Jordan Koschei has a good article about enterprise UX on A List Apart. While much of it might be familiar territory for those with some enterprise project history, it’s a good reminder of what’s important when working within corporations.
A successful enterprise UX project considers the users’ needs, the clients’ goals, and the organization’s priorities. The best user experience sits at the intersection of these concerns.
The timing of this article is very serendipitous for me. It was published on the second day of my new job where I am returning to my enterprise roots. This is something I’ve been looking forward to, and seeing this article was further confirmation that I made the right move. Thanks, Jordan!
tl;dr: If you’re thinking about buying a Twine, do yourself a favor and look for something else.
I was doing a bit of cleaning and ran across my old Twine. It reminded me of how excited I was initially, and how disappointed I was when it didn’t meet expectations. Supermechanical did a great job in the beginning, the design was good, the packaging was delightful and their user interface was easy to use.
Twine wasn’t perfect though, the backend system lacked some key features, wasn’t reliable and the device was a black box that wasn’t hackable at all. For the most part, the users were understanding in the early days, most of the original backers from Kickstarter knew they weren’t buying a mass market product and expected some bumps in the road. Supermechanical was responsive initially, but after a few months, their responsiveness and software updates tapered off.
While user questions went unanswered on the Twine Community forums, Supermechanical started talking about a new product on their blog. The new product turned out to be Range, an iOS thermometer. As one of those users, I felt dumped. The product I had purchased was being ignored for something shiny, new, and ready-made for the sous-vide craze.
Unfortunately, things never got better. While it looks like one can still buy a Twine, it seems totally unsupported, at least based on the recent comments in the community forums and on the kickstarted page. Too bad since it had so much potential.
Of all the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), visual designers have the most influence over the readability of text. Contrast between foreground and background colors are important for general readability, and critical for those with low-vision. However, given the popularity of grey body text, many sites display text that isn’t contrasty enough to meet these guidelines. It certainly doesn’t need to be this way though.
Cathy O’ Connor’s Design Accessibly, See Differently: Color Contrast Tips And Tools is a great resource for designers interested in creating accessible sites. Try running some of your recent work through the WebAIM Color Contrast Checker, you might be surprised what fails.
A while back, I pointed out a Dark Pattern in Spotify’s subscription cancellation. Today, I noticed that they made some small changes that make the experience slightly less frustrating. The user flow is the same, but if you compare the two images here, you’ll see a minor change. Now, they give equal prominence to the “Stay Premium” and “Cancel my subscription” links. Compare this to the giant, green “Stay Premium” button that was used before. This is a wonderful example of how seemingly insignificant design changes can have an impact on user behavior.