From Tivo to Porsche to an ice cream scoop, The UX luminaries of Want Magazine_001 make no bones about the products and services they love. Take a look at what surprises and delights the experts about both the usual suspects and some unexpected choices.
Dan Saffer, Founder/Principal, Kicker Studio:
TiVo is a perennial favorite of mine. It used to just be the box with the service; now it’s a whole website that you can work with, and I know they’re planning a more mobile presence. They care so much about the user experience. Something like TiVo, which seems so simple, actually has just a ton of complexity hidden under the hood that they’ve really simplified for you.
Peter Merholz, President, Adaptive Path:
TiVo still delivers the best DVR television experience. When I moved houses, I got a new Direct TV DVR–and I hate it because it’s not TiVo.
Bill Scott, VP, Product Engineering, Meebo
I’ve become a real fan of Twitter. it forces people to curate in a very short manner, 140 characters. I actually don’t even use Google Reader now. I just have the right people I follow.
Luke Wroblewski, author, Site Seeing, Designing Web Forms
I no longer go through hundreds of news articles or feeds or thousands of blog posts. I follow a couple of people that are doing that in different batches. Stuff is just coming to me as these people deem it relevant.
Cordell Ratzlaff, Director of User-Centered Design, Cisco
I think the Nintendo Wii is a big product. It’s a great experience. Nintendo…made a decision to focus on casual gamers rather than hard core gamers. So they went away from higher performing consoles, higher resolution graphics, and focused on fun. You don’t necessarily need all that processing power. You don’t need the high quality graphics. And you can still have fun.
But I think [the Wii’s real breakthrough] is turning people’s entire bodies into an input device. You don’t necessarily realize you’ve got a controller. Doing something with your body, you’re affecting something on your video screen…with no wires in between…which is part of that magic.
The Wii for us is still an amazing experience. When 85-year-old grannies, 15-year-olds, my daughter who’s 9, can all play the same game–and they’re doing gestures in space, which ten years ago was something you would only see in an academic lab somewhere–that’s just thrilling. It’s really opened the door to people saying, “Wow, we can use this elsewhere.”
Don Norman, Nielsen Norman Group
I own a Porsche and I just always delight to have an excuse to drive it. I just came back from a conference that was up in the redwoods, just north of San Francisco…it was kind of in the foothills and so there were narrow, winding roads. We deliberately came back home not on the main highway, but on a small, winding road…It’s an old car–10 years old–but it’s just so much fun.
Carl Liu, Founder, Newtive Creations:
A simply awesome product. It is a breakthrough innovation, not only the sleek product itself, but also the creative thinking of business model. It elevates user experience to a higher level from hardware device and software service to its online back-end resources. It engages the user deeply to its resource data, and broadly applies to other Apple products. The UX on the iPhone is amazing in that it runs the applications and keeps the internet working fluidly. Also, the operational speed and interaction response of the software far exceeds competing products.
I am a die-hard iPhone user. I can’t say it’s changed my life, but it’s one of those where I don’t know if I could live without it now that it’s embedded in my life. Oddly enough, not for the phone capabilities. Mostly for the podcasting capabilities.
The Southwest experience is just head and shoulders above the experience that you get on those other airlines. I end up flying a lot, and it’s the only major airline that doesn’t piss me off.
A really neat site. It’s a great example of physicality and emotional connection.
There’s a bookshelf…looks like the Apple’s iPad bookshelf. It’s got these beautiful children’s books. They’re perfectly rendered. You click one of them. It pops up, and you actually read the story to your kids or grand-kids. The pages turn beautifully. And you get to [record yourself reading it via] your webcam. You’ve got your picture in the corner, and you sit there and…record it and you give a link to it.
I read one of the books to my granddaughter Cassandra up in Alaska. just the emotional connection of this. And it’s [a video of] me in the corner…and I’m reading, with all my expressions. And it’s like, “Cassandra, this is really cool. Look at the mouse there. Isn’t that mouse funny?” So it’s like you’ve read to them, and now it’s been recorded, and it’s this wonderful experience.
Now she asks for it, because she wants to hear me read. Because she gets on the computer, and it’s this beautiful book. She can turn the pages. She can jump ahead, and I’m reading on that page. She can go back, and I’m reading on that page. She’s building a relationship with me, even though I’m not there.
Antifreeze ice cream scoop
About 20 years ago, my wife and I were down in Carmel, California, one of my favorite places. And we bought this ice cream scoop. It has a nice, clean Danish design. But one of the features of the scoop is it’s got antifreeze in the handle. So your body warmth actually warms up the scoop, which makes it easier to scoop frozen ice cream out. It’s a very simple device.
There’s this connection between the device and your body. There’s no moving parts in this ice cream scoop. It works on the physical level. It feels good in your hand. You can feel the scoop warming up in your hand as you hold it. It works great for scooping out ice cream. But there’s also this emotional connection to it, too. Because every time I pull that out of the drawer, I think, “That was a great trip we took down to Carmel. And pretty soon, I’m going to eat ice cream, too.”
A new breakthrough collaboration and communication tool. It provides real-time editing and document viewing, including text, photos, videos and maps. The issues of remote collaboration have existed for many years. We all have seen and experienced their issues, but there were no good solutions. I feel it can hugely enhance the efficiency of communication, and improve the quality of work.
Google Maps started with driving directions. Then they did transit directions. Then they did walking directions. Just today, they launched bicycling directions. They just keep innovating in ways that are awesome and amazing and unparalleled on the web.
Google Maps is one of those things where they anticipate what you’re going to need from it, and they deliver it before you’ve articulated that need. It’s just amazing how rapidly they release interesting new stuff. And they’ve been able to do it in a way that it doesn’t feel like feature creep or bloat. They do it in a way that really feels coherent and germane within that mapping experience.
The things that I like have connections to my real life; they apply to things like the birth of my son. My wife and I were in the hospital with our first child, the night before she [went into] labor. We’re sitting in the hospital. There’s a period of time where not a lot is happening. So I pulled my laptop. I called up Netflix and I started streaming The Office.
Here it is, two in the morning, during what could be an intense, emotional thing…and we’re watching these funny shows, instantly coming to us. That creates a personal connection to that service, because that thing was there for you in that kind of moment…this service there that helped us through that.