- UI/UX oninRead more
Last Saturday I was at the decoded conference in Munich and here comes the recap.
The decoded started last year as a conference for code and design. This year it went international and drew people for all over Europe to the Freizeithalle in Munich. Its goal was to bring up “International speakers from the field of generative design, computational art, information visualization and hardware tinkering are teaming up to share some insights of their work and tell their very own stories.”
Did they succeed? Well yes and no…
Fluid form the process – Fluid Forms
Stephen Williams was quite a slow train, but his way of combining technology and algorithms with the creativity of people into sellable products was really inspirational.
They tried to build a website where customers can design own accessories made from layered wood. First they tried it with sliders for defining the shape of an object. Problem was that customers didn’t understand what the sliders “did” to the object. The controls were too far away from the place where the actual change was happening.
In a next version they tried out grips residing directly on the surface of the virtual object. People understood that better, but it was too complex for them designing their own design object. “Give people more than 10 choices and they won’t make a decision at all.”
In the third version they eventually got it right: Customers can choose a map section of any place in the world and fluid forms would transform the elevation profile of the location into a wooden fruit bowl (http://www.fluid-forms.com/design-your-own/Fluid-Earth-Pinstripe-Schale). So you get people’s own creativity into the product without asking too much of them (Stephen called that the “democratization of design”). Furthermore you create a strong connection to the real object because the customers designed it by themself. How cool is that?
Stephen gave us a good insight look into the ideas and the problems that came along.
Bildkultur gegen Sprachkultur – Prof. Herbert W. Franke
Well… “nächste” (This is an insider joke and I refuse to write anything more than that ;-))
eBoy – Hello pixel!
Digging the style of eboy, I was looking forward to this session. It started quite strong telling us a bit about how the worlds of eboy are created. Sadly the session quickly turned into a machine gun like enumeration of projects they did, without any background of the how and why. That was garnished with a very bad English performance of both speakers.
Anyways, the art of eboy still is awesome! If you would like getting to know eboy, I recommend taking a look at their online shop at http://shop.eboy.com/. Also the iPad/iPhone App (http://www.eboyfixpix.com/) is strongly recommend.
The fascination of the unexpected – LIA
“Don’t try this at home” should have been the title of this session. LIA, an artist from Austria, talked about her way of creating art using processing and trial and error. Showing off an endless list of code examples and using total absence of knowledge she shaped statements like: “If you find an error and double it, you get twice the error.”
“I don’t know what it does, but it looks nice” isn’t really the kind of inspiration you should take with you.
Inquisitive devices – Kate Hartman
Kate is an example of a highly creative and passionate mind. From a glacier hugging device to plants using twitter and calling you on the phone, Kate explained a lot about her work. Her work is mostly about connecting the digital to the real. Building a digital bridge between plants and humans using botanicalls as well as electronic devices woven directly into our clothing connecting humans between each other. While kind of spacy you get the idea where this could lead in the future.
This was truly one of the highlight sessions.
New York, New York – Jer Thorpe aka blprnt
Being a great and knowledgeable speaker Jer brilliantly explained his work on project Cascade for the NY Times analysing the flow of articles through Twitter (also done in processing). The visualisation alone was a piece of art.
Another highlight was the design process for the 9/11 memorial on how the names were placed on its surface. Each name was placed in a way that it reflects its relationship to others while being visually correct based on a typographic point of view. Details of how he solved this are described in his blog (a must read).
Too bad I couldn’t get to Dog & Pony – Gallery & Playground where he organised a farewell party for his five year old MacBook on Sunday.
The Freizeithalle was nice, but the soft drinks where much too pricey. Also the event organisation could be better. For example: the after show party was miles away, the directions to the location could be clearer (at least for people not living in Munich), drinks and food could be included.
At this point kudos to the team of the dotnet cologne 2011. THAT event was organised perfectly!
If you are visiting Munich or even living there, you really have to see the KRAFTWERK. 3-D VIDEO-INSTALLATION at the Lenbachhaus! That’s absolutely awesome!
I guess so. Besides the flaws it was nice and I really loved the spirit and creativity. For me as primarily a software developer with a huge interest in UI and UX it was a quite inspirational day.
I loved the idea of getting things done no matter the technology but with strong ideas in mind. For me decoded was not about learning something you can use right away. It was one of many ways I can draw inspiration from.
- UI/UX oninRead more
For the last three years I had the chance to visit the MIX conference in nutty Las Vegas. Like every year, here comes my recap containing my opinion to the sessions and MIX11 itself as well as some resources for you (and me) to relive MIX11 once again.
For me MIX was always about the MIXture of tech and non-tech cultures. When first visiting MIX09 the crowd was almost 50% developers and 50% designers and so were the sessions. I was totally blown away by so much creativity in one place and that concept of this conference was totally new to me.
something completelyquite different. It felt like it had been hijacked by the various product and development teams. Nearly all of the UX sessions were injected into the MIX agenda at the last minute after a wave of feedback and disappointment from the community.
