“The personal computer is dying. Its place in our lives as the primary means of computing will soon end. Mobile computing-the cell phone in your pocket or the tablet in your purse-has been a great bridging technology, connecting the familiar past to a formative future. But mobile is not the destination…I’m talking about a diffuse and invisible network embedded in our surroundings. Chips and sensors are finding their way into clothing, personal accessories, and more. These devices are capturing information whose impact is not yet meaningful to most people. But it will be soon enough. The question we need to answer is: how will these intertwined systems of hardware and software be designed to meaningfully add to our lives and to society?”

Link: Why Today’s Mobile Devices Are Doomed Like the Dying PC (

“The biggest problem with many app notifications is that the benefit doesn’t outweigh the cost – the information they offer isn’t worth pulling your attention at that moment. So, I appreciate apps that help you silence the stuff you don’t care about and filter down to what you do. For example, I like that I can limit Twitter notifications to interactions from just people I follow instead of the whole world. Gmail lets you enable new message notifications for just a particular label or priority. I like infrequent but useful notifications like the occasional email I get from, when a bank charges a service fee (boo) or when a deposit hits my account (hooray).”

Link: A Conversation with Gina Trapani: On Designing Meaningful Notifications (

Want to learn more about the Android navigation drawer paradigm? Google’s got the 47 minute (!) video for you.

Link: Android Design in Action: Navigation Drawers (


“Mobile devices have their own set of Information Architecture patterns, too. While the structure of a responsive site may follow more “standard” patterns, native apps, for example, often employ navigational structures that are tab-based. Again, there’s no “right” way to architect a mobile site or application. Instead, let’s take a look at some of the most popular patterns: Hierarchy, Hub & spoke, Nested doll, Tabbed view, Bento box and Filtered view.”

Link: Designing for Mobile, Part 1: Information Architecture (

Don Norman and Bahar Wadia give a nice summation of the opportunities and challenges of designing interactions for touch and gesture-based systems.

“Yes, getting the technology to work is hard, but the really hard part is getting the human-system interaction right, making it easy for people to use the systems…To overcome the limitations of affordances, Norman introduced the concept of a “signifier,” a perceivable (usually visible) signal of the location and form of the possible input interaction. Signifiers are of critical importance for these new interfaces because without them, the person will seldom be able to operate the device properly or, even if some operations are done, not be able to take full advantage of the rich possibility offered by more advanced, but invisible, modes of interaction. Today, signifiers are badly done with multi-touch devices. With touchless devices, the signifiers, if show at all, tend to be diagrams or short animated sequences visible on some associated display. This is an area in deep need of standards.”

Link: Opportunities and Challenges For Touch and Gesture-Based Systems (


“The users who we observed touching their phone’s screens or buttons held their phones in three basic ways: one handed – 49%, cradled – 36%, two handed – 15%. In the following sections, I’ll describe and show a diagram of each of these methods of holding a mobile phone, along with providing some more detailed data and general observations about why I believe people hold a mobile phone in a particular way.”

Link: How Do Users Really Hold Mobile Devices? (, via. See also Microsoft Research Paper for a pre-iPhone study)

An introduction to UX design basics for Android from Google I/O, sprinkled with insights about design decisions that the Android design team has made about the platform itself.

“Want to enchant people, simplify their lives, and make them feel amazing with your app? Learn how Android’s Design Principles can help you create products that resonate with people. Find out about the meaning and research behind the principles. See real-world examples and practices from the Android Design team. Discover techniques for applying the principles in your daily work. No design experience necessary.”

Link: Google I/O 2013 – Enchant, Simplify, Amaze: Android’s Design Principles (

“The adoption of contextual computing–combinations of hardware, software, networks, and services that use deep understanding of the user to create tailored, relevant actions that the user can take–is contingent on the spread of new platforms. Frankly, it depends on the smartphone…we’ve identified four data graphs essential to the rise of contextual computing: social, interest, behavior, and personal…The real potential of contextual computing isn’t about just one of these graphs. It’s about connections that resonate between them and which get tailored to different kinds of experiences. Early entrants like Google’s Now and Glass projects,, and Siri are just beginning to experiment with these technologies.”

Link: The Future Of Technology Isn’t Mobile, It’s Contextual (


“Thatgamecompany co-founder Jenova Chen set out to create not only a new video game experience but a new emotional experience, with the multiple award-winning PlayStation hit Journey…this free 60-minute lecture explored Chen’s desire to make an online multiplayer different from his experiences with World of Warcraft. He wanted Journey to be genderless and ageless, with gameplay that was neither about achievements nor empowerment. Prototyping for the emotional Journey actually began around its music. Chen said that he always does so because ‘music is the most effective and powerful medium that can create emotion.’”

Link: Designing a new emotional experience in Journey (

An interview with the UI designer who created the displays for Star Trek Into Darkness.

“In practical UI, you are trying to give the user an elegant way to make choices. With film UI, I am trying to give the viewer the illusion of choice. I am trying to deliberately direct the viewers eye to whatever story point the director wants revealed at the time he wants it revealed. The job becomes more about illustration, especially in post where we can see how the interface is framed within the shot. We paint a small part of a much bigger picture, and our work needs to visually support what’s on screen so that we don’t disrupt the rhythm of the viewing experience.”

Link: Interview: Jorge Almeida (

Arguing for multi-purpose devices, Berkowitz writes: “It’s true that my GPS-enabled camera takes better pictures than my smartphone, and can tell me they were taken in California. But learning to share the pictures with friends takes more effort than it is worth. In the new marketplace, devices people can’t master in five minutes will result in a lot of returned items, which very quickly makes a product unprofitable.”

On the opposite side, Saffer writes: “It’s not just professionals who care about quality, either. Yes, the speaker on a phone is good enough to listen to a song in a pinch. But to really enjoy the music, even your multipurpose device must be supplemented with a product like the brilliant Jambox, designed to play music loudly and well.”

Link: Are Multipurpose Devices Better Than Products That Perform One Function? (

Attention to detail. In this case: knobs.

“Ferguson Stereophonic – Antique Knob…The Knobs are what I’d expect from a lovingly built Hi-Fi. Axial Skew doesn’t exist. The weight behind the rotation is deliberate and weighty. The on-click feels like I’m providing the power myself! Why can’t people make them like this now? What is stopping manufacturers from this attention to detail?”

“Marantz NR1504. The input selector here has notches that for me aren’t notched enough, we know Marantz can do it because of the Pearl-Lite already reviewed. The volume Knob doesn’t have enough weight behind it. And the icing on the cake of disappointment is the plastic… It feels terrible.”

Link: Knobfeel (, via)


“Firefox OS Simulator is a test environment for Firefox OS. Use it to test your apps in a Firefox OS-like environment that looks and feels like a mobile phone. After installing it, go to Web Developer > Firefox OS Simulator to access its features.”

Link: Firefox OS Simulator (