Nordstrom Innovation Lab created a sunglasses try-out app for shoppers at their flagship store in Seattle, WA. This was done with user experience designers and developers in situ at the store. They tested and tweaked with live user feedback over a week building the ‘just right’ app. We would love to be a part of such process in India. Anyone game?
I have been an active resident of social media. I am alive in three social networks, write two blogs and ardently follow a few. But lately I succumbed to information overload fatigue. I cannot machete my way through tweets and farmville updates anymore. Thought I should recede and reclaim my inner peace instead.
Enter Flipboard on iPad. Created by Mike McCue, former CEO of a voice search services firm and Evan Doll, a senior iPhone engineer from Apple, Flipboard is an iPad application that effectively merges the beauty of print and the power of social media. And they had me at the first flip. On launch, the cover randomly picks posts from my list and plays them out for me. I can personalize the content page by selecting from a list of trusted sources including my twitter and facebook accounts. Flip on to read stories, photos and comments delivered to me like an attractive magazine. Delectable!
However, there are a few ‘nice to have’ features that can better this product. I will be happier if I can add my own sources to the list, like a friend’s blog. Or easily post to social networks, which I cannot. The visual design can get better at places. Pages of the magazine filled with photos can be on black or typography can be enhanced on white pages with a few status posts. The landscape version of the pages are not as resolved as the portrait. They fold mid page over the content, which is unlike any good magazine worth it’s salt. There are more such niggling bits of peeves in this early version. I am sure the updates will solve them.
But Flipboard is probably the most compelling new way to find, read and share social content – served as easily digestible nuggets of well designed magazine snippets. Happy flipping!
As published in Pool magazine. View the issue online here.
Apple has sold three million iPads in 80 days and that is a lot of pressure on the eReader market.
‘There are going to be five million ereaders in the United States alone this year and is estimated to grow to 15 million by 2014’ says Consumer Electronics Association. With Apple’s stride it is clear that the tablet and ereader markets are merging rapidly. All big players are worked up with iPad’s rapid climb to success. So, Amazon slashed Kindle’s price by a record breaking 27% down to $189. The Nook, Barnes and Nobles ereader product saw a price slash of 23% and retails at $199. The trailing Sony ereader sells today at $169. Given all this, they realize they are way short on features compared to an iPad. We hear a lot of research and development to bootstrap the standard reader.
All this when iPhone 4 releases this Thursday with a new version of iBook on it. This allows users to read on that desirable fantasy of a gadget. Apparently well designed, like any Apple product, and can dent the ereader market further.
Now what does all this rambling mean to us designers.
I have been at client meetings lately where tablet apps are substituting traditional marketing and other promotional assets. There are more devices realized for various verticals and target markets. More devices mean more user interfaces, more challenges to differentiate, surpass and brand better. Not to mention all that content that needs to be designed to consume.
Well it is going to rain interfaces my friend and we have to be there monitoring the sanity.