Beyond the screens

Wearable devices

I found this very interesting article on Medium today. It resonates with my idea about wearables. So, OK… we are obsessed by touch screen and touch UIs, but we should not try to put them everywhere and rather focus on providing value to users in different ways.
- What kind of data can we collect without relying on touch or speech input?
- How can we notify users and provide feedback without having to watch a new screen?

“As developers start to build applications for Google Glass, Pebble, Galaxy Gear, and Android Wear, we have to decide if we really need to see all of the same content on a new device. We already have an immensely powerful computer and content-consuming device in our pockets every day. It is time to look beyond the screens and discover a truly new product”

No More Screens | Andy Stone | Medium.com

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Doug Aitken | The Source

I just discovered this website from a colleague at Canonical. Check it out. It has an amazing, mesmerising nature that you hardly find in web today. Plus, it talks about Creativity in Music, Performance, Architecture.

Doug Aitken | The Source

The Source | Doug Aitken

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Solving the UX Puzzle

Having worked more than 13 years as either an Information Architect, User Experience Designer and HCI researcher, I accepted the invite from the organiser of UCD 2013 London to discuss what I learned by doing user centred design client- and agency-side.

  1. How does it differ?
  2. Does the agency engagement model allow a true user centred design process?
  3. Do agencies need to change the way they engage with their clients to create great products and services?
  4. What is our role in shaping the future of our practice?

Some answers can be found here

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The New Multi-Screen World: Understanding Cross-platorm Consumer Behavior

This excellent infographic sums up some of the most recent insights from a Sterling Brands/Ipsos research commissioned by Google.

Here’s some highlights:

90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal, whether that’s on smartphones, PCs, tablets or TV.

Two primary ways we multi-screen
In understanding what it means to multi-screen, they discovered two main modes of usage:

  • Sequential screening where we move from one device to another to complete a single goal
  • Simultaneous screening where we use multiple devices at the same time

They found that nine out of ten people use multiple screens sequentially and that smartphones are by far the most common starting point for sequential activity. So completing a task like booking a flight online or managing personal finances doesn’t just happen in one sitting on one device. In fact, 98% of sequential screeners move between devices in the same day to complete a task.

With simultaneous usage, they also found that TV no longer commands our undivided attention, with 77% of viewers watching TV with another device in hand. In many cases people search on their devices, inspired by what they see on TV.

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Excellent introduction to touch UI

I found this excellent introduction to Touch UIs by Luke Wroblewski that looks at the disruptiveness of the introduction of successful input methods in computer history. In a nutshell, every time a new input paradigm was introduced to the market, market dominance shifted to those companies who used them to serve consumers best.

From Re-imagining Apps for Ultrabook™ (Part 1): Touch Interfaces

Over the past several years, both in my product work and writings, I’ve focused primarily on designing for mobile devices. Mobile has not only grown tremendously, but popularized new ways for people to interact with digital services as well. New capabilities like multi-touch, location detection, device orientation, and much more have made mobile devices a playground for new interactions and product ideas. It’s been an exciting ride to say the least.

Now many of these revolutionary capabilities are making their way to a new category of devices through Intel’s Ultrabook™ system and, once again, a new set of opportunities is available for designers and developers to re-imagine software. It’s an exciting time for desktop apps and I hope this video series will not only inspire you to explore new ways of thinking but help you with detailed design advice as well.

To start the series, we’re going to look at the opportunity touch interfaces provide for desktop applications. Specifically, we’ll outline the impact of new input methods in personal computing and walk through the top-level principles behind designing for touch.

Link:http://software.intel.com/en-us/blogs/2012/08/09/re-imagining-apps-for-ultrabook-part-1-touch-interfaces

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Android Design Patterns

When I was offered presenting at the Design track at Droidcon 2011, I enthusiastically accepted as very little has been written on the topic. This still holds true, regardless of Android being the most widespread Smartphone OS on the planet.

The things is, Android apps have been heavily criticised in the past due to poor usability and aesthetic appeal. The truth lies in the middle: there are some great apps on the market, but they are flooded by a huge number of dreadful ones. Often the functionality is there, but lack of design makes them hard and unpleasant to use.

One of the issues with Android is a lack of solid & consistent UI patterns. UI Patterns are beneficial to designers and users as they set the expectations in interacting with a device.

When I started designing for the Skype Android app back in 2009, my team faced the huge challenge of creating a solid, consistent interaction design language almost from scratch. Even Google proprietary apps such as Gmail, Messaging, YouTube, etc. had several pitfalls. In a way, it was also extremely exciting as we could do whatever we wanted – a designer’s dream and nightmare, folded into one.

Fast forward to 2011, I feel Android is in a better position. Google – while being the smartphones market leader – has hired early this year former Danger’s Sidekick & Palm Web OS user experience director, Mathias Duarte. I watched him at Google I/O this year presenting the Honeycomb UI framework with his team and I recognised there was a lot of progress in there.

In my view, the UI changes started by Honeycomb is going to make Android easier (and more pleasant) to use. However, Honeycomb is just for tablets: the main challenge will be with when the next Android release (a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich) comes out in a few weeks – as the same principles will support both tablets & handsets.

Here are some of the design challenges Android designers still face nowadays:

  • How do you navigate between the different sections of the app?
  • How do you visualise information?
  • How do you provide feedback while avoiding interrupting the user?

Each app is different and there is no silver bullet to tackle all these questions – it depends on a number of factors.

My goal with this presentation is to look at some of the most remarkable apps on the Android Market and analyse best practices in navigation, fluid, responsive interaction and information visualisation.

 

 
 

References

Pixel Perfect Code: How to Marry Interaction & Visual Design the Android Way
Google IO. Chris Nesladek May 27, 2009.

Android Design Patterns
Google IO. Chris Nesladek, German Bauer, Richard Fulcher, Christian Robertson, Jim Palmer. May 2010.

Designing and Implementing Android UIs for Phones and Tablets
Matias Duarte, Rich Fulcher, Roman Nurik, Adam Powell and Christian Robertson

Android Patterns website

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