design

Kids iPad App Uses Image Recognition for High Tech Play

As a parent, we are always faced with a choice about how and when to introduce certain technologies to our children.  I know that technology is no longer a skill, but a part of our culture and foundation for any type of work.  However, the iPad can either be part of a passive entertainment device or a portal for learning.   What I love about the Osmo app is that is allows for traditional analog toys ( that often facilitate tactile play and spatial thinking ) to be activated on the ipad, combining the best of both worlds.  From a design perspective, it also opens up a new realm of designer user interfaces, which could really open up a lot of verticals / industries.

From a product marketing perspective and product engineering perspective, it makes me wonder why more app developers don’t take into account sensors and peripheral ports in their product roadmap.  This year especially, we will see a huge array of smart objects, IOT (Internet of Things), and contextual devices that enhance user experience and better performances of existing networks.

Think bigger & learn from other discipline areas. Where one person sees a toy, other people see a design solution for a new field that has never been discussed.  Innovation is everywhere, you just need to look at it from a different perspective.

 aside: Reminds me a of a more open source version of Siftables. 

This iphone Concept brings the best of Windows 8 to iOs

I love seeing how mobile ux designers rethink and look at existing OS and how it could be improved.  Recently this concept video of live tiles appeared on the web that showed a widget / live tile version of iOs for iPhone / iPad.

When windows developed live tiles, it was a shock, but it made sense.  People wanted access to their content faster. The buttons to access those feeds were really just a formality.  However, hitting those buttons were a legacy interaction that was baked into the system, but also expectations of how a UI was “supposed” to work.

It has been universally agreed upon that as many user experiences are based on feeds, that it starts to make more sense for UI elements to simply be viewing windows of data rather then buttons that view that data – skip a step, right?   There are many ways to express this. I personally believe that the windows phone UI was a very elegant solution to this, however it is worth noting that Android introduced some widgets that addressed this early on as well.  Not everyone agreed this was a good solution, but many people have embraced it.

Apple is currently using push notifications to bring feeds to your screen while asleep.  In essence, it performs the same utility, but with a less sexy interface.  The design question at hand is at what point in the mobile experience do you want to access what type of data? Both have advantages.

Where I am fascinated by this suggested UX idea, I am even more interested in the areas where IP law overlap with Mobile UX.   Even if this solution maybe be better for a significant amount of users, there starts to be areas where a manufacturer cannot go due to threat of infractions on another companies idea or IP.  Even if people love this, apple may not be able to innovate here in fear of legal action from Samsung or Microsoft.

I question as creator, are there areas where the law should not limit the evolution of design progress.  I understand the need to protect an artists work, but I also fear that legal can in some instances prevent UI from growing, thus decreasing overall utility of an entire system / generation?   I am not a lawyer, but its a very interesting debate, in many verticals and progressions.  At some point, lessons learned should be shared with the greater group if they benefit all users.

Even though I have a few critiques for this specific design solution, I applaud any designer who puts their work out there for the public to judge. We need creators more then ever in this time of automation and optimization.  We always need both, but new ideas are rare, even if they are heavily influenced or recycled. The first step is to attempt to create something of value and improve the human condition.

 

 

 

AROS – Like “Nest” but for Air Conditioning

Smart Objects are taking over.  And why not?  They represent what data is supposed to do, make us more aware of our actions leading to better performance.  Traditionally its just been in the B2B space, but we are seeing more in the B2C space.

Looks like the internet of things has finally caught on and started to be more then just a buzzword. 

http://www.quirky.com/shop/752

AROS represents a partnership between GE & Quirky ( crowdsource design innovation agency ) to create a smart AC unit.  As a bonus, if you are in NYC, Uber will deliver it to you.

Other Smart Appliances to check out:

Nest

August 

 

Minimize Waste, Maximize Cleanliness

 

The big discussion often associated with the “sharing economy” is about sharing services rather then the goods that provide those services – ie. the holes, not the drill.  

Few companies have embraced these ideals with how they approach packaging and material science.  If your product is disposable, what is the minimal impact you can leave on the world?

Moving from a bottle to a bag can have a massive impact.  Reconsider.

Diminishing Return of Sci Fi Movies – Why we are no Longer Impressed by Robots

In 1987, Robocop was futuristic.  The new remake is a few degrees away from Asimo  or the bionic exoskeletons that have been showcased by the military/ research groups.  We now have robots for cleaning the floor, and Segways, and drones are almost an every day word on the news.

