Persistent Inappeasable Mind

thoughts about personal information management, human-computer interaction, interfaces, software ...

Friday, October 17. 2014

Taps 29: more towel dispensers than sinks and horribly aligned

Physical Interfaces

This one is from "45 Photos That Will Annoy You More Than They Should".

At first I thought this is photoshoped. If true they have done a truly amazing job with all the shades. So I guess it's not fake.

Why five dispensers?
We can argue that is never too much. If every sink is used by two people at the same time it makes six possible users. So five dispensers are not enough. Maybe people haven't dried their hands and the owner of this restroom just got annoyed and put five as a reminder to dry hands? It's certainly eye-catching. Or maybe is to make sure that they don't run out of towels? If these wouldn't be automatic, I'd even say to make sure at least one of the towels is ready (so users don't have to roll them out with wet hands).

Why not aligned?
People are of different heights! A child needs to be able to reach for the towel :). Maybe to kill the monotony of sinks. Or ... to have people wonder?

Total success!


Friday, October 10. 2014

Taps 28: Tap to short so hads touch the sink

Physical Interfaces

This one is from "45 Photos That Will Annoy You More Than They Should".

How many times have you encountered such design? I understand that making the taps shorter reduces the overall cost and the end user pays less as a result. OK if it's installed in private homes. But what does such choice tell us about the restaurants' owners?


Friday, October 3. 2014

SuperSorter: Chrome extension that sorts your bookmarks

PIM & Research

It has been shown in numerous studies that web bookmarks quickly accumulate and grow out of proportions. Maybe you are even one of those (like me) that gave up bookmarking all together. Now there is a Chrome extension that comes to help - SuperSorter. From the description:

With one click of its button, SuperSorter sorts all of your bookmarks, in all your folders, into alphabetical order. It sorts folders too and if you like it will put the folders at the top of the list above the bookmarks (like in most other browsers).

SuperSorter also deletes empty bookmark folders, deletes duplicate bookmarks in the same folder and merges neighbouring folders with the same name. SuperSorter can also sort bookmarks automatically every few minutes, making it even easier to keep everything tidy.

I just wonder how much of familiarity (if there is such a thing with hundreds to thousands of bookmarks) is lost when the whole bookmark hierarchy gets overhauled. Maybe it just gets more manageable. Based on 329 (as of October 2014) people that liked the extension it must be helpful.



Friday, September 26. 2014

The light switch not in sync

Physical Interfaces

This one is from "45 Photos That Will Annoy You More Than They Should". I'd say 'no way' but I have seen this so many times. WHY?!? This is not helping us to make mental maps of the world at all. This is probably just some electrician playing a trick.


Sunday, September 7. 2014

Download Organizer: an app for adding organisation to dump collections

PIM & Research We have three basic forms of information collections

  • Project collections: formed to support work on a project, contain project related files of diverse file formats organised in elaborated organizations [1, p 139].
  • Reference collections: include information items of usually one format, have a fairly flat organizational structure and are organised by metadata or key (time, name, topic) [1, p 139] (e.g. a collection of academic literature, a collection of music files).
  • Dump collections: are formed of arbitrary information items and usually consist of information that cannot be classified in the above collections [2]. The placement is usually of a temporary nature and items from them are sometimes deleted or renamed and moved to appropriate locations once their role is determined.But often they just remain untouched and forgotten.

Frequent dump collections are downloads folder and desktop folder. The downloads folder can be easily organised by e.g. creation time. But the Download Organiser (£2.99) pushes things further as it can:

  • automatically organise downloads by websites
  • organise based on user defined filters (file type, size, source)
  • open, preview files and open a containing folder
  • rename files from notifications when they are downloaded

It is an interesting idea on how to organise semi-automatically acquired files drawn form the considerate research on automatically organised email based on various criteria [3].


[1] W. Jones. Keeping Found Things Found: The Study and Practice of Personal Information Management. Morgan Kaufman, Burlington, MA, 2008.

[2] A. Kamaruddin, N. Admodisastro, and A. Dix. Before and after: User’s knowledge maturity within personal information management. International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, 4, Issue 5, May 2013.

[3] M. Kljun, J. Mariani, A. Dix. Transference of PIM Research Prototype Concepts to the Mainstream: Successes or Failures Interacting with Computers, Oxford University Press. First published online: November 12, 2013