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Showing posts from 2013

Eton's FRX3 American Red Cross is intuitive, ergonomic

Who says a good UX can only come from digital music products? Eton's FRX3 American Red Cross is an award-winning radio which provides a laundry list of features in a very intuitive and ergonomic way.

Although the radio comes with a small instruction manual, I didn't need it very much (except for understanding battery life, charging options and Alert mode). For the most part, it's a 'walk up and use' experience, not needing any training for first time use. I was able to figure our most of the other features quickly and on my own.

As far as ergonomics, the device is comfortable and doesn't require a lot of physical effort. The knobs for volume and tuning are easy to rotate and large, with notches to make them non-slip in bad weather and in the perfect spot while holding the device with both hands (my index finger and thumb were naturally right there!). And the crank used to charge the FRX is accessible, simple to rotate with its handle on the end and lightweight…

How iOS7 could fix playlist management

One of the things I love about Spotify's mobile app is how easy it is to create and manage song playlists. Users get several contextual options while listening to a song including 'Add to...' (below) which begins a quick playlist management flow.

So, what about iOS7 and music? Have you ever, while listening to a song on your iPhone, wanted to quickly create a playlist (say, workout, cookout) from it or add it to an existing playlist? You can't do it spontaneously, right on the fly, in the context of the song - you have to navigate away from the song, to Playlists and either create a brand new playlist or select an existing one, then click Songs, locate the song currently playing, click the Add icon, Done and then you click Now Playing to go back to the song playing again.

It just interrupts the user experience and doesn't match the model users have when it comes to playlist management. It's much more fun (and intuitive) to add a song to a playlist quickly, in…

Slacker moves to a flat design

Slacker just made a major change to flat design (for the better!). Did they have a non-flat, skeumorphic look in the past? Well, it wasn't as bad as Apple's iPad newsstand or reel-to-reel podcast metaphor but they used plenty of gradients and even a speaker-grill texture (below) on both sides of the web app almost to suggest 'hey, this is a music app!'

Consumers don't need those cues designed to look like the real world anymore - they need a simple, clean design to communicate intended use of the product and that's where flat design comes in.






The new Slacker design achieves that - it's ditched the black and heavily-textured interface for a clean, white design with large, readable type and simple, pictogram-style iconography. Although, there are some drop shadows to give the UI depth, the overall look is well-organized and the flat design allows me to find things (like the Create Station and My Music features) quickly.

Not to mention the approach on th…

CHIRP Radio introduces a mobile-friendly experience with responsive design

CHIRP Radio is a great, listener-supported online radio station in Chicago and I listen to it often, either on the web or from my iPhone. They recently redesigned their website and it does several things very well.

First, the updated visual design engages users with large album art and navigation options. 
Second, users can now create an account topersonalize their experience - you can add your favorite tracks to your music collection, RSVP to upcoming CHIRP Radio events and participate in discussion forums with other CHIRP listeners. 

Finally, the overall design is mobile-device friendly.  They decided to use a responsive design for the site which gives a consistent experience for users no matter what device (web, tablet, phone) they use to access the site.  Responsive design uses flexible grids, flexible images and media queries to adjust the layout of the site depending on what device you use. Besides giving the user a consistent experience, it can also save time for developers so…