The Future of Virtual Reality

September 29th, 2014 by Shawn Lyon No comments »

Many people think of fully immersive gaming when they think of virtual reality – or even an alternative, virtual universe or existence. However, despite virtual reality’s Hollywood portrayals – like the Holodeck on the USS Enterprise – in reality VR is not quite that advanced. And, while it certainly does offer extraordinary gaming possibilities, it holds many more practical applications, too.the future of virtual reality

Sadly, you can’t simply slip on a VR visor, lay back, and be whisked away to a virtual universe. However, it is possible to “enter” a virtual world with the correct technology, like that produced by Oculus VR.

Virtual Reality Gaming

Virtual reality gaming is still in its infancy, largely because of the incredibly expensive technology required to make it possible. Therefore, at the moment, it is not widely available to the masses.

» Read more: The Future of Virtual Reality

Altia CEO’s Top Three Observations from IQPC Automotive Cockpit HMI2014

September 24th, 2014 by Cheryl Falk No comments »

IQPC Automotive Cockpit HMI2014This week, Altia sponsored the 5th Annual Automotive Cockpit HMI2014 Conference in Frankfurt, Germany. The goal for the event was to get all the great automotive OEMs and suppliers together in one spot for deep-dive discussion about the challenges that automotive companies are facing with regard to HMI — and there are quite a few!

Not only is the automotive cockpit a battleground for brand differentiation, but the user experience has to be spot on. Not only do the various user interfaces in the car need to be functional while limiting driver distraction, but now need to interface with mobile devices and — in the not so distant future — with other vehicles!

With a guest list that includes experts from Fiat, Renault, BMW, Garmin and other leading automotive companies, we expected some truly exciting conversation — and we couldn’t wait to get a report from the road. So we asked Mike Juran, Altia’s CEO to share his impressions of the event.

Here goes… » Read more: Altia CEO’s Top Three Observations from IQPC Automotive Cockpit HMI2014

Exploring the UI Universe: Different Types of UI

September 22nd, 2014 by Cheryl Falk No comments »

User interface, or UI, describes the way in which a human interacts with a machine. Though technically something as simple as a light switch could be considered an instrument of UI, most modern references relate to computers and other electronic devices.User Interface Univers

UI makes the exchange between users and machines possible. Without it, this vital form of communication ceases to exist.

There are four prevalent types of user interface and each has a range of advantages and disadvantages:

  • Command Line Interface
  • Menu-driven Interface
  • Graphical User Interface
  • Touchscreen Graphical User Interface

» Read more: Exploring the UI Universe: Different Types of UI

Apple’s Most Intriguing New Patents

September 15th, 2014 by Jason Williamson No comments »

Renowned for their cutting edge technology products, Apple is constantly raising the bar when it comes to innovation, keeping fans consistently happy with the introduction of new products and new features. To maintain its presence at the top of the consumer electronics food chain, Apple’s R&D department has been busily filing patents to protect new ideas.

Siri Gesture and Siri Integrated to MacsLastest in Apple's Patents- technology

One of the latest patents for Apple is for the new double circular motion that brings up Siri. The patent relates to the introduction of, and use of, Siri on the desktop and other devices.

The patent is cleverly worded, not just to cover the use of the circular motion on the Apple Magic Mouse, but to incorporate all Apple devices that contain a touch-sensitive surface, including touchscreen graphical user interfaces.

So, whether on a touchscreen or a touch-sensitive peripheral, such as the Apple Magic Trackpad, users can easily call up Siri to aid them in their tasks. Additionally, this new patent describes how performing the Siri call gesture near or in an editing, writing, or mail app will allow Siri to help understand the context of user commands.

» Read more: Apple’s Most Intriguing New Patents

iPhone 6: Rumors of Cutting-Edge Haptic Feedback

September 10th, 2014 by Jason Williamson No comments »

The launch of a new Apple iPhone naturally causes a great deal of excitement and speculation among Apple fans and smartphone enthusiasts. The promise of the exciting features — like improved haptic feedback technology — has enthusiasts virtually salivating with anticipation.

Some of the new features rumoured to be coming to the iPhone 6 include an enhanced camera and increased internal storage capacity. According to numerous industry experts, though, the introduction of advanced haptic technology is going to be the unique selling point and must-have feature of the latest of the Apple phones.iPhone 6 haptic feedback

So, What is Haptic Technology?

Also known as tactile feedback technology, this feature communicates with the end user via touch, motion, and vibration. In the case of smartphones, such as Apple iPhones, with their state-of-the-art touch screen GUIs, the inclusion of haptics provides differing levels and rhythms of vibration, depending on the scenario and application. For example, when you activate an app or tap or swipe the screen to activate a control with cutting-edge haptics on board, the phone will vibrate slightly, possibly with the vibrations localized to the point of contact. This replaces the tactile response you would normally get when depressing an actual button.

Haptic technology emits different vibrations for different actions so, once you become familiar with your device, you understand what each vibration type means. Additionally, haptic technology is employed within certain apps and games, giving differing responses for movement, activation, pausing, menu options, and more.

» Read more: iPhone 6: Rumors of Cutting-Edge Haptic Feedback

Altia to Speak at Automotive Cockpit HMI2014 in Germany

September 8th, 2014 by Cheryl Falk No comments »

IQPC Automotive Cockpit HMI2014

Automotive Cockpit HMI2014 is just a few weeks away!

Altia will join BMW, Renault, Garmin and other automotive leaders for discussions about critical topics in HMI design and development — like automated drive, multi-modal HMI, connectivity, driver distraction and usability.

