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Gestures in a mobile context

Liat Rostock demonstrating EyeSight gestural input at Mobile World Congress

The amount of transposition required to convert users’ physical actions into digital form has ebbed and flowed over the years. Command line interfaces were direct: pressing a single key produced the corresponding character on-screen. The introduction of the mouse resulted in a more abstract relationship: small hand movements and finger clicks, performed some distance from […]

March 6, 2012 | By Marek Pawlowski | 0 comments

Searching for new UI metaphors

Ixonos 'Super App' with multi-pane sliding UI

There were few visual interface developments which stood out at Mobile World Congress, not least because the small application developers at the forefront of UI experimentation were noticeably absent. This may be due in part to the increased cost of travelling to Barcelona and participating in the congress, but I suspect the main reason is […]

March 5, 2012 | By Marek Pawlowski | 1 comment

Mobile creativity unleashed

The vibrant red Nokia 808 against a contrasting cyan Lumia 900

Nokia’s PureView 808 in red polycarbonate is a stunningly bold visual statement. The intensity of the colour combines with a bulging, muscular form that is the antithesis of today’s generic slim slates. I cannot stress this enough: it is red in the loudest sense of the word. There will also be white and black varieties, […]

March 4, 2012 | By Marek Pawlowski | 3 comments

Prioritising relative speed

YOUi Labs‘ CEO Jason Flick was clear about his priority when we met at Mobile World Congress: speed. His company provides a cross-platform layer which enables designers to build interfaces in Adobe After Effects, transpose them with a minimal amount of re-tooling and deploy to a range of digital touchpoints. This is, of course, by […]

March 3, 2012 | By Marek Pawlowski | 0 comments

Sound experiences outside the visual canvas

The brain has a remarkable ability to perceive the location of a sound source. If an object bangs on the floor behind you, your brain uses its understanding of acoustics to translate the sound waves into a clear image of where that incident occurred. Sound is also an ‘always on’ sense, waking us at night […]

March 1, 2012 | By Marek Pawlowski | 1 comment

Maps appropriate to context

HaptiMap user context cards

The digital maps found on today’s mobile devices derive from cartographic techniques hundreds of years old. User context, however, has changed. The situations in which users find themselves accessing maps on a mobile device are very different from spreading a paper map on a table. The HaptiMap project is an EU-funded effort to develop digital […]

March 1, 2012 | By Marek Pawlowski | 0 comments

Refining through multi-layered user research

Expanding the Emporia range for specific customers with rugged, simple device

Emporia’s approach to user-centred design is multi-layered. Albert Fellner, founder, began by providing mobile devices accessible to the elderly and others excluded by the technological complexity. Starting with a strong personal motivation provides an advantage but also a danger: how do you ensure, as the company grows, it remains open to truly user-centred innovation, not […]

February 29, 2012 | By Marek Pawlowski | 1 comment

User environment driving technology

Traditional orientation of a USB modem - horizontal protrusion

Sierra Wireless’ new USB cellular modems show how user-centred design can help differentiate products in a commoditised market. Matt Plested of Alloy, the agency which helped Sierra design the products, explained how they explored user environments for USB modems to better understand customer needs. Alloy found the availability of space around the modem was a […]

February 28, 2012 | By Marek Pawlowski | 1 comment

Displaying visual quiet

Mirasol display on an e-reader

How will our relationship with digital displays change when they can show a fixed image almost indefinitely in low power mode and survive autonomously for weeks at a time in the mobile environment without charging? Displays are currently the largest consumers of power in a mobile device. As a result, their mode of operation is […]

February 28, 2012 | By Marek Pawlowski | 1 comment

Subtle interaction and sensory engagement

Digital technology rarely inspires emotion. It can be an effective conduit for emotion: transmitting a message to a loved one, for instance, or sharing the first picture of a new family member. However, the medium itself rarely evokes emotion in users. One of the reasons for this is that most digital interactions are heavily biased […]

February 27, 2012 | By Marek Pawlowski | 0 comments

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