When cars aren't in charge

So at the beginning of October, Adam Rogers of Wired  published his manifesto Observation Deck: Designing Cities for People, Not Cars.  It is an interesting discussion of establishing parts of cities where people (on foot or on bicycle) are in charge rather than cars.  There are two very interesting parts of it that set things bouncing around in my head: He talks about how there is a visceral, emotional reaction as a pedestrian to doing something in today's cities that doesn't acknowledge that cars are in charge (i.e. crossing an intersection diagonally), andthe discussion of Disney's ... more ...

Separation of concerns vs Physical Segregation

aka Do I really need an App server If you've ever planned out an application I'm sure you've heard the term "n-tier".  The idea is to take the logical capabilities required in a system (i.e. presentation, business logic and data management) and distribute them physically across a number of servers.The classic Microsoft diagram looks like this:There are a couple of guidances from MS about how to deploy these logical tiers, but they fundamentally resolve into distributed and non-distributed models:Non-distributedDistributedThe argument put forward by the experts is:> Because all of your layers share resources, one layer can ... more ...

A user story - in video

Wire-framing is God's gift to requirements gathering.  Its true.  I'm a recent convert to formally including a wireframe in the design/requirments process.  Why this sudden conversion?  The discovery of a tool that makes it almost child's play to explore your options: balsamiq.  Here is my top-5 list of why wireframing, and balsamiq in particular, is awesome: with a wireframe tool, I can whip up a "sketch" of the screen(s) for a particular user story in less than an hour the process of wireframing is the first test of the requirements and highlights very quickly when the requirements aren't ... more ...

Usability of an Orange

I like fruit.  I do.  If you did a statistical analysis of my eating habits, though, I don't think fruit would show up in the top 10.  My wife claims that, like all men, my lack of fruit consumption is because I'm lazy.  She argues that I'm just too stuck-on-my-plonk to get up and cut up a cantaloupe or core an apple.  I thought for a while that she was right, but as the mandarin oranges re-appeared on pre-Halloween-but-never-to-early-Christmas shelves, I realized that the issue isn't my degree of gumption, its purely a usability problem. When I open a mandarin ... more ...