The UX Book CH1
That reminds me a my previous research. In the ubiquitous future, there is lots of device or system waiting to serve. However the real problem is how to figure out what user wants. This problem is also big in the ambient computing where the computer disappeared in to the wall waiting to serve us. They can display weather, stock, news anything on the wall. However it does not do good jobs in finding what user wants.
Figuring out the user context automatically, and serving accordingly is called context-aware computing. And I proposed a touch as a means of communication the context. People touch what they are interested. For example, when people viewing the photo on their mobile phone, touches printer while holding the phone, the photo can be printed. Or if they touches TV, a slideshow can begin. If you are interested, you can find it here.
This chapter talks a lot about the tangible interface. I would recommend visiting MIT media lab tangible group, by professor Hiroshi Ishi. They have a lot of fun things which provides a insight about the future interaction.
There is no doubt that usability matters. And usability for SW was poor when cooper wrote the famous book "Inmates are running the asylum". However in my opinion, an air has been changed in the SW industry. Probably the success of iPhone and IPad provided a striking example of how much can be done in terms of usability. After these, the bars have been higher. So lots of companies at least knows the importance of the usability in their product, even though they can do better by learning. The main problem is that they are focusing on testing the validity of their design after design has been done, when they mean usability. But what is more important is designing with the usability in the first, with the process like persona.
One final remark I would like to make after reading chapter 1 is the importance of the emotional side in the current mobile app market. There is simple too many apps in the market. Download is one thing, and running is one thing, and sticking to it is one thing. So to be successful in this domain, the mobile app promote interaction with user, in other words have inviting design component on it. At first run, at first glance, it should direct what user can do in this app effectively.
UX Book Chapter 2
As a real world example, I would like to use my MacBook Air I am using now. For your information, I used an apple notebook since 2004. At that time it was powerbook 17. The reason was simply the apple was doing so well. So I would like to know what is good about them. But it was really terrible experience. It was beautiful but heavy, and the character was too small on the screen. And I couldn't endure the heat they produced on my lap. And it was actually very slow. Many problems existed with the Korean language support. Microsoft office at that time was really terrible. Crashing, slow, errors and they did not go well with Windows Office. And then I bough a macbook white. It seemed quite nice. It improved continuously. I ordered an my MBA. My worry was it to be slow, battery life short, screen too small. But this MBA is really wonderful. What I would like to say in this note is not an advertisement for an apple. My point is that in a big company with huge resources like Apple, even with the famous Jobs and Jonathan Ive, it took so long to make a really nice product. So iteration seems inevitable in modern electronic gadgets.
Design of Everyday Thing CH1
In my memory this book deals mainly optimal interface with previous generation mechanical and electronics systems. They have very limited resources like 7 segment charter display or LED to indicate the functions. So it is very hard to design the interface eliminating the use of manuals, for it has limited input and output resources. On the other hand, recent modern system has been given a full color LCD display with multi-touch interface. While this enables a possibility of interaction, which guides the user without manual, it doesn't guarantees it. Because there is open possibility of input and output, the responsibility of the designer is more heavy. This aspects is not dealt in this book. But still a great book and gives a fundamental principles in designing interaction system.