Monday, October 25, 2010

Does the Ford UI Destroy Night Vision?

The first rule of designing for night time use is: Do NOT use blue, because it destroys your night vision. Red is much better.

Ford's been making cars for longer than anyone. Certainly they have people who know about this. Why then?

Or is the difference between colors on night vision overstated?

Friday, October 22, 2010

AlphaUi Back Type

I don't really know what to make of this one. It's fun that people are breaking with tradition. Real buttons perform better than touch screens and I'm sure expert users can write faster with fewer errors on this device, than say a touch screen with the same size. So, if you're a secretary taking notes for a boss that walks around a lot, maybe this is something for you.

For the rest of us, having to learn a new keyboard layout is just too much to ask. Most of us know the alphabet as one long row, and when you break it up into three rows we have genuine difficulties finding characters. That's why alphabetic layouts fail.

Frequency based layouts, where you have the most common characters in the middle fail for another reason. Coming from Sweden, I typically switch a lot between writing in Swedish and English. If I had two different layouts I would make mistakes all the time. The same is increasingly true in many other places as english is becoming the de facto world standard language.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Your vital signs, on camera


Put this in a car, and then customize the interface to minimize interruptions while I'm stressed out. Hold all calls. And flash a hush sign to silence passengers. This could make driving a bit safer.

More at MIT.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fabian Hemmert: The shape-shifting future of the mobile phone

I think the timing for Fabian's ideas are really good. I would love to have my phone be flat in my pocket, and thick enough to give me a really good grip when I hold it. Holding my iPad at the thin end of the wedge feels really dangerous. I'd much rather handle expensive fragile devices with thick wedged edges.

The weight shifting technique is really interesting, but definitely farther away. If you expand the device when it's in your hand, you have extra room to move stuff around. The battery is usually responsible for most of the weight, so if you could move that around you wouldn't have to add a dedicated weight.

But I would be worried about dropping a weight shifting shape changing device.

Maybe this would fit better in a TV game controller, where you have a better grip, and where you have more room inside.

Anyway, great work Fabian.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Prototype: NTT DoCoMo's Touchable 3D display with Haptic Pen

As usual, filming a 3D Stereoscopic screen with a one camera lens does not do it justice. So the chameleon looks blurry, but I'm sure it looked great at the fair.

What caught my attention in this piece was the force of the haptics in the pen. It looks like it really kicks you in the hand. I'm still not sure how well finger touch works on stereoscopic screens, where you may need to interact with things that appear to be a few centimeters behind the screen. Maybe a pen can help you get the most out of such a screen.

Original article here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mozilla Seabird

This is not a product that Mozilla plan's to build. But it has some really nice ideas that can become reality once you have two built in pico projectors and some infrared sensors.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Compact Chinese

When you design user interfaces in english you usually will have to make extra room (about 30%) on your rows to make sure you can translate your labels into languages like German and Finnish, which tend to have much longer words.

Look at all the space in this list! Chinese is really compact. I don't think the layout would look like this if it was intended for the local chinese market. If I had this much space in an interface I'd probably use it for split screen, or something else. I'm glad we translate our Swedish phones from American designs, rather than from Chinese. It would be a nightmare to be able to come up with meaningful words with three characters for every label.