Usability.

Ben Logan
20 November 2013

PlayStation 4 hasn’t even been out for a week and already the 1.51 system update has been released, demonstrating that the company’s usability testing team are hard at work. While the new update is not nearly as expansive as the 1.50 ‘day one’ update that made many PS4 features available to gamers, it contains important usability features such as improved software stability and a refined user interface that clearly indicates when a person downloads a game and a game patch at the same time. North American PS4s have automatic downloads of system updates enabled by default when the PS4 is…

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Marianne Brierley
10 November 2013

Organisations’ social media must deliver a clear benefit to the audience. Other usability considerations include having: a strong audience-focus, appropriate timing and custom copywriting. The first rule of social media is: social media is generally used to engage with friends and family, not organisations. The second rule of social media is: this makes social media a very challenging environment for most organisations. Of course, there are exceptions – it’s relatively easy, for example, to use social media to promote something sexy (such as upcoming film releases, sporting news or celebrity gossip). With topics that people are already interested in, social…

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Ben Logan
10 October 2013

3D viewing is yet to make the impact on home entertainment that many predicted, but the Disney Company have had another big idea in the evolution of television with the development of Texture TV. Technology developed by researchers at Disney is said to simulate textures on a flat screen and bring the images to life. The texture effect is accomplished by applying an electrical field across a flat screen, which creates friction through electrostatic forces on the skin when a finger is dragged across it. Disney Research Interaction Group Director, Ivan Poupyrev, explained further: “Our brain perceives the 3D bump…

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Ben Logan
2 October 2013

NASA is gearing up to launch a 3D printer into space next year – a move that could very much establish a significant change in how space flight is approached and undertaken. Rather than having to load up with a large supply of tools and spare parts, as well as in extreme cases having to abort missions due to missing equipment, a 3D printer would serve as a factory in space that can reproduce an infinite amount of crucial objects. Dave Korsmeyer, Director of Engineering at NASA’s Ames Research Centre, commented: “If you want to be adaptable, you have to…

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Ben Logan
30 August 2013

Like many large web-based companies, Netflix are continually conducting usability tests across their platforms and developing new strategies to maximise the testing results. Netflix’s pro-active beta-testing program is automatically rolled out to new users so that tweaks and changes can be tested by newly subscribed users. Neil Hunt, Chief Product Tester at Netflix, explained their strategy: “Most testing is done with brand new users who don’t have learned behaviours to unlearn, that gives us the cleanest read, and so the typical new user coming in will end up in half a dozen or a dozen different test experiences, most of…

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Ben Logan
27 August 2013

Swiss company Vanamco has designed an innovative tool called Ghostlab to help synchronise testing for web and mobile platforms across multiple devices. What makes it different from other testing tools in that you can synchronise more than just a page refresh over different devices. Ghostlab makes it possible to action simultaneous clicks, scrolls and form inputs, which simplifies the testing process on a practical level because the entire user experience is looked at instead of just a page load. Ghostlab requires no setup, just a JavaScript-enabled client to instantly connect. The tool keeps users updated on any changes that are…

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