User interface Stories November 16, 2015

AAPL: 114.18

1.84

Early Mac UI designers say Apple has abandoned many of its human interface design principles

Two of the early Mac user-interface designers argue in a lengthy FastCo piece that Apple has abandoned many of its original human interface design principles in both OS X and iOS, and a switch to an alphabetic rather than hierarchical list seemingly puts aesthetics above all else.

Don Norman and Bruce Tognazzini say that five of “the most important principles” are now “largely or completely missing in iOS”:

  • discoverability – having all possible actions be visible
  • feedback & feedforward – making it obvious what a function will do, and what it has done
  • recovery – the ability to undo a mistake, or get back to where you were before
  • consistency – using the same gestures across platforms and hardware
  • encouraging growth – helping people tackle more complex tasks when they’ve mastered the basics

Norman and Tognazzini also say that Apple violates many of Dieter Rams’ design principles, a German designer who Steve Jobs has said greatly influenced his own thinking. They say that Apple prioritizes Rams’ 10th principle – “good design is as little design as possible” – over the other nine.

I’d note that iOS 9 tackles one of their criticisms, offering an easy ‘Back to’ function when a link has taken you out of the app you were using, but it’s an interesting read.

User interface Stories February 9, 2015

Skype for iPhone updates the dialer, reintroduces URI support for other apps

Microsoft is out today with its latest version of Skype for iPhone, version 5.10, as it continues to add refinements and features to the overhauled version of its app first released last year.

The new version of Skype for iPhone highlights the ability to save contacts from the app’s phone dialer just like the native Phone app on iOS. You can also save contacts to Skype from the recent call list starting with this version, and Microsoft touts improved chat notification reliability as well.

Finally, Microsoft is reintroducing support for Skype URIs which let other developers include interactions with Skype directly in their own apps including features like calling and messaging.

As long as the Skype app is installed on an iPhone, when a user taps on a Skype name or phone number, the URI will open the Skype app to connect a call or send a message*, making it faster than ever to reach friends, family or businesses.

For example, if you’re browsing restaurant options on an app or mobile website that utilizes Skype URIs, tapping on the phone number would launch Skype so you could call and make a reservation.

If you heavily rely on communicating with Skype frequently, this means you should see deeper Skype integration in other third-party apps in the future.

Skype for iPhone version 5.10 is available now for free on the App Store.

User interface Stories January 14, 2015

Microsoft is rolling out a new version of Skype for iPhone today, version 5.9, which brings enhancements to the user interface making communicating faster and easier. The latest version adds contact suggestions to the dial pad when entering a number making the process of finding the right person to dial quicker. The update also adds shortcuts for starting video or audio calls from Skype’s chat picker window.

In addition to introducing the latest Skype for iPhone user interface improvements, Microsoft announced a limited pre-release program for testing early versions of Skype in exchange for sharing feedback and ideas… expand full story

User interface Stories November 19, 2014

If you want to get quickly up to speed on the basics of creating an Apple Watch app following the release of WatchKit, developer Nick Walter has put a free 50-minute video tutorial online. You can also sign up for a full online course for just $39 on Kickstarter – saving $161 on the likely launch price.

Walter gained a certain amount of fame recently when Forbes reported that he made $66,000 in one month following a similar Kickstarter campaign for a course in making iPhone apps …  expand full story

The best 4K & 5K displays for Mac

User interface Stories October 13, 2014

Dropbox’s Mailbox iOS app updated w/ customizable swipes & iPhone 6 UI as Mac app enters open beta

Dropbox updated its Mailbox app today with some necessary features and fixes. The update now includes the ability to customize your swipes. Also, new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners will appreciate the optimized UI for bigger displays. Finally, Dropbox has squashed some bugs in Push and otherwise improved the overall performance.

Dropbox’s Mailbox is still only currently for Gmail and iCloud accounts, but the company reminds us again that other email platforms are on the way.

In addition to the updated iPhone and iPad version, the beta version for the Mac is now open to anyone following a public beta coin system for testers before.

User interface Stories September 11, 2014

Good news and bad news for Tesla Model S owners: the iOS and Android apps have been updated to allow you to start the car without a key – but the matching firmware update needed by the car hasn’t yet arrived.

Version 2 of the iOS app also provides support for the new calendar function, where the car can pull in data from your iPhone calendar and offer to navigate you to the location – as well as providing several new alerts …  expand full story

Powered by WordPress.com VIP