The problem here is that the gap between what we have previously imagined and are seeing prototypes of are very low. If Darpa wanted to make a Robocop, im sure they could in a few months ( or they have already !!?? ).  When I was growing up, their was some mystique about the future and tech.  Now with Moore’s law, the advances in technology are more about integrations and software, rather then hardware.  Thats why Apple’s updates have become less impressive each year. Still amazing, but no longer capture some physical design driven emotional appeal.

The same has happened with movies.  Sci Fi is increasingly becoming hyper fantasy, or closer to the drama genre. One is too close to real life, and the other is a bit too far fetched.  I love a good movie, as much as the next guy, but I wonder how the genre will have to shift to keep audiences engaged? Maybe we will have to move from technology and aliens being the focus, and go back to good old fashioned story-telling.  The gimmick cannot be a gimmick if its really just a commodity.

Here is the question I will leave you with – Now that technology has become accessible and open, what are the next great advances that we can be inspired by ( media wise ) ?

-Pd, 15 minutes.

Proposed Caltrain Bike Loading Plan

Every day I struggle watching people figure out how to load their bikes on caltrain.   Every day, the same type of people get on, and go to the same places. I wonder why is there not more structure that gives people guidance on where to put their bikes.

Here is what I came up with.  The idea is to have the people riding on the train the longest be closer to the back. This will help the train go faster to its destination, but also minimize bike overlap.

For people Going Inbound to San Francisco: In the mornings:  most people get off at SF.  Thus, bundle the most spots for SF.

For Leaving San Francisco in the evenings: People go to many more different locations: Thus, the center areas are for zones 2&3 where I assume most people get off.

This system is not perfect by any means, but its a start.  Ideally, I would like everyone to rack their bikes per rack based on when they get off, but there is an issue with people that get on early, and mess up the whole system.  Thus, having location based racking would be easiest on the most number of people.

Let me know what you think.  I assume posting this will open myself up to criticism, but thats ok. Critiques are part of putting your work out there.  If its a swing and a miss, thats okay too.

Patrick

caltrain bike parking racks

caltrain bike parking racks

Legacy Experiences – How Today Shapes Tomorrow

Image

The “rewind” buttons remains, but the stop button is no longer with us – it has been replaced by play/pause.  Although there is nothing to rewind anymore ( media wise ) some legacy terms will be here to stay.  Other functions like the stop button are gone because the playhead that used to be lifted off of cassette tapes are no longer there.  No stop is needed. There is no longer a difference between pause and stop anymore in a media context.

So whether thinking about the floppy disc icon on your computer, or something as ridiculous as America not using the metric system, things that we design sometimes stick around.  

I will end this post with a message from Green Architect William McDunnough. Somethings we create will temporally be here for less then a moment. But the question of human intention and quality design can differentiate if something becomes a legacy going forward or a legacy in the history books. One is timeless, and the other is dated. 

Well I think
as designers
we realize that design is a signal of intention
but it also has to occur
within a world 
and we have to understand that world
in order to imbue our designs 
with inherent intelligence
so when we look back
at the basic state of affairs
in which we design
we, in a way, need to go
to the primordial condition
to understand the operating system 
and the frame conditions
of the planet
and the exiting part of that 
is the good news that’s there
because the news is the news of 
abundance
and not the news of limits
and I think as our culture 
tortures itself now
with tyrranies
and concerns over limits
and fear 
we can add this other dimension of abundance
that is coherent 
driven by the sun 
and start to imagine what that would be like 
to share

William McDonough”

 

Applying Analytics to the Restaurant Industry

As many of you know, I have just joined the team at Revel Systems (www.revelsystems.com) .  I am super excited to join a top notch startup who is changing the way the service industry is run.  I am fortunate enough to work with three of my favorite things every day – tech, data, & food ( grocery/ retail service ).

One thing that really drew me to this new job was the opportunity for data to influence the restaurant industry. From my time at WCG ( now W2O ), I learned so much about how analytics could drive a strategy for marcom or engagement. The real epiphany though of the “data” buzz words we have been hearing about over the last year though are really about tracking assets and being self aware of your decisions to simply forecast your own decisions and refining your plan for better quality.

