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Monster (Annabella, 2009)

I am back to medium. Hopefully, I will post more notes and reflections on visual communication, interfaces, and UX. My original plan was to modify the blog I started during my doctoral studies: Bits of HCI. But later, I thought it was better if I start anew to signify a big change I made this year in the midst of the pandemic: moving to San Francisco.

GoDaddy powers my domains and hosting. I have been a customer of this company for years and never felt that the service is bad. I even considered the visual changes to the UI's front parts as a good attempt to facilitate the users’ tasks. However, it does make me unhappy to see the inconsistency in the interface design. Moreover, there is so much information, and all of it seems to be yelling at me: buy! buy! buy! Beautiful colors and a spacious layout. …


Vox has published a nice video about how Snapchat lenses, commonly known as filters, work. As a someone that once researched on digital image processing algorithms, and learned about their possible complexity and computing demand, I’m really marveled about accessible facial recognition algorithms have become. The Snapchat filters motivated me to install this app, and once I tried them myself, I was like “Wooooow… Oh boy, it’s true that we had supercomputers in our hands every day, and it seems that we just take them for granted!”

Have you used snapchat? From my viewpoint, Snapchat’s UX feels very clumsy sometimes, but it’s very interesting. When I started using this app, I felt that gestures and screens were everywhere, I had no idea about what was going on! Swiping here, tapping there! I guess it breaks somehow one of my rules as a designer and teacher: always tell the user where she is, and where she can go from here. However, I also considered that young users are so used to smartphones and gestures, and swiping screens 100 miles per hour, that it’d be me who is a bit old to use snapchat. You know, that snapchat is for cool young fellas. Also, it took me a while to get what the icons (visual cues) in the interface means I wasn’t sure why sometimes I see this or that icon. For example, the public snaps (known there as a user’s story) have a little pie chart icon. I wasn’t sure if it’s about time or number of public snaps. It took me a while to understand that it’s about the life of the public snaps, the remaining time they have before they disappear. …


Today, when I opened Spotify, I found this (see image below):

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Later, I mentioned in facebook that using my profile picture for the “Discover Weekly” album is a little bit scary. Moreover, I tweeted that although Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be the next big thing in UI/UX design, we shouldn’t forget taking care of the execution, the how, the form — By the way, this somehow sarcastic since tweets before I was arguing that just paying attention to the looks leads to a poor understanding of what design is (after watching the “Why Design Matters” video).

Later, someone asked me on Facebook to explain what I was meaning of my post and provide an example of how the design could be “better.” This person argued that such a design decision helps to “merge” the self and (his/her) music. I think he’s a good point. However, to me, this design decision was a shocking micro-experience with Spotify. Below, I re-write what I posted on Facebook. …

About

Omar Sosa-Tzec

Assistant Professor of Design Foundations at San Francisco State University

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