Categories
Notes

Google and Facebook launching object recognition platforms; beyond the barcode scanner

The barcode scanner never got hold in the western world. WeChat has turned it into a big success connecting the physical and virtual world.

With the most recent Google IO and Facebook F8 presentations we see both companies moving into the domain of connecting the physical world to the virtual world, building Mobile Object Recognition as a platform. The camera is no longer the end of an interaction (sharing), it’s the start of an interaction (recognise this). The company that can turn this into a platform is the company that can leverage the payments that are connected to physical spaces.

Facebook Google Object Recognition
Facebook Google Mobile Object Recognition

The Google keynote

The Facebook keynote

Categories
Notes

Swiping stories and how mobile interaction patterns evolve

Once in a while a new interaction pattern pops-up and you wonder why it took so long to figure out.

The ‘stories pattern’ is one of these patterns. It’s a truly native mobile experience. Born on native.

Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Medium
Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Medium

In design we often still treat the touch screen as a regular computer screen. We moved from skeumorphic design, a way to make people understand a new medium by reusing anchors from the past to a more mobile originated visual design.

Infinite scroll
Facebook figured out that if you build a smart infinite feed people will scroll indefinitely. It’s still a web pattern based on the scrolling behavior of your mouse. It works fine on mobile too.

Tinder familiarised us with card swiping on a phone. Using one hand to hold your phone and use your thumb to go through dozens of cards like an experienced card dealer in a casino throwing out the cards.

Google matured the card concept with their Material Design guidelines and Google Now.

The stories pattern
Snapchat was the one to crack and grow the ‘stories’ pattern. Successfully copied by Instagram and now rolled out into Facebook (test) and Medium.

It’s a way to horizontally swipe through something with one hand, like a deck of cards. Only the cards fill the entire screen.
There is no vertical scroll or partial view, it’s screen to screen to screen. Building a horizontal oriented infinity feed of little experiences or moments.

Stories features on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Medium
The great thing about this pattern is that it works just better with the motion of your thumb.

You stretch your thumb a little bit and there is something new.

Figure from: A comparison of smartphone interface guidelines using primary navigation patterns by Pukar Bhattarai, HCI-E MSc Final Project Report 2016 UCL Interaction Centre, University College London.
Figure from: A comparison of smartphone interface guidelines using primary navigation patterns by Pukar Bhattarai, HCI-E MSc Final Project Report 2016 UCL Interaction Centre, University College London.

Something that might be fun. It’s addictive, you can peek at the next card, on small swipe and your on to something new that might be exciting or not. The Skinner box.

This is the one-armed bandit of mobile. It’s a nice and small gesture and it’s addictive.

Good design is as little design as possible

Dieter Rams, 10 principles for good design

As often with great design. In retrospect it’s staring you in the face. Why something so simple was so complicated to discover.

Categories
Notes

Building habits

I started blogging over 12 years ago. Starting a blog was the easiest way to share ideas and work.

Over time it got easier, WordPress came around and I got better at it.

The challenging part of writing is starting with it and keep doing it. It’s like any other skill. You have to create a habit, stick to it and keep practicing.

When to hit publish?
When Twitter and Facebook really took of I moved from blogs to Twitter and my posting frequency declined and died a slow death. There is so much good stuff to read. Why should I write more? When is something enough to publish?

I do miss it, not because I have something to share with the world. I like how writing makes me organise my thoughts. And make it easier to shape an idea into something that can be easily communicated to other people.

Since a couple of years I co-organise the Behavior Design meetup in Amsterdam. It’s a quarterly meetup about the design of behavior. We ask experts and designers to share their insights.

Over the years I learned a lot about how to change behavior. The model that BJ Fogg presents still stands out to me, because it’s so simple and easy to apply. (B) Behavior = (M) Motivation (A) Ability (T) Trigger (B = MAT).

So let’s try some behavior design analysis to my writing :)

Goal
So here’s my goal. Writing helps me structure ideas. I want to improve this behavior (B) and be better at communicating ideas.
The motivation (M) is ‘oke’, it’s not really high, I don’t want to be a writer. I do wan’t to improve. I do like writing.

In BJ Fogg his model you want all actors in the model to work together. If motivation is low, you need to make it really easy to do and by creating a trigger you ensure that you keep doing it.

My Ability (A) is quite high. I have a million excuses to do other stuff. Although finding 30 minutes to write can’t be that hard. There is no technical barrier anymore. Medium is a great way to share stories and get feedback from people. All you need is browser and a computer. No excuses here.

Then the most important part. The trigger (T), it’s what makes you start and what keeps you going. I used to write a lot on my daily commutes in the train. Which is a great trigger. Sit, music and a slow internet connection. I now commute by car to the office, so I need to find another time and pace.

Having a pace is important. Don’t start at a pace that is too high, and don’t make it too slow either, if you don’t write often your stories become way to important and to important to finish.

Not sure what my pace and trigger is yet. Let’s start with once a week.

Categories
Notes

What Makes Great Product Design

This is a really good panel discussion about what makes a great design team.

Google Ventures hosted a panel at SPAN 2015 discussing the the art and practice of innovating for new products.

Panel members
Braden Kowitz of Google Ventures
Leland Rechis of Etsy
Liz Danzico of NPR
Kim Bost of Dropbox
Katie Dill of Airbnb

I maintain a Twitter list with designers, all of them are on there. Subscribe to the list here

Categories
Notes

Who’s responsible for an evil machine?

Joi Ito posted an interesting remark to the VW story on Facebook. With increased usage of machine learning algorithms. Computer try to optimise results. Results that can be great for operating the machine, although it can have side effects.

There is a thread over email with various people right now about how just auditing the code will not be enough since with machine learning, you don’t actually “program” the rules, but the machine learns them. If a machine optimizes in a way that breaks a rule, is it the programmers fault, and how do you detect it. I think that how and with what data we train AIs is going to be an exceedingly important way to manage things as relatively straight forward as breaking laws all the way to ethics.

The code used during the VW emission check probably didn’t have anything to do with machine learning. It’s a very simple check.

The software was relatively straight-forward: during an emissions test, the wheels of a car spin, but the steering wheel doesn’t. No turning or jostling of the steering column, indicates the car isn’t out on a normal drive and that an emissions test is underway. That activated a defeat device that limited the harmful gas emitted by the car, allowing it to pass the test.

With machines getting smarter running their own optimisation tricks. Who’s to blame when the machine makes a choice that’s probably completely rational for the machine, although against societies values.

Make in this story at Fusion as well.

Categories
Notes

Microinteractions for iOT with Dan Saffer

This is one of the best presentations about design I have seen in a while. Dan Saffer (ex-Jawbone) talks about microinteractions for connected devices at Solid.

With more connected devices around us, complexity increases making an important case for simple interactions. Making something really simple work in an environment with connected devices is a challenge in itself.

Triggers, Rules, Feedback, Loops and Modes

Microinteractions Trigger Rules Feedback Loops and Modes
Microinteractions Trigger Rules Feedback Loops and Modes

Dan refers to different categories of actions. This model is similar to models promoted in Behavior Design where a trigger combined with motivation leads to an action. Some actions are standalone, others are about changing behavior in the long term and require loops and modes.

I like how Dan talks about these from his extended product experience and knowledge. Specifying manual triggers (visible/invisible) and system triggers.

Watch his talk (video)

Watch the video

Categories
Notes

Responsive Design mode in Safari

I just discovered the responsive design mode in Safari. This is nice. I think it’s a great tool, even when it’s limited to showing Apple devices.

The past weeks I have talked to multiple companies about how they approach responsive design. Mobile is over 50% for most companies, even approaching 70% numbers. Most websites start from a web view and adapt for mobile. Responsive Design is often, web design optimised for mobile.

This is wrong and we need better design tools to fix this. The Safari responsive design mode is a good start. While we design and build most websites behind a computer, most viewers aren’t viewing this from a computer.

Hiding a div is not how you scale down. We need to think the other way around. How to scale up and thinking about browser memory and mobile bandwith. Mobile first, really means mobile first. Start with the best mobile website you can think of and scale up.

The ad-blocker discussion on mobile browsers linked to this design approach. Loading too many ads and external scripts that make a scaled down page just too heavy to handle for most mobile browsers. Resulting in a bad experience, ads that are too big, content that is out of the first view, sites that crash or never load.

Safari Responsive Design Mode
Safari Responsive Design Mode