10 Apr

Design Shack – UI Design: Should We Really Be Afraid of the Uncanny Valley?

Is realism abused in UI design? You bet. Are realistic iPad interfaces a trend that will pass? Absolutely. Are they for everyone? Absolutely not. Minimal apps like iA Writer often sell like hotcakes because they abandon realism in favor of pure efficiency.

The point that I’m making in this article is that “realism” is not the dirty word that designers are currently making it out to be. As a designer, you shouldn’t abandon a really great interface idea in fear that the Uncanny Valley police will come and get you. You should definitely be mindful of this principle, note that even Apple’s interfaces intentionally shy far away from photorealism, but you shouldn’t be afraid that a little bit of texture will make users hate your app.

Successful UI designers know that a solid, usable foundation is the basis for any well-design application. How much extra styling you apply depends on your target audience and whether or not they will perceive it as helping or hindering the design as well as the context of the application.

Ask yourself the following questions: Does my metaphor make sense in this setting? Will the layout stay strong if the metaphor is taken away? Am I applying realism to improve the app’s acceptance and usability or because I’m prone to following trends? Does my target audience tend to love or hate similar ideas?

via Design Shack – UI Design: Should We Really Be Afraid of the Uncanny Valley?. Good points, a little bit of realism isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but just don’t take it too far.

05 Apr

ericbieller.com – What makes iOS user experience so much better than Android?

Since starting my position as UI/UX Designer at Tapjoy I have had the opportunity to become more familiar with some of the latest Android Devices. Though I have been an iPhone user since the first iteration of the device, I consider myself open to new devices and experiences. I had heard a lot of hype about the Android phones (mainly the HTC) being a comparable alternative to the iPhone so I was excited about the opportunity to check them out. However, the point of this article is to tell you that, despite 4g, kickstands, larger screens, higher-res cameras, Android phones still can’t compete with the iPhone.

For the sake of clarity, I want to disclose that I will be looking at the phone from a user experience perspective. Typical reviews are quick to compare specs and features but don’t usually focus on the overall experience and aesthetic of the device. This aesthetic appeal is what makes the iPhone the top consumer handheld, despite any lacking features. So if you care more about features and specs than user experience, you might completely disagree with what I have to say. That being said, here are my thoughts on the two different experiences:

via ericbieller.com – What makes iOS user experience so much better than Android?. In a nutshell these were more or less my main issues with the experience of using an Android phone.

06 Mar

Zach Holman – I Liked It When Quick Bars Got Me Drunk

With this new update, I can finally forfeit that additional one-tenth of my screen real estate I’ve been meaning to shed. A beautiful five-tweet vertically-stacked display can miraculously, at just the click of an AppStore update button, turn into four tweets. Or three! I can also gain an ever-present UI element constantly informing me about mysterious subjects like “Friday” or “blackpeoplemovies” or “Donald Trump”. Sometimes, if I’m really lucky, it will inform me about a really neat product from a company that is so neat that the company needs to pay Twitter money to help promote it.

via Zach Holman – I Liked It When Quick Bars Got Me Drunk. Even more about the #dickbar.

28 Feb

Cocoia Blog – Getting Notified

This is not a post about what Apple will or should do to improve notifications on iOS. It’s a post talking about what solutions other platforms currently use to notify the user, and why Apple is (possibly, probably) taking such a while to create an optimal solution to the notification problem.

via Cocoia Blog – Getting Notified. Interesting seeing how other mobile OS’es implement notifications.

19 Feb

Subtraction.com – The Interactive TV You Already Use

All of this goes to making a point that I repeat often: every design solution must be native to its intended medium. Even though two media may look similar, may share many similar qualities, may even target the same users, in almost every case they will be different in fundamental ways, and users will expect interfaces to respect what makes each unique. It’s unrealistic to expect that the sort of interface you might find on a desktop application or even a mobile application will work on a television, and yet that was more or less Google TV’s approach. Similarly, it’s also unrealistic to expect a tablet computer to work like a print magazine, but then again everyone knows that.

via Subtraction.com – The Interactive TV You Already Use. One of the problems with Google’s products is they are built primarily by engineers as opposed to designers. Google builds a fantastic back end but invariably a less impressive front end in their less mature products. This invites this exact problem where a product almost entirely designed by engineers is marketed towards average people, leading to a failed product. It’s in a lot of ways the exact opposite approach of Apple’s and a reason why Apple may not have a fantastic backend product (Cloud Stored Media anybody), but man are the products a dream to use in most cases.

03 Sep

Signal vs. Noise – Smiley: An app in 24 hours

We talked about it for a bit and came up with this basic goal: Let’s make it really easy for our customers to quickly rate our customer service every time we talk to them. It’s not rocket science, and it’s not a breakthrough idea, but it wasn’t something we were doing. It was time we experimented with the concept. We’d write some software and try it out. We’d call the app Smiley.

via Signal vs. Noise – Smiley: An app in 24 hours. 37signals shows how they went from concept to finished product in 24 hours. The great thing is that it’s a pretty simple app, but seems like a solid concept and well executed.

08 Jul

A List Apart – Never Use a Warning When you Mean Undo

Merely removing warnings doesn’t save our work from peril, but using an “undo” function does. Let me say that again: The solution to our warning woes is undo. With a robust undo, we can close our work with reckless abandon and be secure in the knowledge that we can always get it back. With undo, we can make that horrible “oops!” feeling go away by getting our work back.

via A List Apart – Never Use a Warning When you Mean Undo. Rather than use a warning consider using the ability to just undo. Less hassle to do the action and easy to fix in the case of a mistake.

24 Jun

Dustin Curtis – The Clear War by Kevin Mattice

Right or wrong, companies who care little about the design of a customer’s experience are often thought to care little about its customers. Poor design encourages people to believe in a brand’s ham-handedness, in its cloth-eared reluctance to listen and respond. If openness, communication, and accountability are the bellwethers of clarity, then poor design is a smudge—a flaw that seems to hide rather than reveal. That was the problem with my breakage scenario: The marketing guy preferred to hide from people, withholding information and feigning incompetence rather than fulfilling what seemed to be a sincere obligation.

via Dustin Curtis – The Clear War by Kevin Mattice. A designer’s job is provide a seamless experience not to trick customers.

28 Mar

Honest Interfaces – 52 Weeks of UX

And so we return to the point of this article: build honest interfaces. Build trust into the very fabric of your product. Evaluate your design choices by asking yourself, “does this element mislead the user in any way?” If it does, take steps to align the interface with the expected behavior/action.

via Honest Interfaces – 52 Weeks of UX. One of the major things to build in any design is honestly.