Posts tagged UI
Posts tagged UI
Sebastiaan de With on just how badly undelivered email notifications are:
That email I got back was apparently because my attachments were too large. I can barely read that email — let alone my grandmother. Machines can read it just fine, though. Here’s an idea: machines shouldn’t slap us in the face. They should help us along if they fail to do our bidding.
This couldn’t be more true.
The way we’re informed when something goes wrong with our computers is generally awful, hardware and software alike – even with Apple products.
Sebastiaan posted a great mockup of how Apple Mail could look when an email bounces back as undeliverable.
You’ll have to follow the link to check it out.
A nice short piece from Sebastiaan de With’s new blog about UI design in iOS.
Clear is a great example of this: for me, it was a delight to figure it out, but one of my older family members was less than delighted by it: the lack of visible features she was so used to intimidated her.
Clear is the perfect example. A lot of my non-techy friends downloaded the app and were completely frustrated by it. I enjoyed playing around with it, but since I’m not an actual “user” of the app, when I open it I often find myself fumbling around until I remember how to do things.
sadly, this doesn’t seem to apply to iPhoto, which, unlike the stock Photos app, has extremely ‘heavy’ UI. I find its design rather puzzling
iPhoto is another app I’m having a hard time with (admittedly I haven’t sat down to use it for an extended period of time).
The majority of time I’ve spent in the app when trying to quickly edit a photo on my iPhone or iPad has been “learning” the function of each button in the app. Although I’ve used the app several times, I don’t immediately remember what each button does – I find myself mostly tapping around until I find what I’m looking for by chance.
I initially interviewed Marcelo Marfil back in 2010. I decided to catch up with him recently to see what’s new – here’s what he had to say:
Tell us a bit about yourself. What are your hobbies? Where have you traveled to?
Hello, I’m a 27 year old visual designer from Brazil. When not working, I study english, read some books and watch lots of TV shows and movies. I recently visited Portugal and loved it. I’ve been there before but this time it was completely different, I was with my newlywed wife and we had time to visit some beautiful places and discovered some delicious food.
What was your first job? First freelance gig?
Voices app from Taptivate. That was a really fun project to be part of, and fortunately, it was a huge success in sales and critics judging by the feedback I’ve had from press and users.
How’d you get into graphic and user interface design?
Well, long story short, I’ve worked as graphic designer for 6 years in a number of advertising agencies in Sao Paulo, Brazil (which is where I’m from). Some day, I woke up and I had a feeling that I wasn’t being honest with myself, I was doing something that gave me no pleasure. When the first gen iPhone was released, I bought one, in that moment it sparkled my interest for Interface and Iconography even more. So I started designing my own app icons and customizing some bits of the apps I used, and then when I realized this, I was into this market designing apps. I think, the difference between designing for advertising agencies and designing for software companies is very huge though. It’s so good when you see someone having fun with an app you helped create, when you see a smile in their face you can call that a day.
Any formal training, or mostly self taught?
I did some design training when I was in the University but mostly I’ve learned by myself. I’ve always liked to deeply explore software, and that helped me a lot to develop my skills. I still am learning something new every single day and maybe that’s the reason I like what I do.
Are there a lot of Mac users in Brazil? How’s the design scene over there?
It has increased significantly nowadays. I think the iPhone, the iTunes Store, the Apple Store Online and the local retails are helping a lot in this process. Also, Brazilian’s economy has expanded a lot in the past couple years and it has been possible to afford Apple products but they still very expensive here though.
Regarding the design scene, there are a plenty of talented designers here. I just hope it keeps growing, specially the software market.
Which do you find more challenging – designing for Mac or iOS? Any preference between the two?
I honestly don’t mind which OS I’m gonna work on, or which is more challenging. I’m a Mac user since 2001 and iOS user since the beginning. I think both are equally challenging to me.
Do you have a favourite project that you’ve worked on?
Well, the one I’m working on right now? … haha. I always try to be better today than I was yesterday. This is what keeps me motivated. Very cliche, I know, but it’s true.
What do you enjoy reading?
I’ll list my favorites:
Books and Magazines:
- Being Peacy by Tgich Nhat Hanh
- Simplify Your Work Life by Elaine St. James
- Focus by Leo Babauta
If you had to pick one person as being the most influential person in your life, who would that be, and why?
Sorry, I can’t pick just one. I’d say my parents and my wife. They’ve always trusted and supported me in everything. I’m really proud to have them near to me.
What’s your hardware/software setup look like? Any favourite applications?
My weapons of choice are a 27-inch, Mid 2011 i7 iMac powered with a Vertex 3 SSD and an Intuous 4 Wacom tablet.
Overextending about the whole computer usage my favorites are:
And lastly, if you had to pick another career, totally out of the design realm, what would it be?
I really love music and movies. I can’t live without it. Anything related to any of these two would be great.
I was hoping for a revamp of Apple’s Clock app with iOS 5.
One thing that really irks me is that the volume of an alarm you set will adhere to your “Ringer and Alerts” volume setting.
What if I want my phone to ring loudly when someone calls, but don’t want my morning alarm to wakeup the neighbours?
Here’s what the alarm edit screen looks like now:
And here’s my proposed tweak:
Now I realize there are tons of third party clock apps that offer this functionality and more, but that doesn’t mean Apple shouldn’t improve theirs.
Whenever I go to a track day event I shoot a lot of videos with my iPhone.
