Five Examples of Innovative User Interface Design

November 3rd, 2014 by Jason Williamson

In this age ofInnovative User Interface Design smart phones, social networks, online ever-presence, and digital everything, marketing companies bombard us with technology products that we need to incorporate into our lives. Rich feature sets, practical use, gimmicks and the need to have the latest and greatest will sell many of these products. But by and large, to have staying power, a product needs the right kind of user interface. It needs to be convenient, feel natural and be of a design that works well for the product. The design of user interfaces is an art and science of its own and here are some amazing ones that are stretching the boundaries of thought and possibility.

Apple Aqua

Aqua is the graphical user interface of Apple’s Mac OS X and was first introduced to the public in 2000. It has evolved and undergone many changes in the years since, but it is still the primary visual theme on the platform. The GUI is built around a water theme, as its name would suggest, incorporating effects of reflection and translucency along with visually appealing elements reminiscent of water droplets. It has clean, simple screens with softly rounded corners for a more relaxed appearance than some other interfaces. Two of its more noteworthy features include the animation of many of the elements and a dock for launching and navigating between applications. » Read more: Five Examples of Innovative User Interface Design

UI / UX News: October 2014

October 29th, 2014 by Shawn Lyon

The world of UX/UI is constantly evolving. Discover developments from the innovative to the idiosyncratic in our monthly brief.

New car dash LCD displays break the moldUX/UI News

Sharp has designers thinking outside the box with their newly developed process for creating LCD displays. No longer limited to rectangular screens, these displays will require only one flat side, opening doorways to enhanced designs and more plentiful screen space.

For a closer look, check out Jason Torchinsky’s recent article for Jalopnik, Car Dash Designers Are Finally Free from the Prison of Rectangular LCDs

Smart lawn sprinklers save money and water

Now you can grow your grass and shrink your water bill at the same time. The Skydrop sprinkler controller helps users to “water smarter” by monitoring soil conditions and local weather via wifi and establishing optimum watering schedules based on collected data.

To learn more about Skydrop, visit the site at skydrop.com.

» Read more: UI / UX News: October 2014

Will Wearable Tech Be the New Must-Have Accessory?

October 27th, 2014 by Cheryl Falk

Will wearable tech be the new must have accessory?We’ve all done it at some point. Someone you know – a friend, relative, co-worker, whoever – buys the latest and greatest something or other and you absolutely have to have it as well. That something might be a car, a laptop, a phone or one of dozens of other possibilities. How much it costs and whether or not it’s really needed are practical issues that are often ignored in favor of the perceived need to have that latest and greatest whatever. Will that same kind of mindset apply to wearable tech? Will smart watches and smart glasses cement a place within mainstream society — or will they remain primarily within their niche markets?

Very few people remember a ring that could be worn which provided one’s pulse at the touch of a button, and you certainly don’t see anyone wearing one these days. Bluetooth headsets were, at one point, almost ubiquitous. Although they are still in use, they’re becoming increasingly rare. Why is that? The answer is more complicated than it at first appears and depends on several factors.

Factors to Consider

Marketing is the first factor. Technology evolves almost faster than marketing companies can keep up with it. Marketing is what places current tech in front of consumers. Today and tomorrow’s tech is what gets the marketing investment, not yesterday’s cool stuff. If a tech product hasn’t made a place for itself by the time its marketing campaign runs dry, it will likely fall by the wayside and be forgotten or replaced. » Read more: Will Wearable Tech Be the New Must-Have Accessory?

4 Super-Innovative Touchscreen GUI Applications

October 17th, 2014 by Jason Williamson

Not too long ago, the touchscreen GUI was almost exclusively found in the realm of smartphones and tablets. Today, they are becoming increasingly common – and can be found in a vast number of cutting-edge applications.touchscreen gui applications

Makeover Counter

Many people buy beauty products at the store, get them home, and realize too late that they’ve purchased a shade that really doesn’t complement their skin tone. The introduction of interactive makeover counters using touchscreen GUIs eliminates this issue. Customers simply use the interface to capture images of their faces or hands and upload them.

Shoppers can then try out all the products on the store’s “virtual shelf” by using the touchscreen to search by product type and simply drag selected items onto uploaded images.

Touchscreen with Integrated Fingerprint Sensor

While the presence of a fingerprint sensor isn’t an entirely new concept, the model unveiled at the annual CeBIT trade fair in Hanover certainly is. This touchscreen GUI is capable not only of scanning and recognizing a user’s fingerprints in a fraction of a second, it can also read, recognize, scan, and sort the fingerprints of multiple users simultaneously. » Read more: 4 Super-Innovative Touchscreen GUI Applications

The Future of Gesture-Based UI

October 16th, 2014 by Cheryl Falk

gestural User interfaceGestural UI refers to using specific gestures, like scrolling, pinching, and tapping to operate an interface. It also refers to gesture recognition, including tipping, tilting, eye motion, and shaking. Gestural user interface and gesture recognition technology has evolved from very basic motions and applications to the complex, and it is now part of everyday life for a huge number of people. As this technology continues to evolve, the future possibilities are also incredibly exciting.

Smartphones and Tablets

Currently, smartphones and tablets are the most common place everyday consumers can find gestural UI. From Apple iPhones to the Samsung Galaxy, the vast majority of contemporary phones incorporate some elements of gesture UI, from swiping and scrolling, which is common to most phones and tablets, to orientation recognition.

» Read more: The Future of Gesture-Based UI

UI/UX News: September 2014

October 6th, 2014 by Cheryl Falk

September 2014 Top UI/UX news stories from AltiaInteresting and noteworthy developments in the world of UX/UI brought to you by Altia.

Apple’s continued collection of tech patents
The biggest news for Apple fans this September was the release of the iPhone 6 and preview of the Apple Watch, but other impressive developments were occurring outside the limelight. Apple’s aggressive pursuit of patents continued, and the tech giant was granted U.S. Patent No. 8,839,150 for “Graphical objects that respond to touch or motion input”. So, what does that mean exactly?

Mikey Campbell tells us more in his recent article for AppleInsider, Apple’s patented physics-based iPad GUI translates file size into mass, supports intuitive gestures

Twitter strives for increased accessibility

Twitter’s UI has undergone a number of overhauls throughout the years, but many new users remain unsure of how to properly interact with the platform. The confusion is leading investors to question the long-term viability of the social media giant, and share prices are becoming increasingly volatile. In response, Twitter is putting fresh eyes on their evolving UI.

Sarah Frier and Brad Stone examine the efforts in their original article for Bloomberg Businessweek: Operation Twitter: User Interface Changes in the Works

Altia Taps Cadlog to Distribute GUI Development Toolkits in Italy and Spain

Altia Incorporated announced the signing of Cadlog Srl as a distributor this September, offering expanded GUI development and design solutions to a wider European audience.

“Europe is the home to some of the best design in the world, particularly in Italy and Spain,” states Mike Juran, Altia CEO. “That fact is becoming increasingly present in their product design – from automotive to home appliance. We’re seeing this innovation not just from global household names, but also from smaller companies and products. We’re looking forward to partnering with Cadlog to deliver Altia’s tools to GUI trailblazers across their region so that they can get the best embedded display into production.”

Read the Altia Press Release at PR.com to learn more.

The Future of Virtual Reality

September 29th, 2014 by Shawn Lyon

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

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

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

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