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Making a case for the seductive promise of zero UI

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Making a case for the seductive promise of zero UI

Glacial is the only word for it. I pressed one of the blue buttons and waited. Somewhere in the mechanical heart of this relic I imagined cogs whirring and a rusted belt chain creaking into action. At length, something happened on the dot matrix-style LCD. Numbers appeared, which bore little or no resemblance to the transaction I was trying to execute, but according to the lengthy printed instructions, were the first of several steps required to pay this company for their service.

Some…

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Algorithms and a more plastic experience design

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Algorithms and a more plastic experience design

In a demonstration of how algorithms are playing an increasing role in determining user experience, hundreds of millions of Google customers are about to see a change to their voice search and dictation experience. This results not from a fresh set of visual branding tweaks or a further development of its in-app ‘material design’ philosophy, but from an evolution of the neural network techniques employed to process voice input.

“Today, we’re happy to announce we built even better neur…

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Announcing MEX/16 ‘The Unknown: Hidden paths to better UX’

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Announcing MEX/16 ‘The Unknown: Hidden paths to better UX’

The 16th edition combines the depth of MEX research with progressive facilitation to answer the biggest question of the digital future:

What are the new strategies and design methods to translate customer insight into next generation digital experiences?

The question transcends product categories, from smartphones to wearables, and industry verticals, from device manufacturers to design agencies. For more than 10 years, MEX has been the gathering place for the diverse network o…

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Acquisitions & long-term growth strategies for design agencies

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Acquisitions & long-term growth strategies for design agencies

User-centred design is becoming a magnet for capital investment. Traditional consulting firms are acquiring design agencies as strategic assets, venture capital firms are appointing partners with design backgrounds and big brands are acqui-hiring design teams to expedite their own digital ambitions.

This new importance attached to user experience has implications for all in the MEX community, whether you own an agency or you’re leading an in-house digital team at a big brand.

Louisa He…

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User story: the walker and the mapped lockscreen

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User story: the walker and the mapped lockscreen

The lock screen wallpaper of his iPhone (a 4S) was clearly a satellite photograph of some kind. Overlaid upon it was the angular, semi-transparent blue track line of a Google Maps-style route. Some operating systems enable mapping on the lock screen at the platform level – Windows Phone offers this on certain devices, for instance – but Apple’s tightly controlled UX does not.

My interest was piqued – how had the map become his unlock screen? Upon further enquiry, it transpired the map s…

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Principles for establishing digital tone of voice in automotive UX

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Principles for establishing digital tone of voice in automotive UX

If you imagine every button and touchscreen gesture contributes to an ongoing digital conversation between user and product, what is your brand’s tone of voice? Moreover, who is responsible for crafting this nuanced sound in your organisation and how wide is their remit?

A recent working session with Joe Simpson and Sam Livingstone of Car Design Research (both alumni speakers of our MEX event) highlighted the importance of addressing this question in the automotive industry. There are seve…

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The creative experience of fake phone calls

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The creative experience of fake phone calls

These days iPhones have made everybody a photographer, which makes the ability to nail that shot – the one that captures the essence of a place and its inhabitants, all the more precious. Enter Jay Giampietro, a New Yorker who has perfected the art of photographing passers-by from his ear while pretending to take phone calls in the street, while glancing around confusedly. — It’s Nice That

It’s Nice That, a web-site dedicated to highlighting creativity, has this post about Jay Giampiet…

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Simplifying the flow of creativity in iOS

“For those, like me at times, who want more tools or are used to tools available in desktop software, iOS now enables easy access to the editing functionality of third party apps…What is particularly striking here is that the app functionality appears to load directly in the Photos app.”

Continuing our series on pivoting between modes of consumption and creativity, Alex Guest has blogged a walk-through example, with screenshots, of how the structure of iOS enables a built-in app …

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Mozilla’s Webmaker seeks to turn consumers into creators

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Mozilla’s Webmaker seeks to turn consumers into creators

With our ongoing series about improving the user experience of pivoting between consuming and creating digital content, I was intrigued by Mozilla’s launch of Webmaker, an Android app designed to simplify the process of creating and sharing web pages, particularly for individuals whose only internet connection comes through a smartphone. It is designed for users taking their very first steps as digital creators, an area we’ve talked about as being particularly underserved in our previous ess…

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Inspiring new forms of creative expression through mobile devices

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Inspiring new forms of creative expression through mobile devices

As part of our ongoing series about improving user experience in that crucial moment when transitioning between a mode of consumption and a mode of creativity, we made separate investigations into both ‘Consume’ and ‘Create’ as distinct themes. This article focuses on the creativity behaviours, but for background there’s also the original essay entitled ‘How can UX improvements encourage users to pivot from consuming to creating?‘ and a piece on consumption behaviours entitled ‘Design princi…

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