Three Creativity Challenges from IDEO’s Leaders

Everyone is creative in their own capacity and skill. We all think about problems and their possible solutions. But ideas done come easy, especially when you are seeking an idea that can translate into a product or a service or (for the enterprising kind) a star-up.

This article on HBR gives some simple, yet constructive and priming activities that will charge you grey matter to think laterally and out-of-the-box when seeking solutions and directions that are not yet defined in the conventional patterns of actionable.

Three exercises have been listed. There are more in the published book (linked in the article).

Have a go at it.

Microsoft Windows 8 update 3 – preparing for phablets and more

Microsoft will be updating the Windows 8 operating system soon and it will be getting better and all set for phablets. It might take a while since its just initiated the developer release program to allow the developer community and enthusiasts to experience what Microsoft would be bringing on board with the new update to the operating system.

WPCentral released this video where they installed and previewed the operating system build shared in the developer release. Its not a major overhaul but some of the changes are subtle and improving on the features and user experience in a positive way.

Here are top 5 highlights of the change in user experience that one can anticipate –

1. Application closure in preview carousal: On long tap of the ‘back’ button, you can not only view the running applications, but also close them without access them.

2. Drive mode: The drive mode along with bluetooth can be programmed to swtich the phone automatically to call only, auto reply or any other setting for safe driving without handling the phone. Once you set your external bluetooth device (say, the hands free device in you car), whenever you get into your car, the phone will automatically disable texting and/or auto reply to any incoming call. This is a very handy feature to be introduced by Microsoft.

3. Manage the phone storage: Finally, you can delete data on your phone or preview how much memory is being consumed by apps and media on your device. Best of all, you can clear temporary files from your internet explorer browser.

4. Ease of access: Some tweaks have been made to the accessibility of the phone to make it much more accessible to the differently abled folks.

5. Tile display: Though not specifically explained, the tiles can now carry the date, time and calendar event tile too. Not more will it be accessible only on the locked screen.

Watch the demo of the Windows 8 Update 3 below. Its been posted by WPCentral and the article was Sam Sabri.

Does Skeuomorphic Design Matter? | UX Magazine

Skeuomorphs and Affordances

Since the introduction of iOS 7, the blogosphere has been alive with debate on Apple’s departure from skeuomorphism—the yellow lined legal pad of Notes, the leather bound folio of Calendar. We are now deeply mired in a flat vs. skeuomorphic debate that reduces skeuomorphism to coddling kitsch and equates flat design with high-modernism. Both sides have missed the point.

Skeuomorphs in design aren’t useless decoration, but contextual clues. Like design metaphor they are the visual equivalent of figurative language—enabling designers to quickly tap into shared cultural understandings and convey complex meanings in a straightforward way. They work as a new kind of affordance, one that communicates not function but identity.

READ MORE: Does Skeuomorphic Design Matter? | UX Magazine.

YouTube has a good sense of humor in handling errors

500 Internal Server Error happens when the server encounters a generic problem

500 Internal Server Error happens when the server encounters a generic problem

I checked in to access my daily dose of YouTube in the evening when this popped up on my browser screen.

So, what is  “500 Internal Server Error”? Well, who cares, the message had a sense of humor and that’s what mattered at that moment. A couple of attempts and the site was available for viewing. What I liked was the error handling done by YouTube at the server side. An “500 internal Server Error” means that something went wrong at the website server. It’s a generic message and yet flexible to be customized. Websites can take this opportunity to address error handling in a manor that will ensure that user inconvenience and emotional reaction can be contained by

Why is this error handling unique?

1. To start with, this error is not in your control. Sometimes servers fail to respond or probably your code fails.

2. This error is lot more detrimental to your site than when a typical 404 error. When the site does not load, user walks away.

3. There is no least resistance path for the user, there is no safety net and nor is there any graceful degradation. Your user actually might think its his fault or perhaps that he has reached a dead end.

How to handle server errors

The only possible way is to convey to the user that an error has occurred and its not his/her fault. Be graceful and honest about the situation. Google took this a step further by adding humor to the messaging and giving the user something to laugh about and in doing so, dilute the inconvenience that the user might have felt. That’s clever.

Do you agree?