Interaction 11 App
Friday saw the release of the Interaction 11 app for the iPhone and iPad. Smudgeproof has done an excellent job on this one. There are two parts of the application: Sessions and Map. The Sessions part is a detailed schedule organized by day that provides access to descriptions of each presentation. The killer feature is the ability to mark sessions and events for inclusion on “My Schedule”, a...
Emily Kerwin is an amateur guitarist who has had the experience of dropping her pick during a performance on stage. She focussed on this problem during my class last semester. After surveying the range of picks available and researching potential solutions, such as Gorilla Snot, she began brainstorming. She sketched a number of concepts very early on and was therefore able to do a lot of rapid...
In the Details: Doppledragging
Graphics applications follow a standard method for duplication of objects. You can hold down the Option key (Mac) while dragging an object to duplicate it, leaving the original object where it was and dropping a copy of it elsewhere. Typical behavior is for the cursor to change, indicating that the duplication is happening, and for the original object to remain on the page while a copy of it is...
Nick Gould requested examples of life-changing products and user experiences on the IxDA forum. Realizing the expansiveness of that request, I had to limit my scope to find what I considered to be appropriate answers. For something to be life-changing to me, it would obviously have to be something introduced within my lifetime; cars and televisions don’t make the cut. But for a change to occur,...
I buy a lot of stuff on line. Amazon is my go-to store for almost everything. Fresh groceries, of course, I still buy at a supermarket. I picked out shoes online once, but that didn’t turn out as well, so I still shop brick-and-mortar for clothing. Saturday, I drove a good half hour to go to Drum World. I’ve purchased percussion instruments online many times, but this time I had to pick something...
I’ve always considered Amazon’s patent on 1-Click purchasing to be absurd. But, that’s water under the bridge and way down stream. Apple has been paying Amazon to license 1-Click purchasing for use in the iTunes store, or so I assume, for a long time now. I’ve never turned the option on, neither on Amazon’s site nor in iTunes. I don’t mind having to take an extra step to make a purchase. I’d much...
Meet Me in Boulder!
We increased the attendance of Interaction 11 by about 100 people over last year’s conference. There will be right around 620 interaction designers descending on Boulder. And let me tell you, it hasn’t been easy. I had to arrange rates with several hotels, and we are filling them up. One of the biggest logistical issues has been the transportation. And there just aren’t many venues that will hold...
A Few Words About Words
Words With Friends has been a popular game on the iPhone. It’s basically Scrabble. What I like about it is that it is asynchronous. You invite somebody to play a game, and the two of you take turns as you have time. You receive an alert when your opponent plays, and the app icon displays a badge indicating the number of games that are awaiting your play. In this way, you can have multiple ongoing...
Too Many Clicks
I had heard talk of gdgt on TWIT many times and decided, just for fun, to take a look. The premise is that it allows you to connect with other people based on the gadgets you have. I’m not actually interested in doing that, but I was interested in the design of the service. I signed up for an account and started creating my gadget list, but after adding just a few items, I’ve decided it is way too...
Yan Zhao comes to design from a fine arts background. She realized that she has been dissatisfied with the standard painting palettes available for artists and decided to design a better one in my class last semester. She identified the thumb hole as a major weakness—it makes it harder to clean, more likely that you’ll get paint on your hands, and takes up valuable space from the working...
In the Details: Flycons
When I first took a look at the new Mac App Store, I noticed that one of the applications I already have, TextWrangler, was not marked as installed, while Apple’s applications were. It’s a free app, so I decided to use it as a test. When I clicked the button to install it, the app’s icon flew in a graceful arc from the store to the position in the dock where it was placed. While this may seem...
Michele Marut and I co-founded IxDA Pittsburgh five years ago. Since that time, I’ve been co-leading the group. We started out having the occasional happy hour meet-and-greet. Eventually, we were planning programs. During the past two years, we’ve been holding events almost every month, ranging from studio tours to seminars, and our informal membership is well over fifty. We have a dedicated...
HDCP and Me
I do not care about copy protection as long as it doesn’t interfere with my lawful use of media that I own (or own a license to—whatever). I get irate, otherwise. I was never particularly concerned with the Fairplay encryption on iTunes music files, because I never encountered any problems caused by it. HDCP, on the other hand, has me on edge. I purchased a new Apple TV over the holidays. I...
Mac App Store
Releasing the iPhone SDK was a significant milestone in the current Apple device phenomenon, but I consider the App Store to be even more significant. Sure, there are complaints about the reviews, and some feel that it isn’t easy enough to browse, but the App Store made it so easy to purchase, download, and update applications right from the device that I think it deserves a lot of credit for the...
Clothes hangers come in a wide variety of designs, but by and large they all suffer from the same basic problems: They leave indentations and bumps on the shoulders of shirts and sweaters. They can easily become entangled or fall off in a crowded closet. They are hard to carry. When my shirts and pants come out of the dryer, they are immediately hung from the shelving in our pantry/laundry...
In the Details: Flipped
Yes, it annoys me quite a bit when an application running on my Mac, be it Flash, Java, or Air, flips the order of the OK and Cancel buttons to match the Windows standard. I realize they are writing code once to deploy everywhere—that’s why they chose to use that particular environment, after all—but their time savings in development negatively impacts my experience every time I use their...
If my own family is any indication, Apple has had very good sales for the gift-giving quarter. The wives of both of my brother-in-laws were playing on their new iPads. My brother finally got his first Apple product: an iPod Touch. I gave four Apple TVs as gifts, one of which was to my parents and was their first Apple product. Out of six households, that’s seven Apple products, not to mention the...