339

LivingDesign.info is a creative and inspiration resource dedicated to design and life and everything in-between

LivingDesign.infoLivingDesign.infoLivingDesign.info LivingDesign - Home LivingDesign - Home

Category Archives: Technology

21 July 1
Comment

Flipboard – your social media magazine on iPad

Under - Design, Media, Technology, Usability

I’d say that the guy in this Flipboard video is boringly serious or seriously boring but I like the way he talks! It’s the second video in past few weeks that I see him in, both about geeky products. The first one was about Square mobile payment system that I mentioned earlier.

And yes, the Flipboard. It’s a crossover between social media and a digital magazine. Just checked the application on my iPad and I too, like many others, liked it very much. Flipboard taking online social media out of its mould into mobile social media, we would see this kind of apps becoming a norm soon. This is something that I highlighted in detail a while ago under ‘Future of Web Design’.

Flipboard

Read more about it here.

Square mobile payment system

Under - Advertising, Industrial Design, Media, Technology

Square mobile payment system

This was evident as mobile platform becoming more accessible. We have seen iPad replacing hotel menus so why can’t the same device be used for paying the bill!

Introduced by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey back in December last year, Square payment system makes it possible to accept payment cards on any (internet enabled mobile) device with an audio input jack.

13 July 3
Comments

Quadrocopters are coming …

Under - Industrial Design, Inspiration, Technology
Control of multiple quadrotor robots to cooperatively transport a payload

Control of multiple quadrotor robots to cooperatively transport a payload

Every now and then we get to see a video of these quadrocopters from the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Lab performing new precise manoeuvres in a cooperative logic. The technology becoming mature as the time is passing and the practical use of such devices (or systems) in future is not very far – military or civilian.


Cooperative Grasping and Transport using Quadrotors

Micro Autonomous Systems Technologies (MAST) is a collaboration with University of Maryland, University of Michigan, BAE Systems and Army Research Laboratories. Our vision is to develop Autonomous Multifunctional Mobile Microsystems (Am3), a networked group of small vehicles and sensors operating in dynamic, resource-constrained, adversarial environments. While individual units may be specialized, Am3 will be multifunctional because of its heterogeneity, the ability of individual units to automatically reconfigure and adapt to the environment and to human commands, and its distributed intelligence.


Aggressive Maneuvers for Autonomous Quadrotor Flight

London’s new Routemaster

Under - Industrial Design, Technology

Whatever the critics say I find this new bus design awesome. It’s beautifully done and indeed iconic.

New Routemaster

New Routemaster

The New Bus for London is inspired by the much-loved Routemaster and will use the latest green technology when it launches in 2012.

The New Bus for London will meet London Buses’ requirements for vehicles in public service in London, including high standards of accessibility, safety and emissions abatement. In addition, it will be more durable, more fuel efficient and better ventilated. The bus will incorporate a double-deck and a platform at the rear near-side corner, so passengers will be able to get on and off easily.

New Routemaster

New Routemaster

29 June 6
Comments

The future of web design

Under - Design, Media, My Musings, Technology, Usability

First, I’d rephrase the title to ‘The immediate future of web design’. Second, I’d like to clarify that this article is not about design trends, typography and 100 best sites of futuristic designs.

Having visited FOWD this May in London the question that kept popping in my mind was how rapidly the digital media landscape is changing (like always!) and how quickly we can deal with it? Paul Boag from Headspace shared his thoughts around this subject that left me scratching my head. The focus of FOWD conference this time was around CSS3 and HTML5 along with many other ‘hot’ bits and bobs of design and marketing that we all love to read and discuss. The talk however that was missing is ‘What is the future of web design?’.