The added “UX Lightning Series” sessions were great, but a total of 2,5h plus only a few other UX/Design session compared to a 12 hour non stop flight from Europe? Well, not really.
Stop whining you say and you are right. MIX11 was nice, the three days hiking upfront were great, but next year I will wait until the final session list is available before booking my trip. I sent my feedback to the MIX team, really hoping they get MIX back where it belongs.
Anyways, I really enjoyed connecting with new people and people I only meet only once a year at MIX.
Without further ado, here are my favorites for MIX11:
Fonts, Form and Function: A Primer on Digital Typography
Robby Ingebretsen is a Design-Rockstar! ‘nuf said.
UX Lightning Series
3 sessions each consisting of 4 talks of 10min. Crazy? Yes, and totally awesome!
Inspiring UX (http://channel9.msdn.com/events/MIX/MIX11/UXL01)
Crafty UX (http://channel9.msdn.com/events/MIX/MIX11/UXL02)
Mind Bending UX (http://channel9.msdn.com/events/MIX/MIX11/UXL03)
Back to Square One
Nishant’s sessions are interesting, quaint, nutty, informative and many more. Some may find them only strange, but I like his style in many ways.
Designer and Developer: A Case for the Hybrid
Jeff Croft is a Designer who taught himself some coding skills. It’s nice to see a Developer/Designer Hybrid from a Designers perspective.
- The Grid System (http://www.thegridsystem.org/)
Everything about grids in any design. It’s like a fountain of wisdom concerning grids.
- What’s new in SL5 (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg986857%28VS.96%29.aspx)
Official overview of new features in Silverlight 5.
- Little Big Details (http://littlebigdetails.com/)
Calls itself “An inspirational collection of UI details”, which it is.
- Modular Scale (http://modularscale.com/)
Calculate your font size based on the Golden Section, Musical Fifth or Musical Fourth.
- Typophile (http://typophile.com/)
The name speaks for itself.
- DISQUS (http://disqus.com/)
A comments platform you can plug into your website.
- LingsCars.com (http://www.lingscars.com/)
Go, see for yourself. Yes, it IS real.
- Read more
SonicFileFinder is a free add-in for Visual Studio that allows a fast and convenient search for any file within every Project of the loaded Solution by entering the complete filename or just a part of it. The found file(s) can either be edited with a single keystroke or a Windows Explorer / CommandLine prompt can be opened at the file’s location.
Version 2.2 is a compatibility release for Visual Studio 2010.
Note: SonicFileFinder requires .NET Framework 3.5 to run!
- ADDED: Support for Visual Studio 2010.
Download it on the SonicFileFinder website.
- MIX10 oninRead more
MIX10 is over and it has been a great pleasure for me to be there. I will provide you with some short recap of the “What’s new”s and “Must see”s.
MIX10 was so all about Windows Phone that I guess everyone out there must have heard of it. But anyways I will provide some facts about it.
- Development for Windows Phone can be done with either Silverlight or XNA.
- The tools for development are totally free and can be downloaded at http://www.silverlight.net/getstarted/devices/windows-phone/. You find some getting started information there as well.
- There is a special (free) version of Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, but you can of course use you normal Visual Studio 2010 version, when it’s released.
- There is a full featured emulator you can use for testing your applications.
- At the moment it seems, that if you write your programs in Silverlight, you can use only one touch point on the Windows Phone. Hopefully this is because everything is still under heavy development.
- Tim Heuer posted a nice “Getting started” article at http://timheuer.com/blog/archive/2010/03/15/get-started-with-silverlight-for-windows-phone.aspx.
- Grab the free Windows Phone Developer Training Kit here: http://windowsteamblog.com/blogs/wpdev/archive/2010/03/15/go-get-it-the-windows-phone-developer-training-kit.aspx
Silverlight didn’t shine nearly a much as last year. It stood cleary in the shadow of the Windows Phone. I kind of do not understand this, since there are so many exciting new features especially for business applications.
At MIX10 the RC of Silverlight 4 has been released and the final version will come out in April. I guess Microsoft will sync it with the release of Visual Studio 2010. The tools and such can be grabbed at http://www.silverlight.net/getstarted/silverlight-4/
The differences in Silverlight 4 compared to previous versions:
- The Silverlight definitive diff lists: http://firstfloorsoftware.com/blog/the-silverlight-definitive-diff-lists/
- Ensuring That Your Silverlight Applications Work with Silverlight 4: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc645049%28VS.96%29.aspx
- A guide to what has changed in the Silverlight 4 RC: http://timheuer.com/blog/archive/2010/03/15/whats-new-in-silverlight-4-rc-mix10.aspx
- New in the Silverlight 4 RC: XAML Features: http://www.davidpoll.com/2010/03/15/new-in-the-silverlight-4-rc-xaml-features/
Microsoft also released a first version of the Microsoft Silverlight Analytics Framework, which provides an API as well as many 3rd party providers (like GoogleAnalytics, ATInternetAnalytics, etc.) for analyzing your website traffic.
