Thanksgiving… typically a time for reflection. For Vectorform Seattle however, it is a time to look forward. Our shortened holiday week provided the perfect opportunity to take a break from active projects and focus on experimentation, thought leadership, and living up to Vectorform’s mission of cultivating genius. The concept was simple – divide into teams, pitch an idea, and execute a working prototype in the 3 days leading up to Thanksgiving.John Einselen – June 14, 2013
My initial impression? Apple’s iOS7 redesign is a move in the right direction, but taken too far and obfuscated by the impractically flashy or cool. While Apple was washing away the years of texture overuse, it seems the original purpose of those elements has also been scrubbed clean. Much of this is perhaps personal preference, but I think there are a number of issues Apple needs to address before iOS7 can be considered competitive or user friendly.
That’s not to say it’s all bad; I’m exceptionally happy to see Apple designers thinking more consistently about the layers of UI employed in an experience. No longer are drop-down elements shaded like they’re underneath something else, and I hope the clear delineation of app, overlay, and notification layers will keep visuals more logically organized in the future. I’m looking forward to using iOS7 on my own iPhone, and that says a lot.
I am also very interested in seeing if gestures evolve during the developer beta period. The quick settings menu has been a much needed feature for many years (despite the horrific visual clutter of round, square, toggle, and slider buttons in the current design). However, won’t users need access to multitasking far more often? Integrating the multitasking menu as a first stage to the swipe-up gesture would allow for faster, more comfortable access to app switching, with quick settings as a second or long swipe up. This combination may not work well given the overlay nature of the settings versus the background level of the app switcher, but I’d like too see some sort of streamlining in the user interaction here. Unfortunately, much like Windows 8, iOS7 is also depending more on undiscoverable gestures. I certainly like swiping left and right to move forward and back; it feels much faster and more natural, but keeping the finger language as consistent and as limited as possible will be crucial for comfortable usage and minimal frustration (none of this four-finger or triple-tap nonsense that OSX keeps trying to implement).
Brand new designs are never without issues, and it seems Apple was so anxious to distance themselves from the practically baroque-like skeuomorphism of iOS6, they stumbled blindly into copy-cat designs that are immediately recognizable as stolen from their competitors. However instead of improving on existing flat UI designs by correcting usability issues and developing something fresh or improved, Apple copied the mistakes as well.
- Invisible gestures.
- Poorly indicated touchability.
- Overly juvenile simplicity.
- Inconsistent design implementation.
While flat vector minimalism is all the rage in many design communities, it removes many of the visual cues we instinctively rely on for determining the result of an action. For example; if you see something fluffy, it’s inviting to the touch. You might want to pick it up, maybe even hold it against your face (who doesn’t want to cuddle a bunny?). If it’s sharp and jagged, maybe you’ll avoid touching it at all, or kick it out of the way with your foot (porcupines just get no love!). There’s a physiological reaction to something that looks real, or simply hints at the laws of physics and rules of light. User interfaces, in my opinion, should always provide these visual details to intuitively inform the user how something will react. Can you push it? Can you pull it? Does a cancel button feel inherently more dangerous than a save button, and can you instantly tell them apart without stopping to read the text?
Relying on iconography to communicate these details and interaction modes can work, but relying on flat simplified shapes and text exclusively can leave the user poorly equipped to react quickly or intuitively. They must defer to more complex cognitive processes to decode a visual symbol, or use language centers of the brain to interpret word meanings. This not only takes time, removing the natural fluidity desired in basic interaction, but in extreme instances can leave the interface entirely unusable. For example; if UI buttons are plain text, how does someone tell the difference between something that’s actionable versus just an article headline?
Balance is needed; I doubt anyone wants to keep the ludicrously excessive stitching found in iCal, but is iOS7 too far in the opposite direction? Icon gradients do not always follow even basic rules of lighting direction, layer depth is confusingly implemented via motion and translucency but not shadows or shading, buttons are harder to differentiate from one another, and information is more difficult to read (thin black and white text over a multicolored backdrop is a recipe for disaster!). Along with inconsistent typography, garishly cartoonish app icon colors, and other design choices made by Apple, I am not impressed. Blurred backgrounds and parallax animation are cool, but only serve to disguise the rather poor usability and lacklustre design.
