I just received the fitness-coach-wearable “moov” in the mail. Moov is a device made by an innovative US startup that crowdfunded itself on their own website instead of using kickstarter. Kudos!
The device promised to be way smarter than any other passive-fitness-wearable (like the Jawbone UP or the Fitbit Flex which I actually used myself) so did it deliver?
We did a couple of mockups a year ago of what it would be like, if iOS matched the color of the phone it’s running on. You can see the whole project here, but what’s interesting is that Apple actually started going in that direction itself. The first thing you see after you turn your iOS device on, used to be a black screen with a white Apple logo in the middle. Well it still is, but only for Black iPhones. For the white ones the screen is inverted, so there’s a black apple logo on a white background. It seems that our idea wasn’t really that farfetched.
Some of us still remember the crazy times of doing websites that are compatible with IE6 AND all the other browsers. IE6 was so bad, that sometimes almost all the code had to be rewritten specifically for it. Programmers made two versions of the site – for all the browsers and IE6, and there were online petitions to ban IE6 in corporations, because it was mostly their fault people still had to code for IE6 in the first place. Their upgrade process was so slow, that some are still using IE6, even now, but thankfully less and less each year.
Testing a web project is still important though, mostly because doing a website for browsers and IE6 had been replaced by doing the website for all possible devices, including both mobile and big screen TV’s sometimes. But the cool thing I as a designer noticed, is that it’s become very easy to make it work across a range of devices. We test all our websites on Chrome, Firefox, Safari, IE9, iOS Safari, Android browser and Windows Phone IE and we notice that there are barely any differences between them.
Long live HTML5! This definitely is the future of web design and saves us (and our users) tons of time and frustration!
Thanks to some nice people (you know who you are :)) I now have a Lumia 920 and all the praise I gave the 820 applies here too. But in many respects this phone is even more awesome. I’m seriously in love! Finland might be cold and far away, but they do have some top-notch designers over there. This phone is beautiful in every aspect. The plastic shell doesn’t feel cheep like on Samsung devices, and it doesn’t feel cold and machined like the iPhone.
The OS is fantastic but that part didn’t change much from the 820. The only two things that did change are the camera (take a look at that low light photo! A little shaky, but far ahead of any smartphone) and the screen resolution which is now above 320 ppi.
Both of those things make the 920 the best phone I used so far. It’s really an object that I simply like to hold and use. Let’s just hope it catches more wind as Microsoft and Nokia both deserve praise for the software and hardware respectively.
I’ve been what some people call “an Apple Fanboy” since 2005. That year I bought my first iPod and then the addiction started. I had the first iPhone in 2007, went through 4 Macbooks and 2 iMacs, 3 iPads and countless iPhones. I tried using an Android Phone (Samsung Galaxy S) for a few weeks but it failed to meet my expectations (and was ugly). Android might’ve changed since then (I am aware it did) but recently something else has swayed me in yet another direction. Yes – for the last 10 days I’m a Nokia Lumia 820 user and I really like it.
Why switching now? Well – iOS 7 is the main reason. I know it’s a beta, I know it will change a bit. But the main reason that I don’t like it is that it lacks contrast and it’s really dishonest. It pretends to scream simplicity, but it’s lost between the blurs and gimmicks and from afar most apps are hard to tell from one another. I don’t think it’s a good design (and I’m a designer for over 10 years now). That’s why I wanted to try a truly flat, modern and innovative UI. The choice was obvious.
There’s a lot of praise for great typography in Windows Phone and in most cases it’s completely true (unlike iOS 7 and that super thin Helvetica Neue). Just take a look at the lock screen. It doesn’t need animated backgrounds – it’s beautiful with just the text, and the fonts are super crisp. Sure – in some places the typography could still be improved, but Windows Phone is currently the most modern and visually clean mobile OS.
The biggest controversy with iOS 7 is probably the super-ugly set of homescreen icons (especially safari, but also the fact that most icons simply are too big within the rounded-square boundaries). One designer decided to take a stab at it and redesigned the icons (on the left) vs their original ones. We think this looks MUCH better! What do you think?
Check out the full size image and give props to the designer (Leo Drapeau) at His dribbble profile
We installed the new iOS 7 right away and we wanted to share both our thoughts and a nice set of screenshots from the release with our readers along with some commentary where we think it’s necessary to say something. Overall we have mixed feelings about the new OS design. Some elements are simply stunning (blurred navbars and tabbars), while some look like they’ve been done in a rush (the safari icon, the Control Center arrows are way too thick and so forth). On a side-note Apple also now allows developers to transfer their apps to another developer account. That can be handy – I hope Rovio transfers Angry Birds to me based on a typo ;)
What we like
The blurred, semi-transparent backgrounds of some elements are just plain stunning. We also like the general white tone of the OS that differentiates it from all the competition (both Windows Phone and Android are much darker). Siri looks simply stunning. The new UX features in Safari (pulling down for an unified search / address bar rocks!). The new keyboard is also pretty sweet looking. The lockscreen and weather (the do share a common aesthetic) are also beautiful. So is the new search bar and folder view. An oh the music icon finally has a white note one it! Just as we hoped it will!