The capabilities of latest and smart browsers coupled with the introduction of more robust and user-friendly technologies such as HTML5 and CSS3 with JS frameworks etc are definitely affecting the design and usability in a very positive manner. But, these are not the only factors determining the future of ‘web design’ – rather, it is the introduction of new hardware or ‘new categories’ of hardware that are going to shape the future of web design this time. I see web design splitting into two major sub-categories that I call ‘Clicks’ and ‘Taps’. We would soon find designers setting their course for specialization in either of the two (no one stopping us doing both though!).

So what’s it about?

Here I would define the two categories I mentioned above:

  1. Clicks – conventional web design on PCs where interaction is achieved with cursor movement (rollover/rollout) and on mouse press or release
  2. Taps – web design for multi-touch gesture browsing on handheld devices such as:
    • Smartphones – iPhone, Palm Pre, HTC HD2, Else Intuition, Nokia N900 etc, and
    • Tablets – well, this is the redefined tablet category that iPad created. This category is ‘now’ about devices that fall in-between a Smartphone and a laptop computer such as iPad, and all the iPad-killer devices such as joojoo, WeTab, HP Slate, Google Tablet and a dozen more here.

Now, how on earth is this categorization going to affect the future of web design?

The answer lies in the hardware and OS capabilities of these devices, in the refined mobile usability experience and in multi-touch gesture browsing that we are getting accustomed to. These elements are going to drive the future of web design and would heavily affect the ‘Clicks’ side of it.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to us, if we look closely at the development within the Smartphone industry and what these iPad like devices are trying to achieve, that our PCs are going to be offloaded with the Internet that we’d be carrying with us in the form of Smartphones or tablets. This major addition in web design serving platform would trigger a shift in our overall design approach which is governed by the medium and its capabilities – isn’t it?

Photo source 邪恶的正太 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/juehuayin/4556617846/)

Clicks – conventional web design or web on PC

The immediate future on this front apparently seems to be overrun by new browsers (or browser war) and their capabilities in supporting and rendering HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. These technologies are going to change the web and interaction design landscape forever, but the best thing that is going to happen is the amount of unprecedented focus to usability and accessibility (this – mostly for handheld devices!). Web design would ‘seriously’ have to act like an interface between business/communication and technology, and technology and people. A designer can only perform these functions by being part of all of them!

Now, without going into web 2.0 vs. web 3.0 argument we can see that user behaviour has changed within the past few years especially with the introduction of social media, information accessibility on mobile devices and cloud computing. Still, it is changing rapidly with higher expectations as limitations are falling away within digital arena. Such demanding user expectations mean shift in design approach from inside out (function follows design) to outside in (design follows function).

So my dear fellow web designers, to get ready for the future, we have to take seriously what business and market analysis is and how online business strategies are formed. How projects are conceived and KPI’s outlined. How perceptions are changed and online brands are built. How technologies are decided and information architecture is laid out. How user journeys are developed and usability testing is done. How our designs perform functions and deliver results. How we market and measure it.

Our role as a web designer is one of the driving forces behind this web evolution where we have to rediscover our niche every two years or so – or we are simply outdated. We don’t design websites anymore – we are required to design businesses, functions, systems and measurable performance with solid results. This might be the only profession in the world where one can enjoy a successful career by being a generalist than a specialist!

Taps – web design for multi-touch gesture browsing

Mobile computing is the other side of web design that is fast becoming a norm where web interaction is faster and smarter than ‘Clicks’ with less or no bells and whistles attached. Where everyone (business/service) has to redefine (separate websites, widgets and apps) themselves because of the medium itself, its usability and user behaviour.

Apart from a few, all those new handheld devices are coming with their own OS nowadays or adopting new operating systems which may look a bit chaotic right now but within a few years when dust is settled there are going to be a few winners. The most common element in the development of modern multi-touch handheld devices is that they all are focusing on innovation and usability. Usability is universal hence making all these devices look and perform more or less the same in the end! Additionally, these devices are all multi-touch that we run by tapping and swiping fingers on screen with one or both hands. This gesture browsing means that we cannot use conventional ‘Click’ designs or the design approach effectively (where interaction is performed by additional devices such as mouse etc) for this medium.

