Hacker Newsnew | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit | vitovito's comments login

There's an active "Austin Startups" group on Facebook you might post at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/austinstartups/

You might also see about visiting Capital Factory or WeWork.


thanks for the tip


Hi, I'm a designer and a researcher, and I consult with startups on a regular basis.

If your "team is all done to kick off," then I assume there's a stack of documentation that defines who your customer is, the market size, the segmentation, their problems, their mental models, competitive solutions, the things they look for in solutions, etc. That's market research; it's not your assumptions. I also assume there's a database of potential customer contacts, ready to be called in for focus groups, to shadow, to do interviews with, and to test designs. That's customer development.

If there aren't those things, you're not "all done to kick off" yet.


> How do you make sure that the user experience is what it needs to be?

is a different question than

> How do you start the process that you come up with such interesting interfaces.

I'll answer them in that order.

For any product, you make sure the user experience is what it needs to be by making it for the user. That's it. Yes, coming up with a solution can be a creative act (although it doesn't have to be), but if you can't prove it solves your users' problems, you made art, not a design.

So you "get out of the building." Go find your potential users and understand the problems they have, and the processes they currently experience those problems within. Understand where your potential solution fits into that existing process and their existing mindset and their existing worldview. Make sure they're willing to pay for a solution to that problem in that context.

Then, listen to them. Design your thing, and bring it back to them to test it, using paper prototypes or an interactive simulation or whatever. Watch how they use and react to it. You're not testing the users; you're testing your assumptions and your arrogance. Fix the problems, and then test it again. Every time you think you've "got it," test it again. You only have a solution when it performs the way you (originally, sixteen iterations ago) expect it to with the users. You never make a change and then assume you've sorted it.

By the time you've done all that, you don't have an "interesting" interface any more. You have a usable one. It probably looks pretty boring. It probably works using standard OS controls, or perhaps similarly to their current system but with some efficiency improvements.

That's because your goal isn't "interesting." You're not making a design to impress other designers, or to create something novel, or to challenge your developers. You're making a design to solve a problem for a person that isn't you.

This is why my "design" process starts with creating as little as new as possible. I do a bunch of background research to see what other solutions have preceded me. I look to other industries and other, unrelated products to see what other solutions have similar workflows or inputs or outputs. I know that without testing, any potential solution is as good as any other potential solution. Let's find out how these other solutions perform first. If nothing does the way we want it to, okay, now I'll start coming up with something original and testing that. But maybe some existing thing is perfectly adequate. Great. Look at all the time and money and creative effort we saved. I don't feel like I was cheated out of doing great work because this isn't art. I'm not painting a masterpiece. I'm solving a problem for someone else, and it got solved.

> I'm sure asking this here on HN will help me learn/move fast.

Market research and customer development can be two of the slowest processes in business. That's why most people on HN skip them and go right to code, but then wonder why their product turns out to be terrible. Finding and then recruiting potential customers for your first focus group can take weeks or months. But, you can't build the right thing for your customers if you don't know who they are or why you're building it for them. In this, there are no silver bullets, only lead bullets. There's nothing to do but all of the work.


Hey @vitovito,

First off, thanks for taking your time in writing this.

Sorry for being unclear as you have commented on this already.

  > How do you make sure that the user experience is what it needs to be?
  is a different question than
  > How do you start the process that you come up with such interesting interfaces.
What I actually meant was "How do you work on initial prototype for a product"?

  > That's because your goal isn't "interesting." You're not
  > making a design to impress other designers, or to create
  > something novel, or to challenge your developers. You're making
  > a design to solve a problem for a person that isn't you.

  Yeah, this seems a nice advice, till now I was doing just
  opposite of what you're suggesting.


From a practical perspective, I'd look at the books Sketching the User Experience, and Designing for Interaction, as far as a design process goes.

As far as a research process to back those design processes up, I'm not sure what a good user research 101 how-to guide is, because I learned in school and later on the job. But, digging around in my bookmarks, I see:







Does that help?


Apple's policies around deceased users' hardware and accounts has recently (early 2015) changed, so it's possible this particular problem wouldn't happen again. Dead users do appear to happen infrequently enough that not every CSR seems to know what to do when you call in about one, though.

However, without court orders of some sort, you're probably completely out of luck. A death certificate used to be enough, but no longer.

I found myself in that particular edge case (along with two Canadian families) earlier this year, as a relative had passed away in a state that did not mandate probate, and the family had elected to not go through the courts, and so had no legal documentation establishing an executor or estate.

Apple ultimately said that they needed a court order to close the account or transfer the purchases to another one, otherwise the account and login would remain active forever, period.


Can purchases be transferred to someone in a will, or do they go to the executor of the estate? There has been talk of creating a legal trust to license digital purchases, http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/08/22/digital_a... & http://susanshare.com/kindle-books-and-itunes-apps-is-there-...


They're your books, so you can scan them if you want. But you can't sell, donate or give away the physical book once you've scanned it; the scan is a copy/backup of the original for personal use, and if you get rid of the original, you have to delete the copies, too. You can only destroy the original.

There are bulk, destructive book scanners which will give you PDFs of your books. You don't get the books back, because they cut off the covers and the binding and feed them through a sheet-fed scanner. http://1dollarscan.com/ is an example.

If you don't want to destroy the books, your only real option is to hire someone to scan them, or spend the time to scan them yourself.

