People Judge the Quality of a Product by Whatever Is Visible

The user’s evaluation of the quality of a product is not separate from the aesthetics. This is especially important for products that are not observable by the user e.g. software or infrastructure. They can’t physically inspect the quality and rely on other signals as a proxy—the website, UX, documentation, etc. This isn’t strictly logical (you can simultaneously have a beautiful website and a terrible product), but an important factor nonetheless.

  • Every UI Decision Is a Value

    Values of a community or organization are embedded in every UI decision. There is a difference in values when a company’s homepage touts their biggest sales or a stream of every transaction. Whether or not they meant it, it’s still an artifact of values.

  • Getting Locked Out of a Toothbrush

    The absurdity of smart devices is maybe best exemplified by a toothbrush that goes out of it’s way to lock down refills with an intentional and sophisticated password scheme between the handle and the replaceable brush head. After three incorrect attempts, the toothbrush locks forever and bricks itself.

  • A Little Bit Broken Is Still Broken

    Engineers and product people tend to think about issues as frequency distributions. How many users does this impact? How severe is it? But this misses one inescapable truth from a user’s perspective: a little bit broken is still broken.