Meet the Jetsons: UI in the Home

January 12th, 2015 by Jason Williamson

UI in the home - using your smart phoneThe same easy and intuitive UIs you use every day now allow you to operate a wide variety of devices in your home. Being able to run your world with a few taps and swipes is not only very cool, it’s convenient.

Imagine you are watching an intense drama an hour before the kids get home, and the washing machine starts to rumble through the spin cycle. You can’t hear the main character’s big speech and you really need to get dinner started. You reach for your smart phone and call up your home control app. A click on the washer pause icon gets the noise under control. An interactive image from the fridge shows that there are veggies you can give the kids to get them through the afternoon. Click on the oven icon and you see that there is still an hour to go on the roast. In seconds, you are back to your movie, with no worries. » Read more: Meet the Jetsons: UI in the Home

UI Design Strategies for a Culturally Diverse Audience

January 5th, 2015 by Jason Williamson

A successful UI designer understands the importance of considering different cultural characteristics, backgrounds, and behaviors during the planning process.GUI Design for Cultural Diversity

Language barriers

An obvious but vital consideration, language barriers impact communication and reading comprehension, frustration levels, and product adoption. Depending on the target audience, it may be essential to provide content in other languages, or at least, some contextual translation tools.

These tools may include mouse over pop-ups, or more extensive online translation solutions. A native language speaker should test and quality check all translated content for accuracy, proper syntax and appropriateness.

Cultural context

Some UI designers may assume levels of user sophistication based on prior experience from a majority culture. If the background experience of the product audience is limited, a resulting naiveté and lack of understanding may affect their use of the product.  » Read more: UI Design Strategies for a Culturally Diverse Audience

Awesome Advances In Automotive GUI

December 22nd, 2014 by Cheryl Falk

GUI in the Automotive IndustryAmericans drive. A lot. Other countries do their fair share of driving, but the automobile is an icon of American culture right along with the cowboy. There are a billion autos on the planet and a substantial majority of them are within the United States. With that many potential consumers in search of a product which never goes out of demand, you would think more emphasis would be placed on the HMI of the vehicle. Such is not the case. By and large, automotive GUIs are sub-par on their best days and confusing or just plain bad on other days.

» Read more: Awesome Advances In Automotive GUI

The Color Theory Behind Successful UX Design

December 15th, 2014 by Cheryl Falk

Color Theory and UIColor theory is used for web pages, painting, photography; virtually anything that makes use of color to help communicate something to a viewer. Generally speaking, color theory is looked upon as a field of scientific study which breaks down into three basic categories:

  • The Color Wheel
  • Color Harmony
  • Color Context

» Read more: The Color Theory Behind Successful UX Design

Smart Cars, Distracted Drivers

December 8th, 2014 by Shawn Lyon

Determining whether oSmart Cars, Smart Designr not “smart” automobiles are distracting depends largely on who you ask. If you ask consumers, as was done in the 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAAFTS), 71% of drivers believe that hands-free devices are safer than hand-held ones, and over 50% of those same people don’t believe that speech-based systems are at all distracting. If you ask car manufacturers, they will claim voice systems are completely safe alternatives that allow a driver to navigate, communicate, or enjoy social media without distraction.

» Read more: Smart Cars, Distracted Drivers

8 Inspiring Quotes about Good Design

December 1st, 2014 by Cheryl Falk

8 inspiring quotes Good design does not happen by accident. It is imagined, researched, planned, and then implemented. It is reimagined and rebuilt through numerous iterations until it eventually evolves into a form perfectly suited for its purpose. Good design is as important as that initial spark of imagination in turning an idea into reality.

Here are eight quotes from incredible people who know a thing or two about good design…

“Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.” – Paul Rand

“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.” – Steve Jobs

» Read more: 8 Inspiring Quotes about Good Design

The Mother of Invention: Train Your Mind to Innovate

November 24th, 2014 by Cheryl Falk

technology and innovationThere are three primary motivations for inventing something:

  • Necessity: The need for a new product or service which does not currently exist
  • Laziness: An easier way than the current method of doing something
  • Innovation: A better or more efficient product, service, or method of doing something

All three motivations require creativity, but each one involves a certain way of thinking in order to be realized. Necessity revolves mainly around survival. The invention of tools and weapons were driven by necessity. Laziness is more about working smarter, not harder. Transporting a load of goods on your back or on the back of an animal gets something from point A to point B, but using a wheeled cart makes that task immensely easier and increases the size of the possible load as well. » Read more: The Mother of Invention: Train Your Mind to Innovate

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

» 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?