Get ready for our design phase! The next months we’ll be doing user centred design (UCD) which basically means we’ll incorporate all the data we gathered from our research. We’ll do that by looking at the personas, requirements etc.

Oszkar and Tjhien will be spending 6 weeks at Flow Interactive where they’ll have the possibility to work together with people from Flow themselves.
Probably they’ll make various versions of designs which will be user tested from time to time.


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On Friday 13th March until Wednesday 18th March, we had an intensive period of discussions and workshops with the people from Flow Interactive.
These days would be a wrap up of the research phase and a preparation to the design phase, focusing on tweaking the personas so they’re ready for usage during the design phase, writing scenarios based on the personas, and defining the user and business requirements. Defining requirements, based on the personas and therefore also on what real users want, is necessary for the designers to be able to know what approaches should go in the future system in order to answer the users’ needs.

Define user requirements from persona goals
Each persona had a set of goals, focusing on life goals, end goals, experience goals, motivations, and challenges.
We went through each of these goals and rephrased them into requirements.

E.g. From Kate’s persona: ‘Discover what other people are working on.’ Becomes a requirement like this: ‘The user needs to be notified about relevant people or content they wouldn’t otherwise know about.’ K

Writing user scenarios
A user scenario is a good way to feel you one with the persona and to see how this user could eventually use the system. It’s actually a story describing how the user (that particular persona) might use the system and how it’s an answer to his needs. In the end we came up with detailed user scenarios for every persona.

Concept generation
Based on the requirements, we started brainstorming on how these requirements could turn into concepts within the system. This was just a kind of warm up for the design phase, a pool of ideas for future design. Each of those concepts got written down on post-its.

Harriet jotting down concept ideas

Prioritise concepts for design activity

We made a big grid: ‘user value’ against ‘effort required’. We discussed where every post-it note should fit on the grid.
For the further design, we will pin our minds on the post-its in the area ‘high user value’ vs ‘low effort required’.

Team discussing the prioritisation of concepts on grid

Finished prioritisation of concept ideas

The document below can also be found in text.

> Focus on personas and scenarios - also describing HOW to create these

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Yes - you can choose a Good Hosting Plan for fulfilling your long outstanding dream of hosting a personal or business website in just a matter of few minutes. I was after some recommendations on web hosting company's and lo I received many responses. So responses even had their affiliate codes on to earn an extra buck from a possible sale from me.

Well, the current webhost I am with is unreliable and has had just too many problems - not just limited to a lot of downtime over the last month and has informed me that my website will be down for about 6 hours today which is simply pathetic.

One of my friend's who is also struck with the same webhost has a business to run and he needs to improve his up-time for his customers, and the only way to do it is to change hosts atleast for him.

I found a great web hosting site, it's got a very simple and intuitive layout. It's very useful because it lists the prices for the hosting and the yearly amount, bandwidth, diskspace, e-mails, etc. It's better than going through separate sites and looking at their info. Also, it lists a ranking for each of the web hosts that helps you make a correct decision. So a very Good luck finding your new host!

A new version of Windows 7 officially labeled as Release Candidate 1 and having Build 7057 - a development milestone is now readily available for FREE download over the internet. Right now we have Windows 7 Build 7057 easily available for all users with a BitTorrent client. Though the Build 7057 (Windows 7 RC1) is not available from any of the Microsoft official websites - the torrents are having a field day!!

The Windows 7 RC1 that is available for download comes with a build string as 7057.0.x86fre.winmain.090305-2000, Windows 7 Build 7057 was compiled on March 5, 2009. Also, during the installation of this version the user is prompted with a screen that reads RC1 label. Ofcourse, it's the End User License Agreement for Windows 7 Build 7057 which reads as “Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System Release Candidate 1,” as you can see from the screenshot below.
Click to Enlarge

Where to download Windows 7 RC1 :
Well, most of the torrent websites are currently having the 32-bit version of Windows 7 Build 7057, and the leaked release is accompanied by the following information:
MD5 2a3863afe3453d1be642201fd3260ab2,
CRC E34E099B,
SHA1 0f32dfe92d544f4690ab91c02b59dba665d4ca0f.
This Build also comes with an entirely new logon screen, and will also allow users to run it well into 2010. The expiration deadlines associated with Windows 7 Build 7057 indicate that the development milestone could live until the end of March 2010!! Now, that's really superb!!

