It’s always surprising to me how small, subtle UI changes on an electronic device can pay off in large ways. The size of the change is exponentially related to the effect it has on the user.
A couple days ago Apple, at their iPod media event in San Francisco, introduced, among other things an update to the software on all of those hot-selling iPhones and iPod Touches (iPods Touch…iPod Touchs…hell, I dunnow…).
Nothing was drastically changed. Little tweaks and additions here and there. 3.1 is not immediately or noticeably different from 3.0 on first glance. Many of the changes, big and small, are well documented but many more are the sort of changes that a user will notice little by little through daily use.
Here’s one that I noticed.
In 3.0 and before, when calling or when receiving a call, that person’s name would appear at the top of the screen and the icon assigned to the contact entry of the person (usually a pic of the contact’s face, of course) would show up full-screen on the iPhone’s display, completely covering over the image being used as the iPhone’s wallpaper. But this behavior was not consistent.
It only happened when the contact had an icon associated with their entry in the contacts app. If the person calling did not have an icon associated with their contacts entry or was not in your contacts at all, the number or name, sometimes, of the person or company would display at the top and the wallpaper would show through.
As time went on, as caller after caller, appeared on the iPhone’s screen, things became a little confusing. There was a relatively time-consuming cognitive step where I had to look at the image on the screen (the first thing I looked at…it’s the largest item on the screen) and had to ascertain weather or not the image that I saw on the screen was associated with the number or name I saw at the top of the screen. Mostly, and because I am such a good boyfriend [pat, pat], as well as because she is such a wonderful girlfriend [kiss, kiss], I have an image of my girlfriend as the wallpaper (ithas caused some socially awkward moments…”look, honey, he has a picture of his girlfriend on his screen”…sorry guys).
I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to reflexively slide my thumb across the bottom of the screen to answer a call and noticed – sometimes too late – that this was, indeed, not my girlfriend but a caller that either had no image in their contact information on my phone or who was not in my contacts at all. It was simply her shining visage on my wallpaper. Sometimes, these were calls that I, under no circumstances, wanted to take at the time, if at all. Talk about socially awkward. But, really, it’s more if an issue of clarity, of removing any fuzziness in the interaction between your brain and the technology.
Well, among the, I’m assumming multitudinous, undocumented(?) changes that the 3.1 update has brought to the iPhone, is one that has rectified this potentially socially dangerous situation and relieved all of us (at least I hope I’m not the only one) of the expensive cognitive step I described above. Now, the fuzziness is gone. It’s been replaced by consistency and clarity. Now, weather you are receiving a call or making one, the contact’s image, if there is one, shows exclusively at the top of the screen, to the right of the callers information.
Huzzah. Now, I guess I am going to have some explaining to do every time I don’t answer a call. Just when I thought the socially awkward situation were over…
“The Smart Alarm is an alarm clock that is designed to watch the weather in your area while you sleep, and alert you according to your predefined terms.”
If you could combine local surf reports into this I’m sure you’d have a winner. Via pie0
Sure, maybe add surf but even better would be traffic conditions for a chosen route or the entire area. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area weather isn’t so much of a factor. Traffic, though. Oh yeah, it’s a factor. It’s a BIG factor.
Berlin Fisherman (via n0wak)
Sometimes I think all the edgy design and architecture exists everywhere but here in the U.S. Am I wrong?
…(pronounced Kit-soo-nay No-whar)…”is a visual collection of random bits and bobs relating to art, design, fashion, films & music, all filtered through the head of Bobby Solomon”.
For Ota, the most remarkable thing was not that his design won but how similar his design was to the Soviets’. They, too, had submitted a figure of a man running out a door. He was amazed that two design teams, working independently, would develop such similar concepts, and the coincidence convinced him of the essential rightness of the running man. He came to believe he had designed not just Yukio Ota’s exit sign, not just a Japanese exit sign, but a fundamentally human exit sign, one that speaks to some primal cognitive notion of escape.
“Some primal cognitive notion of escape”.
I like this notion that design is to, first and formost, serve human beings and -– needle-in-a-haystack style — can sometimes find the path to some sort of universal understanding.
Letterpress & stamp business cards (via Cameron Moll)
If you’re at the HOW Design Conference in Austin TX next week, stop by my session on Thursday or Friday for one of these cards. Each card is handcrafted from a discarded letterpress poster (that wasn’t fit for sale for one reason or another) with my information stamped on back.
Using nothing but type.
And yes, you can buy one.
Click through for a larger HD version of the video (you can click HD off if your computer balks). If your computer can hack it, go full-screen HD for maximum beauty and amazement. It’s worth it.
Gold hoop earrings
Vintage shirt (neutral cami underneath)
Rachel Roy snake ring
Calvin Klein metallic pumps
You find good design in some of the most random online places (or, maybe it’s not so random at all).
A Cortado is not a Minivan is a blog by Oliver Strand, coffee writer for The New York Times. He recently made a trip to São Paulo, Brazil.
You can’t tell from the street, but all the apartments have floor-to-celing windows that are sliced into three by tiled sun breaks that run the length of the building (the direct light is never overwhelming), and each apartment has two exposures (there’s always a breeze).
The apartments in the Edíficio Copan are airy, temperate, comfortable. No need for air conditioners, or even window shades.
Cube Tube on Quirky.com. Brilliant.