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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

 

 

 

9 Essential Resources for User Interface Designers — from Mashable.com by Kelli Shaver

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!

 

 

Good design is...    by Dieter Rams

I am troubled by the devaluing of the word ‘design’. I find myself now being somewhat embarrassed to be called a designer. In fact I prefer the German term, Gestalt-Ingenieur. Apple and Vitsoe are relatively lone voices treating the discipline of design seriously in all corners of their businesses. They understand that design is not simply an adjective to place in front of a product’s name to somehow artificially enhance its value. Ever fewer people appear to understand that design is a serious profession; and for our future welfare we need more companies to take that profession seriously.

— From Dieter Rams: “Apple has achieved something I never did”

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10 Best UX (User Experience) Design Blogs — from blogs.com by Whitney Hess

 

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Amazon acquires Pushbutton — from pushbutton.tv

Excerpt:

Pushbutton have announced today that Amazon.com, Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN). have acquired Push Button Holdings Ltd.

“Pushbutton has a strong reputation for delivering amazing user experiences on connected devices,” said Greg Greeley, Amazon’s Vice President of European Retail. “They were instrumental in helping launch the LOVEFiLM player through a variety of devices, and we look forward to helping them continue to innovate on behalf of customers.”

“With Amazon and LOVEFiLM’s support, we look forward to offering our clients, as well as their customers, even more ways to access digital services in the future,” said Paula Byrne, Pushbutton Managing Director.

 

Also see:

 

Planit from Pushbutton bought by Amazon

Planit, a concept app from Pushbutton.
Image: Pushbutton

From Brett Victor’s “Kill Math” page

The power to understand and predict the quantities of the world should not be restricted to those with a freakish knack for manipulating abstract symbols.

When most people speak of Math, what they have in mind is more its mechanism than its essence. This “Math” consists of assigning meaning to a set of symbols, blindly shuffling around these symbols according to arcane rules, and then interpreting a meaning from the shuffled result. The process is not unlike casting lots.

This mechanism of math evolved for a reason: it was the most efficient means of modeling quantitative systems given the constraints of pencil and paper. Unfortunately, most people are not comfortable with bundling up meaning into abstract symbols and making them dance. Thus, the power of math beyond arithmetic is generally reserved for a clergy of scientists and engineers (many of whom struggle with symbolic abstractions more than they’ll actually admit).

We are no longer constrained by pencil and paper. The symbolic shuffle should no longer be taken for granted as the fundamental mechanism for understanding quantity and change. Math needs a new interface.

Also see:

 

How HTML5 will transform the online video landscape — from Mashable.com by Christina Warren

 

Mike Matas: A next-generation digital book (filmed March 2011)


TED: Mike Matas -- Next Generation Digital Book - filmed March 2011

 

About this talk
Software developer Mike Matas demos the first full-length interactive book for the iPad — with clever, swipeable video and graphics and some very cool data visualizations to play with. The book is “Our Choice,” Al Gore’s sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth.”

About Mike Matas
While at Apple, Mike Matas helped write the user interface for the iPhone and iPad. Now with Push Pop Press, he’s helping to rewrite the electronic book.

 

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.

 

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