert Mike Elledge joins Tim Keirnan for an out-of-the-box critique of the Reizen 12-Digit Jumbo Talking Calculator. This calculator has many features that make it a good choice for people with low vision or coordination troubles, with its oversized buttons and display and its ability to speak values entered and calculated. However, Mike finds opportunities for improvement, including the typeface chosen for the buttons, the very small and distant minus symbol and other symbols put across the top of the LCD, and more. We close this episode with email from listener Costan Boiangiu.
Nov. 21, 2017
Eric Penn and Ryan Claffey join Timothy Keirnan for a critique of the Ford FiestaST. We never pretend to be objective on Design Critique, as we are too honest. We admit our biases so you know where our opinions are coming from. In this product category, our bias is small sporty cars with less mass and great handling that let you feel what's going on. The Ford FiestaST is a hot hatchback that won our undying admiration from the first drive. Tim calls it the American MINI Cooper, and he ought to know. It's as close as we'll ever get to driving a Labrador Retriever puppy. Tim talks in detail with Eric and Ryan about their customer experiences with the FiestaST, including * Encounter * Decision * Purchase * Initial use * Longitudinal use Eric's first drive of the 7th Generation Fiesta on Belle Isle was captured for posterity. Ryan's Protege Garage is also well worth checking out.  
Aug. 22, 2017
Syed Ibrahim joins Tim Keirnan for a critique of the Motorola MotoG4 smart phone. While the G4 was touted as an affordable, "pure, clutter-free version of Android", Tim's experience was anything but pure Android. Syed's expert Android wisdom provides a counterpoint to Tim's confusion and disappointment as the discussion ranges from the pluses and minuses of the G4 to the shortcomings of various reviews of the phone when it came out. Our conclusion is that, if the botched implementation of the G4's so-called "pure" Android experience is bad, the coverage of the phone in the traditional tech media was even more sloppy. How is one to shop effectively for a good Android phone in light of reviews like this? Syed has suggestions. Thanks to Tom Merritt for his report on Lenovo switching all its phones to "stock Android". The link to that particular episode of Daily Tech News is at http://www.dailytechnewsshow.com/dtns-3088-left-to-their-phone-devices/ and the license for distributing this excerpt, unmodified, is https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ We won't waste your time linking to all the crappy reviews of the G4 that missed the point in so many ways on this unfortunate phone.
June 30, 2017
We return to the Garmin Nuvi 2598LMTH to try Garmin's companion application for it, BaseCamp. Aravindh Baskaran is back to help Tim Keirnan try to create a customized commute route in to the office and upload the route to the GPS unit. This is a very informal usability test and Tim wanted Aravindh around because the first time Tim tried to do this, he was not successful. Aravindh has used Base Camp to create car club routes on back roads with the Windows version of BaseCamp, so he is acting as informal usability test moderator. The initial use usability problems Tim encountered were nothing compared to the design failure he found transferring the route to the Garmin GPS unit and using it. If you would like to follow along, you can download a Windows or Macintosh version of BaseCamp at Garmin's website: www.garmin.com Listener Costan Boiangiu's excellent email about the UX of GPS devices kicks off this episode, and the informal usability test critique of BaseCamp starts about 15 minutes in.
March 2, 2017
Aravindh Baskaran joins Tim Keirnan for a critique of the Garmin Nuvi 2598LMTHD. We follow our usual critique structure that includes the following: Encounter Decision Purchase Out of the Box Initial Use Longitudinal Use The Garmin 2598 is an interesting mixture of excellence and frustration. On the positive side, we found that * The map screens, both day and night versions, are very well designed. * The voice sounds terrific because it is both pleasant stylistically and cuts through the noise of the car sonically. * The device is fairly quick in its operation, including finding satellites (unless you are indoors, but why are you driving indoors?) On the negative side, we found that * The vaunted voice interface doesn't work well at all. Very frustrating. * The un-changeable and incessant alarm for school zones within a half mile of the car is extremely frustrating and can make us ignore alarms in general. * The unit occasionally freezes and no amount of pressing or tapping the screen will bring it back, forcing the user to unplug power from the unit and restart it. * Inexplicable routing can ignore oft-travelled commutes and actually send us the long way around. And sometimes Tim got a different route home if his address was in the Home saved location rather than his address being in the Recent list. * The settings don't encourage quickly finding what you want to adjust. Finally, email from listener Katie was a wonderful compliment to starting a new year of episodes. Thank you for listening, Katie.
Dec. 31, 2016
Ken Mayer and Eric Penn join Tim Keirnan for a longitudinal review of Tim's 2003 Subaru WRX. If it sounds like we recorded this episode sitting in a car, well, we did! This episode covers the following items in the following order: * The evolution of the all wheel drive niche in vehicle design and rally race history * The nature of forced induction, its pros and its cons * The superb steering wheel by Momo , the clean and usable instrument panel, the clean and usable controls, the amazingly good seats. * The factory boost gauge and short shifter options. * The design choices of 2003, with a value on providing the most feedback to the driver, versus modern car designs with their isolated and numb feeling for the driver. Ken's dad's 2015 WRX provides contrast to what Subaru did in 2003. How has the model evolved? * The heavy weight and mechanical complexity of an all wheel drive and turbocharged vehicle. * Tim's few and limited modifications to an otherwise stock bugeye WRX. * We almost forgot to talk about the qualities of a boxer engine and the excellent sound of the stock exhaust with unequal length headers. * The oil and transmission fluid dipsticks were poorly designed and those fluids are kind of, you know, just barely, important. Skip ahead to 31 minutes if you want to bypass our discussion of the history of all wheel drive cars and comparisons to front wheel drive and rear wheel drive, and the principles of forced induction. Eric promises us a longitudinal review of his FiestaST in 2017! Stay tuned. . .
Nov. 16, 2016
2016 has been a bad year of manufacturers trying to force customers into upgrading their devices by user interface trickery. First Microsoft and their Windows 10 deceptions, and now Apple with iOS10 reminders that cannot be refused. In this episode, Tim describes Apple's failure to provide a "No" response in the iPhone's UI and the "nag screen" that repeatedly makes an offer the customer can't refuse. It's not quite as bad as the Windows 10 manipulation scheme was, but the increasing lack of respect for device owners is concerning. Tim's proposed Upgrade Bill of Rights says the following: 1. Respect the owner of the product in all ways. All update dialogs must contain a No response. The owner decides what and when to upgrade, not the manufacturer. 2. Enable the owner to control notifications of updates. Enable turning off reminders messages for specific upgrades. 3. Enable the owner to schedule reminders and updates on their own schedule. Between family support, new house projects, and other life details, the new responsive website for the show is still not up. Thanks for your patience.

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