Category Archives: TGIF

Information Artist

A new title–Heather Dewey-Hagborg calls herself an Information Artist.

She creates portraits in the form of masks derived from DNA she collects from detritus on the street–cigarette butts, chewing gum.* She uses a 3-D printer to create her masks.

View some of the pieces from Stranger Visions.

From the article:

“If you care about privacy, you’d better do something, because we are probably the last generation that will realize what we’re losing.”

Abstract of the article here; unfortunately you must be a New Yorker subscriber for the whole.

*lollipop sticks, toothpicks–her subjects are all necessarily litter bugs, does that show up in their DNA profile? Although I suppose she could filch coffee cups from trash cans…or is that theft?

UX Designer Memes

This should probably be a TGIF post, but it’s too delicious not to post today: Siliconrepublic’s “Career Meme of the Week is the UX Designer.”

My personal favorites:

“I don’t always user test 3 prototypes but when I do, the users like the one that was included as an afterthought.” (superimposed over the Dos Equis shill)


“I actually like pixel perfecting the wireframes.”

Gaze Activated Dresses

In the world of usability testing eye-tracking has become a powerful tool; in my experience it’s often more useful from a sales perspective and from the perspective of engaging observers than for what you actually learn as a result, but useful nevertheless.

Now we have eye tracking on a garment as opposed to a screen. 

Called (No)where (Now)here: Two Gaze-activated Dresses the project will be exhibited at the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art in November, then at the Textile Museum of Canada in spring 2014.

(Coming soon to a wedding reality show near you, no doubt.)

(apologies for not making this a TGIF post…)

TGIF: This & That

Friday Post: What’s Wrong with this Picture?

Comfort food gets all the press, but I also indulge in comfort reading (or listening, in the case of audio books). Which is how I came to be searching for Cold Comfort Farm, a delightful book by Stella Gibson that fills the role of mac-n-cheese for the brain nicely.  Sadly, I was thwarted in my attempts–but I did wind up with a chuckle and a nice screen cap.

Bad Search is notorious enough that it was listed as #5 in Jakob Niesen’s “top ten mistakes” in 2005 (a decade into the Web) and then bumped up to #1 when when he revisited the list in 2011! I know that search configuration is a real headache for a lot of organizations–they buy a product having been assured that it will work for them “out of the box” and then discover that really getting effective results requires customization they haven’t budgeted for. Nevertheless, its disheartening that search results are still so bad.

That said, this was a case where lousy search results made me laugh out loud before I put on my GUI Bloopers hat and started deconstructing the page. The picture would be self explanatory had they followed the best practice of showing the search query on the results page, but we can’t have  everything…


I saw the picture with the shoes earlier in the week and initially had a feeling that this photo might be somehow relevant to UX design.  However, as I’ve thought about it, the line of shoes is really just a low-tech version of the “take a number” machines encountered at delis and shops. And yet the picture has retained a bit of a hold on me–I keep feeling like there is a UI take away (almost certainly in the what not to do category, of course). So I’ll continue to ponder.

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Meanwhile Garrick Van Buren sent along this with the perfectly apt “I like to think of it as a modern day Design of Everyday Things.” [Ironically, the controls for navigating this site are difficult to discover; I initially thought it was a site that showed a single image at a time.]