Archive for May, 2015

The Best Interface is No Interface – Book Notes

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

The Best Interface is No Interface: The Simple Path to Brilliant Technology by Golden Krishna

Golden Krishna asks us to not solve problems with screens, to not chase eyeballs and there by distract people from what really matters. He asks us to “dream of a screenless world” and paints a compelling near term view of it.  He ask designers to make apps that work best when kept in our pockets. He rails against the pedesrian view of UX as UI that has led us to more and more screen-based thinking.

He calls us to action with 4 things we should strive for as we design apps for the pocket

  1. The best design reduces work
  2. The best computer is unseen
  3. The best interaction is natural
  4. The best interface is no interface

His 3 Principles

  1. Embrace Typical Processess Instead of Screens:
  2. Leverage Computers Instead of Serving Them:
  3. Adapt to Individuals:

Top 6 quotes/concepts from the book


Overload, clutter, and confusion are not attributes of information, they are failures of design.


They’re cranking out glorified digital billboards masked as websites and apps that are trying to monetize your eyeballs by pushing creepy ads onto all your screens.


They shift away from the functional ideals of user experience design that made their services initially popular, and become more like sitcom television; get people to go brain-dead staring at a screen for as long and as often as possible.


I believe our job as designers is to give you what you need as quickly and as elegantly as we can. Our job as designers is to take you away from technology. Our job as designers is to make you smile. To make a profit by providing you something that enhances your life in the most seamless and wonderful way possible.


Our most effective tool is profoundly simple: Develop a precise description of our user and what he wishes to accomplish.


Easily accessible, they seamlessly and continuously received one kind of information. Instead of relying on painful user input like form fields and website navigation, the computer system used automatic, sensory, signal-based machine input.

Chernoff Faces, Glanceable UI, and Wearables

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Like my award winning Mango + Mole chili there are some things call out to be mixed together.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 7.35.50 AM

Take wearables oriented toward health & wellness delivering dry information. When people are exercising they also need motivation and encouragement. How can we take those quick glaneable UIs which physical exercise usage calls for but make them more like a coach who encourages you. Motivates you. Urges you to do better.

Perhaps a “Chernoff Coach.”

This “coaches face” conveys not just motivation but also conveys encouragement. A glanceable UI that conveys not just how you are doing but prompts you to improve.

Chernoff faces are glanceable UIs.  20-30 different data elements can be conveyed in a standard Chernoff face. No one has taken the human like face and taken advantage of it being a face, an actor.

It is dealing with the challenge of conveying information. Most glanceable displays try to thin out the information or reduce the set of variable. But instead take a Chernoff Face approach.  It directly attacks making a GLANCEABLE UI by using our inherent human specific talent of being able to see, recognize, interpret, and understand FACES. Faces are a basic element of our fundamental glacing at the phenomenological level.

When can I buy my Chernoff Coach on a wrist?

“I Want My Chernoff Coach On A Wrist!”

Some of Chernoff’s original points in his article might support this possible new use of Chernoff faces.

“Certain major characteristics of the faces are instantly observed and easily remembered in terms of emotions and appearance.”

“The major advantage to be derived from using the faces should be in the heightened qualitative awareness of which numerical calculations are relevant.”



The Use of Faces to Represent Points in K-Dimensional Space Graphically by Herman Chernoff 1973


Experience Arbitrage: Your Customers Are Improvising Their Experience

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Experience Arbitrage

When customers take advantage of difference “experience” costs/benefits for the same company.

Reflecting on my history in customer facing automotive, retail, and fast food projects and the customers – I’m thinking about how they use technology and the resulting experiences – and their experience is an improvised totality.

Customers are cobbleing together the experiences. They are engaging in “experience arbitrage” and taking advantage (the best they can) of the different costs and benefits of these experiences for the same company. Because companies have difficultly coordinating across channels, the one obvious constant is the customer themselves. A simple example is they are taking the knowledge they gain in one channel and using it in another channel. A more sophisticated example is when functionalities differ from one channel to another. One channel does not have a lock on the future.  Omni-channel is an aspiration from the corporate perspective. It’s not the experience of the customer. Customers switch channels not necessarily from a “preference” they have for a particular channel but from something larger (perhaps its somethign they want to do, a feeling they want to have, or a way they think about how the world works).

Ask yourself

  • How well do you understand the customers you have right now? Their needs and buying behaviors?
  • What is the pain they have in one channel that is driving them into another?


Definition of arbitrage

The simultaneous buying and selling of securities, currency, or commodities in different markets or in derivative forms in order to take advantage of differing prices for the same asset.