by Josh Clark
Discover the rules of thumb for finger-friendly design. Touch gestures are sweeping away buttons, menus and windows from mobile devices—and even from the next version of Windows. Find out why those familiar desktop widgets are weak replacements for manipulating content directly, and learn to craft touchscreen interfaces that effortlessly teach users new gesture vocabularies. The challenge: gestures are invisible, without the visual cues offered by buttons and menus. As your touchscreen app sheds buttons, how do people figure out how to use the damn thing? Learn to lead your audience by the hand (and fingers) with practical techniques that make invisible gestures obvious. Designer Josh Clark (author of O'Reilly books "Tapworthy" and "Best iPhone Apps") mines a variety of surprising sources for interface inspiration and design patterns. Along the way, discover the subtle power of animation, why you should be playing lots more video games, and why a toddler is your best beta tester.
1. How should UI layouts evolve to accommodate the ergonomics of fingers and thumbs?
2. Why are buttons a hack? Why aren't they as effective as more direct touch gestures?
3. How can users understand how to use apps that have no labeled menus or buttons?
4. What's the proper role of skeuomorphic design (realistic 3D metaphors) in teaching touch?
5. How can animation provide contextual help to teach gestures effortlessly? How does game design point the way here?
In 2009, a mild traumatic brain injury changed the way that game designer Jane McGonigal thought about everything -- literally. She spent a year recovering -- struggling to think clearly, be physically active, and find a new sense of purpose. Her journey back to health led her to invent a new form of game design, aimed at having a measurable positive impact on players' real lives, and fused with scientific research at every level. In this talk, you'll see the first results of that process: a game called SuperBetter. You'll hear about the game's first clinical trials, and get a crash course in getting SuperBetter yourself: Find out how to turn weak social ties into allies. Learn how to experience "gain without pain" (or what scientists call "post-ecstatic growth"). Discover the secrets of "Lazy Exercise" and "Ninja Weight Loss". Find out what a two-minute "Future Boost" is, and why it's the most important thing you can do each week for your physical and mental health. From the mind of a game designer comes a radically disruptive model for integrating breakthrough science into our daily lives.
Women have become the digital mainstream. In the US market, women make up just under half of the online population, but they spend 58 percent of e-commerce dollars. Women are online gamers, shoppers, bloggers, and social media consumers. And yet, we still don’t know how to design for them.
The immediate impulse when designing for women is to “shrink it and pink it,” meaning products are splashed with the color pink, and content and messaging are dumbed down. But women want what’s relevant to them. They want products and online experiences that are intuitive, not insulting to their intelligence. They want function, not frills.
This session reviews the historical and contemporary landscape of designing for women. We’ll review misguided, yet well-intentioned designs based on assumptions and stereotypes that have flopped. Likewise, we’ll review success stories of well-designed products and experiences that truly meet women’s needs. We’ll also look at when gender should factor into your design and when it shouldn’t. Ultimately, when designing for women (or men, or both), you’ll want to get it right.
by Andy Hume
In the early days of CSS the web industry cut its teeth on blogs and small personal sites. Much of the methodology still considered best-practise today originated from the experiences of developers working alone, often on a single small style sheet, with few of the constraints that come from working with large distributed teams on large continually changing web projects.
The mechanics of CSS are relatively simple. But creating large maintainable systems with it is still an unsolved problem. For larger sites, CSS is a difficult and complex component of the codebase to manage and maintain. It's difficult to document patterns, and it's difficult for developers unfamiliar with the code to contribute safely.
How can we do better? What are the CSS best practises that are letting us down and that we must shake off? How can we take a more precise, structured, engineering-driven approach to writing CSS to keep it bug-free, performant, and most importantly, maintainable?
The internet was supposed to allow media outlets not only to display the talent of their writers -- but to capture the intelligence of the audience. Remember that rhetoric? We've abandoned it; the most that publishers can claim is that their comments are not quite as bad as the competition's. Trolls and spammers are not the problem. They can be dealt with by brute-force moderation. The real tragedy: the triumph of mediocrity. People with time on their hands drown out more valuable contributors. We've all designed discussion systems with the most avid commenters in mind. We've given them stars and moderating powers and allowed them to develop cliques and a sense of ownership that shades into entitlement. They are not the only readers. They are not even the smartest of our readers. If we're truly to capture the intelligence of the audience, we need to design for the most intelligent of the audience.
One of the great failures of any company - for that matter of a capitalist economy - is ecosystem failure. Great companies build great ecosystems, one in which value is created not just for a single company or group of industry players, but for partners who didn't even exist when the product or service was introduced. Many companies start out creating huge value. Consider Microsoft, whose vision of a computer on every desk and in every home changed the world of computing forever, and created a rich ecosystem for developers. But as Microsoft's growth stalled, they gradually consumed more and more of the opportunity for themselves, and innovators moved elsewhere, to the Internet. Internet innovators like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter have also created a rich ecosystem of opportunity, but like Microsoft before them, they are leaving less and less on the table for others. This is a bad trend. Wall Street firms, which got their start trading on behalf of clients, then began trading against them, then created vast Ponzi economies to drain the value from entire segments of the economy are even more dire examples of this trend. But this crisis of capitalism goes beyond individual industry segments. For example, the race by companies to eliminate labor costs has been a short term profit win but a long term loss. Since the cycle of capitalism depends on consumers as well as producers, and consumers are less and less able to find employment, at some point, we're going to have to start thinking about how to put people to work, rather than how to put them out of work. At O'Reilly, we've always tried to live by the slogan "Create more value than you capture." It's a great way to build a sustainable business and a sustainable economy.
Andrew McAfee, author of "Race Against the Machine," will engage with Tim about these ideas, and about how rethinking the economy becomes even more urgent in the face of the trend he explores in his book, in which jobs are being outsourced not just to low-wage countries, but increasingly to machines.
Legendary visionary Ray Kurzweil will join writer Lev Grossman from TIME Magazine for a mind-expanding keynote conversation about our future.
As the rise of iOS, Android, and the Mac App Store brings more web developers into the world of native applications can our existing processes and best practices survive the transition? How can we release early and often in an environment where each update must pass through a review process? How do we aggressively refactor code when outdated clients must be supported? Can we iterate efficiently on features when design changes require more than a stylesheet update? A group of experienced web, mobile, and native app designers and developers will discuss our experiences working on native applications. We will explain what unexpected challenges we encountered coming from a web background, what strategies have helped us design and develop native applications, what did not work, and what we should learn from experienced native application developers.
Usability testing is an interaction designer’s bread and butter, but applying it to the study of mobile applications and websites brings considerable challenges. Which device should we use for testing? Can we use an emulator? How do we prototype for mobile? Can we just recycle the tasks we use for desktop software tests? Do we test in the lab or in the wild? How do we record screen, fingers and facial expressions?
We don’t intend to answer all those questions in just one session: that would be madness! We’ll focus instead on the last one.
Follow us in our quest to set up a mobile usability testing environment on a tight budget. We’ll show you how others do it. We’ll roam around electronics and professional video stores searching for brackets and webcams. We’ll put our DIY skills to the test and waste a lot of silicon trying to build our mobile recording device. We’ll scour the Internet for free software, and we’ll finish off building the lab and running a usability test in front of your eyes.
If we can do it, so can you! You’ll come out of this session knowing exactly what you need to do to run and record usability tests with mobile devices.
9th–13th March 2012