Archives for posts with tag: mobile

It’s been awhile since my last ideation!

Okay, this one’s pretty simple. The idea is: add collaborative editing to design applications, in real-time. Like collaborative whiteboards, but with the integrated tools, note-making, and granular functions.

20110718-104624.jpg

In the image, the web app user is adding an ‘X’, the iPhone user is adding a note, and the iPad user is scribbling away. They all do this at the same time, or one after another.

In a real-life example, a user experience designer, a visual designer, and a front-end developer could all be working on a single interface for a brand-new iPad game that has a complex logical structure. They are currently trying to understand basic interactions from one screen to another but don’t have time to have the UX designer cook up several wireframe iterations, then have the visual and front-end designers take those frames and make a basic prototype. They have 10 hours left before development. Oh, and one lives in New York, the second in Minneapolis, and the third in Houston. In-person is not an option.

So they all use their favorite basic visual tool, i.e. OmniGraffle, Photoshop, Fireworks, and work from one screen to another, visually describing the interactions with boxes, arrows, text, gradients, shadows, and most importantly, immediate verbal communication and response.

Visual might ask, “Hey, how will the user add more players to the game?” and UX would add an Add Player function to the screen (maybe a button with a modal prompt). Then Dev would say, “iOS doesn’t support that sort of modal, but you could do this” and Dev redraws the button with an text box alert instead. Then Visual says, “That works, but it doesn’t conform to the game’s proposed visual style. Maybe this?” and so on and so forth.

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Brightside - The Concept (Keynote Presentation) - Slide 1

A PDF version of the overall concept of Brightside.

Brightside is a social concept, a way to share positive experiences with others. It is based on individual locations — not just businesses and named venues but also random spots, such as a park bench or a rock on a hill overlooking the city.

The presentation itself says it all! If you like Facebook’s “like” button and location-based sharing apps like Foursquare and Gowalla, you will probably dig this.

View the non-PDF presentation on my Slideshare account.

Mobile devices are intuitive, easy to use, hands-on (literally), and just plain fun. They offer new levels of search by location, including GPS. And that cannot easily be offered within a desktop-based system; I sure wouldn’t want to tote my i5 to my favorite coffeeshop!

That being said, using fingers to map search on a touch-screen mobile device can be a bit tricky, considering these factors:

  • large fingers
  • poor dexterity
  • arthritis
  • broken bones — try to move your fingers around in a cast!

Let me show you an example of what I am referring to: In Uptown Minneapolis, Cafe French Meadow and Common Roots Cafe are located very close together on Google Maps.

Google Maps screenshot: Uptown Minneapolis, 26th & Lyndale

Point your finger at this image. Feel confident that you will be able to select Common Roots without potentially selecting French Meadow?

Wouldn’t an on-screen tool offering a more precise selection be helpful? I propose a precision-select map search joystick, the precision being derived from a 1-2 pixel area pointer… a polished version of the mockup below.

Map Search Joystick Demo with Finger Pointing

In this instance, the user desires to move the pointer up and left. It would move at a smooth, steady pace. Zoom in and out buttons are large and apparent, as is the location selection button.

And this is just the start of an idea. Imagine the potential functions, the iterations, the improvements. Touchscreen joysticks like this are actually already in use, as are removable stick-on joysticks (also here), but I am simply proposing that they be utilized within map search for those who find touch search too tough to tackle.

Keep in mind, mobile gaming has already proven and is actively demonstrating touch-based interactive ingenuity. Anyone up for a game of Angry Birds?

Hope you liked the idea!