Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ten Interface Design Principles

photographyI will now qualify my previous UI ramblings by stating the principles that are operating to inform my analysis. These design principles are generally applicable to different application domains. But for the purposes of specificity I will give examples from the current domain. That is, a comparison of the Pentax K-7 to previous camera models like the K20D.

First I present my ten design principles. Then I will follow up in detail.

1. Maximise positive affordance
2. Group related controls
3. Prevent undesirable actions
4. Make functionality clear
5. Avoid arbitrary changes
6. Make things as simple as possible
7. Provide positive feedback
8. Consistency is not always desirable
9. Provide user customisation
10. Avoid modes
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Evaluating The K-7: The Interface

photographyIn this article I continue my evaluation of the new K-7, again with the proviso that this is based on documents, pictures and video -- not actual hands-on usage. This article won't provide any solutions to the problem of DSLR design -- that will come later in the series. Instead I'll continue my critique from my previous article, looking at the physical interface. All the images here come from the official press kit (with one enhancement).
Monday, May 25, 2009

Everyday Design

The classic book on design and usability is Donald Norman's The Design Of Everyday Things, published by The MIT Press in 1998 (and by Basic Books in the UK). Not only is this book full of definitive advice and wisdom, it's written in an easy-going style. Why are door handles so badly designed? How has the classic telephone been rendered unusable over the years? Why can't I use my stove? Which switch should control which light? These are just some of the questions Norman tackles with humour and -- dare I say it? -- common sense.
Sunday, May 24, 2009

Evaluating The New Pentax K-7

photographyPentax has announced a new camera to great excitement. Features of the K-7 were leaked slowly from several sources, leading to a frenzy of interest on websites like Pentax Forums. You can read over 4000 posts in just a single thread -- and that's just one thread of many! Instead, I recommend you save many hours by reading this article. I won't go into excruciating detail but will cover all the new features of the camera from my own (rather more reserved) perspective.
Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hilarious Spam I Have Known

In my capacity as webmaster I get all too much spam. But I've actually learned to enjoy the stuff, at least for the several milliseconds it takes before it hits the bit bucket. In fact, I've even begun collecting spam messages, as part of an as-yet unrevealed devious plot. Who knows, it may even be valuable to future cultural researchers as an indicator of this society's hangups and obsessions. Though probably not.

Here, for your perusal, is a small cross-section, annotated for whatever small amusement it may provide. This is from some time ago, in fact. So please enjoy the antique spam.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Vivitar K02 On Test

photographyIt's been a while since I increased the number of Vivitar 28mm lens variants in my house by two. I now own six of the best specimens listed in the Vivitar Bestiary. A little thing called a Masters Degree has prevented me from even trying out the "Vivitar 28MM 1:2.8 MC CLOSE FOCUS WIDE ANGLE Ø49MM" until now. Though this K02 variant (made by Komine) does not have the f/2 aperture of some, and does not have the A setting of others, it is heralded as one of the best of its kind. I thought I would take it out to the garden for some basic shots in the sun. Nothing too formal, just see how it might do. The results are very positive!
Friday, May 01, 2009

Vivitar K11 On Test

This post is part of the continuing saga of the Vivitar 28mm lenses made for the Pentax K-mount. Thanks to David Whiteley in Quebec I just received the Kiron 28mm f/2, which is a very well regarded lens. Though not branded Vivitar, it is in fact very similar to one of the Vivitar 28mm variants, denoted K11 at the Vivitar Bestiary I maintain. I'm going to treat them as identical for testing purposes. Read on for my first impressions.