Why Agile Needs to Start in Academia

About a decade ago, I was in the midst of completing my degree in information science at the University of Michigan.  Wanting to avoid just taking a bunch of vanilla courses, such as computer programming, data modeling, and cognitive psychology, (which all are valuable and important courses to take), I sought out courses in other schools and departments to broaden my horizons.  One such course, in the School of Art & Architecture, was a physical computing course called “Interfacing.” In the Interfacing course, an art student would pair up with a student from the School of Electrical Engineering to collaborate in building a series of electronic interactive art pieces.  Since I had registered for the course via the School of Art, I was considered the “artist” and was paired up with an engineering student.  Together, we developed our project idea, an analog radio that would tune itself based on proximity

Toilet Usability – 6 Reasons Why the new NYC Public Toilets are Doomed

With great fanfare, New York City Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff (who will almost certainly never use this toilet himself) today announced the installation of new public toilets throughout the city (toilets he will almost certainly not be using himself.)  The idea of public restrooms in the city is of course highly welcomed, though it’s a bit embarrassing that this is being announced in 2008 and not, say, 1908.  But no matter, when reading the description of the new toilets, there are just so many IMO terrible design choices that were made that I have to wonder if any kind of prototyping/usability testing was completed.  I just can’t imagine these toilets being a success and these are some reasons why: 1 – They look like prison toilets There is a very strong association between a stainless steel toilet attached to the wall with no seat and what you might find in