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Pathway #4: Enriching UX with 3D & visual depth

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Why are these mobile interactions from Apple, Blackberry, Nokia & Huawei memorable?

Small moments of interaction design have disproportionate power to define the overall user experience.

Consider pinch to zoom. There was a time when it was novel, now it is innate. The speed at which it has become part of human behaviour tells us, with the benefit of hindsight, how effective it was in channelling latent paths of acceptance within the brain.

By looking at other examples – from the likes of Apple, Blackberry, Nokia and Huawei – we may discern the common characteristics wh…

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User story: flowering future forward

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User story: flowering future forward

There’s always a first warm day in March, when winter’s low skies open into the blue promise of spring. It rarely lasts. Not in England.

But today the lawns of the garden square were dry for the first time that year and already filling with the lunch crowd. They bustled from the offices nearby, carrying plastic bags of sandwiches and salads, sitting in ones and twos, legs stretched on the grass and pale faces tilted upward to make up for lost time.

A little apart from it all, a gentlema…

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Design Talk 12. Virtual, augmented & mixed reality; Greg Taylor, General Manager of Tigerspike Next

What will the experience feel like for the first users of virtual, augmented and mixed reality? How might designers prepare for this new, multi-dimensional digital canvas?  Hosts Marek Pawlowski and Alex Guest discuss with Greg Taylor, General Manager of Tigerspike Next in London, a pioneering digital agency. Greg has been thinking about ways of breaking outside the traditional form factor of digital screens for many years, including a prescient talk at MEX in 2010, entitled ‘Screen today, go…

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Preparing for Apple’s new interactions

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Preparing for Apple’s new interactions

Strip away the hype from Apple’s September 2014 product announcements and you’re left with 4 new interactions which might change digital user experience at scale:

  1. Magnified depth
  2. Pressure levels
  3. Haptic feedback
  4. Activated confirmation

Their ramifications will ripple out beyond Apple’s own customer base as competitors replicate these methods.

Historically, Apple has used the introduction of new interaction methods to initiate new product categories: the Mac and the mouse, the iPo…

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Google Glass is a welcome experiment in bad user experience

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Google Glass is a welcome experiment in bad user experience

Google Glass remains confined to a small niche of customers because the technology is unreliable, the features unappealing for most users and the price too high. In time, technological progress will solve issues of reliability and price, but far less certain is whether Glass will ever achieve the balance of utility, ease and satisfaction required for mass market adoption.

I spent some time testing it in London recently (June 2014), exploring a space Google designed specifically to show…

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Understanding Google’s material design

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Understanding Google’s material design

Strip away the hyperbole and two basic principles underpin Google’s material design:

  • On-screen elements adhere to consistent physics
  • Physics may be expressed through a Z axis of depth, as well as the traditional X and Y axis

It is important to separate these principles from the first results of their implementation in Android L. As the debut outing for material design, Android L does not fully demonstrate how significant the principles could be.

It lacks visual poli…

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Liberate your UI from the frame

User interface design for personal digital devices has always been 2D and constrained within a frame, such as the screen bezel, from desktop computers positioned a few feet away to handheld mobile devices. What happens when you remove the frame and allow the interface to exist within the physical environment? — Dale Herigstad, Chief Interaction Officer, Possible, speaking at MEX14

True 3D displays remain confined to niche segments, but the role of spatial layers which can be rende…

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Moju and the return of 3D

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Moju and the return of 3D

Were it not for an unusual feature, Moju could easily be dismissed as ‘yet another Instagram clone’. However, the iOS app uses motion sensors to add a sense of depth to its images and – crucially – pairs the visual depth with motion-based input to make it feel realistic. You twist the phone and the image appears to twist with it.

MEX looked at 3D and depth in mobile user experience design several years ago, when devices from Nintendo and LG were debuting stereoscopic 3D screens. Despite…

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Enabling new Apple product categories with new interaction methods

Apple bought PrimeSense, a company which specialises in the spatial sensing technology used in products like Xbox Kinect.

History, of course, can be a fickle guide to the future, but in light of this purchase it is worth noting Apple’s two most significant new product categories – the Mac and the iPhone – owe their success in large part to the new interaction mechanisms they introduced. Will Apple achieve a similar breakthrough with spatial sensing and launch into a new product category?

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