Archive for the 'user experience' Category

How my online consumption is changing

Time is finite and is becoming more valuable to me every day.

I’m finding myself using my handset (an iPhone) to keep up with news via my RSS feeds (which I’m still a big fan of) and for casually grazing on Twitter for interesting insights & articles.

I use Reeder 2.0 for reading blogs & Tweetie 2.0 for Twitter.

I’m a paid up member of Pinboard (I got in early when it was less than a $1) rather than delicious for a number of reasons, one of them being that anything I favourite on Twitter automatically gets picked up and stored on my Pinboard account for future reference. Additionally, I can store stuff on Pinboard as something to be read later or as public; All very nice features.

I have a posterous account, a Tumblr account and this blog.

I am beginning (admittedly slowly!) to separate my own personal thoughts to just this blog (hence the lack of updates since they generally take longer to write). Comments I want to make on an article, video or image that I read, watch or view to my posterous blog and a general ‘river of interesting things’ to my Tumblog.

I generally auto-post to Tumblr and Twitter from Posterous, but I’m still playing around with auto-posting in general and haven’t found a sweet spot. On that note I’m looking into which is like a cross between Twitterfeed and Yahoo Pipes on Steroids. It looks really cool, just haven’t had the opportunity to sit down with it properly yet.

I have added my starred items RSS feed from Google Reader to my Tumblr account. I tend to ‘star’ anything that looks interesting in my RSS feed, particularly when I’m on the underground and have no signal.

If I read something that I’d like to comment on, then Reeder gives me the option to email the article and I’ll email that to my posterous email address, creating a post there. Depending on what tags I associate with the email that post will auto-post the same article to both my Tumblr account & my blog here…keeping up? ;p

If there’s something I read while I’m out and about using Reeder I can do one of 3 things:

I can email it to my posterous account and it will auto-post it to my blog and Tumblr based on the email address I use. (For more on how posterous works have a look at the FAQ section on – It makes posting stuff really easy.)
I can star it and it will automatically appear in my Tumblog.
I can choose to Tweet it or send it to pinboard. Sending it directly to pinboard keeps it private, sending it via Twitter broadcasts it and then it gets picked up by pinboard and stored publically.

So that’s about it. I’m still tinkering, but I’m managing to keep on top of things mainly traveling to and from work. I’m still limited by not being able to work well off-line when I don’t have a signal, but I’m getting there and keeping my fingers crossed that it’s a feature of the upcoming iPhone 4.0.

iPad UX design, articles, resources & insights

I’ve been talking through a number of potential iPad applications with people at work and I’m gathering a fairly useful and extensive list of articles and considerations around the iPad. I’m sharing that list here and I’ll be adding to it as I find more.

A summary of the iPad UX Guidelines
Video – Highlights of the iPad native app presentation given by Steve Job
Video – Highlights of the iWorks apps on the iPad
Images – Detailed Flickr gallery of iPad UI conventions including comments
Images – Detailed Flickr gallery of iPad UI interactions best viewed as Slideshows
iPad scrubber navigation considerations
Heightened physicality & realism considerations

iPad Application Design
Great presentation on iPad application design
Books in the Age of iPad

Design Templates (not for production, but good for starters):
iPad icon template
iPad GUI template
iPad Omnigraffle template

Flexible Surfaces – Interfaces of the Future

A year ago, before Microsoft Surface, Microsoft created a video suggesting some of the User Interfaces of the future. Some of these are VERY cool:

None though are as cool as OLED flexible surfaces such as these…


And Sony’s OLED flexible screens:


Off the back of my last post on Microsoft’s Touch Wall and my slightly off-topic update dealing with OpenFrameworks, these are the two guys behind OF:

Theodore Watson (
Zach Lieberman (

United Visual Artists ( are also using it heavily.

Image taken from Theodore Watson’s latest work, Funky Forest: An interactive ecosystem

Information Design patterns

Information Design patterns

Christian Behrens has created an excellent collection of Information Design patterns.

Everyone should really go and check out his great work.

Alternative Reality Games

Following on from the below quote, AGRs have really taken off recently.

‘Lost’ carved out a huge following last year with it’s online biscuit trail of rumour and intrigue, and it’s going for it again with Fly Oceanic Air.

It started with billboards spotted in Knoxville, Tennessee. The billboards advertised a URL,

On visiting the website, you are sucked into an adventure involving multiple websites, video diaries, photos with text hidden among the pixels, clue hunts, and strategy games. You can even call a toll-free phone number and get progress updates about the search for missing Oceanic Flight 815. Interesting characters and mysteries keep web players engaged and new content is posted at seemingly random intervals, forcing frequent check-ins to see if there’s anything new.

Last week Enitech Technology popped up as well…

  1. Enitech Research’s blog began posting in June last year, with links off to other bogs starting in October. Content on it started coming thick and fast at the beginning of the month.
  2. Despite that, even as early as October there are blog posts which link out to other fake blogs which go into minute details concerning the physics behind the research companies.
  3. 4 days ago a video was posted onto YouTube by an Enitech employee, in it she mentions that they’ve created something that enables them to see something like 1193 into the future.
  4. The FOX promotional website to Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles ( has a countdown clock matching the same number of days.
  5. In the video she mentions that one of her previous jobs was at Cyberdyne (which any Terminator fan will remember as the California tech outfit that reverse-engineered the technology to build Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger).
  6. There’s a Facebook group for Former Cyberdyne Systems Employees.
  7. Enitech’s blog post today integrates comments & suggestions left by visitors on previous posts.

ARGs are a perfect fit for sponsors looking to fund immersive, cutting-edge brand experiences and for people who love a good story — not to mention the feeling of contributing to it — There’s a whole genre of interactive experience here that we’re only just seeing the start of…

simplicity vs. complexity

There’s a fine line between simplicity and complexity. That line is mindset. Let me explain.

In my daily work I strive to ‘make the complicated simple’, yet as humans we always strive for more complexity.

John Maeda, Associate Director of Research at The Media Lab, gave a TED talk in March 2007, which has only recently been uploaded to the TED website. In it he talks about Simplicity in terms of human nature and ends with one simple insight:

“Simplicity is about living life with more enjoyment and less pain”

Watch the talk to understand fully the above statement.

I think it’s a fantastic talk and illustrates why John is at the top of his field.

Back in May(?) I visited his first solo exhibition in London in a tiny gallery just off Berwick St. Alot of the humour he showed in his art also comes out in this talk.

Back to the point though. What struck me about his talk was how it related to another insight I read recently. David Armano, author of Logic+Emotion, re-posted an article titled ‘Navigators, Explorers, and Engaged Participants’.

In it he discusses the same topic of simplicity vs. complexity – but from a different angle. David highlights the different mindsets of people’s interactive experiences.

In it’s simplest form, when you’re making a payment online you want the process to be uncomplicated and straight forward (Navigator). If you’ve got some time to kill then you might enjoy stumbling around, not really caring how you get from point A to B (Explorer). Lastly and most uniquely, if you engage with an experience online you can invest some time in creating something with the pay- off being the ability to share it, such as uploading a video to YouTube (Engaged Participant).

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