MinneDemo Summer 2012

Some interesting new developments should be hitting the market in the near future thanks to the hard work of the minds behind the presenters at Minnedemo Summer 2012. I had an opportunity to check it out last night and beyond the sea of faces, drinks and chatting. I witnessed a few of the presentations. Some on their game, some not so much.

RapidEngines brought an up to the second working version of their real-time data analytics engine.  Nested in with the pie charts and bar graphs representing usable data, Twitter’s hiccup yesterday displayed a wonderful line graph which flat-line at the exact moment their servers went down.  Very Nice.

Brewtoad fit right in with this crowd as well. Their slick home-brewing recipe site was not only well organized and throughout but an excellent example of UX design, fully working across multiple mobile devices simultaneously.

Manymo is the next wave of android server testing.  Before our eyes, the project brought up 3 different versions of emulator android machines for testing in a matter of clicks while the traditional input method struggled to keep it in check. Great, if it doesn’t get bogged down with issues by the time they are ready for release.

Did you go? What did you think? Oh and did you score a Canopy freebie?

Flexible Layouts

I’ve been working on converting an iPad-focused app into an app that is compatible with various-sized Android devices. Things were going pretty well until I flipped the Kindle Fire into portrait mode and saw the parts of the app’s interface get squished into submission. I couldn’t use the same technique to create the layout for this device that I had for the larger devices.

I thought of two options:
1. Modify the JavaScript of the app to generate an interface with fewer elements.
2. Move part of the layout to make room for the pieces that won’t fit.

I chose the section option because in this case the interface in portrait mode was mostly consistent with that of the landscape mode and it was more time-effective to do so.

I’d like to know: Have you found yourself in a similar situation and how did you handle it?

d.school @ CoCo

hey all – The Line Media wrote up an article on the d.school@CoCo w/ photos from our session.

btw – if you wanna check out the Crash Course and haven’t yet – looks like there’s still room available for their Tues June 5th session.

On the Appropriateness of Alternatives

As an app developer, I am growing to understand the importance of the learnability of software. Giving a user access to each part of an app at all times is one thing, but what happens when the user has multiple options for navigating to a given page?

It’s easy to take the functionality for granted when you’re the one developing the software. I worked on an iPad app which was laid out in a way to give the user the same information in two different views (but that’s for another topic). The information on the main screen was organized into categories and the way to access the second view was to tap on the heading of a category. Once in this view, the user could go back to the main screen by tapping the heading again or by tapping a button on the edge of the screen. Did I mention that the user could also get to the second view by tapping the name of the category on the bottom of the first screen?

This design might work for giving the user an alternative if he/she doesn’t realize that the same action can reverse the initial one. However, putting the alternatives in different locations will likely confuse more than help the user. A better approach would be to place both alternative buttons in the same position for both views. Consistency is one of the golden principles of usability and is one that becomes all the more important in the mobile world. This is just one simple example of ways it can be implemented to improve real software.

Modern Climate looking for an experience IA/UX

If you or someone you know has ~5 years experience as a IA/UX person – Modern Climate wants to talk to you.

[job] Childrens Hospital looking for a Interactive Designer / Front-end Dev

A contact @ Children’s Hospital sent me a message saying they’re looking for someone (with a little experience ~4yrs) to help them design & build HTML emails and other marketing/brand-oriented web materials (so, PHP experience is helpful too).

If you or someone you know is interested I’ll connect you w/ my contact.

If you’re interested in their HR / Job application system, here’s a link (search for ‘interactive designer’)


MN UX Meetup – Mon. Jan 9, 2012, 6-8pm Wilde Roast Cafe

Please join us for our first UX Meetup of 2012.

The topic will be “What Taxonomy Is & Why It’s Important to UX.”

Our guest speaker will be Seth Earley, CEO of Earley & Associates.

Seth will join us via Skype.

Monday, January 9
6-8 p.m.

Wilde Roast Cafe
65 Main St SE (Riverplace)

Job: Symantec Senior Principal UX Specialist – NetBackup

“The first member of the team we are looking for is an experienced interaction designer to help develop a vision for highly usable solutions, working closely with customers, product management, engineering, and Symantec’s internal UI design team, which is global. NetBackup’s UCD and UI architecture center of expertise is Pune, India, and we have support from the corporate UCD center in Mountain View, CA. This individual will need to maintain excellent communication and foster working relationships with all teams. He or she will also execute the vision for highly usable solutions by helping establish design processes and enabling individual engineering teams to deliver that vision incrementally, on time, and within budget. Finally, this individual will help us grow the team as needed to support these activities.”

UX Meetup: April 11th

Happy Spring! Just a quick note about this month’s meeting.

The Business of User Experience.
In honor of the all-too-quickly approaching Tax Day, it would be nice to hear about the business of user experience. Do you work at GigaUX GmbH providing UX solutions to the world? Perhaps you work for a large company in the UX Department. Or, you might be the “go to UX expert” on a development team. Maybe you point your lance at those UX giants from the comfort of your own business, Quixotic UX, LLC.

Come share your story, your experience, your wisdom. We would love to hear about your workflow, tools that impede or ease the flow, best practices—even financial “observations”! NB: This should not be taken as official financial advice from the Man’s Life of Chartered Accountancy! [Hat tip Monty Python.]

Monday, April 11. 6pm

Red Stag Supper Club

509 1st Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55413

May 9 – UX Book Club

The next UX Book club title is Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design

We will be meeting to discuss at Wilde Roast Cafe in Minneapolis.

Paperback + screen-optimized PDF + ePub + MOBI, $39
Print-optimized PDF + Screen-optimized PDF + ePub + MOBI, $22

Paperback, $39

Date & Time
Monday, May 9
6 – 8 PM

Wilde Roast Cafe
518 East Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55414

For reference or to learn more about the titles of UX Book Club check out the Reading List for 2011.