I am now a converted “foodie.” I dream of Michelin Star restaurant dinners once a year, and have begun to appreciate a good wine   or the different notes of a seasoned dish.  That’s the artist in me. However, the business side of me understands that their is a value of that dish – both perceived/ earned value and actual costs per plate.  The balance of the art and business of a restaurant is what I find so intriguing.  People pay for the value, but dont mind the cost.

The dream of the chef ( artist ) is to be able to produce tastes on a plate that can inspire the critic, but also make the account manager happy with the books. Understanding your menu / ingredient data can help justify how you shape your dishes, but also understand how you are using ingredients, and where you can be efficient with your assets.  Same applies to mixologists in the bar industry.  I feel that people are afraid to embrace data in that people may not want to know the cost of a slice of tomato, but really, once you understand the data, you have the power to make better decisions.  It’s empowerment.  People will always pay for art and an experience. Its just nice to be able to understand and justify the math behind art.

I love what I am working on with the Revel team. Its amazing to see what you can passively track from a POS system.  Let me know if you have any contacts in the service industry who are open to hearing about how data analytics and a sleek POS system can change how you do business.

-Patrick

Nike #Fuelband app adds pictures. Still waiting for #Vine option

fuelband points electronics app nike

 

The Nike Fuelband app just added the functionality to share your goal progress with a picture. This simple change in user experience was a brillant marketing decision.  Although I am not sure I always want to hear about my friends working out every day, this helps hearing about nike plus in two ways.

1. With a picture, I get to tell my workout story or active day in a more visual way that I choose and am accustomed to on Facebook. We all know that images get more shares and likes then text alone, so this makes sense in how the app would evolve.  I would imagine that this gives my friends a better picture of what I am doing, but also is more entertaining to see and watch then just a sentence about a workout routine I may not care about.  The ability to add a picture makes this experience about the story and the person rather then just the number.  And in a way, it might add more Nike+ stamps onto other lifestyle activities.  What if every picture you took during the day had a fuelband stamp rather then just when you hit your goal?  Its a great opportunity for nike to move more into the storytelling space.

2. This will also help serve as an earned media database for images for Nike+.  Now all the nike plus stories are sharable. They can find a home on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.  Images are more likely to tell the nike plus story and be told and received in a new way.  Ultimately breathing new life into the nike plus ecosystem, and raise awareness of the digital brand.

2 other features I would love to see:

1. Video. Video clips would be natural extensions of this UX.  And sometimes a video can really show a better story then a snapshot alone.  Vine integration would be awesome. hint hint. 

2. Networked apps: Lets say I was skateboarding with my buddies. What I would really want to do is to take a photo of someone else doing a trick and tagging their fuel moment to that picture. As much as we love taking photos of ourselves in this narcissistic era, sometimes you just cant while you are active. But your buddy can.  Not sure how this could work, but it could be really great for content production.   Perhaps the best way to implement this would be to have an API that would allow for the nike fuel points and timecodes to be exported to other medias.

Everyone is an athlete. Now we just have more ways to tell the story. Share on. 

-pd

August Smartlock: What else should marketers be thinking about unlocking

yves august donnelly smartlock phone mobile door

 

Nest was cool, but August is awesome.  As we talk about the internet of things, I think about how this is a perfect execution of having something be “smart” but actually be useful as well – not just appealing to the geeks.

The beauty of August is that is plays on constructs that we already use in the digital realm ( permissions ) but makes them analog. In a way that has never been done before.  And really, the key itself is an outdated concept. We have replaced it everywhere possible. This makes me think about homes and spaces in terms of those same digital terms – people crave contextual access. 

Although the launch focused on homes, I think where this could really shine is with brands, guerilla marketing, and nightclubs.  Pepsi came out with the like machine yesterday, which was impressive, but August is that on another scale. Imagine a brand telling you that you have an exclusive pass to the movies, or a VIP party, or a car.  And these may not be the best examples, but what we really again are talking about here is access. What could you unlock that could provide a meaningful experience.  And if we expand this handshake protocol to other types of mechanical actions, perhaps a lightswitch, or a valve, or a secret elevator floor, imagine what could be unlocked. What experiences we could create.  In a world where digital and IRL are blurring, access to a new place could change your whole perspective.

In a world that craves exclusivity and scarcity – what power does a lock and key hold ? I think their are opportunities to move past surprise and delight here.  I hope that other people are thinking this way as well.  Past the physical to think symbolically about how this marries experiences, mobile, digital, and access.