Designing for context: The multiscreen ecosystem — from uxmag.com by Avi Itzkovitch

Excerpt:

To create applications and systems that are easy to use, it is crucial to understand the user and the context in which the app will be used. Understanding the context helps design systems that anticipate use cases at a relevant time of use. The more unobtrusive and transparent the experience is at the time of use, the better the design. This means the user does not have to think about the device he is using, changes in the environment, or changes in context, and can rely on great functionality and ease of use independent of his situation.

In traditional systems, the context of use did not change much. Whether the use was in the office or at a personal computer at home, the surroundings were similar and there was no need to adapt to different environments. In today’s world, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and smart TVs provide different services in different contexts. These services are consumed by a variety of users and require different interaction models, use cases, and planning. For this reason, UX professionals should first design for the context of use in order to provide better experiences and ultimately enhance the intended purpose of the product.

Plasma First: Apple TV, SmartGlass and the New World of Multi-Screen Cloud Content – from forbes.com by Anthony Wing Kosner

Excerpt:

The future for web developers is big. 50 inch plasma screen big. After an intensive cycle of trying to figure out how to take desktop websites and make them look and work great on mobile devices (often by starting from scratch) the pendulum is swinging to the other end of the multi-screen spectrum—the family TV, the conference room monitor, the classroom SmartBoard.

Also see:

Vocre -- translation app

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ImageGallery/Images/Products/Xbox/12-05TVEvolution-Infographic_web.jpg

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From DSC:
What if educationally-related apps and services were driven by such a platform as
actv8.me? If you want to leapfrog everyone else, then explore this direction.

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actv8.me/platform.html


 

 The Inspiration Bookshelf — from Julie Dirksen

From DSC:
Here’s a solid list of resources re: books ID’s should read that seems to support the KISS principle (of which I’m a huge fan) as well as how to make learning fun and engaging.
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Excerpt:

One of the things I had while writing the book was an inspiration bookshelf.  These were books that not only inspired the content of Design for How People Learn, but also the style of it.  None of these are instructional design books, but they are all books that instructional designers should read…

Also see:

From DSC:
Below are some items concerning the continued convergence of the telephone, the television, and the computer — it involves the smart/connected TV as well as human-computer-interaction (HCI)-related items.  But this time, I’m focusing on a recent announcement from Microsoft. 

However, I have to disagree that, given this announcement, Microsoft will now rule the living room — or at least I surely hope not. Why do I say this? For several reasons.

1)  How long has Microsoft Office been around? Years and years, right?  If you think that Microsoft should control your living room, I ask you to show me how I can quickly and easily insert some audio-based feedback with one easy click of a record button within Microsoft Word.  Go ahead and check…such a quick and easy method is not there….still…and it’s almost 2012.  (BTW, here are some resources on this if you’re interested in seeing how this could be done, but you will quickly notice that this is not a streamlined process — and it should have been so years ago.)

2)  Performance/not doing what it’s supposed to do.  My Dell PC running Windows 7 still can’t even shut itself down half the time.  It just sits there with wheels-a-spinnin’ at some point…but not powering down.  I’m not sure why this is the case, but I never have had trouble with this simple task on my Macs.

3)  Regarding troubleshooting Microsoft’s solutions, an entire support industry has been built on supporting Microsoft’s software — go to a local bookstore and see how to get MS certified on some particular package/application/service — none of the books are thin.

4)  Security has never been Microsoft’s strong point.

Bottom line:
I think you get my point.
Microsoft has a loooooonnnnngggg way to go in my mind before I want their products and services controlling my living room.

With that said, I do congratulate Microsoft on being more innovative and forward thinking with the Xbox announcements mentioned below. I just hope that items such as usability, user experience, security, and streamlined interfaces  are high on the list of their priorities/deliverables.

Disclosure/note:
I do use PCs with Windows a significant amount of the time and they do a nice job with many items.  But if I were to assign grades to Microsoft, usability, performance, and security are not items that I would give A’s to Microsoft on.

 


Microsoft XBox

Upgrade: The Xbox 360 Slim game console.

Also:

From DSC: Expectations, today, are getting hard to beat

Since Apple’s event yesterday, I’ve heard some conversations on the radio and reviewed several blog postings and articles about Apple’s announcements…many with a sense of let down (and some with the usual critical viewpoints by the backseat drivers out there who have never tried to invent anything, but who sure like to find fault with everyone else’s inventions and innovations).

It made me reflect on how high our expectations are becoming these days!  It wasn’t enough that iCloud is coming on 10/12 (and who knows the directions that will take society in). It wasn’t enough to introduce some serious software-based innovations such as Siri (which bring some significant advancements in the world of artificial intelligence) or AirPlay for the iPhone.  It wasn’t enough to enter into the multi-billion dollar card industry with their new Cards app for the iPhone.  Wow…tough crowd.

What might these announcements — and expectations — mean for education? 
Well…I can see intelligent tutoring, intelligent agents, machine-to-machine communications, the continued growth of mobile learning, learning from the living room, the initiation of programs/events caused by changes in one’s location, continued convergence of the television/computer/telephone, continued use of videoconferencing on handheld devices, cloud-based textbooks/apps, and more.


 

Siri on the iPhone 4S -- October 4, 2011

 

 

 

Steve Jobs has resigned as Apple CEO "effective immediately"

 

From DSC:
I want to post a thank you note to Mr. Steven P. Jobs, whom you most likely have heard has resigned as Apple’s CEO. Some articles are listed below, but I want to say thank you to Steve and to the employees of Apple who worked at Apple while he was CEO:

  • Thank you for working hard to enhance the world and to make positive impacts to our world!
  • Thank you for painstakingly pursuing perfection, usability, and excellence!
  • Thank you for getting back up on the horse again when you came out of a meeting with Steve, Tim and others and you just got reamed for an idea or implementation that wasn’t quite there yet.
  • Thanks go out to all of the families who were missing a dad or mom for long periods of time as they were still at work cranking out the next version of ____ or ____.
  • Thanks for modeling what a vocation looks like — i.e. pursuing your God-given gifts/calling/passions; and from my economics training for modeling that everyone wins when you do what you do best!

Thanks again all!

 

 

Why Angry Birds is so successful and popular: A cognitive teardown of the user experience — from Pulse > UX by Charles L. Mauro

Excerpt:

Simple yet engaging interaction concept: This seems an obvious point, but few realize that a simple interaction model need not be, and rarely is, procedurally simple. Simplification means once users have a relatively brief period of experience with the software, their mental model of how the interface behaves is well formed and fully embedded. This is known technically as schema formation. In truly great user interfaces, this critical bit of skill acquisition takes place during a specific use cycle known as the First User Experience or FUE. When users are able to construct a robust schema quickly, they routinely rate the user interface as “simple”. However, simple does not equal engaging. It is possible to create a user interface solution that is initially perceived by users as simple. However, the challenge is to create a desire by users to continue interaction with a system over time, what we call user “engagement”.

What makes a user interface engaging is adding more detail to the user’s mental model at just the right time. Angry Birds’ simple interaction model is easy to learn because it allows the user to quickly develop a mental model of the game’s interaction methodology, core strategy and scoring processes. It is engaging, in fact addictive, due to the carefully scripted expansion of the user’s mental model of the strategy component and incremental increases in problem/solution methodology. These little birds are packed with clever behaviors that expand the user’s mental model at just the point when game-level complexity is increased. The process of creating simple, engaging interaction models turns out to be exceedingly complex. Most groups developing software today think expansion of the user’s mental model is for the birds. Not necessarily so.

Other key items discussed:

  • Simple yet engaging interaction concept
  • Cleverly managed response time
  • Short-term memory management
  • Mystery
  • How things sound
  • How things look
  • Measuring that which some say cannot be measured

 

From DSC:
What Apple is able to do with many of their hardware and software products, what Charles describes here with Angry Birds, what Steelcase did with their Media:Scape product’s puck — and other examples — point out that creating something that is “easy” is actually quite hard.

 

Concept future -  Universal Remote Controller 6

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Concept future -  Universal Remote Controller 4

 

Student engagement on the go — from The Journal by Chris Riedel

Assistant Principal Patrick McGee explains that whatever the other advantages of adopting iPads and iPods in the classroom, the key is student engagement.

“This is my 3-year old daughter the day the iPad came out,” said Patrick McGee as he displayed a movie of a young girl sitting at a kitchen counter, gripping an iPad in both hands. The audience watched as the little girl found, launched, and began to use a Dr. Seuss app; all without intervention or explanation from an adult. “Kids know–intuitively–how these things work; even at 3,” he said. “We need to use that.”

 

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