During SXSW I was able to attend Timothy Jordan’s talk on designing and developing for Google Glass. I’m somewhere in here – a photo taken directly from Jordan’s Glass:

SXSW Crowd for Google Glass

Two things struck me from the videos that I’ve seen from Google’s promotional videos:

1) The 100% hands off view is not totally accurate, as you’re touching, taping and swiping the side of the Glass often, and 2) the “augmented view” is also not 100% what has been imagined from the movies or other early phone based, or game based augmented reality experiences.

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Android Phone iOS Phone

While using Android over the past couple of weeks i’ve noticed some things when comparing my top apps to iOS. Both iOS and Android, in different cases, choose different UI elements to do different things. I wanted to catalog some of them here.

Overall I’d say that mainstream Android apps have improved over time, and in many cases (Spotify, Evernote, NPR, and Amazon) I liked the Android versions better. Also with design trends moving to blocky designs and flat colors (like Windows 8) – Android looks more modern in a side-by-side comparison to its iOS counterpart.

If anything this shows that there are very few standard patterns that are used 100% of the time on each OS, but there is risk of confusion from someone expecting one thing – like they have an iPad tablet, but an Android phone – and getting different results when switching between devices.

Take a look at the below side-by-sides (or download/view PDF here), does one OS allow for better apps? Better design? Are some patterns easier to understand? Faster to navigate? Are these built in tandem? Are they built by the same teams?

Slideshare: Android vs iPhone – Differences in UI Patterns and Design

The first thing I’ve really been excited about in facebook for some time – the timeline. I’ve always been interested in showing my data in more interesting ways, and as the owner of much of my data, facebook is ripe to take advantage of it. While others have been trying to visualize parts your life, you really won’t need to look much further any longer. Let’s take a look at what my data looks like in the new timeline.

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The word this week from the Wall Street Journal (of all places) that Amazon.com is redesigning – for the tablet age. And while there may be some truth to that, I think it’s funny how modern, clean design – automatically equals designing for a tablet. Design trends are always informed by the dominate devices in its time, and mobile is where our trends for today are starting. And since I’m now in the e-commerce space, I’m obviously interested, and took the new design for a test drive.

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I almost bought a TouchPad, then got a MacBook Air instead

Two weeks ago HP dropped their TouchPad by $100, Staples had a coupon for an extra $100 off that. A 16GB Tablet for $299. Sounds like a pretty good deal… The next cheapest option would be to get a Nook for $249 – but I really like WebOS. I like the attention to the design details, the gestures, the notifications – I could go on. But in the end, and as the events of this weekend showed – only when at the bargain price of $99 does it beat out the iPad in buzz and sales for a short time before its demise.

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I personally think prototyping is the way to go when creating a new software product (or any product really). You get to “blueprint” out how something is going to work, how the pieces fit together, and how it will really work once launched. I think most people are sold on the concept, so it’s a matter of how to build this close-to-real product that you can test with your user base. Do you use paper? Mock-ups? Tools like iRise and Axure, or get real and build a non-functioning ready to reuse front-end?

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Emerging Interface Patterns

Last month I gave a talk here at our Customer Experience University about what I call “Emerging Interface Patterns”. Very often we get buried in day-to-day work and miss out on new experiences, new things that are going on in interaction design just pass us by. This is tragic for those who don’t take the time to stop smell the pixels 😉 Everyone should be paying attention because these new experiences are great creative stimulus for innovative ideas.

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Hello, welcome to 2008

Starting in 2005 when returning from SXSWi a coworker and I would put together a trends presentation talking about up-and-coming technologies, patterns, websites, etc… and 2008 is no different. The presentations keep getting longer and longer, as innovation keeps building on the previous year, moving faster and faster. This year my co-presenter was Dustin Askins of Travelocity, and we gave the presentation internally to our UX groups, and just this week at the Dallas UPA Chapter.

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Designer's view of eclipse

As a Designer, I sometimes need to evaluate different technologies and platforms from a Designer’s perspective. Why is it important to get a Designer’s view? As Designers we can quickly be boxed in with inflexible UI layers, unusable sets of standard patterns, and the inability to create a great experience. By reviewing and testing, we can determine the pros and cons of a given technology solution. In honor of Eclipsecon 2008 😉 I’ve put together a presentation on a popular application platform – the Eclipse RCP.

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Reveling Interfaces

If you’re an Interaction Designer, I’m sure you’ve noticed a new design pattern in the past year – one that doesn’t really seem to have a proper name yet. In fact, you’re probably already incorporating this pattern into your designs. It seems like almost every major redesign is leveraging this pattern to help hide complexity: Amazon, Linkedin, TripAdvisor – and sites like Target, Google, and Yahoo have been using it for awhile. It’s a design pattern I’m calling “Revealing Interfaces”.

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