Lunch Bag

Lunch Bag

Currently we have these really nice looking lunch bags at work. They appear to be very convenient and they pack down nicely, are easily transportable and are supposed to keep your lunch cold. From the outset they look like a good designed and well made product. I asked my boss, who was over from America and had brought her lunch in using the bag, how it faired (as I had taken one for myself and was going to use it for some supplies for my Astronomy class in the evening)? Her response was “It’s nice, only the handle is in the wrong place, so if you have a lot of stuff in there it’s unnerving as it feels like it’s going to fall out”.   I tried this out for myself and it didn’t feel entirely comfortable. I’m not sure how much product testing went into the product, but moving the handle to the top could have massively improved this product without a huge amount of effort. I did some research for similar lunch bags and the handles are correctly placed. Like websites and apps, every day products should always be designed with the user in mind and good user experience at the forefront of it...

Well Designed Windows Phone 7 Apps

So when the new WP7 phones came out and Microsoft provided the Windows Phone Style Guide it looked as if all the apps would be pretty samey and bland. However I’ve seen some pretty cool apps and one that is being ‘bigged up’ all over the Internet is the Cocktail App so I downloaded a preview to check it out for myself.  The great thing about this app is firstly it’s aesthetically pleasing, it’s very evident that a lot of work has been put into the graphics and none of it is tacky at all. The other thing I liked was once u open up the app you get the core features in a minimalistic way but with enough information to play and explore within the app rather than being bombarded with cluttered...

Nice Design – Gallery

A colleague of mine keeps a collection of screen shots of designs he thinks are nice/visually appealing/good. I thought I would start something similar. This is a coffee website (bean about town) that was shown to me by the owner of Espresso Emporium for whom I am doing some free design work. Visually it’s very appealing, has a retro look. The page loads with an animation, which is fine however there doesn’t seem to be the option to turn off the animation unless you click on one of the menu options. It is very  nice looking...

Amazon MP3

Last Thursday, Nina and I were looking for music for our Playing with Justice Concert. After determining the set list, we decided to purchase them from the Amazon MP3 website. This is by far the worst place I have ever purchased music. Firstly, the download failed. Ok no big deal, that kind of stuff happens all the time. Was there an option to re-download though? No! After spending ages searching to re-find the download option, we had to contact the Amazon customer services, who then ‘reactivated’ the link. Tried a second time, download fails again, re-download link no longer available. Contacted them the third time, this time only 2 out of the 8 songs purchased downloaded and the link once again de-activated. At this point, I decided to give up and download from iTunes. This is a major flaw in their system design as it does not count for download failure. There is no mechanism in place that allows you to track whether the download was successful or not (not even their player) and therefore ensuring the download link is not disabled. This is such a waste of Oxfam money and I won’t be using their store again. I’ll stick to iTunes...

Natural Balance Foods Website

As I’m on a bit of a health food obsession at the moment, I went onto the Natural Balance Foods website and presented with the website I think overall it is pretty good. The background image doesn’t interfere with the text or the information. The menus and options are clear and the user experience is generally good as you are able to find all the information you need: I only have 2 qualms with the website. The first is that it takes forever to place the order, sending information back is such a slow process. The second is the inconsitency of the field layout for the start date and expiry date of the credit card details (as shown below): This really threw me. Other than those 2 issues I quite like the web site...

MGMT Website

As fantastic as MGMT are as a band, and it’s a pretty cool idea trying to engage their fans into designing their website. There are some really cool pictures and art work people have come up with, however this isn’t very practical and from a usabilty perspective is very poor! You visit the home page and are presented with the following page:  Although the image isn’t too bad, it’s still fairly noisy and makes text difficult to read, especially when you are looking at events (which has the same background) for concert dates. As this is the most important aspect of a band’s site, the information should not be difficult to read. You move away to the ‘Music’ part of the website, and boy is this an eye sore. You would probably get eye strain from trying to read what’s on there and the whole fan art aspect of it means that the site is inconsistent. If you then move on to the ‘fan art’ section you are presented with a gallery of art people have uploaded, by selecting you can change the backdrop….great….however there is no option (or easy way if there is an option) of turning off the fan art element of the site. Yes it’s a nice concept but it makes for a very poor user...