Non-destructive book scanning machines can run thousands through tens of thousands of dollars, or you can build your own for about a thousand dollars. (USD)

I maintain the previous model of this at a hackerspace in Austin, TX: http://www.diybookscanner.org/archivist/

That model claims 1000 pages/hour for practiced operator. 1050 books * 350 pages each on average means you can scan them all in about a month and a half of eight-hour days. If you're paying someone $20/hour, that's about $7500, so for under $10,000, you can non-destructively scan your entire collection. ($10,000 is what you'd pay for a commercial scanner, without the labor to scan the books.)

I'd recommend looking for a hackerspace which already has one, and hiring someone to scan the books for you as you need them.


Is there any way to buy a kit for a nondestructive scanner?

1dollarscan is rumored to be watermarking/encoding the customer name in their scans. If you highly magnify the page image, there are a large number of small artifacts, which may explain the large file sizes, e.g. 150MB for a 400 page book.

Their service ($1 per 100 pages) is cost-effective, given that Staples will charge $2 to remove the spine from a book, without scanning. A spine cutter costs a few hundred dollars.


> Is there any way to buy a kit for a nondestructive scanner?

Yes, I linked to http://www.diybookscanner.org/archivist/ in my original post. It has a "get a kit" link on the left. The forum post it links to cites a cost of $1200 for a full kit, which are available for pre-order.

The plans are also available at that same URL, and if you know someone with a 4'x8' CNC router, they should be able to help you put them together and cut them for about half that cost in time and materials. Then you'll just need to source the nuts and bolts and cameras and electronics yourself.


>> 1dollarscan is rumored to be watermarking/encoding the customer name in their scans.

I rather appreciate that as a means against piracy of the scanned books.


Any recommendations for converting books into another format besides PDF? Ever since I read SICP as a texinfo in Emacs while working on another screen I've been looking for an easier automated way to convert my library to texinfo or LaTeX source.


If by "automated" you mean "cheap/free," no.

If by "automated" you mean "I don't have to do any work" irrespective of cost, yes.

When you "scan" a book, you're taking photos of the pages, which you can then run through OCR, but OCR, even of a page scanned with a flatbed scanner, is not going to understand page layout and a variety of typefaces perfectly. You're going to have a lot of errors to correct, and usually some reformatting to do, and adding in the text that OCR missed because it was part of an image or something.

You can do it yourself, comparing the scan to the OCR'd text, a layperson can edit and correct ~18 lines per minute, probably an entire weekend of your time.

You can hire a professional editor, who can edit and correct ~25 lines per minute, probably a few to several hundred dollars (USD) per book.

You could Mechanical Turk it, but I'm not sure the math and time trade-off works out, given that you have to have the edits confirmed and redone, either by other turkers, or by you.

At the end, you could have an hOCR file that you could readily turn into an ePub or something else, but there's no magic solution. (These figures are based on research and testing I did in 2013, using hOCR editing tools and hiring and timing a professional editor versus myself.)


If the book is just text and headings, can't you expect OCR to do a good job without any real need of human intervention?


Depends on what you mean by a "good job" and what you're doing with the results. 80-90% recognition isn't good enough if it means when you search for a term it doesn't show up because the OCR saw "rn" and wrote "m", or if you're having it translated, or having it read aloud with a text-to-speech synthesizer.

In my tests, we were seeing accuracy problems of 10-15% of lines needing correction, and this is a book that was primarily headers and text.

Sometimes this is character-level issues, like I cited above.

Sometimes this is dust, debris, shadows or markings being confused with text.

You get a little closer by running spelling and context checks against the words, but it's never 100% accurate. And if you aren't looking at the original pages, or you need automated systems to search/parse/translate/etc. the text, you need it to be 100% accurate, which means you need a human editor.

OCR isn't a solved problem.


Thank you for the detailed response. I honestly thought it was a solved problem (as in better performing than a human) as long as there is just running text.


Most of the ones I've seen just scrape other job sites or feeds, like Monster or Indeed. Standalone ones are going to provide higher quality listings, like:

Authentic Jobs, although you have to provide search terms: https://authenticjobs.com/#onlyremote=1&search=ux%20or%20ui%...

We Work Remotely, formerly the 37signals job board: https://weworkremotely.com/categories/1/jobs

Slack at Work, for companies that use Slack, although you seem to have to search for terms one at a time: http://slackatwork.com/


I also have a Windows Phone. There's an official Microsoft 2FA app that I use instead of Google Authenticator or Duo, including now for multiple Slack accounts. http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/authenticator/e7...


Slack was nice enough to point this out too. Works perfectly with the QRCode.


Sorry, where does it say it's built on Ace? The copy says Atom is the code editing component.


Atom is built on Ace


I don't think Atom is built on Ace. They had their own system which was powered by React before switching to hand crafted DOM manipulation. Also, Atom's written in Coffeescript and Ace is ordinary JS.


If you look at editor API it's very similar to Ace.


I think they started with Ace but then drifted the code a lot.


There's a YC/HN meetup: https://www.facebook.com/events/746658665448279/

Comments: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9154477


"If you’re curious, the other slot has 'Assembled in China – Designed by Apple in California' engraved inside."


It's in the slot where the bands snap to the watch body.


The Humane Interface, by Jef Raskin, goes into the basics, with examples and tests, including synthetic usability measures that can go a long way.

There aren't a lot of good tools or frameworks, unfortunately; you have to do the math yourself.



Applications are open for YC Winter 2016

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact