Posts tagged with #user experience


I was in Portland for Ember Conf recently, and after much research (natch), I stayed at the Hotel Eastlund. This is my new spot in Portland, and let me tell you why.

First: this rooftop bar.

Hotel rooftop bar 👌🏻

A photo posted by Jeff Keen (@jeffkeen) on

The design of this hotel is amazing. Modern feel, with really nice touches that showed they really took the time to think about the experience. As someone who does UX work for a living, I noticed these touches, and I appreciated all of them. But there were two tiny little things that took my opinion of the place from being “Nice hotel”, to “Portland hotel search is over! I’m staying here every time.”

The first night I stayed there I was going to plug my phone in and go to bed, until I realized I forgot my phone charger. That’s when I noticed they already thought of that, and had charging cords for every type of modern phone on each bedside table. Nice touch.

But the following morning when getting ready, I noticed this shower detail:

Are you seeing this? A hole cut in the long glass shower wall so you can reach the knobs without getting sprayed with cold water? That is such a ridiculously thoughtful feature that I can’t stop gushing about it.

Stay here next time you’re in Portland.


I’ve been working on features for this website lately, one of which has been figuring out silly social sharing links. I’ve had a website long enough to remember the days of building a comment system in Perl, having a hit counter, and that being good enough.

Now you need to have all sorts of crap on a page in order to make sharing as easy as possible. One option is to piecemeal all the different networks together, but that requires giving up some control of your aesthetic, which I am not a fan of.

I hereby agree to have my site polluted with social sharing buttons in exchange for increased chances of going viral

Or you use a plugin like AddThis, which makes all that easier, maintains some control of your aesthetic, and also allows the people on your site a comical number of options for sharing.

Still use Livejournal? YOU ARE IN LUCK.

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You use multiple passwords, right? Do some of your passwords just vary by the last character? Probably. reallylongpassword and reallylongpassword1, maybe.

In the clip below, I try logging into Instagram, using the first incorrect password, followed by the second variation.

See what happened there? The first password was wrong, so I thought I’d just edit it and add a 1 to the end of it, but when I tried to do that it cleared the field. This seems to be the norm in iOS apps, and it provides for a less than ideal experience.

There are two correct options, here.

  1. After entering an invalid password, clear and focus the field. This makes it obvious to the user that they have to retype their password.
  2. After entering an invalid password, don’t clear the field, but allow editing of the field’s contents. To avoid other mediocre experiences, you should also have a clear button on the right side of the input.

What you should definitely not do is make it seem like the field is editable by keeping the contents in there, and then clear it when the user tries to type in it. That’s just rude.


It would be really nice if Messages knew about the people I had on Find My Friends. Right now there’s a disconnect that really doesn’t need to be there.

It works. It’s fine. But you know what would be better? Something like this:

Location in the same app, even on the main messages screen

Taking it even further

iOS also has capabilities to detect what you’re doing, such as walking, driving, etc, and I think it’d be really nice if it also said that.

Driving, especially. If the person who just texted me knew I was driving, they might understand why I’m not responding right away. Because I’m being safe, or whatever.

Update: 10/2014. iOS8 Implemented this feature, pretty much just how I outlined in my comp, minus the small text under the name on the main screen. I’ll take it. Much better.


When it’s so easy to pick five frames and try them on, it sure would be helpful to know which I’ve tried before and which I haven’t.

And it’d be so easy, too. They know my order history, and I’m logged in. Why not something like this?

“You ordered the Woodland Tortise color in Februrary 2014 and returned them.”


At Spiceworks, we really wanted to stop supporting older versions of IE, but understood from the stats we collected that 5-10% of our users were still on old versions. So we came up with an upgrade strategy.

Whenever you’re asking someone to do something that might be a little unpleasant, it helps if you make it enjoyable, or funny. That’s basic User Experience. Take their mind off the bad part— “You want me to what?”—by distracting them with laughs.

So catering to an audience of IT guys, I thought making an Office Space joke would be appropriate.

And apparently it worked, because it just made it to the front page of reddit today!


I was recently looking for an alarm clock, and had some simple qualifications for suitable models.

  1. Should not take up the entire nightstand; small is good.
  2. Alarm clock should be visible in the dark, without lighting up the entire room.
  3. Must have radio function.

Seems simple, but finding an alarm clock that meets these three requirements are surprisingly difficult.

I think that manufacturers of electrical devices feel that producing an alarm clock is such an easy task, they might as well; they’ve got the parts, they’ve got the people, why not throw something out there? I also imagine they give the least experienced engineer to design this thing, as it’s a relatively straightforward task, and consequences of failure are minimal. I really doubt that they put much thought into the process, because if someone really thought about designing a great alarm clock, wouldn’t we have seen one with a keypad long ago?

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I’m not usually one to lament about how technology has changed our lives, and what life was like before [something] changed everything. “We used to have to get up and change the channel on the TV, and we liked it!”. I don’t miss that.

But what I do miss, in some ways, is how I used to enjoy my music. I used to like browsing used music stores, and if I happened to stumble upon something I’d been looking for, I’d buy it, take it home, put it in the CD player, and enjoy it while admiring the cover of the album and reading the liner notes.

When just casually wanting to put on some music I used to open up my CD cabinet and scan my collection until something caught my eye. If I filled my 5 disc CD player I’d get around 5 or 6 hours of music without any repeated songs.

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The iPhone launches this Friday, and I can’t wait. For months, the hype has been hard to avoid. Hype has never had the intended effect on me; rather than piquing my interest and compelling me to round up my camping gear for product launch day, it raises my skepticism. However, the closer we get to launch day, the more convinced I’m becoming that this phone really will live up to all the hype.

The short demos Steve gave at WWDC and at MacWorld were impressive, but what really won me over was the guided tour of the phone I watched yesterday. Since when has a cell phone been really intuitive to use?

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