The coffee mug experience AFTER you’re done

I received a Guinness coffee mug as a birthday present and I take to work in the morning and get it filled at Moh’s Coffee truck at Hackbridge train station. He makes a great coffee and even tailors it to my taste. I like using the mug because it doesn’t waste a paper cup and I don’t have to find a bin when I get off the train.
guiness_mug
The one problem I’ve encountered is that the coffee mug is designed in detail for coffee drinking (a must!) but not for after you’re done with the coffee. It could do a better job of handling the post-coffee drinking experience. Here’s my observations:
What I Enjoyed – the mug does well to optimise the drinking experience
  • Slider on the lid to prevent spillage
  • Insulated material to keep the coffee warm
  • Tiny air hole on the lid to help the coffee flow better
  • Lip on the lid to making drinking drip-free
  • Plastic insulation avoids the nasty metallic taste of metal lining
What annoyed me – post coffee drinking experience
  • The mug HAS to remain vertical – on its side, coffee leaks out the air hole and slots in the lid slider. On a train or tube journey, it’s almost inevitable that a mug in your bag, on your lap, or in the drink holder of your rucksack is going to go horizontal at some point. It could be on a busy train trying to balance the things in your possession or when you get to the office and put your bag down or arrive home and place it on the floor or counter. There are a lot of scenarios. My point is, coffee drips in your bag or on your clothes are annoying!
  • Cleaning – the lid is difficult to clean and requires scrubbing around the slider part of the lid where coffee congregates and hardens.
Observation: I don’t see many people using coffee mugs
With that being said, I’m a big fan of my coffee mug. When I look around, I don’t see a who lot of people who bring mugs to get coffee in the morning, at least not on the train. The vast majority are holding a cardboard cup from their favourite shop: starbucks, nero or costa to name a few popular choices. Why aren’t people using them more?
How do we get people to use their own mugs more?
A few ideas:
  • Incentivise – bigger discounts (most already have small) and advertise mug reuse more
  • Make people aware of the damage
  • Make them dead easy to clean – nobody likes a stinky coffee mug
  • Reminders – people forget to bring their mug into the shop
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iPhone keyboards designed for diverse human needs

Whilst taking the train home the other day, I spotted someone making interesting gestures on their iPhone screen. I was intrigued. It looked like they were using a drawing app but in a text message. Upon closer inspection, I saw that they were writing Chinese characters in a blank space at the bottom of the screen which were then auto-recognised by the phone, presenting a number of characters to select. I found this fascinating.

Apple definitely took a “thinking human” approach for their keyboards and designed with a globally diverse human needs in mind. You can choose from keyboard layouts for Chinese and other languages in your settings. They could’ve easily just offered a single keyboard with Chinese characters mapped to it and left it at that but instead they thought (and most likely observed) how people message each other and created a handwriting focused one as well. Great design.

Apple included this early on iOS software, according to this article on MacRumors: “Apple Includes Chinese Handwriting Recognition in iPhone 2.0 Beta”.

Perfect experience of IKEA’s book technology

“Once in a while, something comes along that changes the way we live, a device so simple and intuitive, using it feels almost familiar,” says Jorgen Eghammer, the chief design guru of the latest IKEA book technology.

The experience of IKEA’s newest innovation is second to none. Its simple and intuitive interface is the best out on the street using cutting edge technology that feels refined to perfection over hundreds of years.

Features

  • Battery life is eternal
  • Navigation is based on tactile touch technology that you can actually feel
  • To start browsing, simply touch and drag
  • No lag, it’s crystal clear page loads instantaneously no matter how fast you scroll
  • Using just your thumb, speed browse through the content
  • If you find something you want to save for later, simply bookmark it. And even if you close the application you can easily find the bookmark again

“Experience the power of a bookbook™”

Mac OSX Help Menu – The way help should be

Using the help feature on Mac OSX applications is a thing of beauty. It’s inspired me to write a post because it saves me time and helps me learn the application better. When I search for a feature and it’s in the menu bar, the menu location is automatically expanded and displayed. This does two extremely helpful things for me:

  1. Shows me where to find it – helps train me on using the application by showing me instead of having to read and follow a bunch of text instructions with screenshots (if I’m lucky)
  2. Allows me to run the command immediately – no need to navigate through the menu following the instructions, I just hit ‘enter’ and it’s done!

This is application help designed perfectly for humans.

mac_help_awesomeness

Beautiful wood table design at Nandos Gatwick

Whilst waiting for our flight from Gatwick to Seville, we stopped at Nandos in the South Terminal for lunch. We were sat at a beautiful wood table that had a lovely circular grain through length of the table and a white stripe at the edge. It was a gorgeous goldeny, red colour that really took my eye.

Red wood table at nandos 2

I’ve been trying to identify the type of wood to satisfy my curiosity as well as add to the collection of wood and tree knowledge in my head. My best guess is rosewood but it could also be walnut or others.

During my search for wood, I came across some great resources for wood which could be useful in the future:

  1. Google search by image – click on the camera icon to link to or upload and image. Google will search for matches
  2. The wood database – clever use of Pinterest for cataloguing different woods
  3. Wood periodic table – great reference for wood typesPeriodic table of wood
  4. Pieces of wood has a good collection of wood by example

 

Another great piece of design at Nandos was the egg shaped, wood phone charger on each table. A fun and practical addition to the table and also very convenient for an airport (Toby took full advantage of this).

Nandos egg phone charger

Hidden Helper: Garmin Nuvi’s Junction View

During our week’s holiday in Spain, we had a new guide with the Garmin Nuvi 3597 GPS replacing our old but trusty GPS from 2009. I found the Junction View the most helpful feature of the new version but it wasn’t immediately visible. As I was driving, the hidden helper popped open and helped solve the classic question of navigating: “what lane should I be in?”. Overall, very useful for the driver with a clear view of the road and even the road sign you should look out for.

Brushing up on my Spanish with DuoLingo

Ahead of our trip to Seville next weekend, I’m brushing up on my Spanish with DuoLingo. I really like the app, its simple, responsive and gives a nice mix of listening, translating and writing.

There’s one feature that I particularly like which I discovered whilst doing my lesson on a busy train in the morning. There are speaking questions but I don’t want to embarrass myself or annoy others on the train with my poor Spanish. DuoLingo designed for this scenario. For any speaking parts, they have a button at the bottom ” can’t talk right now” which skips the question, mutes the speaking questions for an hour and skips to the next question. Very nice!

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