Are most usability tests worthless?

It is in very few occasions that I disagree with Javier Cañada, so when this happens, I should try to make the most of it.

Let me draw your attention to his recent rant on usability testing and the comments that follow, mine among them. You might like to join the rumpus :-)

Comments on this post are disabled. If you want to say something about the issue, Javier’s place is the place.

While Pixar keeps on innovating, Dreamworks keeps on mixmitating

If, like me, you’re a fan of Hayao Miyazaki, your amazement at the upcoming Pixar’s film “Up!” will be somewhat moderate. What these guys are doing is just taking American animation out of the cage where it’s been since the thirties, and into the vast, fertile creative territory where Studio Ghibli have been working for decades now. This is not without merit though, and the flick looks terrific. I can’t wait to see more. If this film fulfills my expectations by making further wise, Miyazakian choices such as realizing animation films don’t need a villain, then my happiness will be complete.

Update: Nevertheless, go see “Ponyo on the cliff” if you want a taste at the real thing.

Meanwhile, what do Dreamworks do? Announce “Monsters vs Aliens“. For the purpose of describing it I’ll have no choice but to invent a new portmanteau word: man, they’re doing a blatant mixmitation of the cute-spooky creatures of “Monsters” with a touch of the cold-war, B-series atmosphere of “The Incredibles”. Come on, they’re even cloning Pixar’s style of rendering the human figure to the point that they will soon turn it into an industry-wide standard. Laaame.

Next time someone asks me to illustrate the difference between being a leader and being a not-so-fast follower, I’ll have a handy example at hand.

“Up!” trailer enjoyed via Denegro.

Fleeting conjunction

A few days ago, while we were at the countryside, I was watching my daughter standing in the sun. And out of the blue, I started to think that she together with her shadow defined a plane, and I saw that plane cut the sun in half. And then I could see the plane stretching past the sun to the limits of the universe.

Such is the power of human mind that we can define a mental construct that is imaginary, is infinite, and yet is also real. Geometric entities have that beauty. Because if I thicken the plane a little –say, an eighth of an inch— then that plane really exists. And it includes a gigantic volume of interstellar space, and it includes the sun’s core, and it includes my daughter’s sternum and that strip of dirt that was being momentarily framed by her silhouette. And with the power of my mind I was selecting exactly that subset of reality, and for a moment, that slice of the universe belonged only to me and my daughter.

So I couldn’t help but sit down on the dirt in the precise spot where I could see my daughter’s head covering the sun, and then I could see not only the plane, but enclosed in it, the infinite line that was piercing the sun, my head, and my daughter’s. And I felt oddly yet overwhelmingly honored to be a part of that fleeting conjunction.