This fundamental difference in the usability of web design would split it into two categories that I highlighted above. Web on PCs or ‘Clicks’ is where interaction is performed by a mouse so the design would follow conventions set for that medium whereas for multi-touch devices we would be confined (but not) within the capabilities of this medium. This segmentation is creating a whole new exciting conversation. If we look at what Bonnier and BERG has done in the form of ‘Mag+’ for Popular Science magazine the point here would be easier to understand. It was a prototype that they conceived and iPad has actually done it.

Photo source Bonnier R&D (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bonnier_rd/sets/72157622918954909/)

If you have used iPad or watched this Mag+ prototype video, you would agree that this kind of user experience cannot be developed for the web on PCs where user interaction is indirect (though exceptions are there but their practicality is in question!).

We have to come out of ‘Web on PC’ state of mind to be able to conceive the presentation and interaction design for these new mobile devices. This requires extensive research and dedication that would result in unique apps, interface designs and interaction.

Conclusion

I would highly recommend young designers to build skills and/or understanding in frontend development, and keep a close eye on the advancements within this area. If you already have frontend skills then polish them and acquire knowledge in other areas to get ready for a multifaceted role that you are going to play in the coming days. This time, it wouldn’t be a choice to stick to ‘design-only’ excuse.

I shared my thoughts around the ‘Future of Web Design’ here and what it holds for us. It would be interesting to know what you think about this subject so please feel free to share it below.

Future of UI by John Underkoffler

Under - Design, Industrial Design, Inspiration, Media, Technology, Usability

Minority Report science adviser and inventor John Underkoffler demos g-speak — the real-life version of the film’s eye-popping, tai chi-meets-cyberspace computer interface. Is this how tomorrow’s computers will be controlled?

IOGraph – turn your everyday activity into modern art

Under - Art, Technology

IOGraph is an application that captures cursor movements and clicks on your screen and outputs them into an image. The end result resembles a piece of modern art – nice!

IOGraphica

IOGraphica

IOGraphica

IBM’s Smarter Planet – color sensitive interactive billboard

Under - Advertising, Design, Industrial Design, Media, Technology

IBM’s Smarter Planet campaign acknowledges the importance of intelligent systems in the world today. In the retail industry, for example, consumer data around something as simple as color can have massive implications around shipping, inventory and, ultimately, overall sales.

This interactive billboard is a simple and engaging virtual demonstration of how a smarter retail system can work.

26 March 20
Comments

QlockTwo – time in words

Under - Design, Industrial Design, Technology, Typography
QlockTwo – The fourth dimension squared by Biegert & Funk

QlockTwo – The fourth dimension squared by Biegert & Funk

This unconventional looking typographic clock is a creation of Biegert & Funk – straight from Germany. QlockTwo tells the time by illuminating words with LEDs. The clock is fitted with light sensor for automatic adjustment to ambient light. The magnetic front part can be replaced without any visible attachments so you have plenty of color choices to suite your mood.

QlockTwo – The fourth dimension squared by Biegert & Funk

Web browser choice matters.

Under - Miscellaneous, Technology, Usability
Browser choice matters by pentochoice.org

Browser choice matters by opentochoice.org

…Web browser has become one of the most critical and trusted relationships of our modern lives – with nearly perfect knowledge of everything we do. It is the lens through which we look at the virtual world, and the medium by which we connect, learn, share, and collaborate. The browser you choose is responsible for providing you with the necessary tools to manage your online life, and to protect your privacy and security.

…In accordance with a landmark settlement (European Commission and Microsoft), if you’re using a Windows PC in Europe and you’re still using the default Web browser (Internet Explorer), in the coming weeks and months you’ll see a Browser Choice screen appear. That screen will provide you the opportunity to make an active choice in the source of the software that acts on your behalf to broker your online experiences, and meet your own unique needs and interests.

Spread the word