Archive for the 'UE Critique' Category

Joe Pemberton

Innovative iPhone Apps: Evernote

TITLE // Evernote

PRICE // Free from the iTunes Store.

PUBLISHER’S DESCRIPTION // Evernote for iPhone is part of the Evernote service, which is made up of desktop clients (Mac and Windows), a web version, and clients for other mobile devices. Whenever you add or edit a note in one version, it is quickly made available across all others, so that you can answer your notes and memories any time.

Of their broader service, Evernote says: Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at any time, from anywhere.

USER EXPERIENCE INNOVATION // Embrace the cloud. There are a handful of iPhone apps that let you create, edit and manage your text, audio and photographic notes. Evernote stands apart because of it syncs to an even more impressive desktop application. Evernote uses a “cloud” paradigm that performs impressively. Even photos and audio notes show up on the web or on your desktop version within seconds.

Notes are synced automatically. No need to press send or wonder if you left notes on your mobile. Deleted items get deleted across the cloud.

Doesn’t the Mac have notes apps as part of Mail app? Yes, it does, but they don’t sync. The best you can do with the built in Notes app is send a note as an email.

In case I haven’t been clear, the real power of Evernote is the access to the content in the form that’s most convenient in whatever context you’re in. Evernote has struck a nice balance of features between it’s mobile and desktop versions, not trying to cram everything into the mobile version, but not skimping on the tools that make it invaluable to use.

Continue Reading »

Molly Davis

Innovative iPhone Apps: Graffitio

TITLE // Graffitio

PRICE // Free from the iTunes Store.

PUBLISHER’S DESCRIPTION // Attach conversations to the places you go and the things you see! As soon as you open Graffitio, it looks around you for Walls created by other users at restaurants, bars, stores, parks, events, or anywhere else you could imagine.
Read what other people have to say, and leave your own thoughts behind for others to find later. You can even create your own Walls. Graffitio connects you to people who have been there before and those who will follow.

USER EXPERIENCE INNOVATION // While there are a plethora of social networking tools that take advantage of the iPhone’s location-based services to track people, Graffitio is a unique application that lets a user create or add to an open discussion anywhere they happen to be standing.  Completely anonymous, it allows for the discovery of public discourse about places that is independent of user logins, social networks, and time.

While this is a genius idea, the execution of the design and server availability leaves the dissatisfied user with a funny feeling they should be looking for a “for demonstration purposes only” disclaimer.   From reading the application’s blog, it seems there are some major updates on the way but there are some issues with Apple’s application submission process.  Since the first release is all I have to review, my comments reflect what is currently available.


Continue Reading »

Joe Pemberton

Innovative iPhone Apps: vSNAX

Editors’ note: We’ll be rounding up the noteworthy, novel and useful iPhone applications. While we hope our list is useful to you, we’re not necessarily trying to create the “best of” iPhone apps list. Our goal is to highlight iPhone (and iPod Touch) apps that solve UI problems in unique and interesting ways; solutions that add to the mobile device UI conversation or bring something new to the table.


PRICE // Free from the iTunes Store.

PUBLISHER’S DESCRIPTION // Rhythm NewMedia, the leader in mobile video, unleashed vSNAX, the free iPhone video application… The application is available for iPhone and iTouch users, and features high quality video content from MTV, CBS, E!, and others. Users can access the latest videos on news, weather, gossip, fashion, or television show highlights as the app refreshes itself throughout the day.

USER EXPERIENCE INNOVATION // Delivering video to a mobile handset has been done, but not always well. The originality worth highlighting is the way vSNAX creates a nearly seamless viewing experience. Despite the limitations of pushing short video clips to a device, the UI allows users to continue to watch a clip while selecting the next clip they want to watch. Instead of presenting a list of similar videos, vSNAX let’s you slide through several options while you watch and hear the audio of your currently playing clip. The result is an experience that is most like an uninterrupted television viewing experience.

PRICE TO VALUE // It’s difficult to argue with free, especially when the content is from ABC, E! and MTV networks. I expect future versions will include basic features like saved favorites and history.

Joe Pemberton

User Experience Critique: HTC Touch Diamond

HTC Touch Diamond: Your Windows Mobile is Showing

In March I posted HTC’s beautiful promotional video of the Touch Diamond UI. Now that the device is commercially available (in the UK for now) we can see the interface design in action. In a fairly in-depth video the mobile bloggers at run the UI through its paces.

The UI belies the Windows Mobile 6.1 OS underneath — it is nowhere apparent in HTC’s official video. But the problem isn’t necessarily Windows Mobile as the HTC UI does a great job at hiding it. The problem is the gaps they left in the Touch Diamond UI that let the Windows Mobile core UI poke through. The result is a disjointed experience as the user bounces between what seems like a solid, gestural and accelerometer-enabled touch experience and back to the basic and ugly Windows Mobile UI. As you can see from the video, there are clearly breakdowns in the experience where the new HTC UI behaves differently from the Windows Mobile underneath.

This is a case study of the fragmentation in the go-to-market (commercialization) process. The device manufacturers, the carriers and the operating systems come from different places with different motivations and business models. The parties involved are never fully able (despite what seems to be a really fantastic effort from HTC) to make that industry fragmentation invisible to users.

The video illustrates some of the noteworthy gaps in the user experience. Play by play after the bump…

Continue Reading »

Joe Pemberton

User Experience Critique:
Samsung Blackjack

Idlemode UE Critique: Samsung Blackjack
Carrier: AT&T (formerly Cingular)
Manufacturer: Samsung
Platform/OS: Windows Mobile 5

We can’t help the fact that mobile devices are often presented in retail environments with dummy mockups and fake printed screens. But, we can help the dialogue with a focus on the whole user experience and not merely a features and form factor breakdown.

The Blackjack is a conversation starter. It’s small, it’s capable and it’s good looking in a utilitarian kind of way. When people inevitably ask about it and I’m forced to explain my love/hate relationship with it.

For the good, the bad, the ugly, odd and puzzling keep reading after the bump. Continue Reading »

Jared Benson

The Apple iPhone: Part II of III

The web is blowing up today with content on the new iPhone. It seems everyone has a perspective, and I’m no different.

Revolutionary or not, Apple did a few things right with this iPhone debut, which I’m convinced will resonate with today’s mobile users.

Portrait-landscape orientation: As media enjoyment and management grows on the mobile platform, mobile users have had to accommodate that awkward moment when you have to physically pivot the handset in your hands in order to view an image or watch mobile TV. In those instances, there is often a sense of disorientation while the user remaps expectations for the D-Pad, and explores how to interact with softkeys, etc. By creating a device that orients itself and keeps tactile interactions consistent, they’ve created a device that feels native to both orientations.
Continue Reading »