I have a shortcut to medium.com on the home screen of my Android phone. It’s there because I browsed the site a couple of times and Chrome’s app install banners prompted me to add it to my home screen, so I did. Some time later I launched the site from the shortcut icon and it opened and loaded so quickly that I actually thought it had retrieved a copy from an offline cache. But it hadn’t, it was just very well optimised. So ten points to the Medium team for that.
Today I launched the site from the shortcut again – but this time the experience was somewhat different. So different that I have to take away all the points I previously awarded to the team. The problem is that when I launched the site today, I had the door emphatically slammed in my face.
Last year I began exploring the idea of the uncanny valley as it applies to creating prototypes, using a panel from Understanding Comics as an illustration. Lukas Mathis at UX Magazine has had a similar idea, but explored it in much more depth and with greater clarity.
The uncanny valley is a term from the world of robotics, which states that when something appears almost perfect, it can cause a negative reaction*. Or, to be more precise:
The uncanny valley hypothesis holds that when robots and other facsimiles of humans look and act almost like actual humans, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers.
I’m talking about the uncanny valley in regards to creating prototypes, so revulsion may be too strong a term; but I think the principle still applies.
The last month has seen me completely immersed in User Experience theory and Information Architecture for my new role, and it’s been a very hectic time. While that hasn’t stopped me from keeping an eye on developments on the web, it’s given me less time to write about them.
Here’s a quick round-up of a few links that have grabbed my interest over the past weeks; I’d like to write more about them, but time forbids.
I work as an Information Architect / Developer, and I’m a big fan of comics. For my IA work I refer frequently to the work of Jesse James Garrett, especially his Elements of User Experience book, and as a fan of comics I recently read (again) Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics.
I’m not saying that to boast of my geek credentials, but to introduce something I never imagined I’d find: a connection between the two.