UI

Predominant.ly Searching for Music.

I used to spend hours in record store sifting through stacks of new and used vinyl searching for something new and unique. Just like book stores, record stores were a place to discover old favorites and new gems. A place to find music that you could share with your friends and so much more. there was something about the experience that will never be captured by an online experience, no matter what your source is, be it iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, eMusic, etc.

Predominant.ly designed and built by Open Work wants to change that. They want to bring to the online world the spontaneity of stumbling across a new find or an old favorite while searching for music.  The concept is really pretty clever. Based on color choices Predominant.ly  serves up groups of albums where the covers match your color choices. The data is pulled from iTunes which makes the entire catalog available.  The experience definitely lends itself to the concept of exploration in the digital space.

Albums

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I’m Addicted to “Dots”.

iconDots is a nice little gaming app that was developed by New York based, Betaworks One. The game is very simple; try and connect as many same-colored dots as you can using only vertical and horizontal lines in 60 seconds, in 30 moves, or you can play it in endless mode.

Dots interface is extremely clean and simple and has a social media connection allowing you to connect to your friends via Twitter or Facebook to see your friends high scores. Weekly score boards reset every Sunday, giving you a chance to make it to the top of the list and enhance the competition across your network.

dots

Since it’s release Dots has jumped to the number one mobile game in twenty countries, with good reason. The simple clean interface and engaging user experience makes Dots highly addictive.

Wireframe, Prototype, Simulation Tools. The Giant Infographic.

If you do any kind of interactive design work you know the importance of visualization and prototyping tools. This set of tools covers everything from wireframes to visualization, and there are a ton of choices. Lucky for us, some people over at usertesting.com designed a huge infographic that lays out all the tools of the trade, the platforms they work on, and the platforms they develop for. They also include price comparisons which is important for everyone because ROI impacts everyone in the business of making money from design.

prototyping-infographic

Razorfish is Planning to Enhance Your Consumer Experience.

While parts of this video might seem like an impractical way to experience a shopping experience, I guarantee you this is in your near future. As smart phones, tablets, interactive signage, and devices like Microsoft’s Surface and Kinect become more ubiquitous, this kind of experience will be more common. The example below centers around shopping for clothes, and actually eliminates trying things on. I doubt that step will ever go away, but this kind of digital interaction combined with real world experiences is coming.

Frost, Partly Cloudy.

A little overs month ago I posted about David Elgena’s WTHR app that featured a beautiful, minimalist UI that Dieter Rams would swoon over. The app looks beautiful, but provides limited data, that isn’t much better than stepping outside and looking around. A little bit more, would have been a whole lot better. This is where Berlin design firm frost comes in.

Frost has launched a weather app that is based on infographics generated from live data. It’s simple and easy to use, but provides additional information. In other words it lets you know if you should pack an umbrella for later in the day. Some of the primary features are:

– Temperature in Fahrenheit and Celsius

– Wind speed

– Weather forecast (sunny, raining, snow…)

– Predictions for precipitation times

– Current, hourly, and 7 day forecast

It’s all wrapped up in a beautiful easy to read package.

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A Great Leap Forward. Gesture Based Computer Control.

I’ve been pretty fascinated with the Microsoft Kinect for creating Minority Report style user interfaces and computer input. There is a new device that does what the Kinect does, and possibly jumps ahead of it by being available for desktop systems like Windows, and Mac OS X.

Leap is about the size of an iPhone dock or large flash drive. It’s easy to use, you simply install the software, plug the device in, wave your hands to calibrate the system, and your off and running.

From the examples in the video, there are a ton of possibilities here, but where I think there is huge growth potential would be point of sale and visual merchandising solutions.

The fact that you can use your hands, or simply a finger to input information without having to make physical contact with the device is huge. Imagine being able to input, or interact with a screen behind a store front window, or in a store display. Leap has an interactive window of about 8 cubic feet from the actual computer set up. Plenty of room to create an interactive bubble in the environment.

Originally designed to aid developers with 3D modeling, Leap has expanded to allow the control of a wide variety of applications.  Leap is 200 times more sensitive than existing touch-free products and technologies and can track movements as closely as 1/100th of a millimeter.Pretty impressive if you have ever played with the Kinect development kit and know it’s limitations. The other nice thing about Leap is you can develop and define custom gestures which could be applicable to specific applications designed to take advantage of the hardware.

Oh and, the cost of the device is $69.99 which makes it extra affordable.

The Mill. A 2 Million Node Interactive Touch Screen.

The Mill is one of those shops that raises the bar every time to new levels. They are one of the best design/production houses in the world, and when you see their work you understand why I am saying that.

Recently The Mill compiled the majority of their work and constructed an interactive touch screen wall to display it. What I love about the video below is this is a behind the scenes video. It shows you what went into making this, and the amount of work this kind of project requires.

All to often in this business, people think this stuff is easy to make, and changes are a simple click of the mouse. This video is a great little piece telling the story of how The Mill built the installation, and was able to think about, the interaction, the UI and the way content was delivered. The final piece provided a completely free-form way to explore The Mill’s content all housed in a 2 million node universe that responds fluidly to interactive touches.