Somewhere between iOS6 and iOS7, I believe there is an elegant, intuitive, and inviting user experience. I hope Apple finds that balance, eventually.Lindsay Lamb – October 21, 2011
Last week, Vectorform’s Jon Pielak and Ed Wrenbeck sat down to talk about the impact of Apple’s newest release, and how it will change the way we interact with technology. Ed, being the former lead iPhone developer of Siri was able to open our eyes to the future of voice recognition software.Lindsay Lamb – May 9, 2011
Inspired by a magical world full of wizards, dragons, and adventure, Vectorform Game Studio is proud to provide Arithmancy 101: the Art of Numerology to the iTunes App Store. Predict the future, and divine your nature with Arithmancy 101.
iPhone Apps Plus, (www.iphoneappsplus.com) a website that breaks the traditional barrier of localized search results and compiles app rankings and reviews in all languages from app stores around the world has honored us with TWO awards!
According to their website, “The Best Medal is awarded to applications which are of high quality and in great demand”. This was given to SurfaceDJ. The free version, SurfaceDJ Lite received the title “Hottest”- “awarded to application which are of good quality and are major topic of discussion in a certain period of time.”
What are the deciding factors in granting the award? iPhone Apps Plus tracks the rating and reviews of all the iPhone Apps in all iTunes app stores every hour.
WrapItApp is a simple to use, yet intuitive application, teaching you how to gift wrap any sized box, tie a 1 loop bow and 3 loop bow. You have the option of selecting a box from a list of the most common sizes, or using your iPhone or iPod Touch device to obtain custom box measurements. If you have the perfect gift in the not-so-perfect box, WrapItApp makes measuring custom box sizes easy! Simply measure a box using your iPhone or iPod Touch device, nothing additional is required. Once a box has been selected or measured, WrapItApp estimates how much ribbon and wrapping material will be needed and shows step-by-step instructions that will get you wrapping like a pro!
Today marks the first day of our brand new microsite portal Apps.Vectorform. This site will see many new additions and products in the next coming months so bookmark it now and come back soon.
We kicked off 2009 with SurfaceDJ Lite (free), our first consumer iPhone app in the iTunes App Store, and have since followed it with a much more featured-packed paid ($1.99) version of SurfaceDJ. We put hundreds of hours of design and development work into both versions to deliver fans with the choices and features they most requested. It was all worth it as SurfaceDJ is currently featured in the iTunes New & Featured section of the App Store and we couldn’t be happier. We are continuing to design and develop many more consumer apps and have a couple more almost ready to be released (more teasers and screenshots coming soon!)
Apps.Vectorform will be seeing some more enhancements and additions very soon (working on the iPhone optimized version now, and a better support forum). This is just the beginning, but we are excited to finally have a dedicated portal for all of these goodies just waiting to be gobbled up.
Thanks again to everyone who has downloaded SurfaceDJ and given us great valuable feedback. Keep it coming!Administrator – March 25, 2009
UX designers and information architects have numerous methods for producing wireframe mockups. I’ve recently noticed increased attention to design software capable of producing sketch-like rendered components that a designer can easily drag and drop right into mockups. You can watch a video presentation of Microsoft’s Expression Blend 3 that demonstrates just these types of “wiggly” components.
The argument behind using hand drawn looking wireframes is based on the concept that these types of mockups more accurately depict the “work-in-progress” nature of wireframes. Those reviewing these wireframes don’t get hung up on the finer design details and can focus on the high-level concepts the wireframes are intended to convey.Administrator – March 24, 2009
SurfaceDJ for iPhone has just been chosen by Apple to appear on the “New and Noteworthy” list on the iTunes home page. Thank you all for have purchased our application, commented, and helped get us recognized. We have some great things planned for SurfaceDJ in the near future as the app continues to evolve with the up-and-coming iPhone 3.0 operating system.
Grab your very own copy here.Vectorform – March 6, 2009
Vectorform’s latest addition to the Apple iPhone App Store, SurfaceDJ, is a fun and simple to use music mixing application featuring over 40 custom loops created by Vectorform’s multi-touch developer and basement musician, DJ Kev. With 5 default songs and over 40 custom loops to choose from, you can create personal mixes that are all your own. Record your mixes and play them back for all your fans. Both novices and experienced musicians alike will find SurfaceDJ to be a fun, easy and unique way to interact with music.
SurfaceDJ is the premiere music experience from Vectorform. Watch for more to come from the leaders in multi-touch solutions.
Download SurfaceDJ from iTunes.keep looking »