Eric Schmidt on Mobile First Philosophy

For Google and other companies, the value of mobile phones is their sheer rate of adoption and their numbers in the hands of users. Schmidt noted that smartphone sales are growing at 30% year-over-year and will soon surpass global PC sales.

Schmidt argued that mobile Web adoption is growing eight times faster annually than Web adoption did 10 years ago for the desktop. Half the Internet connections are made by mobile devices, he said, noting that more Google searches are done on mobile devices than on desktops in emerging countries.

Other writing on Mobile first by LukeW.

Additional content of Schmidt’s talk on ComputerWorld.

Why Don’t Usability Problems Get Fixed?

There are various reasons why usability problems exist in the first place—some simple and some complex. Identifying problems and recommending solutions is not always enough. Unfortunately, the same factors that cause problems in the first place also hinder their getting fixed. The following are some of the most common reasons why usability problems don’t get fixed.

  • Lack of Resources

o   No One Has the Skills to Fix Them
o   There Is a Lack of Time, Money, or Resources

  • Technical Limitations

o   Technical Limitations Make Changes Difficult
o   Vendor Software Is Difficult to Change Continue reading

Immersive Mobile Drop Down Menus

An interesting article on UX Magazine by Greg Nudelman about prioritizing screen space for search results and using drop down menus instead of taking up 22-30% of the screen for menus and tabs.

Wells Fargo’s redesigned site is a great example.

I just wonder how well it will work. It is a classic case of how designers need to push the limits of what mobile can do, while keeping the consumer’s tendency coined by Marshall McLuhan, “to walk backwards into the future”. We want to utilize all the best attributes of mobile computing and provide the best experience for the device, but innovative thinking can often confuse users if it strays too far from the status quo.

Legal Precedent Set for Web Accessibility

508 accessibility is now starting to be taken quite seriously…and legally. The internet is very young in the big scheme of things, but I hope that it will not take a hundred years before it is equally usable and utilized by everyone. Our society is richer, wiser and more interesting now that we are embracing the input and participation of our traditionally under served and disenfranchised citizens.

Lets not make the same mistake for the web and its netizens.

LEGAL PRECEDENT SET FOR WEB ACCESSIBILITY
Federal Court Issues Landmark Decision Certifying Nationwide Class Action Against Target Corporation to Make its Web Site Accessible to the Blind

San Francisco, California (October 2, 2007): A federal district court judge issued two landmark decisions today in a nationwide class action against Target Corporation. First, the court certified the case as a class action on behalf of blind Internet users throughout the country under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Second, the court held that Web sites such as target.com are required by California law to be accessible.

The President of the National Federation of the Blind, Dr. Marc Maurer, commented on the court’s ruling: “This is a tremendous step forward for blind people throughout the country who for too long have been denied equal access to the Internet economy. All e-commerce businesses should take note of this decision and immediately take steps to open their doors to the blind.”

Larry Paradis of Disability Rights Advocates, one of the lead counsel for the class, commented on the court’s decision: “Target Corporation has led a battle against blind consumers in a key area of modern life: the Internet economy. The court’s decision today makes clear that people with disabilities no longer can be treated as second-class citizens in any sphere of mainstream life. This ruling will benefit hundreds of thousands of Americans with disabilities.”

The ruling was issued in a case brought by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). The suit charges that Target failed and refused to make its Web site (www.target.com) accessible to the blind and, therefore, violated the ADA as well as two California civil rights statutes: the California Unruh Civil Rights Act and the California Disabled Persons Act.

The court granted the plaintiffs’ motion to certify a nationwide class under the ADA for injunctive relief. The court also granted the plaintiffs’ motion to certify a California subclass for both injunctive relief and statutory minimum damages. The court denied Target’s motion for summary judgment.

The court certified, as counsel for the class, the following law firms: Disability Rights Advocates (www.dralegal.org), a Berkeley-based nonprofit law firm that specializes in high-impact cases on behalf of people with disabilities; Brown, Goldstein & Levy (www.browngold.com), a leading civil rights law firm in Baltimore, Maryland; Schneider & Wallace (www.schneiderwallace.com), a national plaintiffs’ class action and civil rights law firm based in San Francisco, California; and Peter Blanck, chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute and university professor at Syracuse University (www.bbi.syr.edu).

Dan Goldstein of Brown, Goldstein & Levy noted that: “The blind of America seek only the same rights and opportunities as others take for granted. This case should be a wake-up call to all businesses that their services must be accessible to all.”

Josh Konecky of Schneider & Wallace also noted: “This has been a hard-fought case addressing fundamental issues of access and equality. The judge’s decision today is a great step forward.”

Original Article at http://www.dralegal.org/cases/private_business/nfb_v_target.php

Zen and the Art of Software Design

I read Robert Persig‘s book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance when I was younger and found it to be accessible and instructive as well as opening my eyes to the beauty in man made objects. It definitely deserves to be revisited and I think that Dirk Morris does a great job of making comparisons in this article to the book and the design of proprietary and open source software.