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.
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
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
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
A night of talks and conversations about privacy and tech, centered on humane design and user-experience -- I'm speaking there! Read the rest
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
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
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
Simply Secure, a nonprofit developing usable, free, open interfaces for cryptographic communications tools like OTR, is hiring! Read the rest
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
My latest Guardian column, Privacy technology everyone can use would make us all more secure, makes the case for privacy technology as something that anyone can -- and should use, discussing the work being done by the charitable Simply Secure foundation that launches today (site is not yet up as of this writing), with the mandate to create usable interfaces to cryptographic tools, and to teach crypto developers how to make their tools accessible to non-technical people. Read the rest