Anyone who has been using Facebook for a few years knows that even minor changes to an interface design can cause a wide variety of reactions from a loyal user base. When the popular social network has made design tweaks in the past, there is always some portion of their users that are upset, if not enraged, by the changes made. A couple of weeks ago, we told you how your registration process could be driving potential users away, and a large part of that has to do with the design.These days, the look and feel of a website or product is just as important as the features that it provides. One product with one of the hottest new interfaces available is the new Boxee Beta software which allows for streamlined local and Web media viewing. Whitney Hess is the user experience (UX) designer behind the framework of the Boxee interface, and recently on her blog Pleasure and Pain she described the systematic process she went through to design it.When Boxee hired Hess to overhaul their UX, she began by interviewing eleven people, some of which were current users of the software, and others who weren’t. She asked them a variety of questions about their use of multimedia, including “Have you ever played music at a party you were hosting?” and “Have you ever displayed your photos on your TV?” among several others. Hess then held usability tests with five participants and gauged how they navigated around the software when asked to complete a series of tasks. Tags:#start#startups From this process, Hess was able to uncover what current users needed to make their experience better while at the same time discovering what potential users would find attractive. Her work led to the inclusion of several UX features and her wireframe submissions certainly influenced the final UI’s look and feel. The screenshot below demonstrates how the final design compared to her wireframe shown above. “Overall, we wanted to provide users with greater ability to discover content across sources, easier ways to sort and ?lter lists, and quick access to their favorite programming,” writes Hess on her blog.Boxee’s set-top product, aptly named the Boxee Box, was one of the most popular new products at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month. One of its most distinguishing characteristics is its beautiful interface design, which was raved about by reviewers on blogs and in the press. The design owes its positive reception to the framework it sits on, a product of Hess’s systematic approach to the redesign.“As more and more living rooms borrow content from the Internet, they’re going to have to borrow the web’s focus on user experience as well,” Andrew Kippen, Boxee’s VP of marketing, told ReadWriteWeb. “Websites rise and fall based not only on the content but also on the experience they provide, soon connected TVs, BluRay players, and Set Top Boxes will do the same.” A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts chris cameron Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market
Start Free Trial Already a member? Log in Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details. In January 2012, Katrin Klingenberg, the founder of the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS), announced that her organization would develop a new passive house standard for North America — a standard that differed from the Passivhaus standard developed in Darmstadt, Germany.Writing in her blog in 2012, Klingenberg explained that “it’s time to allow for a modification process to the rigid annual heating and cooling requirement of less or equal to 15 kWh/m²•yr… for the North American continent’s more extreme climates… This idea that we need to adapt the standard to various regions has taken root around the world from domestic energy experts like Martin Holladay, Alex Wilson, and Marc Rosenbaum and to Passive House groups from other countries, like the Swedes.”Almost two years later, Klingenberg made another announcement: the work required to develop the new standard would be partly funded by U.S. taxpayers (through the Department of Energy), and one of the contracts for the required study would be awarded to the Building Science Corporation of Westford, Massachusetts.A few weeks ago, Klingenberg’s first goal was reached when the DOE-funded paper (“Climate-Specific Passive Building Standards”) was published. The report has three authors: Betsy Pettit (from Building Science Corporation), Graham Wright (from PHIUS), and Katrin Klingenberg.In effect, the paper is a draft for a proposed new passive house standard. PHIUS is now inviting the public to comment on the draft standard; after the public comments are reviewed, the standard may be modified before being adopted by PHIUS.A few years ago, PHIUS cut the umbilical cord linking it to Germany. Since then, the U.S. organization has no longer been bound by the German definition of a “Passivhaus.” Because if its recent independence, PHIUS now has a chance to ask an important question: what, exactly, do… This article is only available to GBA Prime Members
Maria Sharapova defeated Eugenie Bouchard 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 in the semis on ThursdayMaria Sharapova made it back into the French Open final for the third straight year, beating Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 Thursday.The seventh-seeded Russian lost the first set for the third straight match, but again managed to turn things around. Sharapova won eight of the last 10 games, and has now won 19 straight three-set matches on clay.Sharapova completed a career Grand Slam by winning the title at Roland Garros in 2012, but lost to Serena Williams in last year’s final.Bouchard, a 20-year-old Canadian seeded 18th at Roland Garros, was playing at the French Open for the only second time. Last year, she lost to Sharapova in the second round.In the other semifinal match, fourth-seeded Simona Halep of Romania will face 28th-seeded Andrea Petkovic of Germany.The final is on Saturday.Sharapova struggled a bit with her serve, double-faulting nine times and getting broken four times. But she made up for her shaky serving with solid groundstrokes, either going for winners or waiting out errors from Bouchard.Bouchard took the early lead with her first break in the third game of the match, smacking a forehand winner to give herself a 2-1 edge. She quickly made it 3-1 by completing a run of winning 12 of 17 points.The pair traded breaks early in the second set, and then again later. But Sharapova managed to stay ahead and broke Bouchard for the third time in the set to even the match at one set apiece.advertisementSharapova served first in the third set, and made her move in the fourth game, converting her third break point to take a 3-1 lead that she held onto until the end.Bouchard, who reached the Australian Open semifinals in January, saved four match points before Sharapova won it with a forehand that Bouchard missed on the other end.Sharapova won her first Grand Slam title 10 years ago at Wimbledon. She followed that with major titles at the U.S. Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008. But since she recovered from having right shoulder surgery in 2008, she has vastly improved her clay-court game and has won six of her last eight titles on the red surface.This year, Sharapova has already won clay-court titles in Stuttgart and Rome, and her six wins so far at Roland Garros give her an 18-1 record on the dirt this season.And like against Bouchard, it’s been tough to beat her in three sets on the surface. The last time Sharapova lost a three-set match on clay was at Roland Garros in 2010, when Justine Henin beat her in the third round.