Channel 9 published a list of Silverlight 4 Training Courses at http://channel9.msdn.com/learn/courses/Silverlight4/
A new version of the Silverlight Toolkit will be available soon at http://silverlight.codeplex.com/
HTML 5 (supported by IE9) is kind of strange for me: On one side it’s great, because of its possibilities, hardware acceleration, etc., but on the other hand there is Silverlight. I really hope Microsoft will push them both, since in my opinion Silverlight has the biggest potential. HTML 5 will kind of transport us back to the stone age concerning the development platform.
From a session description: “The Open Data Protocol (OData) applies web technologies such as HTTP, AtomPub and JSON to enable a wide range of data sources to be exposed on the web in a simple, secure and interoperable way. Whether you have a simple collection of reference data, are building a Rich Internet Application using WCF RIA Services or are building the data platform for a high-end website, this code-heavy session walks through the key technologies and practices available to expose your data and its associated logic as an OData feed.”
Well that sure sounds great, but would you really implement a web service breaking all your clients when changing a thing in the schema? “Well just use versioning”, you might say. Well there isn’t any versioning in OData…
There have been great sessions at MIX10 and I will provide you with my personal favorites. Be aware that the listed sessions are mostly in the non-tech/UX area, but those are the ones I attended. In order of appearance:
Really not great this year, but give you a nice round-up.
- The Art, Technology and Science of Reading: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/DS07
- 10 Ways to Attack a Design Problem and Come Out Winning: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/EX06
- Touch in Public: Multi-touch Interaction Design for Kiosks and Architectural Experiences: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/DS06
- Designing Bing: Heart and Science: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/CL06
- The Elephant in the Room: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/DS13
- An Hour With Bill Buxton: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/DS16
- Design the Ordinary, Like the Fixie: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/EX25
- Developing Natural User Interfaces with Microsoft Silverlight and WPF 4 Touch: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/EX18
- Treat Your Content Right: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/DS02
Some links and other stuff which won’t fit in the other categories can be found here.
- The Spectrum of User Experience: http://informationarchitects.jp/the-spectrum-of-user-experience-1/
- Jason Santa Maria (a great site about graphic design): http://jasonsantamaria.com/
- Typography.com (all about font design): http://www.typography.com/home/index.php?affiliateID=
- Dynamic Layout and Transitions in Expression Blend 4: http://blogs.msdn.com/expression/archive/2010/03/16/dynamic-layout-and-transitions-in-expression-blend-4.aspx
- Very nice (fun) video: Star Wars vs. Saul Bass on YouTube as recommended by Robby Ingebretsen
- MIX10 sessions on
- iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/sessions-microsoft-mix10/id362365921
- MIX site itself: http://live.visitmix.com/videos
- Microsoft Design .toolbox – A free online training site for Silverlight and Expression Studio
Andy wrote a nice overview of what’s inside: http://www.andybeaulieu.com/Home/tabid/67/EntryID/191/Default.aspx
- Robby Ingebretsens (very) short list of must read books for aspiring designers #mix10
- Robby Ingebretsens list of speaks: http://speaking.nerdplusart.com/
- Official Fotostream of MIX10 on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mixevent
- MIX10 Tools, Samples and Downloads: http://live.visitmix.com/resources
- Awesome install checklist from Adam Kinney: http://adamkinney.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/install-checklist-for-silverlight-4-rc-blend-4-beta-and-windows-phone-developer-tools-from-mix10/
- MIX10 oninRead more
Only 13 days till MIX10 and counting! I am so excited to be there, learning tons of new stuff and meeting old and new friends. My plane will be leaving in about one week, since I will be hiking Zion Canyon a few days before MIX10 itself.
If you’re going to MIX10, you really should attend the Tweetup on Sunday (http://twtvite.com/5i84zm). It’s a great way to meet nice designer/developer people and prepare for the days to come. (Psst: Some say, that even Bill Buxton himself will be there!)
Also: Be sure to check out the Session Planner in Silverlight with offline functionality. (Read more about it at http://blogs.msdn.com/sync/archive/2010/03/01/organize-yourself-at-mix10-using-mix10-session-planner-beta.aspx)
If you just can’t go to MIX10, you can use this website to express your pain: http://www.nooooooooooooooo.com/ 😉
Update 2010-03-05: Albert just told me about an iPhone session planner for MIX10: http://itunes.apple.com/de/app/mix10/id357234402?mt=8. I just tried it and it really rocks. The only thing I would wish for is synchronization with the Windows Live account used at the standard MIX10 site.