Getting your hands on Apple’s iPhone

the iphone

Another Apple marketing frenzy has led to the UK bracing itself for the launch of the iPhone tomorrow. The Carphone Warehouse is expecting large queues and Scotland Yard are warning customers to hide their new handsets so that they don’t get mugged.

Aside from the excitment there are criticisms. The main ones centre on the iPhone’s choice of network: O2. O2’s coverage isn’t great, apparently even in the Apple store on Regent Street. And unlocked iPhones that early adopters are already using, thanks to Ebay, won’t be able to download new software without damaging them. Vendor lock-in experts Apple are as bad as Microsoft with their need to dictate to customers how their products should be used, which ultimately is a big problem when you talk about the iPhone’s user experience and usability. Continue reading “Getting your hands on Apple’s iPhone”



  • [pdf] Designing web usability
  • [pdf] Ensuring web accessibility
  • [pdf] Using software for accessibility and usability
  • [pdf] Usability tools and techniques
  • [pdf] Measuring and increasing website return on investment

(Stalker-Firth, R., July 2003)

Why task analysis doesn’t do it for me

picture of buttons on printer

Like every self-respecting human-computer interaction (HCI) lecturer, I introduce task analysis or the technique of analysing how people perform a task or job, to my students a couple of weeks into a given course. Each time I am aware that I fail to get excited about task analysis and so give it a bad press. Continue reading “Why task analysis doesn’t do it for me”

Codebreaking: Humans are the weakest link

People are the weakest link in all computer systems. We hear about the best cryptography money can buy: integrity checking, sender/receiver identity authentication, digital signatures, and then someone leaves a list of passwords on a post-it note stuck above a computer and in an instant renders all the algorithms pointless. Or the same someone automatically gives out his password over the telephone or by email when ‘technical support’ asks so that they can reset it – another victim of phishing. Continue reading “Codebreaking: Humans are the weakest link”

Cognitive Science for IT Security

pic of padlocked software screen

Humans are involved in 80-90% of IT security system breaches. We have the technological capacity to keep our software systems secure with but we cannot control the way people use IT. As the complexity of IT systems increase, designers must view users as key factor in the design process. Continue reading “Cognitive Science for IT Security”