User Centered is more than just a slick UI
By Eddie LopezEddie_Lopez. Tuesday, February 6, 2007 7:20:14 PM
Anytime we take a look at how users are using our products and why/when/where, we are stepping closer to User Centered. Tax software should take into account the user with W-2s and paperwork lying around a home office or computer desk, possible gloomy weather outside and a frustrated user. An example mentioned in the podcast: it's one thing to consider your phone's UI and menu structure, but quite a step forward to consider it in the context of a call to prayer for religous services. Software is available that will alert the user to prayer time, then disable itself for 20 minutes so has not to disturb anyone, or help the user orient towards Mecca. Also mentioned were churches using "dampeners" to prevent phones from getting signals within the church, all great examples of technology being used well beyond its intended design.
Speaking of cellphones and ringers, I asked for these kinds of features a while ago (Cell phone scheduling). How many times have you had your phone set on vibrate or quiet while in the office, only to miss a call on the drive home from your spouse to pick up something for dinner because you forgot to enable the ringer again? Outlook, smartphones, PIMs, Syncing, Bluetooth.... all my devices know what my calendar looks like, how about being a little more user centered? Disable the ringer anytime I'm in a meeting at the very least, after 5pm, reset to normal ringtones.