Click to Enlarge

Some of the new stuff in Windows 7 RC1 Build 7057 are that the Start Menu orb now has a new visual effect on mouse over events - it's more elegant. Also, Microsoft has started with Build 7048 to also include the much awaited Windows Flip (ALT+TAB) lets users scroll through the opened windows on the desktop accompanying the navigation task with Aero Peek. The icons for Calculator, Paint and Sticky Notes feature new ones, and Build 7048 also comes with a sleek new version of Windows Media Center. The Superbar ahs finally evolved into a Taskbar, that now allows users to pin more items/icons compared to previous releases.

Click to Enlarge

Basically u can tell from looking at the colour of the earrings. While most earrings are plated to give them a shiny finish. There are also some brands may leave just the posts untouched so as to reduce the risk of allergy.

Now if you are aware of what you are allergic to, it would be easy to avoid those material that causes you to itch. If not, i would advise you to avoid all kinds of metal plating except for pure gold and titanium. Because do take note that even silver and stainless steel contain traces of nickel which is the main cause of most allergies.

Colorful Feather Earrings are the fashion norm of today, most flout around with a colorful pair of these earrings. These have authentic feathers which make it that much more interesting and also special. They come in a whole host of colours that truly enhance the feel of having the product. It makes you feel that you really deserve every bit of it and that you are satisfied with it.

Yes - I was in for a very rude shock by my audience. This humble little blog of mine crossed a huge milestone of having 1000+ RSS readers last evening. Thanks to all you folks out there who have been instrumental in it.

I started this tech blog way back in September of 2006 with only one straight intention - Share the knowledge of Technology that I have with all the people out there. True to my intention I have remained loyal in updating the blog with useful tech related articles, how to's , tips and tricks.

Though the number of articles posted has steadily declined for the past few months - for reasons that you are all well aware off. I will surely get back to regularly update this space with technology stuff.

Thanks again folks for staying with me and my humble tech blog for all this time and also into the days to come.


I have been hooked to FaceBook for sometime now and the cool thing that I like is the Status messages of your friends, collages, etc. Some messages add giggle to your life and some are just so informative that you know what's the person's next move gonna be.

I found a cool free service called Generatus - it'll help you get some very intuitive status messages that you can use not just on FaceBook but also on your messenger / chat services , LinkedIn, etc.

I found a witty one like "Jason is thinking inside the box because too many people are thinking outside the box" - now isn't that superb!!

Yes you heard me right - the internet behemoth that has amassed fortunes in its Internet business now offers you tips on how to save money. Well, that a very intelligent thought after plan given the current economic crisis.

Head over to TipJar and you can see it all in action. Tip Jar is actually powered by Google Moderator Engine. This itself began as an experiment for the Google App Engine in the early days.

Tip Jar is well thought off and it is segregated into 9 different regions/categories. This allows users to share and receive tips on finance, food, vacation, shopping, kids & family, cars & transit, at home, at work and miscellaneous topics.

But as always, TipJar is riddled with opposition due to the following clauses by Google :
"By posting or voting on a suggestion in Tip Jar feedback, you give Google the right to use it freely without compensation."
and also..
"You agree that Google has no obligation to use any idea or feature request you post or vote on in any Google product, service, or web site. You agree to not post any material that is copyrighted or subject to third party proprietary rights or that violates any third party rights."

What is your opinion on this folks? Do you feel Google must have the last say on this?

The Intel Museum, which is located in Santa Clara, California, USA had recently introduced
several new exhibits that demonstrate the transforming role of Intel's silicon technology in a changing world. And among them was a 1GB storage device which dates back almost 20yrs back. It's quite contrasting to see how soon things have changed!!