What we don’t like
There’s still A LOT of inconsistency between all the apps. They have different font sizes and spacings, different color schemes (the keyboard sometimes changes the color too) and some of the new icons are plain ugly. There’s also a big inconsistency within the icons – some have very soft gradients while others – like mail, have hard and long gradients on them. Instead of unifying the look it makes it actually just as distracting as before. Apple showed some pretty advanced font alignments (with rulers and measurements and stuff) but all in all in some places the fonts really look out of place. Sometimes it’s better to judge things by the eye than with the numbers apparently. Some elements in the presentations were also pretty off (like the headline above the AirDrop bubbles – it’s not in the center of the screen but more to the left and it shows!). The control center arrow is WAAAAAY too thick and it looks out of place there visually. Also the messages are bulky and too close to each other. The whole messaging app doesn’t have enough breathing room (white space) and they don’t really look refined at all. More like a quick mockup as the internal paddings of the messages are way too big, while the external margins are way too small… Also some tab-bar icons are only blue when active (app store and contacts) while others are all blue (safari and maps).
What we’ve noticed
The icons are more rounded now which also changes the perception of the homescreen a bit. Also the contacts have now been put inside circles. This is actually a bit odd as there are not many circles anywhere inside iOS (the icons, even when more rounded are still rounded squares). But the circles do look nice. Some icons have thicker edges than others, some are very narrow and some are very wide. That all creates a bit of inconsistency.
We think it’s a step in an interesting direction but this is not what we’d expect from Apple. There’s too many little mistakes or weird, mismatched elements and inconsistency for my taste. But since it’s the first version of a developer beta we think a lot of the stuff will be refined in the final version and maybe that’s the idea Apple has – to get some good feedback now and refine iOS 7 for the fall release.
And here are some screenshots we took today:
More after the break.
We have discussed earlier that Apple has had some poor color choices for it’s icons – namely the desktop iTunes icon and the iOS music app icon. The iOS music icon especially should have the notes in white like it was before, and apparently with all the upcoming iOS 7 visual changes it finally will. We’ll keep you posted on the design updates as soon as they appear.
Fingers crossed for some visual goodness and cool new UX ideas because we don’t want another Android or Windows phone with just going minimal. If it indeed goes minimal we want it to be unique :)
There has been a lot of speculation about how iOS7 will look like this year and apparently Apple gave us a hint releasing the updated WWDC calendar app. It’s going to be white – everyone said. The whole iOS 7 will be white as snow! Yeah, well, maybe. But judging it just by the WWDC app is not really the right option, because it had a different, white design since last year. And when it was announced last year ahead of WWDC everyone sang the same song – the new iOS 6 will be whiter and flatter and prettier because of the WWDC app!
And guess what? It didn’t change at all then. This year we’re almost sure it will, but let’s wait and see, because the WWDC app is at some points pretty nice looking, but it has it’s flaws that can be forgiven for a one-time event app, but not for the whole OS that everyone will use at least for a year. Take a look at those oversized fonts in the sections (they almost don’t fit). There’s very little whitespace in many screen sections too. Also the font stayed the same.
So what I think is that this whole “whitening” might actually happen inside iOS 7 because most OS’es are actually dark, but it will probably not look this way. This is a slightly different app from the rest of the OS for at least a year and even though parts of it look promising, as a whole it’s a typical iOS 6 app.
We expressed our love & admiration for Pixelmator a couple of times before, also noting a couple of small issues. (most of them are fixed by now :) But in general it’s one of the apps (and success stories) worth looking at with awe.
Now we can download the 2.2 version, codenamed Blueberry from the App Store and it’s absolutely worth it. At that price ($15) it’s probably the best price-to-features ratio on the planet. Sure – layer styles are nowhere to be found in this version (but they said they’re coming further down the road) but we have some more awesome photo effects (beautiful and very customizable light-leak effects) and vector shapes done in my oppinion better than in Photoshop. They’re both easier to manipulate, handle and edit than what the big brother has to offer.
Adobe moving to fully to the cloud with Pixelmator gaining features and staying at a low price point may in a year or two convince a lot of designers to just switch to a cheaper alternative with a much prettier UI and most of the really useful (at least for web / mobile design) functions are already there. Once we get layer styles a lot can change on the market.
Great job Pixelmator Team!
You can download the app on the mac app store and read more at www.pixelmator.com
Photoshop CS6 has brought a couple of great and not so great additions to the world’s most popular pro graphics app that we already covered. But now after over two months with it the little annoyances don’t seem to be going away in an update anytime soon.
