May 29, 2015

Usability, privacy and all things fluffy – Friday night links

Rabbits, cats, dogs and koalas…

Lots of announcements for Google fans at the company’s I/O this week and there’s plenty to get excited about. Most impressive for me was the massive improvements to Google Photos, especially the automated tagging. This is where your uploaded photographs are analysed and Google automatically applies various tags.
As the proud owner of two gorgeous bundles of fluff, my first go at using the improved photo search was ‘Rabbits’ (something which had previously failed miserably). To the office’s amazement it worked like a dream and we were presented with a wall of big ears and fluffy tails.
Nothing’s perfect so there were a few mis-categorisations but everything we tried did seem to have some logic behind it, after all – bunnies, cats, dogs and koalas are all adorably fluffy with 4 paws.

Automation is wonderful for users – saving them from spending time adding context and metadata can only be a good thing. It is important to recognise that at this stage of the development lifecycle it’s tough to be perfect, even for a giant like Google.
Nothing beats the human eye for interpreting what you’re seeing, so it would be great if Google gave us a way to change incorrect details.

It also happens to be 10 years since the beta launch of YouTube. If you haven’t already, check out the celebrations on their YouTube account as well as my favourite piece of iconic YouTube history.


Purrrfect place to work

As you may know, here at SmallWorlders we’re serious about intranet engagement, from ebooks and events to adorning our walls with scientific algorthyms. In the physical world, engagement is just as important and we think this workplace cat library beats every other strategy for employee engagement hands down.
If you’re an animal charity who’d like to socialise your animals with a friendly team of intranet geeks we’d love for you to get in touch.

Now’s also the perfect time for us to mention that it’s National Unwanted Pet Week, if you want a a gorgeous bundle of fluff and you don’t want to worry about late fees then get down to your local rescue sharpish.


Users at the heart

Short and sweet – this blog post from the UK’s Government Digital Service highlights the importance of understanding user needs. If you do not understand your users, how can you serve them well? Such a simple idea yet so often forgotten – making this an essential read on this rainy Friday afternoon.


Privacy – so last year

We’re in an evermore connected world where every message we send can share our exact movements. Most new-borns have a digital footprint from the moment they arrive. Regardless of how exciting developments around the internet of things looks, it’s hard not to worry about a future where even your trusty fridge may be sharing all sorts of weird and wonderful things about you (“she totally ate three full bars of chocolate today – didn’t even bother unwrapping them first”).

But privacy advocates are trying to persuade us to take back control of our information. Another welcomed announcement from the Google I/O was details about the upcoming M version of the Android operating system. Simplified permissions for apps seems a great step towards helping users to understand why an app needs access to a particular permission by asking at the point it needs it e.g. attempt to use voice commands and you’re prompted to allow access to the microphone. With an understanding of how apps are using your data comes the confidence to take control of what you’re sharing and who you are sharing it with.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *