Tag Archive / user experience

  • Future Imperfect

    As I’m writing this, it’s a rainy morning in Vancouver, Canada. Nothing new. Spending time with friends that I don’t see but once a year near my birthday. In this case, I’m here to attend the IA Summit conference this week. This is my first non-US conference since IxDA Interaction 13 in Toronto.

    Looking back at that conference there were a number of things that stood out. A number of them became influential years later. One of them was a short lecture by a designer named Nate Archer called “Beyond Responsive”.

    Nate Archer: Beyond Responsive from Interaction Design Association on Vimeo.

    Well, four years later, those words seem prescient right now. The world has been filled with all sorts of devices that we access the web. More than just the trio of phone/tablet/desktop. Basically, any device that has access to the web is an access point – from watches to 4000K TVs. But there is another way of looking at this. Instead of “devices”, let us consider going in the direction of “inputs”. Responsive design appeared not just with mobile devices but devices which are also touch-enabled. Now, mobile devices are as ubiquitous as any household device, front-end developers like myself have to deal with coding for interactions that take place on touchpad as much (or even more) than mouse/keyboard. (Though we could be doing a better job at the keyboard then we are currently doing.)

    [Note: touch-enabled devices are not necessary phones/tables and doing feature support for touch is still a bit tricky]

    In some respects, the beautiful lie of responsive design is that the constraints are visual, via breakpoints and media queries? But what if those constraints aren’t visual. CSS has hidden artifacts describing inputs – media types. If one would look at the specs (https://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/media.html#media-types), the following types are supported:

    screen, print, speech/aural, handheld, tty, etc.

    Screen is the most familiar with print/speech following. But there’s tty? From the spec, tty refers to devices like terminals and teletypes. The later was a telecommunication device that has long since disappeared with the advent of email. But back in the day, it was considered important enough to be considered in the W3C CSS spec. Now think about the future. Someday, will we may consider mouse/keyboard interactions as obsolete as teletype?

    Now, we are seeing the advent of AI interfaces – sophisticated interfaces that allow access to the same information like we do with mouse/keyboard and touch.

    Which comes back to the conference I’m attending, IA Summit. This year’s topic is artificial intelligence and information architecture. The main job of a front-end developer is building interfaces for acquiring information. Obviously, things will change in the next couple of years. But change into what?

  • The Secret Life of Forms

    CSS Dev Conference 2016 - San Antonio, Texas

    Slides – http://www.slideshare.net/IvanWilson3/the-secret-life-of-form-67435952
    Lecture – https://cssdevconf2016.sched.com/event/7Q0d/the-secret-life-of-forms-secretforms

    One of the highlights of the year was lecturing for the first time at a conference. In this case, CSS Dev Conference at San Antonio, TX. Basically, I decided to take some advice and take a chance. After sending my proposal, I was shocked and thrilled to be selected via anonymous vote in July.

    Of course, getting the talk ready was even harder than the waiting. It took months of writing and editing and practice. But I was able to get it together and delivered it a small audience at the conference on October 17, 2016. This talk was about UX, coding, and forms. However, it was peppered with things that I’ve done during the last ten years at CDG/Innate.

    That said, I want to thank my fellow co-workers – including Lisa Crotty for her advice, Brian Schlansky for his time and his ear while prepping the talk, and Scott Adams (company CEO) for letting me do one final practice in front of the company for a much needed warm-up.

    I also want to thank the other speakers at the conference in helping me not only relax but also giving me advice for speaking not just for the first time but also their experiences in giving lectures as well.

    And finally, I want to thank Christopher Schmitt, Ari Stiles, and Elizabeth Moore in helping me make my first-time experience as a lecturer a wonderful and memorable one. It means so much when for years I was attendee, to be not only speaking but giving back to the community that I respect.

    Thank you all 🙂

    Lecture - The Secret Life of Forms, left - notebook, right - presenter pass

  • A Brief Musing on the Supposed Separation Between Mobile and Desktop

    A couple of months ago, I was looking at a promotional video touting some new technology. Something that was written solely for mobile. They went on about their processes, that by focusing not on the desktop, they were saving file size and increased performance, which is all and fine. Anything to life better, especially on those days when I want information without waiting for everything to compose itself during the morning rush hour. But at the end of this, I wanted to ask this question (which, in hindsight, I should have added to the comments):

    Why should there be anything difference between the desktop and mobile?

    Before answering, think about it real hard.

    Don’t worry. I’ll wait…

    The current paradigm of mobile is based on two things; the mobile phone and the tablet. But isn’t this the same sort of think we had before – the PC as the desktop. Didn’t we got over this? I got over this years ago, especially when my previous job required me to work with both Windows and Linux.

    What I am thinking is that the current paradigm is just as short-sighted.

    Let me put it this way? In a year or less, why not see a mobile device become the desktop?

    Why not give the "desktop" have touch-enable events like its mobile cousins?

    What I am imagining is the mobile/desktop schism not just disappearing. It simply gets redefined.

    If my life is nearly almost located within the confines of my mobile phone, why not go all the way?

    Our perception of the desktop is that of the monitor tethered to an external hard drive and et. al. What about a rapidly approaching near future where our version of the "desktop" is a mobile device tethered to cloud storage.

    Just a thought?

    Don’t wait too long.

  • Wanderlust : February 2011

    Sorry for the month delay in blog entries but it’s been a non-stop rollercoaster of travel and events.

    Here is the shortlist of what happened in after the last blog entry and a few important things happening this month:

    WordPress DC Town Hall with founder Matt Mullenweg

    1.31.2001 – Washington, DC

    This event happened at Fathom Creative, down the road from CDG Interactive.  It was well attended and the sponsor even got an internet stream for online viewing and questions.  Matt was really relaxed, calm guest who talked about how WordPress was started (at the heart, WordPress started as a image gallery) and answered plenty of questions about it, running a business, some things in the works/future as well as what could be better. I asked about how it was doing in the mobile world and got the surprising answer (700% in two years! – with apps in almost every mobile platform).

    IxDA Interaction 11

    2.9-12.2011 – Boulder, CO

    Decided to arrive early to this conference (third time for me) to relax in Boulder and get to a workshop for the first time. However, I fell ill Tuesday morning and spent the following 24-48 hours in bed.  Missed the workshop but attended the full conference. I even got to attend an after-party on the first night (it was definitely an experience, especially the music and its location inside the Boulder Theatre). This conference was well attended and did not disappoint, concluding with the keynote speech from Bruce Sterling (design critic as well as sci-fi writer).

    All the keynotes as well as the individual lightning lectures were all interesting in one way or another.  However, the tone, in my perspective as a developer, was different in that were was more of a focus internally than the last two years. Whereas I was more in sync in the last two (especially with mobile coming up big during this duration), this was more internal than anything else.

    One of new additions to this conference was a day for design-related activities. In my case, it was geocaching, where I spend a few hours in the streets of Boulder playing hide-and-go-seek for hidden treasures. (Thankfully, I was well by then!)

    I will be doing a CDG blog entry on my geocaching adventure later on this month.

    Oh, BTW…it snowed 3-5” and went from single digits (Tuesday) to 60s (Sunday) in one week.

    You thought DC had crazy weather!

    Nixon in China

    2/19-20, 2011 – NYC, NY

    I packed bags again the following weekend, for a trip to NYC for The Met’s presentation of John Adams’ 1987 opera Nixon in China. I last heard this opera on CD a decade ago in college but the performance did not disappoint. Well sung by all the performers and John Adams (who conducted his own work) got a standing ovation.

    What was interesting about the opera, apart from the music, was the whole scenery. As a person who grew up during the last glimmer of the Cold War, some of the scenes were familiar from all the news broadcasts during this time (you know, when you only had TV and print).  The opening scene of the Nixons stepping out of the plane matched the videotape footage to a point where it was eerie.  Of course, the big irony, particularly those in the audience, is how much has changed in the almost 30 years that meeting.  As a point, during a scene in the second act, Pat Nixon was presented with a jade elephant. The official near her remarked "We can make hundreds of them cheaply!", which was followed with laughter (with a tinge of irony) from the audience.

    The second act ended with the agitprop play (the music the basis for a Adams’ stand-alone work The Chairman Dance), which really reminds someone of my age about the old Socialist/Communist displays in the 80’s, or more recently, in North Korea. Of course, the big irony is that so much of that change would start two years later.

    Leaving memory lane, I spent a quiet following day listening to three Shostakovich quartet (11th, 12th, and 15th) and Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue, Op. 133 at Bargemusic with the St.Petersburg Quartet. Back home on Monday (President’s Day).

    And that was my month of February.

    Will be returning to NYC for two concerts:

    • March 26 – NY Philharmonic/Avery Fisher Hall for Bartok’s 1st Piano Concerto
      — I will be able to say that I have heard all three concertos live – 3rd in DC/NSO (2005) and 2nd in Boston/BSO (2007)
    • April 16 – Met Opera for Berg’s Wozzeck
      — Heard Berg’s other opera Lulu last year

    Hopefully, things will slightly quieter further in the year.

    Later (multiple crossing of digits…)

  • Why Design Now?

    Why Design Now signage - Cooper-Hewitt Museum, NYC

    Last week, I finally escaped DC for NYC. Got the chance to finally see the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, which is part of the large Smithsonian family. This museum’s focus is on design, whether functional or artistic. I got the chance to look at the exhibit Why Design Now? – part of the National Design Triennial.

    This exhibit reminds me of MoMA’s Design and the Elastic Mind a few years ago but on a smaller scale. In this case, the various themes were grouped into areas such as communication, mobility, and energy. I was very interested in the Materials section, looking at some very beautifully crafted items made with processes that had little environmental impact. For example, packaging or dishware that used local materials (paper/plant material) while being easily biodegradable. And then, there are the eyeglasses…

    I spend most of the day at the museum, soaking in all the design and getting recharged again after three months of work. Anyways, the exhibit is open until 1/9/2011. Enjoy.

  • News On The Homefront

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    NYC IxDA Redux

    A big belated “Thank You” to IxDA New York for Interaction 10 Redux (3/6). It was nice to meet all the people who attended and to see all of the presentations that I missed at Savannah.  Would come back for another event hosted by the group if my schedule allow it.

    Of course, that means I have to start paying attention to the home IxDA branch as well.

    More Opera

    Ironically enough, after NYC IxDA Redux, I went back to New York for my scheduled vacation for Met’s performance of The Nose. This weekend, went back to The Met for Lulu, the Alban Berg opera composed a few years after The Nose. Same decade, different moods but both are considered some of the most avant-garde works of their time. This was the last performance for me this season. Already planning for attending two performances next season in 2011 — John Adam’s Nixon in China and Alban Berg’s Wozzeck.

    Futura

    If you have not noticed, the font has changed in this site. After the font change last year, I decided to re-evalute my choice and changed to the first choice of Futura. I like Super Grotesk and it was choosen because of its closeness to Futura. However, there were just some things that I felt were not right (weight, letter styles) for me. It was nagging me in the back of my mind for a few months. So I decided to go back to the first choice of Futura.

    I am still on the look out for any other Futura-like fonts but the right choice has been made right now.

    Recent Blog Entry for CDG

    Last week, finally completed a book review of Morville/Callender ‘s Search Pattern for CDG and posted on the blog. Interesting read and really changed my ideas about search engines and how search result can be displayed for easier use.

    I mentioned on Twitter (5/4) that this would be my blog for CDG for the next couple of months as I will be spending writing for this blog. A consquenence will be some important announcements about The Wilson Project and Project Charles, as well as some important blog entries.