It’s ironic (and predicable) that the interfaces SUPPLE comes up with for dexterity/visually impaired people are just better interfaces than the controls. The optimized interfaces almost always display more information in a way that requires less clicking than the original interfaces. No wonder they perform better! It’s just a direct application of Fitts’s law and GOMs analysis.
One interesting thing to call out: The interfaces for SUPPLE are defined by schematic intent, not by layout. The computer translates a user-flow markup into an actual interface. We’ll probably see a lot more of this as we need to design web sites for truly divergent screen-sizes (computer, mobile, wall screens).
Jakob Nielson brings up one of my pet peeves with using scroll wheels on forms in his latest Alertbox (although I just tried this with Opera, Safari and IE7 and didn't reproduce this- did we solve this problem already?):
Sites offer drop-downs for state abbreviations under the theory that doing so prevents input errors. But that's not true: menus are more error prone than typing because the mouse scroll wheel often makes users inadvertently change the state field's content after they've moved their gaze elsewhere on the screen. In contrast, everybody knows how to type their own state's two letters, and it's always faster to enter this information through the keyboard than the mouse.
I hate it when your browser's focus is still on the select box, but your focus is on the page and you start scrolling the wheel to move down the page and you change your selection instead.
I don't know if I've set up my browser to not do that, or if the current generation of browsers all solved this problem- but I still feel the caution when I'm using a select box- I consciously click back onto the page to focus it instead of the select box before moving on.
Guerrilla Usability is what I call it when we take existing systems and use them in unexpected ways to create a more "usable" solution. Often, it's forcing something to be more usable via glue/tape, or the diagnal path of worn out grass between buildings when the sidewalks just aren't quick enough. If there's a right way and an easy way, Guerrilla Usability is choosing the easy way (inspired by Gerry Gaffney).
That's why I thought this ESPN article was a good example of G.U. It's about how the iPod has become a much sought after gadget for Major League Baseball, and although we're still talking about watching video on iPod (what the system is designed to do), I still want to classify this as G.U. because it's just an interesting twist on technology to accomplish a user's goal. Instead of watching video in a "projection room" (I'm sure they don't have them anymore, but you have to admit that's what you thought of right?) or on DVD, they are loading every hit against every team and pitcher up on their iPods and reviewing them at any time: while on the plane to play the next team, in the locker room, etc... of note is the effort being put into a "playlist" for each player to have all the appropriate videos on hand at any given time.
I'm not sure exactly how motivated players are to watch video of themselves and opponents all day, but from this article it would seem that having the video on hand any time of the day is the real killer experience. I'm always fascinated when people find new ways to accomlish goals with existing tools.
The system is working out so well that all sorts of teams are looking into the how they can set up the same kind of system.
Not content with just a kids menu and a crayon or two, Macaroni Grill lays down paper over the table which I'll go ahead and chalk up as (in my case) a good customer experience since I had a 5 year old with me. (Plus, I'm sure it makes clean up a snap!)
My kids' usability review: Pros:
He can practice his kindergarten math/writing*
He can practice his "Super Hero" drawing (I'll take credit for that Batman though thank you very much)
The name Macaroni is right there in the title! (Why is macaroni a perennial favorite of kids?)
Where exactly are we supposed to eat again?
Wait...they're going to throw this all away when we're done?
Papercuts. You seriously have to fold the edges of the paper over; this has happened to us several times.
*I drew pictures and he would spell out as much of the word as he could- We got to the letter "L" and of course I tried my hand at a lion. After two futile, and frankly unrecognizable attempts at the king of the jungle my son gives up asking me what it was. Upon hearing what it's supposed to be, he says to me: "you know dad...you could have just drawn a lemon." ...I thought it was time to move on to the letter 'M'