Kevin Cheng  

April Tools

April 2nd, 2004 by Kevin Cheng :: see related comic

Happy day after April Foolís. As the HCI/Usability site with a sense of humour, it was probably our responsibility to report something substantial like Jakob Nielsen partnering with Jared Spool or Jared officially changing his name to LL Spool J. Sadly, we can only offer suggestions on how you as an HCI practitioner might have gone about celebrating this mischievous day. We take no responsibility for your actions, nor your childrenís for that matter.Iím not sure if I was just living in a virtual cave but I didnít see any gags that particularly wowed me. Although Tom mentioned NPRís All Things Considered prank where they reported the US Postal Service will now permit zip codes to be moved with you when you move (if thatís the case, I guess thereís now a zip code in the UK). Somebody did the annual spoof of a new Apple product while others made fun of the easy target that is the American Administration.

In the end, it just seemed rather bland. I suppose these jokes only get interesting when people fall for it. Otherwise, itís just another article from the Onion, and probably of lower quality. I recall when a local radio station in Vancouver announced on their morning show that there was a space shuttle landing near Seattle, numerous Vancouverites actually drove down and probably never listened to that station ever again. What this says about the populace in my hometown, I donít know. Iíll attribute them to the outlying suburban municipalities.

Peopleís level of suspicion on the day is also interesting. Everything is scrutinized in much more detail than usual and anything reported on that day is treated as a potential hoax. Googleís GMail announcement, for example, seems like it has the elements of what they call Ö reality (I donít dabble in that realm often). Tom will talk more about that can of worms. If BBC reported today that chickens might have been used to regulate temperatures in landmines, you think, ďmy, thatís quite bizarre,Ē but on April Foolís, everyone becomes suspicious.

Help me out of my cave. What were some good hoaxes pulled this year and perhaps more importantly, who was fooled?

6 Responses to “April Tools”
Jez wrote:

Ha - I got fooled, by ThinkGeeks EZ-bake oven, to fit a CD-drive slot in PCs.
I even posted it on a PC modding site ( saying that I wouldn’t get one! (Fortunately no-one realised my blunder.)

Cristina wrote:

You know I was looking at that ThinkGeek stuff and thinking, “This has to be a joke,” but I completely forgot it was April Fool’s Day until I just read this column. And before I even got to the end and read the comment from Jez I realized that it WAS a joke!

KC wrote:

Y’know, I think if there was a microwave that could fit in a couple of 5 1/4″ slots, I’d get it for an office desktop. No more fighting with others during lunch!

I also like their links to “Now Shipping - Half Life 2, Doom 3″. Think Geek’s April Fool’s Page

Matt May wrote:

Stopdesign and Mezzoblue stealing each other’s CSS was the only good gag I found yesterday. (I wonder if it was funnier to SXSW attendees…)

Ron Zeno wrote:

As far as hypnosis is concerned, it appears there are people gullible enough to actually pay for such services, plus editors to uncritically report on their “effectiveness” My comments on an article on focus groups, with references.

Jared (LL Spool J) wrote:

I’m thinking seriously about the name change. Really, I am…

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OK/Cancel is a comic strip collaboration co-written and co-illustrated by Kevin Cheng and Tom Chi. Our subject matter focuses on interfaces, good and bad and the people behind the industry of building interfaces - usability specialists, interaction designers, human-computer interaction (HCI) experts, industrial designers, etc. (Who Links Here) ?