I then end up with a Camera Roll that’s filled with a bunch of videos – sometimes upwards of 20 or 30 clips.
Afterwards, when I go to show a friend one of the videos I’ve taken, I’m forced to flip though several videos until I find the one I’m looking for.
As you can see from this screenshot below (videos were taken at a drift event this past Sunday), it’s hard to tell one video apart from another.
Being able to “favourite” videos would be useful, but sometimes it’s not a favourite video that I want to show – it could be a video of a certain car, etc.
Having the ability to choose your own thumbnail for a video would help solve this problem.
Here’s what YouTube does:
In this case, the second of three thumbnail options best represents the video.
If this video was part of a large Camera Roll library (I have over 1,500 items in mine), it would be easy to identify right away.
More often than not, the thumbnail your iPhone uses for a video (the first frame recorded) does not represent the video very well.
Having an option to choose between a few different thumbnails would greatly increase the user experience when sharing something with a friend.
Fingers crossed, but I’m not holding my breath.
When designing apps for multiple platforms (e.g. Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Web), it’s important to maintain a certain level of consistency with user interaction.
It’s also important to adapt to the new medium you’re designing for.
Let’s take a look at how The Weather Network does this.
I was never really one to check the weather until I got my first iPhone, but since owning the device I find myself checking it quite regularly.
Aside from checking out what the current weather is for a particular location (where I am or where I’m going), I like to see what the upcoming weather looks like. Although the weathermen aren’t always spot on, I like to get an idea of the coming week or two so that I can plan things accordingly (frisbee at the beach, camping trips, track days, etc.).
Unfortunately us Canadians don’t have access to a lot of the fancier weather apps, so we have to work with free apps like The Weather Network (which is much better than Apple’s Weather app).
WeatherEye for iPhone
On the iPhone it takes 4 taps to access the 14-day weather trend feature. This gets you to the next 7 days of weather, but then another tap is required to see the final 7 days.
This method is quite cumbersome and requires an extraordinary amount of taps, but once I get to the upcoming weather screen it’s fairly easy to browse through and quickly identify the coming weather without looking so carefully.
Pretty annoying, but I’ve seen worse. Where? WeatherEye for Mac.
WeatherEye for Mac
With WeatherEye for Mac, the 14 day trend is only 1 click away, however I thought it would be accessible from the “Today” screen, via arrows or a quick horizontal slide of the finger on my Magic Mouse.
Upon revealing the 14 day trend, you’re forced to scroll vertically to reveal the upcoming weather.
Not only is the vertical scrolling odd for looking at something that’s arranged by calendar days, you can’t even resize the app window to show all the weather at once.
If you click “View Graph”, it launches your browser to show you a (pretty ugly) chart that could be displayed inline, right in the app.
And then there’s the “Top Stories” and “Picnic Planning” boxes that look like ads but aren’t.
Does it get worse? Yes it does – The Weather Network’s website.
The Weather Network website
First of all, the location picker is the absolute worst I’ve ever seen for anything.
After clicking on “14 Day Trend”, you’re presented with this:
After choosing a province, you get this:
For savvy people you can search the page for your city, but for the average person, you’re choosing the first letter of your city from their cities list:
Hooray, I’ve found my city! Haven’t they ever heard of Location Services?
Now you’re presented with an online version of the 14 day trend which is pretty bad but better than the Mac app – at least you can see all 14 days at once with a decent sized monitor.
WeatherEye HD is by far the best offering from The Weather Network. It looks like it may have actually been thought out before the design phase (*cough* wire framing).
A long term weather report is just a tap away, which presents a large, easy to read (and quickly identify without careful inspection) report of the next 5 days of weather.
Then, simply (and intuitively) swipe your finger along the days to reveal more weather.
To sum it all up, the iPad app is by far the best way to experience weather reports from The Weather Network.
What bothers me is that I usually check the weather on my iPhone (where the app is mediocre).
The next likely place I’d check the weather is from my Mac, where I’m presented with 2 horrible options.
It’s also quite embarrassing that their Mac app is actually worse than their website.
I use Daylite Touch for all of my business appointments, meetings, etc., but I use iCal and Calendar for personal stuff.
I was just adding a doctor’s appointment in my calendar for late July that starts at 8:15 am. I want to be reminded of this appointment a couple days before, but NOT at 8:15 am!
The appointment is on a Tuesday, which would mean the alarm would sound at an ungodly time in the morning on a Saturday! I never get up early and I sure as hell don’t want to be awoken by a nasty beep-beep-beep 2 days before a doctor’s appointment when I’m trying to catch up on sleep.
It would be great if you could set your own reminder time in the Calendar app. My fingers are crossed for the final release of iOS 5 – I haven’t played with it yet so if it’s already there, touché.
In the meantime, however, why should we be limited to these default options?
Something like this (similar to what we have in Daylite Touch) would make a lot more sense:
I know you can do this with Reminders in iOS 5 but I don’t want to use a to-do app to schedule a calendar appointment.
Surprisingly enough Apple didn’t update the Remote app icon for the Retina display.
Teehan + Lax examine the user experiences of the Bell and Rogers PVR products.
I have a Rogers PVR system at home and to call the experience terrible would be kind.
I found this quite interesting, and hadn’t heard of Lukas Mathis before.
I’m also super jealous of his living situation:
“I live in a small cottage in a remote part of the Swiss Alps”