I’ve been thinking about the experiences I have as a user (not a designer) and the ones make my life simpler or better in some way. The trend for me seems to be less separation between my online and offline experiences and that trend seems to be hot right now (hello, augmented reality). They aren’t perfect, but here are the user experiences I’ve benefited from this year.
I’m connected to old friends and far flung family members on a daily basis. It’s wonderful to share pictures, thoughts, and links with people I know without having to actually make time for it. Picking up the phone (or writing letters) feels impossible most days and I’m so thankful I can check in when it’s convenient.
Having my e-mail, the web, and my favorite apps with me wherever I go has given me an amazing freedom. In 2008, i I was waiting for an important e-mail, I had to sit at my desk. In 2009, I can be anywhere — the grocery store, the park, the car (not while driving, of course.) I feel much more productive and in control.
3. Runkeeper.com and the RunKeeper Pro App
Running is a new-found joy of mine and Runkeeper puts so much information at my fingertips. During a run, I know how fast I’m running, how far I’ve gone, and get audio cues reminding me to speed up or slow down. After a run, I get a map of where I ran, a calories burned estimate, my splits, elevation and more. And having a single place to see all my runs over time helps me to see my progress and motivates me to keep going.
This website has its flaws and usability issues, but it seems to be the best way for fitness-based events to collect registration and payment information. All 5 of the 5Ks I’ve signed up for this year have used Active.com. I’m thankful for the convenience of searching for events on their site and the ease with which I can sign up. If each organization used a different platform, the experience would be much more difficult for them and for me.
My favorite part off Twitter is the sharing of news and information. I follow a variety of new sources, bloggers, and other media people. As a result, I rarely visit Google Reader anymore. I like the combination of selective filtering (choosing who to follow) and currency (based on what time I am looking at my stream). To me, consuming information this way feels much less overwhelming that RSS feeds.
For the first time in my career, I’ve needed to create and send invoices this year. I was a little overwhelmed about how best to do this and went to Google in search of some templates. What I found was a great, free site that makes invoicing so simple. It’s easy to get started and the customer service is great.