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May 29, 2011 / X_Y

Where’s the communication? I’m an unhappy customer of online shopping

Personally I’m not a big fan of online shopping, as buying stuff without facing any physical agent (whether it’s the shop clerk or shopping machine) or product in hand makes me feel unsafe. But there’re times you should have a try, especially if you want something not so “physical”, like train tickets or ebooks. And today is the time, to be a novice user.

Online shopping is that easy?

Actually my real aim was to make sure the VISA card from Swedbank works for online shopping. First thing I did was to start the “Internet bank” service of my account, which turned out to be unnecessary later. This is not anybody’s fault, back in China shopping online will require opening a special service of the bank account, so I thought it was the same here in Sweden. Also the nice lady in the bank was asking me to open this service before, although I wasn’t very sure what it was, judging from its name my mind automatically connects it to online shopping. Anyway after some struggling with the Swedish bank interface I got the service, costing 150 SEK a year (for nothing). I saw the message “The service is opened for your account” Woops that’s quick! I was imaging waiting for a few days while they process the documents in bank.

Then I got to test if the online shopping is all right. I went to Amazon, bought the kindle version of “Design of Everyday things” for $14 (Gosh it’s more expensive than the paper book). Everything was fine! Amazon has a good user experience for shopping online, with an Amazon account I just need to choose the delivery details (not necessary for a kindle book, but I filled it last time so I just need to click once), fill my VISA information and the book is in my kindle!

Everything is fine by now, the bank part took me some effort but at least I’ve got things working. Time to enjoy the new book? Sorry, get a bad news for you: Amazon sent me an email, saying “the payment is not successful”. What, you’ve already sent me the book! OK, “please pay the bill within 5 days by clicking the link below”. So I just need to do it again! Check the VISA information carefully and fill in again, pay… Another Amazon mail comes, still not successful! Try again, again… I was confused, everything seems to be right, but why the result is wrong? Read more…

May 19, 2011 / X_Y

New trend in mobile UX: Windows Phone

Different approach to UI design (source:

What’s the trend of UI design? Many will think Apple is the god. Simple and usable, but still with well crafted graphics. We’ve seen all these high-resolution icons originated from Apple, and everywhere nowadays. They look pleasing and beautiful, and unlike fancy animation or artistic graphs, do no damage to usability side. Actually there’s a lot of work behind these graphics. One of my friends said, a graphic designer can spend 6 hours making an icon, just in pursuit of the ultimate details!

But still, they use the traditional UI model: buttons, navigation, application interface, etc. The UI is a layer on top of the content, there’s a clear distinction from them. Android, being a major competitor, uses a similar notion. Could there be something different? Read more…

May 16, 2011 / X_Y

Chromebook: Win in Interaction

The new Chromebook (from cnet)

Google’s brand new Chromebook is loved by some, hated by some others. Basically, it’s a netbook with almost all services in the cloud side, so instead of Microsoft Office or Open Office you have Google Docs, instead of hard disk you have dropbox, and so on. As almost all applications and data are in the cloud, you don’t need to install anything, you don’t need to upgrade anything, you don’t need to worry about local virus or Trojans, you don’t need to worry about loosing your notebook along with all data (see more at

I would like to analyze it purely from an interaction design point of view. In short, the Chromebook is a behaviour changing product, with lots of user friendly features. Read more…

May 15, 2011 / X_Y

Seeing some New Interactions with Mouse

Just come across this article: Future of UI Interactions? It contains one of my favourite sites: It pointed out a fundamental problem of mouse: The everyday “point and click” model sucks. Especially when you have many tiny buttons on the screen at the same time.

Use mouse without buttons
Use mouse without buttons

According to Fitt’s Law, time required to rapidly move to a target area is a function of the distance to and the size of the target (wikipedia), so aiming and clicking on small things on the screen always takes effort and frustrate the user down. That’s what First Personal Shooting games should do, not tools. Read more…

May 14, 2011 / X_Y

Learning in Progress: Grid System

Seems like an interesting topic to read more about…


A grid is an invisible structure used to guide the placement of elements on your page.

A grid is a technique that comes from print design but easily be applied to web design as well.

Grid-based Layout

A typographic grid is a two-dimensional structure made up of a series of intersecting vertical and horizontal axes used to structure content. The grid serves as an armature on which a designer can organize text and images in a rational, easy to absorb manner.


Example of Grid System Based Page Layout (source:Grid-based Layout) Read more…
May 11, 2011 / X_Y

Quotes from “Critical Thinking as a Powerful Learning Tool”

“Instead of looking for the next big thing or the next big trend, a designer should be able to look back at what they have learned in the past when a problem is presented.”

Critical Thinking as a Powerful Learning Tool, Jason Gross

Instead of trying out all the techniques you’ve recently learned, an Interaction Designer should always keep his/her mind on the track of Usability and User Experience.

May 5, 2011 / X_Y

Best thing I’ve read recently: Checklist Thinking for UX Development

“Checklist Thinking” for UX Professionals: Retaining your sanity in a complex project

Such a life saver, if you ever get overwhelmed by the use cases in design process!

Don’t panic. User scenarios, use cases, flow chart and prototypes, get them in sequence and ask yourself if the later explains everything of the previous.

Use Checklist Thinking to Solve UX Problems