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Tag Archives: IPhone

Galapagos – through the lens of iPhone 4S

Under - Geography, Industrial Design, Inspiration, Media, Nature, Technology

Hard to believe that this small short by Miguel Endara is done through iPhone 4s! A brilliant device for capturing video but even more brilliant the person behind who used it in such a way.

Thoroughly impressed with the quality and stability of the iPhone 4S. Video briefly documents the amazing 2 week honeymoon/adventure in the Galapagos with the lovely wife, Lily Vidal.

16 July 1
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Here comes the first smartwatch: i’mWatch

Under - Design, Industrial Design, Technology

We have seen the multi-touch watch kits (TikTok and LunaTik) for iPod Nano that came to life a while back. Now comes world’s first smartwatch: i’mWatch.

At first I thought of it as another iPod nano watch kit – something similar to TikTok and LunaTik if not exactly the same but it is not an-iPod-in-a-new-kit and the software is based on Android:

The most common operating system in the world with performances never seen before on such a small device. Intuitive interface, rock-solid stability and amazing functionalities. The operating system is the heart of i’mWatch. A surprising result that will leave you lost for words. It only takes a few steps to learn how to use it: it is simple and intuitive. Just touch, drag, swipe or pinch to use all the functionalities or open any of the apps, preinstalled or downloadable from i’mstore.

i’mWatch displays time both analogue and digital formats. It can receive calls showing caller’s name and number and enables you to decide whether to accept or decline a call without reaching to your phone on the pocket. It can be used as speaker phone, view/receive text and email messages, check weather forecast, and catch-up (via notifications) with friends on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare besides listening to music and watching photos of your loved ones.

i’mWatch is touch enabled and multitasking. It comes with 1.54” (diagonal) colour TFT display with 240×240 pixel resolution (220 pixel per inch), 64MB RAM and 4GB Flash Drive. It has built-in 3.5 mm headphone, connection and power minijack, microphone and a speaker. The watch is compatible with iPhone 4, Android devices and Black Berry with Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR wireless technologies. The watch is available in variety of colors and as jewelry with – designed and assembled in Italy.

29 June 6
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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.

29 January 1
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iPad – actually it is an e-book reader …

Under - Industrial Design, My Musings, Technology

… disguised as a netbook or may be a formidable hybrid of both! But, with iPad Apple has defined a new category of products that many going to follow in coming days. With the revelation of iBookstore, it is foreseeable where the whole game plan is leading to.

Apple iPad

iPad is an amplified version of iPhone but without a phone that is going to run all iPhone apps. It is an excellent alternate to netbooks and thin enough to be used as e-reader. As an e-reader, iPad is way advanced than what we are currently familiar with in the form of Amazon Kindle or Sony Reader. As mentioned earlier in a different context, this device has the potential of becoming an ultimate e-reader and PMP.

Apple iPad

Smartphones are excellent but still small enough to be used as practical devices for everyday use. With iPad, Apple has successfully combined several products in one. Many would struggle to fit this product into the current hierarchy of consumer electronics but I see it clearly replacing conventional laptops, tablets and netbooks.

What future holds from Amazon Kindle or Sony Reader – I don’t know but I’m sure for one thing that iPad, when wrapped in leather, is a clear invitation to Microsoft Courier to enter into the ring with caution.

28 December 2
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Bonnier and BERG – redefining reading experience for our time

Under - Industrial Design, Media, My Musings, Technology

Mag+

It is interesting to see how quickly technology and our needs are converging into new products and concepts – refining or redefining our habits and experiences. I’ve been quite happily reading digital magazines such as Bak, FF3300, Destructed and Proteus on my computer monitor for quite some time now. Issue took online publishing to another level by providing a platform to deliver exceptional reading experiences. All of this is enough to indicate where things are heading in near future.

Mag+

Mag+

Amazon’s Kindle, Sony Reader, and Fujitsu’s FLEPia have already added new dimension to this. Earlier this year Amzon brought Kindle to mobile platform, extending its reach but at the same time pushing competition into a new direction … I’m not talking about business here rather prospects of combining advance interaction, normally seen on advance mobile phone devices such as iPhone, HTC HD2, Palm Pre, Else Intuition etc with conventional reading experience. In other words, refining and redefining reading experience on handheld digital devices.

Bonnier and BERG collaborated to illustrate such a concept in Mag+, aiming to capture the essence of magazine reading, they compiled a video demo of a digital magazine on a touch tablet. The video demos how magazines like Bonnier’s Popular Science can be adopted for a handheld multi-touch screen device with gesture based browsing and non-obtrusive interface that you only see when you actually want to.

With publishers collaborating and preparing for digital future and technology advancements, any such product is not a dream anymore. I can hope to see it alive within a year or two.

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