LVC Job Center Site

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The LVC Job Center site is a website that most Lebanon Valley College students will utilize during their education. Run by Career Services and available through MyLVC, it is a career database with resources to obtain help with resumes, interviews, etc, databases of both possible internship and job openings as well as alumni willing to be career mentors, and much more. One chooses to attend college in order to ultimately go out into the workforce and have a career, and this site is meant to help students further themselves professionally. When you know how to conduct yourself in a work setting and demonstrate the communications skills and knowledge required of your desired field, you will stand out amongst other potential hires. It is Job Center’s goal to make the professional world accessible for students of Lebanon Valley College.

However, this site shows several issues in accomplishing it’s goals. One of these issues is related to the efficiency heuristic. As visible in the photo above, the webpage is packed with multiple sections of content, navigation bars, and side columns. After composing a usability test with several practical tasks, it becomes clear that the job center cite makes what should be simple tasks very  confusing. In my opinion, the creators of this site probably did not develop a hierarchy of needs for the page. Instead it appears that all of the content was put on one page without understanding the users goals or priorities. By preforming more usability tests or card sorts, the designers of the site should be able to construct a better and more efficient site for LVC students.

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The Development of iMac: Beautiful Prototyping

Apple has been at the top of the game for several years now. Be it releasing new and innovative products, expanding business or helping with creating several new job opportunities, Apple always manages to be one step ahead of the competition. One of the best examples of this is Apple’s version of a desktop computer: the iMac. Over the years, the iMac’s design principles have remained remarkably consistent, hiding the computer’s hardware behind a big, beautiful display that highlights the computing experience. Over the years iMac has continued to impress with the release of each new model.

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As a future designer, I think it important to look at how Apple has been able to develop their products throughout the years. In the image above it is apparent that Apple was not afraid to make significant design changes. However, it can also be seen that once Apple realized they had a solid product the were able to keep a similar design while only making alight changes. These slight changes are important when it comes to usability and testing because they both develop a sense of continuity and consistency. Both continuity and consistency are a significant contributor to why Apple has been a tech powerhouse for years because these concepts are a way to build customer and brand loyalty. As Apple and iMac continue to grow and develop I have no doubt that they will both be leaders in innovation and creativity amongst the tech world.

Lifeproof Improvements

In order to produce great products, it is important to understand that you may not get it right the first time.This process of developing ideas and improving them with testing is called prototyping. One of the earliest and most famous quotes on prototyping is by Thomas Edison. When asked about all of his failed attempts at creating a useable lightbulb, he stated “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”. This same mentality is important for designers to have in order to reach success. One example of this ability to accept criticism and turn a good  product into a great product is the development of Lifeproof phone cases.

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As seen above in Lifeproof’s original case design, the headphone jack unscrews so headphones may be used. Now while this design does its job in creating a waterproof seal, it becomes very easy to lose the cap because it is not attached to the case itself.

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With the recent release of Apple’s Iphone 5 series, Lifeproof also introduced a new line of cases that resolved the cap catastrophe. While I am surprised that Lifeproof didn’t catch this flaw in its original design, I am glad that they were able to develop a solution in their newest product. As seen in the image above, the headphone jack cap is attached with a small plastic strand that holds it in place when headphones are in use.

Overall, Lifeproof has shown its creativity and ability to prototype, test, and improve their designs to create better products for consumers. As they continue to work on improving their product line, I look forward to seeing what they can develop next.

Important Website Feature

As online shopping becomes more popular in society, website designers are left with the task of creating efficient and visually appealing interfaces. Online retailers often try to apply new and useful features to their sites to outdo their competitors. In order to be successful, it is imperative that these sites understand users and their goals. One of these features related to understanding users and their goals is an option to check out as a guest or register as a member.

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This feature is important for websites because not only does it encourage customer loyalty, but it also allows sites to develop personas for their users. Personas are important for online retailers because it allows them to view geographical information as well as other important data. This data can then be used to gain a better understanding of who a companies customers are and what they desire. Also, this feature is important because it reduces cognitive load on users by not requiring them to input address and shipping information if they are already a member.

Poorly Placed Drawer

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This weeks post is focusing on a poorly designed kitchen layout in an LVC apartment. This design has numerous flaws related accessibility, kinematic load, and mental models. The flaw in this design is due to the placement of the oven door, which doesn’t allow the drawer to be opened the entire way. The only way that the drawer can be opened completely is if the oven door is pulled out. However, this creates an additional issue because the drawer is almost impossible to reach with the oven door in the way.

This design has accessibility issues because it limits the degree to which this system can be accessed by any user. The additional step of having to open the oven to be able to have access to the drawer increases the kinematic load on users by adding additional steps. Finally, this drawer does not meet mental models of how users should be able to access drawers or cabinets in a kitchen.

Solutions to this design could be as simple as installing a different oven that has a oven handle that doesn’t restrict the  opening of the drawer. Other solutions could be removing the drawer all together, or even have the drawer front be glued shut, which would maintain the visual appeal of having but would remove the functionality issues.

Poorly Designed Street Signs

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While driving this week I encountered a poorly designed system that I often question. The flawed design that I came upon was a local street sign posted before an elementary school. The sign lists when the stated speed limit is enforceable in rather small print that makes reading the sign difficult. Also, this sign could lead to possible accidents that it is intended to prevent.

The flaws in this design are related to both the stages of evaluation, and execution. In order for drivers to properly evaluate the content of the sign, they must be able read the times listed while driving. Because drivers are expected to multitask in this situation, the process of evaluation is slower. This then has a direct impact on their ability to complete the stages of execution. In turn, drivers may not be able to adjust their speed accordingly.

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Shown above is a simple solution to this design flaw. With this design, drivers only have to look at the sign and see if the lights are flashing, rather than reading all of the listed times. This greatly reduces the amount of time drivers spend on preforming the stages of evaluation and execution.  Also, this is an effective incorporation of mental models because drivers tend to slow down when presented with flashing lights. Overall, even though the solution for this flaw may be more costly, it is a much better and practical solution.

Samsung TV Control Button

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This week’s poorly designed system is the button system on my 32″ Samsung TV. Even though this design creates a more simplistic appearance to the TV, it can make carrying out functions without the remote very difficult.

My main issue with this design is that the button(shown above)is located underneath the TV screen. Because of this placement, there is no visual confirmation for users to see what they are pushing. More importantly, someone who never used this TV before would most likely assume that there are no buttons on the TV to adjust volume, channel, etc. Also, this design breaks the mental model of what buttons on a TV look and function like. In this design you must you must press and hold the button to the left or right to adjust the volume. Too change channels, users must move the knob frontwards or backwards.

Even though this design makes the TV more visually appealing, this button would need to be placed on the side of the TV for it to be a more functional feature.