Sorry, Not Sorry

Photo from one of my games in Hearthstone. Though… no matter what I say — I still play it!

Above is a screenshot of gameplay in Hearthstone. Those six bubbles are the entire world of communication in the game. No matter how angry, upset, excited, or happy you are — the entire social interaction you will ever have with the person you are playing will be confined to just those six preset options. There is no direct messaging unless you’ve added them to your friends list. There is no audio. There is no chat.

But there are still trolls. Continue reading “Sorry, Not Sorry”

The notification system is broken, how can we fix it?

What is the problem?

Notifications are treated equally by default, but not all notifications are created equal. The OS assumes that each app takes responsibility in determining when we should divert our attention to it, but that’s right in a conflict of interest with the OS’s goal to ensure a wholesome and zen-like user experience. A flashlight app developer thinks you need to drop your conversation with a friend and look at a new promotional in-app purchase that allows you to adjust flashlight brightness. The same notification alert and style also reminds you that an important crash has happened on your host server.

They are simply not the same. Not every app on your phone is worthy of your attention. And even for those apps that are important, not every event within the app deserves it.

The current paradigm of information organization centers around the medium via which they are transferred. Everything goes in and out of apps. Want to share a web page with your best friend? Pick a messaging app first in the sharing dialog. You really care about this one friend and her snaps, but don’t really want to see all other Snapchat notifications? Too bad.

The flaw in this organization framework is that new information is not organized by where they come from or how useful they are, but rather who delivered them. If my mom sends me a message asking me when I will come home for Thanksgiving, I don’t care if it comes through iMessage, Messenger, WeChat, Line, or Email, I want to hear an alert sound and respond to it. But if Verizon sends me a new promotional blurb, whether via text, email, or call, I don’t want to be distracted by it.

Unfortunately, that’s not how our operating systems work today. Continue reading “The notification system is broken, how can we fix it?”

What Pokemon GO Needs To Evolve Beyond Hype

Image Credits to

— The 3 Deep Content Developments That the Augmented Reality GameChanger Needs To Stay a Giant

Raising Nintendo’s stock by 25%, eclipsing Tinder and (maybe even) Twitter in user activity, and skyrocketing to the number one spot in Android and App stores within a single day— it’s hard to call Pokemon GO anything other than a roaring success. I’ve been playing the game since the night it launched in the US and it’s already made me walk more willingly in the past 4 days than I have in the last 6 months. I’ve sat at parks in Manhattan for hours because of lures, eschewed subways to walk for Pokestops, and poured through endless Google searches for tips and tricks to play — so I’m a fan.

But being a gamer my entire life, I’ve seen my fair share of releases and hype to notice that Pokemon GO is not without its flaws — no, not the frequent server crashes or easy to point out bugs. But ones which if left unchecked, will leave it as just a July hype-train and nothing more. Continue reading “What Pokemon GO Needs To Evolve Beyond Hype”

Let Your Users “Cheat” You

Photo Credits to Space Invaders and Gizmodo

Why It’s Not Only Fine But Important to Include Imperfections in Your Product — Especially if They Become User Exploits

What am I talking about? I’m talking about designing and including a loophole purposefully into your product. A mistake. A Vulnerability. Whatever you want to call it. As long as it’s not something that poses a security risk or is too big in scale, I want it to be included in the product. Something that lets users feel like they’ve discovered a product hack, would ordinarily be thought of as an edge case — but can catch fire and ramp up engagement dramatically.

Let me give a shameless example. Continue reading “Let Your Users “Cheat” You”

Bringing Back Depth in Design

Photo Credits to Norton Gusky and Flickr

Design For Simplicity Has Gone Too Far and We Need to Fix It.

The design revolution, sparked by a decade of complicated and labyrinth-like UIs, has resulted in our current worship of minimalism. But now we’ve gone too far. Instead of “make things simpler,” we’ve moved onto “make simple things.” In our pursuit of design simplicity, we’ve lost sight of the larger picture. Continue reading “Bringing Back Depth in Design”