Algorithmic cruelty: when Gmail adds your harasser to your speed-dial

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Inbox by Gmail combs through your email looking for frequent correspondents and puts the people who email you the most in a "speed dial" sidebar (that you can't edit) that puts their names and pictures front-and-center for you every time you go to your email. Read the rest

The quest for the well-labeled inn

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I have a first-world problem: I stay in a lot of hotels.

Why we need a new kind of design discipline for on-demand platforms

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Over at Medium's WTF? Future of Work publication, our pal Marina Gorbis, exec director of Institute for the Future, and IFTF's Devin Fidler write about why we need new design principles for on-demand work platforms.

Their creators have mastered the discipline of interaction design and brought it to new heights… when it comes to consumer experience. Uber, Munchery, Postmates, and many apps are exquisitely designed, sometimes even addictive for users. They make previously laborious processes effortless and seamless. No hassles with paying, calling, talking. Swipe your phone with a finger and voila: your ride, your meal, your handyman magically appear.

But the apps are not only platforms for consumption. They are quickly becoming our entry points for work, gateways to people’s livelihoods. In this sense, whether or not platform creators realize it, they are engaging in another kind of design, socioeconomic design, the design of systems that people will rely on to structure their work, earnings, daily schedules. And here we find ourselves in the same phase as interaction design was decades ago — the inmates are running the asylum. The stakes, however, are much higher; instead of just convenience, we are talking about people’s livelihoods.

"Design It Like Our Livelihoods Depend on It: 8 Principles for creating on-demand platforms for better work futures" Read the rest

New trends in Chinese mobile UIs for 2016

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Dan Grover has updated his excellent annual survey of UI trends in Chinese mobile apps with a new installment that covers the t-shirt icon, the happy shopping bag, the moving SEND button, the rise of data-management apps and chatbots, and more. Read the rest

Help wanted: Simply Secure is hiring an ops person!

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Simply Secure is a nonprofit whose advisory board I volunteer for; they're devoted to making usable, human-centered interfaces to privacy tools that anyone can use, and they're hiring. Read the rest

Watch: how to make security tools for normal humans

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Another amazing Shmoocon talk is "Users Are People Too: How to Make Your Tools Not Suck for Humans," presented by two key people from Simply Secure, a nonprofit devoted to improving security tool usability (I am a volunteer advisor to Simply Secure). Read the rest

Science fiction: what if game companies could get rich on bots, instead of players?

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MVP -- Patrick Miller's "game dev short story" -- is a cleverly told piece of science fiction about a game dev team that hits on a weirdly compelling, unlikely and eerily plausible commercial strategy: optimizing their game for gold-farmers' bots. Read the rest

Great, weird, and bad examples of Empty States in apps

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Emptystate.es celebrates "Empty States," those moments in a user's app experience where there's no data to display yet, or an error has occurred. Empty States are actually a great moment to delight or engage the user yet this piece of UX design is frequently left as an afterthought or blown off entirely. (Thanks, UPSO!)

Read the rest

Free usability help for privacy toolmakers

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Simply Secure, a nonprofit I volunteer for, is launching a new series of usability programs for organizations, companies and individuals who are making cryptographic/privacy/security tools. Read the rest

Loadingicon: trippy looping gif animations to distract and delight

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Loadingicons should loop, use a constrained color palette, and be fun enough to look at that they could distract a user while a computer or network churns away in the background. Read the rest

NYC to-do: "Art, Design, and The Future of Privacy," Sept 17

A night of talks and conversations about privacy and tech, centered on humane design and user-experience -- I'm speaking there! Read the rest

Disembodied mechanical random clickerfinger

Behold, Monobo's "Random User" -- a modded mouse with a mechanical finger that races around the tabletop, exploring "the identity on the Internet theories and the 'Google Analytics' world." Read the rest

Trends in Chinese mobile UIs

Last December, Dan Grover summarized the unique mobile app UI conventions he'd spotted since moving to China the summer before to work for Wechat, a Chinese mobile messaging app that also incorporates a wallet, Evernote-style functionality, a games platform, a people-finder, a song-matching service, and, of course, an email client. Read the rest

Fellowships available in security usability

The Open Technology Fund and Simply Secure are offering fellowships to researchers who seek funding to work on usability in privacy and security technology. Read the rest

Help wanted: crypto-usability research director & ops manager

Simply Secure, a nonprofit developing usable, free, open interfaces for cryptographic communications tools like OTR, is hiring! Read the rest

Kickstarting a prismatic, hat-brim mounted heads-up display for your phone

The Hattrickwear is an improbable ball-cap designed to mount your phone horizontally along your eyeline with a mirror and prism that keeps your screen in your field of vision all the time. Read the rest

Screenshots of despair: the slide-deck

From the magesterial Screenshots of Despair tumblr (featuring dialog boxes to make you quail with terror and despair of your sanity), comes a slide-deck of the best of the worst to include in your own presentations. Read the rest

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