All articles in usability

Crowdsourcing and account deletions

Recently I ran into two separate but converging issues, namely crowdsourcing and account management on websites.

As it happened, I needed an app on the Web that would enable me to maintain a list of people who sign up for an event in June. I looked into quite a few of these and selected three to try out.

First I checked Doodle. It works fine, if you only need to see who will attend, but I needed a little more than it could do. I signed up anyway and used it to pick meeting times for the organizing committee. For that Doodle works well. It lets you create a poll and send out a link to selected people, so they can then pick the meeting times that suit them. Continue reading Crowdsourcing and account deletions


IT Haiku Poetry

According to Wikipedia, a haiku  is a short poem which uses imagistic language to convey the essence of an experience of nature or the season intuitively linked to the human condition.

I have read haikus and as per the definition, they most often relate to nature. However, I think that our constant interaction with information technology sometimes brings out moments of searing clarity and other times a pensive mood, which can best be captured in the haiku format. Therefore I have tried my hand at creating some: Continue reading IT Haiku Poetry


Fonts, fonts, fonts – have you checked yours lately?

In the olden days we did not have to worry about fonts. There were Courier, Times New Roman and Helvetica, and a couple of more for special events. And with dot matrix printers, using fonts was not much of an option anyway. In a way I miss the days, as there was no hassle with anything related to the look of the text.

But with laser printers and Windows, everything changed.

Suddenly you had more fonts in your machine than you would ever need for business correspondence. In fact, you soon got lost with the fonts. TrueType technology also assisted in this boom of fonts. Now you could have a true what-you-see-is-what-you-get experience (up to a certain point of course). And the number of fonts on your machine grew as if the fonts would breed in the dark.  Continue reading Fonts, fonts, fonts – have you checked yours lately?


How much can an IT system cost?

Finland, as you know, claims to be at the forefront of public IT systems. We have long enjoyed net banking (I used it first in 1993 via an IBM minicomputer link from the office, before there was a WWW service for that) and many other services such as the sterling Tax Office system. Most companies and public offices offer ways for the consumers to view and alter their own data held in the IT systems.

Still, I was a little miffed when I saw the cost estimate for the next generation patient data management system that the healthcare sector is beginning to put together, because the price tag rests at 1.8 billion euros. Wow. Just wow.

Don’t get me wrong. I know it is a big system, it must be very robust and secure, and all data must be stowed away in storage that just will not fail. But for 1.95 billion euros, NASA put Curiosity onto Mars just now, and a patient data system is not rocket science. 1.8Bn euros is just such a bunch of cash that one has to wonder what we will get with it. Continue reading How much can an IT system cost?