Archive for the design Category

An iconic mousepad

Susan Kare icon mousepad

Classic Apple icon design by Susan Kare

You can tell a lot about how much someone knows you by the gifts that they give. A good friend gave me this gift today after returning from a trip to New York.

He bought it at MoMA and the label said it was on sale for $3.95 from its original price of $14. The edges are all curled, but I don’t care, it’s a Susan Kare classic! The only thing that would have been better, would have been a mousepad showing a Moof.

IDEO Method Cards widget

IDEO Method Cards

IDEO Method Cards

IDEO’s excellent Method Cards for human-centered design are available as a widget for Mac OS X users. (Saves you $50)

Available as a download in the right column of the news page. Really easy to miss. Incidentally, Fast Company has an article on IDEO Method Cards Turn, Um, 7!

Happy birthday Method Cards!

UX for Good

Just launched a new blog which tries to bring together my often intersecting interest in user experience (UX) and social change.

In quite a visionary statement with far before the birth of the internet, Charles Eames said:

Beyond the age of information is the age of choices.

It is an understatement to say that we are today flooded with information. But what to do with that information? I personally believe it needs a purpose, and that purpose is social change for the benefit of ourselves, the communities in which we live in and our environment.

I do want to leave a better future for my two kids. Or at least leave them with the knowledge that I tried.

Touch interface for good

Hong Kong May 22-23, 2009

Touch screen NYC ticket vending machine (photo credit: yuen_long / flickr)

Here’s a comment I posted on Changemakers AshokaTech discussion board in response to question How would you use touch-screen technology for good?

Following our blog post on touch-screen technology, I’d love to hear about your ideas on how we can make such technology work for the social sector, or if you’ve heard of organizations that are already doing so.

The great thing about touch interfaces are in the ease of use. It is intuitive. I moved to Korea two years ago and learning to type in Korean on a keyboard or a cell phone was not without its pain. Computers have a keyboard and mouse as its main input devices, however the use of these have to be learned. Not so with a touch-enabled device.

Touch-enabled devices is closer to how the real world works. You directly press buttons on the screen rather than moving the pointer with a mouse to a graphic that represents a button and click on the mouse that in turn simulates pressing the button on the screen.

Touch devices are intuitive to use. Look at a well designed touch-enabled subway ticket vending machine. The ones in New York thousands of tourists use every day without having ever used them before.

Computers 20-30 years ago were only accessible to those who were trained to use them. Windows (or MacOS) is a big step but it still has a learning curve. Use an iPod Touch for the first time and the learning experience is actually enjoyable. That’s the power that an intuitive touch interface brings.

So the potentials are huge. For those who do not use PCs or laptops everyday it can be a way to overcome the digital barrier. It can be used to bridge the digital divide. For kids, it’s a more intuitive, educational device. For the elderly, its a more humane interface especially for those with arthritis. For developing countries, its a better way for them to access information.

Displays, touch-screens and processing power are becoming cheaper everyday. I spent a whole week without using my laptop while it was in repair, surviving on my iPod Touch. It was possible, and this opened my eyes to the future that will be touch-enabled smaller devices that are as powerful as PC’s, but infinitely more portable and intuitive to use.

I would love to hear more about the actual application in the social sector.

Great Hanoi Business Cards

Great Hanoi biz cards

Great Hanoi business cards printed by

As part of the Master Urban Plan of the Expanded Hanoi Capital (a.k.a. “Great Hanoi”), we printed some business cards from

I chose photos from our last trip to Hanoi (no need to worry about copyright there). I purposefully chose images about the current urban condition, monuments, historic and symbolic places to act as conversation starters when we hand them out.

The first batch printed on recycled paper came out awful, but the reorder batch on standard coated paper came out really well.