User motivation: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Pic of crannog

Last summer I found myself exploring an early Iron Age home at The Crannog Centre on Loch Tay. The Crannog was cosy, as its focal point was the Iron Age hearth – a large open fire. During the day the inhabitants would peel back wicker shutters to let in fresh air whilst they tended to their animals, making food and clothing and ground spelt for bread.

Today, wearing a woolly jumper and eating spelt pasta, with my back to the radiator, it seems to me that our needs and motivations have changed little since the Iron Age. Continue reading “User motivation: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs”

Using patterns to shape our world

Escher picture

In the 1990s, Erich Gamma changed the way I thought about software engineering forever! Gamma visited the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne where I was a PhD student, in order to give a seminar on design patterns.

The idea of extracting a solution template from a piece of software to turn it into a pattern which can be reused, was to me, an exciting step forward in software engineering. Instead of reusing software from a library that needs to be maintained and ported as necessary, abstracting the solution and creating a pattern repository gives software engineers a toolbox of meta-level solutions.

Continue reading “Using patterns to shape our world”

Why my coffee machine is so sexy

My La Pavoni Professional looks fabulous in my kitchen and makes even more fabulous coffee. What else could a coffee machine give me? What about the feeling that I am an extremely clever girl everytime I pull an espresso?

From a usability point of view there is nothing more a kitchen appliance can do for its consumer. I love the way it looks, what it gives me, and how I feel when I use it.

Why is this so? Continue reading “Why my coffee machine is so sexy”