Information Design Watch

March 18, 2008, 9:32 pm

User Experience: Crash Test Version

By Henry Woodbury

One exhibit at the New York Auto show is a car like this:

Crash-tested Ford Taurus

The point is to show off the Ford Taurus’s five star crash rating. What makes this interesting as information design is that it’s literally a) a car crash and b) interactive:

Show goers will be allowed to sit in the post-crash Taurus to see what a crash test dummy sees after a 35-mph meet up with an offset concrete barrier.

It is easy to forget in the online world, but the best user experience is being there.

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Current Events, Information Design, Marketing, User Experience

March 11, 2008, 9:58 pm

MOMA’s Design and the Elastic Mind

By Lisa Agustin

universcaleAt NY’s Museum of Modern Art, the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibition “focuses on designers’ ability to grasp momentous changes in technology, science, and social mores, changes that will demand or reflect major adjustments in human behavior, and convert them into objects and systems that people understand and use.” The online exhibition features 300 examples of design innovation in several categories, among them Thinkering (“productive tinkering”), Super Nature (technologies based on biological systems), and Extreme Visualization, which includes universcale, a Flash site describing the size of objects in the universe using an “infinite yardstick” extending from a femtometer to a light-year.

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Art, Creativity, Current Events, Design, User Experience

March 10, 2008, 11:40 am

Let the Penguin Explain

By Henry Woodbury

In a few weeks an AOL penguin will begin educating users about advertising cookies. Here’s a sample storyboard from the ad campaign:

Frame 4 of 7: An ad company sends a cookie to Mr. Penguin's computer, recording his visit.

A penguin?

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Illustration, Technology, Visual Explanation

March 10, 2008, 9:00 am

What Does “Capable” Mean in Redmond?

By Henry Woodbury

Today’s number one most emailed article from the The New York Times home page is about operating systems, of all things. Specifically, it is about users who upgraded to Windows Vista and “got burned.” Users like Mike Nash, a Microsoft Vice President, and Jon Shirley, a Microsoft board member.

These stories come from Microsoft internal emails, acquired in a class action law suit. At the heart of the dispute is disagreement about the meaning of the word “capable.”

Originally Microsoft planned to label Windows XP PCs with sufficient hardware and graphics power to eventually run Vista as “Vista Ready.” To avoid hurting sales of lower-end computers, Microsoft created a new classification, “Vista Capable.” This supposedly “signal[ed] that no promises are made about which version of Vista will actually work.”

An internal Dell report exposes the folly of this idea: “Customers did not understand what ‘Capable’ meant….”

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Business, Current Events, Technology

March 6, 2008, 3:18 pm

Rube Goldberg in Amsterdam

By Henry Woodbury

HEMA, the Dutch department store has an clever Web animation built on a fake product page. Just click through and wait.

Then, after you watch it, click sturr door and send the link to your friends. Some may even go to the actual online store.

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Marketing