I’ve always drawn inspiration from game design – it’s an obvious way to make interactive experiences that people enjoy.
For the inaugural Wellington Web Meetup I did a presentation on how game mechanics and the human need to play can be applied to interaction design to transform tasks that are painful and dull into experiences that are fun and addictive.
This demo of Parallex, a plug-in for Freebase, shows multi-faceted searches which you can visualise on a map or a timeline. The narrator snidely comments that you can’t do that on Google, but actually you can with Google Experimental, as well as the Google Visualization API. Nevertheless, it’s still pretty impressive.
I’m putting together some hands-on workshops, focused on improving online experiences. I’ve created a new site for this little project – please head over to Skyrize.com for all the details.
The first one is Rapid Prototyping in Flash (no experience with Flash necessary). We’ll also be covering many aspects of interaction design. It’s happening on 31 July from 7-9pm. The workshop is for designers, developers, project managers, biz dev and marketing people.
It should be a lot of fun. Be sure to register early, because registration is limited to 10 people, so everyone has quality hands-on time.
It’s always made me crazy that phone experiences aren’t better integrated with the desktop. On the desktop you have the space to manipulate large data sets and UI elements very easily and quickly.
There have been feeble, wretched attempts made by Nokia and Sony. I’m disappointed with the integration Apple has offered so far with the iPhone via iTunes. It’s extremely limited and frustrating. The new Mobile Me interface seems promising, but I’m not holding my breath that it’s what I want.
In the video below, Google demos the type of customisation that I’m looking for. At about 3:30 they show how you to customise the phone experience through a desktop interface. Just drag-and-drop content and UI widgets to your phone. Finally somebody has done it right!
My beloved K750 has crapped out on me. It’s not beloved anymore.
To replace it, I almost bought the N95. Then I played around with it. It has a killer feature set, but it’s extremely expensive and it has the absolute worst hardware and software design. It’s pitiful. For half the price I got the iPhone. Thank god for that.
The iPhone is almost certainly, as my friend Wayne put it, the best 1.0 product ever. I’m really dying to know how they pulled it off. How did they manage to design such a refined user experience in a 1.0 – without news of the phone’s details leaking?
I say that even though my version of the iPhone lacks the ability to make or receive phone calls, text messages, or email/web on-the-go via GPRS!! I can NOT wait until they work out the crack.
So what’s to love?
The drop dead beautiful UI design and hardware. That’s obvious just looking at screenshots, but using it is far more impressive.
The touch keyboard works extremely well. I often use one hand to type and I’m definitely much faster typing on it than a standard mobile keypad. Admittedly, I was never one of those hyper-thumb freaks.
The speed of the interface. It’s incredibly responsive and smooth. Just like Macs, putting it to sleep and waking it up is instantaneous.
The photo quality is very good. I thought the K750 took decent shots, but the iPhoto pix are significantly better (however, I do have some gripes about the camera).
The apps (calendar, maps, notepad) are stunning. Purely from a UI design perspective it’s beautiful. The interactions are very quick and very smooth, with nicely anticipated shortcuts and navigational details.
I can’t transfer songs from different machines. WTF?! That’s absolutely fucked. That is just stupid, lame and IMO really cripples the device.
Camera controls. The thing I used most on my K750 was the camera and the MP3 player. Same goes for the iPhone. The K750 definitely had better hardware controls for both. The iPhone is sorely lacking a hardware camera shutter button. The touch screen shutter is awful. It’s the one time I desperately need tactile feedback and precision. The touch screen sensitivity doesn’t always work and that is maddening when you’re trying to capture a split second moment. It also could really use auto-focus and a macro. Plus, they need to move the lens – my finger always shows up in photos!
Audio playback controls. The volume buttons are great, but I also need controls for play/stop and next/previous without using the screen. I know the Apple headset has those controls on the mic clip, but I don’t use Apple’s headphones and that controller isn’t so elegant anyway. My K750 would do next/previous by holding down the volume up/down. I wish the iPhone did the same. For play/stop it should use the camera shutter button I want added. Finally, scrolling through long audio files like This American Life episodes is hellish with the scrubber. Here’s a great suggestion from Chris Fahy: an on screen jog dial for scrubbing audio.
The wifi reception is really weak. And it doesn’t always activate automatically.
As I mentioned, the touch sensitivity is not always reliable, which can be pretty maddening sometimes.
The predictive text is terrible and it always messes things up. I wish I could just turn it off.
I constantly want to use the home button as a back button in the iPod
Here’s an idea: Wifi syncing. Duh. I’m sure they must be working on this.
What I miss from my K750?
The LED light. It was ostensibly the camera flash, but I used it mostly as a flashlight and reading light. It came in super handy on many occasions, especially camping.
The radio. I expect a radio will be available on future iPhones. It’s really nice to listen to the radio sometimes.
I won’t miss…the flimsy/broken connector jack, the flimsy/broken thumbstick, the flimsy/broken camera shutter button.
The iPhone is definitely giving me Apple love. I’m still not quite compelled to switch to a Mac. I’d really just love to use my iPhone as my primary OS. If I could connect my iPhone via wifi to a big screen and keyboard then BAM…I’ve got my pocket computer that has most my data in the cloud and acts as a Web OS client device.
This navigation system paints a virtual line over the road which appears on your car’s windscreen. It’s like living inside a Google Map! All the other nav systems seem to force you to think and can easily be misread. This seems so obvious, natural and unobtrusive.