Saturday, July 24, 2010

"Easy" that isn't

We're in a bit of a holding pattern since CHA has not begun and the eCraft machines are still in the delivery pipeline.  So, in an effort to become a little LESS clueless about digital cutters, I thought I'd use the time to look around a bit at all the current offerings.

I begin by exploring the Sizzix eClips by viewing their promotional videos.

Because the eClips is limited to modifying internal or cartridge based shapes, it falls outside of our area of interest.  Bur, even so, the quest was not without some merit that helps to remind us of some basic things we need to keep in mind when evaluating software and systems.

Before viewing a video that demonstrates the eClips navigation system, I'd like to point out some of my observations so that when you take the time to view the short video, you can see if you agree or not.

The whole point of the video is to convince you that the remote control is very EASY to use.  But, it appears to me that they completely missed the boat on that one by the layout of their buttons.  The demonstrator is constantly going back and forth between the screen and various buttons that have very few visual clues as to their immediate function. Until one learns the relationship of the screen and buttons at different points along the design flow, it appears to me that the interface isn't intuitive at all.

By including buttons around the perimeter of the screen, they could have used the screen, itself, to provide clues as to the appropriate actions at any stage of the design process.  A great example of a truly easy screen\button interface can be found on many digital keyboards.  Watch how effortlessly the player can switch styles, etc.  That is because the the screen and buttons are linked. No jumping back and forth.


Now, let's compare the Sizzix eClips design in which the screen and buttons are NOT obviously linked.  Let's take a look at the navigation video for the eClips remote.

To me this is a perfect example of calling something EASY when it is not.

Of course, to be fair, "easy" is a relative term.  But, my criteria is based on the possible design verses the chosen design.  And, by this criteria, the eClips designers could have done a LOT better job actually making the eClips easy to use with fewer steps involved in the user's design workflow. 

Nice idea?  Perhaps.  But, the implementation seems poor to me.


Lysa said...

Hey there Meeks Man,
I just read somewhere (I think it was scrapbook update) that on Tues. at CHA sizzix is releasing the new eclips that they have added a laser alignment light to. So now it will function like the wishblade and craftrobo for its print and cuts. The article made a direct referance to shoot down provo's imagine with the phrase "no need for the consumer to buy a new printer when they already own one" Now through all my years of print and cut the worst was that the paper itself left one machine for another. Don't get me wrong the wishblade works but if it is really reflective paper or to sunny in the room I have to cover it with something so that the laser light reading works. And Meeks my friend you and I both know when somebody says it's as easy as 1-2-3, we know they left out the part about 4-5 and 6! I am so looking forward to CHA videos on all the newbies. Dude, let me hit you with one more phrase ... can you say "flash stamp machine" I got a brother that only works with pre-inked holders ... but if you get a chance google it and check them out what a cool toy! Hope the rest of your weekend is great. Talk to you soon.

Tom Meeks said...

I'm intrigued by the Flash Stamp technology.

From the demos I've viewed some seem to have circular as well as well as rectangular shapes.

I'm wondering if it could be adapted to be used to make small molds into soft clay is pressed or that could be pressed onto clay objects to provide patterns?

I recently purchased a portable Canon inkjet printer and was surprised that the alignment was automatically accomplished by what appears to be a tiny laser.

I'll have to check out the Wishblade and CraftRobo as I wait for the CHA videos.

Lysa said...

Meeks Man,
I love this flash technology too. It goes back to my days of using a home screen printing machine call a Print Gocco made by a Japaneses company called Riso. It flashed a fine mesh screen that was coated in emulsion, closing the mesh wherever no black print was. The flash rubber works the same way by closing the pores of the rubber pad. I love it. I convinced the Hubs that we should get it because I told him if I didn't use it for art stamps I knew I could sell enough things like return address stamps and business stamps to pay for it. and I have. Plus a great new home gift is the return address stamp. I sell a lot of those. Also I am intrigued by 3-D modeling as well as Hubs is a porcelain dental ceramist by trade. He hand carves high end dental restorations, you know crown and bridge work. Now the trend in his industry is to take out the craftsmen and replace him with the CAD software and the 3-D model maker that does a precision crown. So he brought me home a trade magazine showing all the new technology trends of the industry but he said one thing that stuck with me.(and I am trying not to parapharse)he said "The machines can make the perfect fitting crown or bridge but it lacks the artistic eye that brings color and luminosity to the tooth". As a once dental tech myself I know he mean that the machine cannot see the other teeth so the machine can't match the persons existing color, staining and flaws. It only can make the tooth in the color the tech programs into the CAD. I do believe at some point in time he will be replaced fully but for now as the system is still in the early stages he will be working. I believe that a laser light is used to read the dimensions of the hard model to create the restoration. Meeks me and you need to go back in time a bit cause there is some oh so cool stuff com'n down the pike. Have a great day.
I noticed you are up'n the blog...Hey my blog is noteworthy!! can I get that in writing? Ya know something to hang in the ole cubicle at work.

Tom Meeks said...


Consider your "Noteworthy" status already duly noted and documented. I chose the group title carefully... along with the group's luminaries.

But, perhaps those selected SHOULD receive fancy official plaques with gold embossing appropriate to memorialize their august and lofty status! :)