Weekly Reader – Dec. 22, 2007 – Usability, corrections, Wiimote whiteboard and geography

This week’s round up of interesting reads and views:

  • Why Nobody Likes a Smart Machine (NYTimes) – A look at usability issues and the impact of product design on humans. It comes ahead of Christmas Day, when many people will be presented with unusable gadgets. Some of the biggest usability problems are caused by product people and engineers who design for themselves, instead of identifying their target audience and designing for them. My rule of thumb for Web design: if you have to put a “what is this?” link next to a feature, you don’t need it. via Adam Lasnik
  • Crunks 2007: The Year in Media Errors and Corrections – Obama, Osama. Same difference. My favorite: “An article in Wednesday’s Calendar section about an English-language newspaper in Mexico City referred to the many U.S. ex-patriots who live there. It should have said expatriates.” via Angie Wu
  • How to create a multi-touch virtual white board with a Wiimote – Create a digital whiteboard on the cheap using a Wiimote. via Clint Pidlubny
  • Drive Someone Insane with Postcards (eBay) – From the “I wish I’d thought of that” department. Pay a stranger to send 3 postcards to torment a friend. The bidding was more than $400 last I checked. I got less than that for my Wii! via Robert Franklin
  • “I thought Europe was a country” (video below) – This clip from “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader” tells a lot. Clearly my friend Tricia and her colleagues at National Geographic have a lot of work to do. via bestofyoutube.com

About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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