Click on Image to Enlarge

A brand new range of Samsung K3 MP3 Player have been launched. They allow you to listen to quality music, see the beautiful photos, listen to FM radio, also has an alarm. It also has a 1.8"touch screen with optional detachable speaker.

But the most geeky part of it happens to be the headphone. Just look at the images below to get a taste of what it is like - truly amazing!!

Click on Image to Enlarge

So would you go for these peeping toms?

How many times have you had a tough task to find a Video Production Service for that office event or your loved ones birthday or a party or just about some event for which you wanted professional video coverage of the event?

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They have been in the business for well over 10 years and can easily help you with preparation of video, or getting a pack of PowerPoint slides arranged. They have such a stunning in-house team that has a recent credit of design a campaign that brought a client well over a million in sales.

Last but not the least they also help you in designing a very robust web 2.0 based website that is total cost-effective as well as good looking and much easier to work with. A new and revamped website can itself drive in lots and lots of sales. The design team sits with each of the client and proposes an optimal design before starting off. Also, a range of specialized CDs or DVDs can be printed for any occasion. So everything's just a click away!!

After the recent terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan. Looks like the over cautious Australians have gone a step further to design their own on the field attire. This attire is completely bullet-proof and sure does match the Australian Cricket team's colors.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Do let me know your thoughts on this? I found this very hilarious!!

For the past few weeks I was searching for a really good hosting company. It took me a couple of weeks to try and find out the most reliable and cost effective web hosting companies. But today I discovered that my weeks of research was not called for if I had earlier found out this web hosting site. Why this web hosting website you may ask - but one visit to the website you'll know exactly what I am speaking about.

This site can be called a mother of all web hosting websites - coz it has all the worlds best web hosting services clearly bifurcated according to the cost of the service, how reliable the web host is, most importantly the service's uptime and also the quality of the tech support available.

It also has web hosting plans listed based on the needs like Blogging, Business Hosting, PHP specific hosting, Windows / Linux Servers, etc. This kind of a categorization as per me is of very great help to choose the right plans in a few clicks.

The site also has a great learning center which has some very nice tutorials that start off from explaining why you need to choose a web host and how to effectively choose the best plan for you, so also the different scams that you can take precaution to not fall into their traps.

If you want reliable service, good customer support, and along with cheap deals, head over to the web hosting site and check it out.

Pretty songs always come to an end, and so does this interesting research phase. Lets summarise what we’ve done during the last months…

Gathering information through diaries and interviews
We wanted to gather information from people who could be possible users of our ‘Academic Networking’ system. Therefore we thought of recruiting users within 3 types of roles – being undergraduates, postgraduates and academics. For each of those groups, we gathered 8 people.
Some people would think “Hmmm…how can only 24 people possibly be a representation of your whole group of stakeholders ?!” We think that is possible, because we chose them quite carefully, selecting people within the spread of different subjects, gender, roles, age, stage within their career, etc.
First of all we recruited undergraduates and made that selection of 8 people. We gave them the task to keep a diary, writing down every time they had a conversation with someone about their work, studies, or research. When they did that, we had an interview with each of them to talk through their diaries and give us some more insight on other things as well. Whilst doing that, we used a questionnaire as well which guided us through the various topics we needed to focus on.
Next, we did exactly the same thing with postgraduates and academics; recruiting, selecting right people, giving them a diary, and having interviews.

recruiting people through an online survey

diary entries

questions used during interview

Task goal analysis and sorting
During the interviews, Harriet was hiding in one of the rooms which got a camera and audio connection so she could follow the interviews without any problems. [See Harriet doing that here] The reason why she was spying on us, was because she was doing a task-goal analysis of all the things participants were saying. This analysis was also colour-coded, which meant we ended up with walls like this after every interview:

task goal analysis

When we finished all the interviews, we started analysing all the entries. Clustering all the data into affinity patterns would give us a better understanding of all the data and would allow us to see the overlaying commonalities between the users as well, whether they were a student or academic.
After doing that clustering, we ended up with a room like this:

affinity sorting

Behavioural axes exercise
Now we had a good understanding of all the users and their underlying ideas and commonalities, we started putting people on grids which contained behavioural axes poles (E.g. High network awareness vs. low network awareness). It’s important we had at least 10- but not more than 15 – behavioural axes. After putting each of our participants on every pole, we clustered them into group. We started seeing patterns of people reappearing together over and over again.
E.g. Sarah and Peter would cluster together on pole 1, and on pole 2, 3, 4 etc.
We ended up with 3 big groups of people clustering together. These would later become ‘personas’ in a way.

behavioural axes exercise with: - behavioural axes and behavioural poles - behavioural patterns (clusters)

Creating personas
The groups we just discovered on the behavioural axes, where the starting points of our persona creation. (If you want to find out more how to create personas, then have a look at our newer posts as we’ll post something more about this in the future.)
After discussing a lot, we ended up with these 3 main personas and 1 ‘negative’ persona as we called it. This means that persona is someone we wouldn’t focus on immediately. Below you'll see the 3 main personas.

Persona 1 (primary persona) - Isobel: Very outgoing and sociable. If she would have a problem or question, she wouldn’t mind asking someone. She also thinks every conversation is valuable (so not only professors are worth having discussions with).
Her network of people is very valuable to her. She’s therefore actively building and maintaining her network as everyone can be useful sometimes.
She really likes to go to events where she can meet people and learn in an active way.

Persona 1 (Primary persona) - Isobel

Persona 2 (secondary persona) - Peter: Someone who rather tries to find solutions about a problem himself by looking in books or going through some other sources before actually asking someone. He just doesn’t like bothering other people. Because he doesn’t like to ask other people that much, he’s not always aware of events or other important things which are going on and because of that, he’s sometimes missing out on information.

Persona 2 (secondary persona)- Peter

Persona 3 (secondary persona) – Kate: Someone senior in her role (can be a senior student or academic), who feels she already learned a lot and now it’s time to give something back to other people. Because she’s so experienced, she perfectly know who to contact in what situation. She’s maintaining her network rather than building it up. Because she’s senior, she has a lot of responsibilities and is very busy. Sometimes she might miss out on some interesting events because she’s too busy.

Persona 3 (secondary persona) - Kate

In the text above, you can find the documents we used during the research phase, as well as some videos which might give you a better understanding of the information above.
In case you missed out on them, you can also find them below.

> Diary - This is the diary we asked participants to fill in.
> Interview questions - This is a script of the questions we used during the interview
> Personas - This is a digitised version of the 3 personas we ended up with

> Task-goal analysis - A video showing what's going on in the task-goal-analysis-room during the interview. Task-goal analysis in action!
> Affinity sorting - A video showing you how to find themes (clusters) within the bunch of post-its.
> Analysis phase in general & profiles - A short video showing you when creating profiles and some discussion while doing analysis
> Behavioural axes - A short video showing you another use case example which helps you to understand what behavioural axes are

> Interview and task-goal analysis - This video shows you how to do an interview, using diaries, but also showing the task-goal analysis which is going on in another room; a clear runthrough of the different aspects during this complicated process.

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With the advent of technology - it has begun to affect our lives in many facets. Now getting a Medical Alert has also become very easy and efficient with the latest technology. We now have fall detectors that can electronically detect when a elderly person at your residence falls down and is in need of a emergency personnel to attend. These detectors send out an electronic message to the emergency personnel who can easily rush to the residence of the injured.

The above solution seems fine inside a residence, but what if the elderly are outside? Fret not - there's help at hand as always from he technological perspective. Here's another Medical Alert device in the form of a GPS tracked bracelet. It has a very easy to use 2-way speakerphone which is very much similar to a regular cell phone and can be used to call for help. Also it has an advantage that the wearer can be found in cases of wandering due to Alzheimer's disease, short-time memory loss, etc.

So we find that Technology has as always helped us make the world better and that of our loved ones too.

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