Apple Mouse: Charging as an afterthought

Here's an image from Gizmodo's Adam Clark Estes, who describes it as the "sad reality" of charging Apple's Magic Mouse 2. This is charging - a necessary thing! - as an afterthought, not integrated into real usage scenarios or given its own usability consideration. And Apple's done it before. It reflects a complete prioritization of the other 99% of the product experience, which is a viable decision - but still, it feels lacking. That poor mouse, stuck on its back like an overturned turtle? Sad indeed!

Lego Slippers eliminate the only bad thing about Legos

Legos rank right up there with the greatest products of all time. But when you - I mean, "your kid" - is in the middle of an epic room-size build, they become a minefield of potential foot pain. So, advertising agency Brand Station created what are unfortunately a limited run of Lego-proof slippers: just as blocky as Legos themselves, but a savior to parents' feet everywhere!
[via Gizmodo]

Watch out for design crashes...

People design network cables and add nice features, like protective boots to help easily unplug them. Other people design servers and add necessary features, like reset buttons. But if all those people aren't paying attention to each others' efforts, design crashes can happen - like with this Cisco router, where plugging in a cable with a protective boot presses the reset button on the server. Woops. Design carefully, people!
[Cisco, via Engadget]

Apple's Abandonment of Usability Principles

Usability-design uberadvocates (and former Apple employees) Bruce Tognazzini and Don Norman recently lamented how Apple seems to have abandoned principles of user-centered design in a scathing but thoughtful article in Fast Company. They point out that Apple has historically been among the best practitioners of these principles, but has lately overlooked them in favor of aesthetics. For example, "Discoverability" of features now takes a back seat to keeping the interface clean. "Recovery" is severely underimplemented as the system lacks a "back" button like Android's. "Consistency" can't be found among the dozens of differently-configured gestures across many touch devices. It's a good read, both cautionary and instructive - and here's hoping Apple pays attention, too!

Apple Pencil's Precarious Charging

Apple recently announced a stylus called the Pencil, and Kinja's CitizenjaQ quickly noticed that its charging design leaves a little to be desired. It sticks out the end of your iPad's bottom port - straight out, begging to be snapped off and cost you a cool Benjamin.  Even more strangely, you can only charge the Pencil from an iPad that, itself, is not charging. CitizenjaQ summarized it best: "Right? That’s weird?" (Plus, you're going to lose the charger cap in no time.)

Walkbump: Fist bump to cross the street.

I've always said that buttons should be enjoyable to press. Well, I bet you can't fist-bump this crosswalk button without cracking a smile and having a better day. Walkbump is exactly what it seems to be, and I'm a fan!
[via Engadget]

GPS Uses Kids' Voices in School Areas

Driving is often such a monotonous activity that it becomes mindless, and these zombified drivers aren't the best at looking out for hazardous situations. So, Swedish agency If Insurance designed a way to snap drivers out of their glazed-over state of mind: when near a school, GPS navigation instructions are spoken in childrens' voices. It's a great way to use an unexpected change, and the instinctual response of adults to the voice of a child, to mind-hack drivers into a state of awareness. As I've always said, little things like this can add up to make big differences!
[via Gizmodo]