Posted on Sep 15, 2010

It’s the little things

IDEO

After reading a great post at http://www.fastcodesign.com/1662281/a-radical-atm-redesign-thats-simpler-more-humanand-even-sexy it got me thinking about the aspects of really good UX design that most people never even notice. Some people call it a more human side of technology. I think in a lot of ways i would agree. What IDEO is doing for BBVA is not only innovating, but looking at something that traditionally “felt cold” and giving a warmer side. Take a look.

Things feeling “right” is something you hear quite a bit when someone is talking about a product or user interface that they like. The question is what do they like about it? Most of the time it’s not something concrete or even definable at first pass. It’s the intangible feeling that some is natural and inviting. It’s the underlying feeling that you first got when you used an iPhone. It’s when a really innovative idea or cool technology transcends the world of a “toy” and has mass appeal that is not bound by age or technical savvy.

When things just feel right, they are fun to use, and you want to talk about them (which creates a viral/social surge of momentum).  Eventually, you couldn’t imagine doing it another way. They way transitions work, the way things present feedback to the user, the way you draw focus are just some of the many things that can make a big difference in a users experience.

This is not solely in retail products or gadgets. It can be a website, the dashboard of your car etc. The bottom line is spending the time to allow yourself to think differently and focus on the hugely important but often overlooked “details” can make a nice project, something special.

Posted on Aug 1, 2010

The Apogee One and Logic Studio

Logic Pro 9I’ve been trying to get back to recording some projects that have been brewing for some time now. With the new Logic Pro Studio release (9.0) you can now run Logic on 2 machines dongle free. For me, this is awesome news – I can have my sessions on my Mac Book Pro and be much more flexible about writing and pre-production. Being more mobile is great but presents a few other challenges: outboard gear, signal processing, instrumentation etc. Also in the new version of Logic is Amp Designer and Pedalboard. i won’t go as far as saying i won’t be mic’ing guitars in the studio anymore … but for writing and preproduction you can’t beat it. I can also say that some of those sounds could easily be incorporated in full sessions.

Apogee

So off to the Guitar Center to pick up an Apogee One. This little piece of gear is the perfect compliment to a my mobile set up. I have only used it a few times to date

but I must say it sounds great. So far I’m really happy with it and REALLY hoping this will get these projects moving again. Stay Tuned.

Posted on Jan 28, 2010

Did Apple hit a homerun or miss the point?

As most technology oriented people did today around 1:00, i watched the apple event via the live blog on Engadget. I found myself in a few conversations with others at Slamm, and with friends online discussing the relevance of the much hyped product.

safari_20100127

Let’s be clear the device is cool, there is no doubt about that at all. But, is it a game changer? Will it change the way people work, live or travel?  My opinion is Apple missed two aspects that, unfortunately, make me say no. That is not to say that the new iPad won’t be a successful product or that Steve Jobs is looking for my opinion (I even checked my voice mail again just to make sure). This is simply a very brief view of my opinion.

First on the product in general. As expected from Apple a very sleek, clean design. It looks like a big iPhone which i think is what most of the world expected. I don’t think there was much of a surprise there. The biggest surprise to me was no camera on the iPad. This was being touted as a revolutionary product. I think a lot of people had visions of this being their travel or mobile computing solution. No need to carry a laptop to connect back in to the office. Without, having the ability to Skype with the device in a way that you can’t do on the iPhone (video) or use iChat to collaborate with team members, is a huge void that has been left unfilled. Apple had an opportunity here to bring something to the marketplace that right out of the box changes the way people communicate. It would have resonated with business people, families, students etc. I think they really missed the mark by not making that a priority.

Now onto the presentation. I must say I was very disappointed and bordering on bored during the presentation. It was presented as a big iPhone. We got to sit through the app store (again) and got to see a calendar, mail client and photos. All very nicely done without question. However, I’m not going to buy this device to manage my mail, calendar or photos. It’s great that it does it, but that doesn’t make it a “must have device”. I was shocked to not see them touting a native note taking application for students or business people, or announcing that a certain college is going to offer it’s text books on the device. iBooks is cool, they glanced over at the end after having 25 minutes of a paint application and EA Sports demoing games. This device changing the landscape of the way people communicate, work and live is not by having Madden 2010 on $800 touch pad. Is it cool, of course it is. Would it be icing on the cake if it had that in addition to some reasons to make this a “must have device”? Absolutely.

Instead of showing things that a) are already on the iPhone and b) ancillary reasons to by at best, show me a demo of the new iChat for the iPad or a demo of a Cisco WebeX application for business. Demo brainstorming or a to do list. Show me how i can see my business better on this device, stay connected with my family my friends. Show me how this device makes my day easier, show me why my life is better having this device. Does it allow me to be more mobile more flexible, spend more time doing things i love because it keeps me connected?

Why do i care how many credit cards are in the itunes database ( i know he was showing developers the potential – but they knew the world would be watching). iWorks? Really? Interesting, even cool. But mass adoption of the product as a game changer does not revolve around a business suite that very few people use to begin with.

I love Apple, I own a lot of their products. I really think they missed a golden opportunity to change the landscape of staying connected, much like they did with the iPhone. Maybe it will get there in future revisions, but this device is not a “must have device” for most people that I know. The unfortunate thing is that everyone of them was hoping it would be.

Posted on Oct 21, 2009

Good Night @ World Cafe Live

Great night down @ World Cafe Live tonight. Such a cool room. Went to see Vertical Horizon – big Matt Scannell fan, great songwriter. Additionally, we were introduced to a couple of great new artists. Howard Jennings a very cool singer songwriter out of NYC, had a real chill style but was very personable at the same time. He had a Jack Johnson kinda vibe, but his own style for sure.

Next was Clayton Sene a very cool piano/keyboard player who performed as three piece band from Florida. Really dug Clayton – great bluesy soulful sound – vocal style reminded me of Marc Broussard. Clayton was very energetic, really seemed to love playing. His energy came across pretty strong to the audience.

Both supporting acts were a very pleasant surprise, I had not heard of either prior to the show. Very good musicians, great performances. Would definitely recommend them to anyone.

Photo : Sam Gusman

Photo : Sam Gusman

Next was Vertical Horizon. Mix was pretty shaky for the first song. Once they got it under control, the band sounded great. Matt Scannell is an underrated guitarist and a really good songwriter. This is my first time seeing Vertical Horizon live, but i have been a fan for a while. Nice to see them back with a new record and a tour. My understanding is that they have a more comprehensive tour planned for 2010.

All in all a great night out with my wife, room sounded really good, music was great. Not much more you can ask for. Did I mention the Phillies also won that night!

Posted on Jun 2, 2009