What is a 'Cognitive Event Horizon'?
It's a coined term to express a user interface concept; it represents the user paradigm, the everyday map of the world that people use to get through the day. Things that are outside a user's cognitive event horizon are not important to them, even if these things can hurt them. So a cognitive event horizon is what humans really use to navigate their lives, and that concept is a tool to make decisions about what is needed in a product, and what is not.
Design Rants: Introduction
+ Life with HTML
+ Basic Text Design
+ Visual Chaos
+ Common Web Page Problems
UI Design for Bean-Counters
Modern Software, Part 1
Modern Software, Part 2
a Brief History of GUI
GUI Design Checklists
+ System Updates
+ Foreplay Preamp
+ Mambo Preamp
+ OTL Headphone Amp
+ il Monstro 845:845
+ Fostex Horns
+ Adire HE12.1 Speakers
+ Bogen-Lenco TT
+ Empire TT
+ Pro-ject 6.1 TT
+ Vintage Mic Stepups
+ Killing Hum
+ Sandbox Isolation
Horribly Formal Resume
Download Full MSWord Resume
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Whether you've come looking for me or
stumbled across this page through some internet equivalent of Brownian motion, welcome.
Update: We moved to Raleigh in 2007 or me to take over as Director of User Experience at Lulu.com, a web-based distributor of digital content (books, photography, art prints, audio, video, even software), but in October of 2008 the economy intervened at Lulu... and I found a new home at BlueStripe.com building very cool diagnostic monitoring and diagnostic tools for dynamic server environments, and in 2010 moved on to WebAssign as UX Director.
I continue to nurse my DIY audio jones and am very interested in collaborations on projects, great music, discussions, and local audio shenanigans.
You can contact me at .
Software is hard, and expensive. Building great software is harder, and especially, more expensive. But building the wrong software, or bad software, is even more costly. Hiring a UI leader for your software development organization will make your requirements larger, may make your development time slower, and probably will push your initial costs higher.
There, I've said it.
How much time can you save every day with better design? How much is that worth to your company or your customers?
How much will you save with software that is easier to understand and support? Or, how much support expense could you save with a product that installs reliably and plays nicely with other applications? (it's not just QA) A product that can be upgraded more easily because you've already considered how other tasks can be integrated into the whole?
And what if you didn't have to release upgrades every six months?
Because it really isn't just good UI design that someone like me can bring to your company - it's good product design. That means product features that make sense, and that are built to work together. It means mockups *before* specifications are completed, so that users and programmers and managers all can see what is coming and can agree on the requirements through a shared vision. It means requirements based on user goals (instead of checklists) that capture *all* the functions of the software, so that when inevitable compromises have to be made the product still makes sense to your users. It means consistency across the product in language, in tone, in process. It means testing the product with real users and categorizing enhancements so that the software will please users more with new releases, instead of causing fear and uncertainty. And that, ultimately, creates customer loyalty because your products make your users more productive, more reliable, and smarter.
It's actually pretty easy to make sure you build the right features, or, at least to find the problems before you release a product -
The hardest part of any user-centered process is setting priorities for the many ideas that will result.
Integrating design with product management makes both tasks easier. Designers can provide data to rank ideas, and sketches and mockups build a shared vision so that everyone can agree on new features; Product Management can provide direction for the design process so that promising ideas are nurtured and lower priorities are discarded as designs are refined.
In a world of commodity software, outsourcing and offshoring, design is a crucial differentiator that pays a return on investment by making sense of the software development process.