Especially since Adobe has decided that we won’t get a CS7 and should all use Creative Cloud instead. On one hand the deal is great (and pays for itself usually with a portion of a project) but abandoning CS5 and CS6 users and leaving them with not-fixed bugs is kinda not-cool Adobe!
The Font bugs are the most common and most annoying – some fonts take a VERY long time (seconds) to load even on a Retina Macbook Pro with 8GB’s of RAM. Some fonts are smaller in size visually than others, but Photoshop proclaims them bigger for some reason. Setting a consistent font-size among lots of text-fields can be a pain.
I’m keeping the CS6 license, but will probably upgrade to Creative Cloud quite soon. Does anyone know if the CC version of Photoshop (yes it’s apparently a different version with a different update cycle) has those type tool bugs fixed?
You might say what you want about BlackBerry and it’s OS in the recent years, but pretty will probably not be among them. With the recently launched Blackberry 10 OS it appears that there is finally some good design involved that doesn’t (at least not completely) rip-off from other platforms. The interface is clean, modern and kinda sexy actually. That’s not really BB style, but it’s a nice and refreshing choice.
I really like the typography, spacings and icons. Even the semi-skeumorphic keyboard looks quite nice. Sure, there are some odd things about it and the UI is a bit different from what we’re used to, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s going to be an interesting battle (especially for the Enterprise market) between Microsoft and Blackberry this year. Being number 3 is always better than being number 4, right?
Too bad that right now the most outdated looking OS is the one coming from Apple…
This is an interesting idea for a back button, with the skewed line showing which way the user will go. It’s a similar concept to what we have tried to do for an iOS app a few weeks ago, that I’ll try and showcase here soon.
From now on all the new content on CM will be uploaded in Retina Display quality, so all you rMacbookPro users out there can rejoice. I have had the 13″ rMBP for a few days now and the display quality is simply breathtaking. More on that soon, with a review of the laptop and some shots, but for now let’s all look into the future, because the future is very sharp.
The battle of the giants is on. With three main competing platforms (iOS, Android and Windows Phone) each company tries as much as possible to have an upper hand. Apple doesn’t really do cross platform apps for mobile, but MS and Google have some on nearly every platform and they are popular.
It started with Apple removing Google Maps and YouTube from iOS in the 6th version of the OS. Soon after that Google has published their own apps to replace the stock ones on iOS, and they are great. At the same time Google refuses to make their maps app for Windows Phone and even tried blocking web versions from mobile IE.
When Apple announced the iPad mini many thought that it’s their response to the cheap, 7 inch tablets taking the market by storm. In a way it might’ve been true, but iPad mini is neither cheap nor 7 inch. It is the best small tablet on the market though and here’s why:
4:3 form factor is WAY better for a tablet than 16:9. Nexus 7 browser looks silly compared to the iPad. All pages seem small and hard to read. Same with books and magazines. It’s odd that most companies are making those 16:9 tablets. We have covered the aspect ratio battle before and apparently not much have changed since then. And I can’t believe Apple patented the 4:3 ratio. That would just be plain silly ;)
The screen is not retina, and probably will not get the bump in the next version because that would affect portability (weight and size) a little bit and right now it’s just perfect. The density is higher than on the iPads 1 & 2, and it doesn’t look bad. It is lower resolution that some of the Android tablets, but that doesn’t matter much when most Tablet apps are in Apple’s basket anyway. And they generally look much better anyway. After a while (and that’s from someone who used a retina iPad since March 2012) the screen doesn’t appear as low res as many would like it to be. It works and looks good (enough).
All tablet apps work just as well on the mini which makes it the best all around tablet in the world right now. It is portable and has the biggest tablet app selection out there. Everything is a little bit smaller but I didn’t encounter any problems with misplaced touches. It works and it works well.
All in all that is the best iPad yet and will replace my 3rd generation Retina iPad as my main travel tablet. It’s also much better as a nightstand Flipboard reader due to the smaller weight – much easier to hold for longer periods of time. We got over 11 hours of continuus video playback from this device, so battery life is also outstanding. The small tablet market has a new leader. All the megapixels and megahertz don’t really matter. The device still works better than most tablets and it’s build quality is far ahead of ANY tablet out there, even including the big iPads.
This is a little bit scary, a little bit sci-fi and a little bit not exactly true. But scientists have found a way for computers to understand the patterns of abstract art, and when supplied with data on how people react to certain paintings they can in turn analyse and create a painting that would evoke desired emotion in most humans. Still, true art is about error, about little mistakes and about the human touch. Computers can reproduce art, but they won’t be able to create something with a soul, if they don’t have one.
It made me think though – what if computers could analyze social networks, online blogs etc. and create collages automatically that would be always about the most recent, most popular thing out there.
That could transform the whole tv industry and a lot of people would loose their jobs. But well anyway, we still have time. SkyNet hasn’t been invented yet ;)