Mike Juran, Altia CEO, will present “The Economics of a Successful Automotive HMI – from Today to 2025.” He will sharehis insights into the state of advanced infotainment, the value of 3D and HUD and the future of automotive HMI design. » Read more: Altia to Speak at Automotive Cockpit HMI2014 in Germany

8 Cardinal Rules of Successful UI Design

September 8th, 2014 by Cheryl Falk No comments »

The graphical user interface is a crucial element of any electronic device in the modern era. The user interface is the component that allows humans to interact with their devices, from coffee machines to high-tech computers and state-of-the-art medical devices. However, not all user interfaces are equal. Some are much more successful than others. The key to a high quality user interface lays in the design, and there are a number of cardinal rules to take into account to help you achieve the best possible graphical user interface.Rules for Successful UI Design

  1. Keep it Simple

Although it sounds obvious, a simple user interface is the key to success. Avoid cluttering the interface with excessive buttons, tabs, and extraneous elements. Before taking the plunge and adding any element to the interface, ask yourself whether it is truly necessary. If it isn’t critical to the function of a specific screen, leave it out. Only add elements that provide benefits to your users.

  1. Stay Concise

When attempting to keep an interface simple, some designers are tempted to explain every little thing, often in the form of pop-ups or dialog boxes. This increases data mass, which in turn, can slow down your UI rapidly AND overwhelm the user.

While it may be necessary and beneficial to explain something to the user, keep it short and to the point, without excessive verbiage. Remember that the point of a user interface is to allow someone to interact with a device. Therefore, they shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time reading usability information. In the fast-paced digital age, people lack patience, and every second matters to them. » Read more: 8 Cardinal Rules of Successful UI Design

Will Restaurant Diners Find Touchscreen Service Appetizing?

September 4th, 2014 by Jason Williamson No comments »

Will Restaurant Diners Find Touchscreen Service Appetizing?

At some restaurants, the days of waiting impatiently for a server to take your order or bring your bill are over. The introduction of touchscreen service has a range of benefits, both for the customer and the restaurants that are making the move into high-tech service. These graphical user interfaces come in a variety of styles and sizes designed to enhance dining experiences.Will Restaurant Diners Find Touchscreen Service Appetizing

Benefits for Diners

Businesses can choose to present their diners with touchscreen GUIs in a range of sizes, from full-size e-table models that are essentially entire touchscreen table tops, to smaller, mobile screens and bar-top or table-side small screens.

E-tables provide an engaging dining experience for customers, allowing them to browse the menu and place their orders at their leisure. Additionally, some models feature “Chef Cams” that allow diners to watch the kitchen prepare their meals. Some offer internet connectivity that enables users to browse the web, check email, or update their social media accounts. Networked models allow diners to send e-cards to other tables, as well as share photos. For an extra novelty factor, diners can choose their own virtual tablecloths.
» Read more: Will Restaurant Diners Find Touchscreen Service Appetizing?

How Touchscreen GUI is Reshaping Modern Medicine

August 29th, 2014 by Jason Williamson No comments »

A touchscreen GUI is a graphical user interface operated by fingertips or a stylus. This can be a PC or laptop or on a handheld device like a tablet. Touchscreen GUIs are becoming increasingly commonplace in medical settings and offer a range of benefits to health care professionals and patients alike. The advantages these medical touchscreen devices bring are many, and their importance should not be overlooked. Touchscreen-Modern-Medicine-GUI

Improved Organization

Medical facilities are often in a state of chaos – even if it’s organized chaos. The introduction of touchscreen GUIs, however, as part of a medical device, or a larger network, helps to combat disorganization. Streamlining processes and giving access to information makes staying focused easy. Users are also afforded the ability to update information at the touch of a button.

Protected, Easily-accessible Data

With the use of a touchscreen GUI, patients or medical professionals have easy access to a whole range of data stored by the device, via a simple interaction with the screen. For example, instead of having to wade through three decades’ worth of medical notes, a physician can simply find the appropriate application, and enter a specific date or keyword; the device returns the appropriate search results. Additionally, with a paperless system and proper data security protocols in place, sensitive patient information is safer.
» Read more: How Touchscreen GUI is Reshaping Modern Medicine

The Psychology of Successful UI

August 11th, 2014 by Jason Williamson No comments »

Many considerations must be taken into account when developing a winning Human-Machine Interface (HMI) strategy. As technology continues to evolve at astounding rates, designers are finding more ways to make everyday products extraordinary; pushing the boundaries of user interface to new levels of immersion and engagement that were deemed impossible just a few years ago.

Though technological breakthroughs have opened doors to un-chartered possibilities, the true cornerstone of superior HMI, UI, UX and GUI design remains rooted in an element as old as humanity itself – the human psyche.The Psychology of Successful UI

The Age of Expectations

The desires, needs and motivations that shape human behavior have changed over the years. As a culture, we have certainly grown accustomed to expecting greater results from less effort. And, thanks to the steady progression of technology, the Average Joes and Janes of the modern world enjoy levels of comfort and luxury that monarchs, kings and queens could scarcely have dreamt of in their time.

Despite all that, we still want the same basic things today that we wanted back then. We crave knowledge. We yearn for connectivity. We want to be “wowed”. The big difference now is that we expect those things to come to us quickly and easily… at the click of a button. Making that happen is a function of strategic Human-Machine Interface – and GUI is at the heart of it.

» Read more: The Psychology of Successful UI