For more than five years, I’ve been a highly satisfied Yelp user who doesn’t go more than a day or two without turning to their mobile app. But now and then, the designer in me can’t help but notice places where the app could be better. Take the most recent iOS release, 7.2.1. There are loads of interesting features like contextual recommendations that may be missed because of minor design glitches. With modest adjustments, these flaws could be easily fixed; with more aggressive changes the o
At first glance, “Redesigned for iOS 7” doesn’t seem to mean much more than a new app icon, borderless buttons, and a status bar colored to match the navigation bar. But if you dig a little deeper, you can find a few ambitious exceptions that fully embrace the three iOS 7 themes—deference, clarity and depth. For some apps, this dedication led to a much improved design. Other apps are worse off than before, with usability compromised and brand identity non-existent. This article features app d
“Who needs Uber when I have Veteran’s?” I wondered, when I first heard about Uber. Veteran’s, my go-to San Francisco taxi company, has been on my speed dial for over a decade. They know my address, payment preference, car preferences, and more. Between Veteran’s and my proximity to busy Valencia Street, it was rarely difficult to get a cab. Or was it. How many New Year’s Eves was I forced to walk for miles since there were no cabs? How many times did I almost miss a flight because the cab too
Square is best known for its card reader and companion smartphone application. With these two simple tools even the tiniest merchants—taxi drivers, indie bands, food trucks—can easily process credit card transactions. Although Square has made great innovations on the merchant side, the customer experience was largely ignored until recently. A few months ago, Square launched Pay with Square, a new service that may soon revolutionize how we pay for almost everything. This UX r
The iPad 2 announcement included the new Smart Cover, a magnetic masterpiece that arguably generated more buzz than the device itself. Although I, too, was impressed by the cover, it led me to reflect on some of the DIY cases created for the original iPad. Cork, wire hangers, chip cans, and more were used to create a variety of clever cases. Here are eight of my favorites: 1. Driftwood
The designer made this stand in New Jersey with driftwood from the Oregon coast. You can read more a
Cooking in the pre-iPad days usually involved me printing out online recipes and stuffing them into a folder. When it came time to make the recipe again, I could never find the old printout, so I’d print out yet another copy. I considered bringing my laptop into the kitchen but images of an olive oil soaked keyboard often led me back to printouts. My iPhone was a decent compromise but the screen size is a tad too small, allowing me to see only ingredients or only directions,
Today I contributed a story to Smashing Magazine titled, “Are Touchscreen Tablets Effective Design Tools?” Here’s an excerpt:
“What would really benefit designers is the digital equivalent of a sketchpad and pencil. Sure, Wacom tablets have been around for a long time, but they tie designers down to the laptop or desktop computer. Personally, one of my favorite things about sketching is being able to walk away from my desk. No email. No Twitter. No distractions.
When the iPad
This week I contributed an article to UX Mag titled, “The Evolution of Discoverability.” Here’s an excerpt:
“When the iPad first came out, many industry pundits were quick to make comparisons: It’s a giant iPhone! It’s twice as heavy as the Kindle! It’s an inferior laptop! The first crop of iPad applications didn’t fare much better. Design gurus slammed them for not taking full advantage of the new medium. Usability experts slammed them for taking designs too far from established usab
Although the iPhone was touted as the first widely-used multi-touch device, few apps take advantage of this powerful capability. In fact, there’s only one true multi-touch gesture in the public API, the Pinch. The majority of apps use one, maybe two, single-touch gestures, like Tap or Swipe. New multi-touch gestures started to appear when the iPad came out in 2010. Users can now use two fingers to rotate images, two hands to select groups of items, and much more.
Not long ago, I followed a thread on Twitter that started with the statement, “On a touch screen, buttons are a hack.” It was followed by a few heated responses such as my favorite, “You’ll pry my buttons out of my cold, dead hands.” I leaned back in my chair, rested my hands on my keyboard, and pondered my 140 character reply. “Buttons are sometimes a lazy touch designer’s easy way out,” I thought, “but sometimes they’re a necessity.” Not having a pithy an