Category Archives: Red Ramblings

Rants, observations and general commentary about life not involving usability.

Usability Importance, Post-Hawaii

Bethea-Hawaii-Missile-Warning-1We all saw what happened in Hawaii yesterday.

A message went out over the EMS that nukes were inbound and this was no drill.

40 minutes of chaos ensued before the “All Clear” was given. Panic. Terror.

Today, we know WHY it happened- BAD USABILITY

Quoting a national news agency, when discussing the guy who sent out the alert:

“This guy feels bad, right. He’s not doing this on purpose – it was a mistake on his part and he feels terrible about it,” said Miyagi in a press conference Saturday afternoon.

Miyagi, a retired Army major general, said the employee would be “counseled and drilled so this never happens again,” but he did not say whether there would be disciplinary measures.

Rather than triggering a test of the system, it went into actual event mode. He confirmed that to trigger the alert, there is a two-step process involving only one employee — who both triggers the alarm, then also confirms it.

“There is a screen that says, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?'” Miyagi said. The employee confirmed the alert, inadvertently causing a panic in a state already on edge over saber-rattling missile threats from North Korea. “

Seriously? This is the system in place at EMS?

Here’s the issues I see on just the first reading:

1- If it is a “two-step process involving only one employee”… it’s a one-step process.

2- Nobody EVER pays attention to an “Are you sure…?” screen because they are so common.

3- Your “Test” system and your “Oh crap, we’re being nuked!!” system should not be so similar that you can’t IMMEDIATELY tell them apart, at least by color.

We don’t know how many accidents, possibly resulting in deaths, this mistake caused.

I know that I and those like me always preach how “vital” or “critical” or “important” usability is. The situation in Hawaii is the BEST and WORST case example I have ever seen for proving the point.

– J


LinkedIn’s New Tools

LinkedIn, the Microsoft-owned social network for the working world with some 500 million members, has made a large business out of recruitment — with some 11 million job listings on the site at any given time, and the recruitment market providing the company with its largest source of revenue. Now it is taking another step…

Since I’m currently on the market, this caught my eye. It’s still in beta and won’t be released until next year (and I hope to God I’m not still looking then) but if this does what it’s supposed to it could be a useful tool.

via LinkedIn to launch Talent Insights, a new analytics tool, as it dives deeper into data — TechCrunch

One hand?

Just saw this on Twitter. Is it true that most of you young pups use only one hand when on your phone? Every time I see my 17 year-old do that I yell at her. With the size and bulk of these new “phablets” it just seems like its begging for a cracked screen.

However, I am always a bit paranoid every time I have my phone out and I’m walking around… even if it is in an Otterbox.

one hand

Because “flapping” in the breeze just wasn’t enough…?

Not really sure how I feel about this one.

On the one hand, it’s cool that they have tech that can do this.

On the other, isn’t this basically the Webster’s definition of “tacky” and “disrespectful”?

This is curious new technology; imagine the US Flag being able to play the National Anthem from the flagpole! How scientists turned a flag into a loudspeaker MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY EAST LANSING, Mich. – A paper-thin, flexible device created at Michigan State University not only can generate energy from human motion, it can act as […]

via New Tech: US flag could act as a speaker to play the National Anthem — Watts Up With That?

Happy Mother’s Day

I never know if it’s “Mothers” (all mothers) or “Mother’s” (my mother)… but either way Happy M Day to all you moms out their.

At this stage in life I have to wish it to two amazing women; the one who gave me life and the one who gave that life meaning in the form of my little girl.

I (and probably all men as a rule) don’t say it enough, but THANK YOU. You’ve long put up with my crap and never once followed through on your threats to kill me.

I would go into some long, sappy essay on a mother’s love but I have to go kill a bug in the kitchen. Good to know I’ve still got some usefulness around here.