So Toronto has nice new shiney subways now and it appears that their manufacturer Bombardier, did not take a user center approach to design and did next to no user testing. That or their engineers are getting together with our mayor to partake in some less than reputable activities.


Hey Bombardier! Have any of your engineers actually ridden a subway before. If they had they'd have know the the ceiling right inside the doorway needs . . . . drum roll please . . . handles!! Not a giant and flat air conditioner with nothing to grab onto. Look at these poor rush hour souls trying desperately to stay upright using only their fingers. I can tell you this crap design has led to me ending up in the lap or stepping on the feet of countless fellow passengers. Please Bombardier, in the future, hire me to do some user testing for you so us poor TTCers don't have to fight to stay standing upright using only a pinky.

In yet another example of terrible UX design, this time in the mobile domain,  the screenshot below shows the extremely annoying and impossible to dismiss permanently, Android message that continuously asks me if I'm really sure I want to max out the volume of my rock n' roll tunes.


Dear Android. When I'm listening to Rage Against The Machine and I hold the increase volume button, that means its time to kick out the jam, and you'd best comply without undue delay.

I guarantee that a competent UE professional was overridden by legal in this case.

What I don't understand is why a simple checkbox allowing the user to skip future warnings wasn't included. At the very least they should have included something in the settings that would allow me to hide the message permanently.  Google in their brilliance has made it impossible to prevent this message from appearing without rooting the phone.

This is terrible UE design and is what I consider to be one of the main drawbacks of my S3. Hopefully future software updates will remove this annoyance.

As a user experience professional, one of the major draw backs is that you notice poor design more than the average person. Combine that with my Mediterranean background (think highly emotional) and you have a person getting unreasonably upset at what most people would call everyday things.

Take for example my somewhat recent attempt to relieve myself while teaching at one of the fine colleges in the Greater Toronto Area. As you know college students, especially male IT students, can be especially punishing to the washroom facilities, so I'll often bend the rules and check out the dedicated accessible washroom. In this particular instance I was met with the following buttons:


All I can envision when I see these two buttons is a poor fellow sitting down to drop a deuce and thinking, "Oh NO! I've forgotten to lock the door, I'd better just hit this red button here", then accidentally hitting the emergency button and the swat team arriving to an embarrassed man with his pants around his ankles.

Would it be so hard to at least use a different button type, put them in different locations (ie farther apart), or cover the emergency button in a way that prevents accidentally pressing it. False alarms are a big problem, and I'm willing to bet, after a few embarrassing incidents, security will stop responding, and possibly ignore an actual alarm.

I've seen other examples of this as well. In a more egregious case, the "Lock Door" button and "Open Door" button where also identical, and located next to each other, likely resulting in embarrassing situations. Its time building managers begin to consider User Experience for bathrooms, because I am constantly seeing terrible design in them.

I recently published an article in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. The link to the article on ScienceDirect can be seen here:

A copy of the article can be yours for only $35.95! If you're a student at a college or university your should be able to access it for free.

A few years ago, when The Emoti-Chair project was fairly new, we decided to put on a rock and roll show. We put together a few amazing bands and brought out five Emoti-Chairs to a great venue in Toronto called Clinton's. These were very early prototypes, but already we could see that people were enjoying them. This little show grabbed the attention of the media for a few days in 2008. Here was one of the interviews I gave about the show and the research project, this one for the local morning show in Barrie, Ontario. The one and only Fox Jaws was with me as well.

I have been teaching an introduction to programming course this semester and have been recording my lectures. I've posted them to YouTube for all to enjoy free of charge.  I've assembled all the videos into a playlist here:

I've set up a course page here:

The course isn't quite complete yet, but to date we've covered variables, loops, conditional statements, arrays, classes/objects and methods. I'm teaching these concepts using Visual Studio 2012 C#.

I'll create a page later on once the course is finished that will include assignments and lab problems.