Two Years

Wow, it’s been two years since I started this project.

Most posts take a lot longer than I expected them to at the beginning. The amount of dissection, research, design suggestions and mock-ups required for even small issues end up being fairly in-depth. I’m glad I started this blog and I’ve found it very useful.

I started a companion Twitter feed as a way to disseminate my writing. It’s also good for the occasional quick design observation.

So much of what I do for work involves progressive updates to existing interfaces, rather than creating new designs. Looking at small pieces of other systems proves useful for exercising a critical eye for often overlooked elements and processes. At heart I’m an information architect (I did go to library school!) more than a designer.

This air freshener was in a bowl of candy at my vet’s office. I totally thought it was a dog treat. Context matters 🙂

photo of a dog face air freshener with the words fresher dog breath brought to you by Greenies
Fresher dog breath brought to you by Greenies

Did I watch that already?

I use the Netflix iOS a lot. I’ve watch a lot of stuff and need to find new videos to watch. This app doesn’t facilitate that user task very well.

Screen shot of the Netflix iOS movie selection pattern
Screen shot: Selection page in the Netflix iOS app

Design Suggestions

  1. Make it obvious which videos you’ve watched already. Lower the opacity for watched items.

    Screen shot of movie tiles with the watched movie grayed out
    I’ve watched 13th
  2. On the screen for a specific video, give an indication if you’ve watched it already. Lower the opacity of the title image and change “Play” to “Watch Again”.

    Video page where the play button now reads watch again
    Watch again
  3. In settings, add an option to filter out anything you’ve watched. You can still search.

    Screen shot of the app settings with a toggle switch to remove watched videos from suggestions
    Remove from Suggestions in App Settings
  4. Provide a way to mark videos you don’t want to watch so they stop showing up as suggestions. I’ve added a “Skip” icon as an example. Icons are always hard. My first attempt was a “not interested” button but it was too prominent. I think employing the same design as other icons and putting it in line with the “close” icon gives it subtlety and context.

    Video page with a skip icon and text in the upper left
    Skip option to hide videos

    Once you’ve rated a video, the thumbs up icon turns white and the text “Rate” turned to “Rated”. I’ve followed that pattern with the “Skip” button, filling in the control and changing it to “Skipped”. Tapping this would allow this title to become a suggestion again.

    Video page with the Skipped icon and text in the upper left
    Skipped icon

    Then test it!

Polite Notice

I’m that guy. I get upset about cars and plants blocking sidewalks. A year ago I did a post on the walkability of communities using my neighborhood as an example. After notifying 311 about a couple of repeat offenders, they stopped parking across the sidewalk.

Now there are new cars and the problem hasn’t improved much.

photo of a car blocking the sidewalk, brush encroaching on the sidewalk, and landscaping blocking a way around
Let’s walk into traffic!

I decided to make a flyer I could put on windshields. In England, I saw a traffic sign start with “Polite Notice” and that’s always stuck with me. I think these drivers deserve the benefit of the doubt of not knowing this is a problem.

a flyer reading Polite Notice Please don't block the sidewalks with a drawing of people using the sidewalk
Polite Notice

I’ve yet to put any on windshields. Making the flyer was mostly a way to deal with my frustration. Lately, I get anxious during my morning walks and I wanted to “do” something. I enjoyed the creative outlet.

As I noted in my previous sidewalks post, directly confronting the driver of a car blocking the sidewalk did not go well. On a related note, I had a really unpleasant incident earlier this year where a guy had locked his dog in a car, in the sun, and I called him out on it. He and his girlfriend got upset with me, started shouting—that’s when I decided to let the police deal with things from now on.