Human Error Part 1: De la Concorde Overpass

In September 2006, a bridge collapsed in Laval (a Montreal suburb), resulting in 5 deaths. An inquiry, the Johnson commission, is trying to understand this event and prior incidents.

As always, multiple factors are involved in this accident: bad design, shoddy construction, poor repairs and substandard construction materials. These factors are always boiled down to human errors: a design, planning, executions or maintenance errors.

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Innovation Par 1: Why Silicon Valley

LeRoi Gourhan, a French Anthropologist, observed that during pre-historic times there was a close relationship between the evolution of the human brain and the hand. In science, the experimentation plays the role of the hand. There is a close relationship between new observations and new scientific ideas.

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Gartner got it all wrong again on the iPhone

Gartner provides obscurantist research analysis and reports for IT professionals.

Over the years they have been consistently wrong:

They recommended IT managers to choose OS2 over windows

In September 2001 they recommended that companies using Microsoft IIS for web hosting should switch to alternative products in light of increasing Internet worm attacks

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Apple, Steve Jobs, Innovation and Iphone

Apple is as hot topic in the business these days because of the Iphone. Apple’s innovation success is on the front page of The Economist July 9th edition.

The Economist retains 4 lessons from apple:

  1. Innovation can come from outside. In the case of Apple, the GUI (graphical user interface) was invented at the Xerox Park by a group that included Larry Tesler who later went to Apple to work on the Apple Lisa and the Mac. The Ipod OS (operating system) was designed by Pixo, an external firm. To do so, making a Continue reading Apple, Steve Jobs, Innovation and Iphone

Sketching User Experience

I just finished the book « Sketching User Experience » by Bill Buxton. This book in my view is an important book. It will have a profound impact on the designer community. They will say:

“WOW, I should have used this or that sketching technique and I would have saved huge amounts of time and money instead of building those expensive prototypes”.

It broadens the concept of sketching to the user interaction or in other words user experience.

In Wikipedia, a sketch is defined as a rapidly executed freehand drawing that is not intended as a finished work.

The objective of a sketch is to verify an idea rapidly and cheaply. Bill extends the concept to user experience. He describes a multitude of sketching techniques such as Wizard of Oz, Video, and paper mockup as a way to test user experience rapidly and cheaply.

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Michel Leblanc Conference

I recently assisted at a speech given by Michel Leblanc at the Big Bang on may 17, 2007. This is certainly one of the best speeches I have ever attended. I can assure you I have seen some, I have just arrived from the CHI 2007 conference in San Jose.

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Usability versus Usefulness

You have to provide your friend with driving directions to come to your home. All of a sudden, your are struggling. Is it two or three stops before turning right? Providing a direction can be very difficult even if you take that route everyday.

Cognition is distributed. Because our memory is optimized, our knowledge is ingrained within our Continue reading Usability versus Usefulness