No Fill Marks? … New video intro to previous post about my French press.

In a previous post, I talked about my French press coffee maker which has no fill level marks to help me add water to the same place every time. This short video introduces that post, and shows you my current French press. It is for people who own French press coffee makers AS WELL AS designers and anyone interested in innovation and creativity. It also shows the mind map you can explore while learning some proximity thinking at the same time!

Suggestions for iPhone folder icons

About the user interface for iPhone folder icons …

With app icons on the iPhone, we have nice big visual cues. With folder icons, they all look the same, and they have one line of very small text at the bottom as the main thing that differentiates them.

Suggestions: It would be great if the text you chose for the folder filled the icon itself. Maybe we could even scale and crop the text, like we scale and crop a wallpaper image, so that just the letters we want fill the icon. And what if we could also choose a color for the icon, or even choose a photo or some clip art for the icon? The iPhone suggests categories when you make a folder, so maybe it could also suggest an image for the icon. Maybe the icon also gets bigger, so a folder icon takes the space of two or four app icons.

How would I describe these suggestions in some proximity thinking terms?

  1. These changes would honor the integrity of how our eyes work. That’s the whole point of icons in the first place. You can distinguish something at a glance when it’s a good icon.
  2. These suggested changes are an example of the ProxThink Core Idea, which is: In a situation, change elementsrelationships and the proximity to better relate to each other. The situation is the challenge of telling the folder icons apart. Our eyes, our vision, the iPhone screen, technology and readability-at-a-glance are elements and relationships, among others of course, in the proximity of this situation. The suggestions above change elements and relationships (text in icon, scaling, cropping, color, photos, clip art, icon size) for the icons. These change our user relationships to the icons, and in the process also change the proximity of this situation to the extent that perhaps it’s no longer a situation!

McDonald’s has the Worst In-Store Menus

The font size on the menus in McDonald’s restaurants is way too small. The font size does not honor the integrity of the visual abilities of most people. It’s really quite bizarre. They are the worst in-store menus I’ve ever seen. I wonder if the graphic designers ever stood and looked at the menus after they were manufactured. Maybe an executive or manager made them design them this way against their will!

But I suppose, what can we expect from the corporation that is costing the global population billions of dollars in healthcare expenses due to the unhealthiness of the food they serve? On the other hand, it’s not really all their fault. McDonald’s operates within systems, those being markets and governments and even culture, which tend to emphasize elements first, relationships second, and proximities last. So, for example, elements like money and individuals (people’s own momentary desires and point of view) tend to get the most attention and effort. Relationships often come second, such as relationships with friends, other customers and employees, as well as relationships between food and health, vitality and energy. Last comes awareness and efforts regarding the general health and well-being of the population, the environment, healthcare expenses, and sustainability, all of which are aspects of proximities related to situations involving food and eating. Of course, most of us operate within such dysfunctional systems. So you can’t have really high expectations for most anyone or anything.

What is needed are models which allow for and integrate elements, relationships, and proximities, letting us think about and relate to each as appropriate. The ProxThink growth model is an attempt at a such a model. And it is more than just a set of ideas. The growth model can be implemented in what is called the sustainable proximities approach, which can complement or augment existing systems if needed, as well as be deployed on its own.

Kudos to Starbucks

This shelf to hold your drink is in the restroom of a newly remodeled Starbucks in California I went to recently. It recognizes that you are likely to have a drink in your hand when you enter the restroom. It helps you out and makes Starbucks look smart.

This is a nice example of the Core Idea of proximity thinking, as well as a few ProxPatterns.

The Core Idea states that: In a situation, change elements, relationships and the proximity to better relate to each other. Starbucks added the element of the shelf to the proximity of the restroom. This helps other elements in the proximity, such as people and coffee cups, better relate to the restroom. It helps people better relate to elements like the toilet, sink and hand dryer. It keeps the coffee cup safer, cleaner, and easily reachable. Coat hooks perform a similar improvement for restrooms. Both get unneeded things out of the way temporarily.

You also might come to an idea like the restroom coffee shelf via ProxPatterns. You might, with ProxAwareness, notice there is no good place to put your coffee when you enter the restroom after you yourself get a cup. You might think, I wonder if something could be done about this (Value of Some). There might be other things people want to put down temporarily (Relate a Variety), so the shelf should be wider than just a cup. You might also use the transition smoothly ProxPattern, by placing the shelf next to the side of the door which opens, so people will see it right away.

Horrible Movie Seats

I had the most horrible experience at the movies last night. We saw this new film called “A Dangerous Method.” We sat in the second row, far off to the right side. I spent the whole time looking far up and to the left, at gigantic distorted faces (due to the severe angle from my seat). The movie was sold out so we couldn’t move to better seats.

NO ONE should EVER be seated that close to the screen. Well, and have to pay for it. Maybe if they paid me to sit there, that would’ve been different. It was such a strange, uncomfortable experience that it was hard to pay attention to the film. They should not even have seats installed that close to the screen!

I’m not sure if it was the movie theater designers, or the business owners, but people were not thinking when they designed that theater. We were at the Landmark Theatre at 10850 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064.

The theater owners and designers both had poor ProxAwareness, as far as being aware of what sitting there is actually like.

Their ProxSet for this situation included the elements of money, and the customer’s experience, and of course other elements. It seems they honored the integrity of the element of money more than the element of the customer’s experience! This strategy can often work in the short term, and often not work in the long term.

Of course it didn’t help that “A Dangerous Method” is so far out of the ordinary experience of most people, that it might as well be a science fiction film. It didn’t honor the integrity of what being a human being is like, to any great degree.

So many films these days depend on some gimmick or contrived situation. I had hoped that “A Dangerous Method” would be different, but somehow it really wasn’t.

I suggest that David Cronenberg take some time off from moviemaking, and spend more time with regular people. Ordinary life is far more interesting and full of possibilities.

Of course I’m not saying there isn’t a market for David Cronenberg’s films. And of course I might have liked the film more, and been less cranky, if I hadn’t had such horrible movie seats!

Landmark Theatres may have other blind spots. I’d be glad to help them do some proximity thinking via seminars, collaboration or idea sessions.