Good Design: So you want to write a master piece?

 The purpose of the product:

The purpose of the product I want to introduce today is to compose a creative writing.  By creative writing, I mean the kind of writing for which there is no determined content yet.  For example, the daily business reports with given format is not a creative writing, while an academic paper or literature like novel or poem is.  One characteristic of such writing is that the emphasis is usually on the content not the format.  And it requires substantial human focus, for it is very easy to distract.  One way of explaining this distraction is that one’s brain is lazy, so it does not want to work or in this case ‘think’.  So it tries to escape creative writing requiring thinking whenever possible.

 The two product of comparison:

I would like to compare two great software for the writing, whose purpose is slightly different.  The two product of comparison is the Microsoft Word program and Writer program by Information Architect, Inc.  In the functional aspect, Word is a lot more powerful than Writer.  However does this functionality can be additive to the productivity of creative writing?  I don’t think so.  By offering so many possibilities in any given situation, Word program adds more distraction.  On the contrary the Writer program offers two modes to assist the creative writing.  One is full screen mode.  It hides everything except the neatly organized text.   And the other is focus mode.  This mode slightly fades every  text other than a paragraph cursor is located.

I will choose iA writer for creative writing.  As Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “Perfection (in design) is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but rather when there is nothing more to take away.”  By reducing the unnecessary distraction it enables more focused environment.  It is interesting that in the recent version of Microsoft Word, there is new function called “Full Screen”, and its function is similar to the Writer.




Good Design – Online travel site.


  1.  A first impression matter.

As travel industry is where there is lots of competition, there is always lots of information about good promotion, the website wants to deliver.  As we can see in the first screen of expedia, they tried to make it simple, but couldn’t beat the desire to deliver more advertisement. But hipmonk shows nothing.  It reminds me google.  If we think about that people have already plans when they try to search for best way, the advertisement is quite not appealing to them.

2. Is the cheapest ticket is the best deal?

The next comparison shows what will happen if I enter an example trip. As one can see the hipmonk shows flight schedule in a very effective ways compared to the With this visual aid, one can decide the optimal flight which is actually $2 more expensive but 2 hours shorter.

3. So what schedule is good for me anyway?

As the screen capture shows, hipmonk service can be combined with google calendar to enable the visualization of one’s schedule to further aid the planning.  The transparent pink shadow shows my schedule overlapped over the flight schedule.

So I explained what is good interaction design in this post.  Actually this example was proposed as a good interaction design example at the interaction workshop by cooper 2012.   Even though I focused on the usability issues, the squirel at the site is really cute, which satisfies pleasant interaction, also.  So thank you for the reading!

Bad UI: Which side is cooler?

I moved recently to the university housing.  One hot day, I turned on the air conditioner, and spontaneously turned temperature knob to the lowest setting.  But soon I found something is wrong.  It was not cool.  What was problem? It was the large title saying “Temperature” that caused mismatch between my mind and the designer’s mind.  When we say temperature, isn’t low temperature is cooler?  However in this case there is a small caption saying “Max Cool” at the highest temperature setting.  It apparently shows the conflict between the working control and the working model in user’s mind.  It is also sad that a usability test in the real world setting can easily detect this problem and the fix was easy to implement because it is just change of the silk screen print.