June 30, 2007

It’s empty!

For the first time since…1992?…my email inbox is empty.

Next up: the paper on the desk…and floor…

June 29, 2007

Distinguishing old data from fresh data

I don’t want my computer to forget anything, unless I tell it to.

But I want everything annotated by time: when it was created, modified, and used. And I want the annotation to be ambient; subtly shown all the time.

My web browser favorites should fade away if I haven’t visited them in a long time. I should be able to look at my contacts and see who I call or correspond with the most, and to “touch” or mark the ones I see in the flesh, the interactions the contact manager doesn’t know about.

My favorite thing about NoteScraps is that I don’t have to organize anything. Time organizes, and the old stuff just falls to the bottom of the pile.

June 28, 2007

Apple, save us with your iPhone

I watched the iPhone demo at Apple.com.

Wow.

The iPhone is so well designed that it makes me angry that the other tools I use every day are so annoying.

And then I remember that my own product isn’t that well designed (yet), and that doing good design is very hard, and very expensive, and that I shouldn’t throw stones inside my glass house, etc., etc.

And the iPhone is not perfect. My Windows-based cell phone syncs my contacts, calendar, and email all day long, live over the cell network. I’ve never even hooked it up to my computer. The iPhone does email, but apparently needs to be “wired up” to sync other data. So there.

Microsoft gets some things right. But how can they do such a bad job on the simple stuff? Why is it so hard to lock the phone? Why are the onscreen keypad buttons smaller than my fingers?

I’m hoping Apple saves us all. Even if we don’t all get iPhones, it’s so incredibly good that Microsoft and others will be compelled to improve. After tomorrow, who would dare ship another mediocre smartphone interface?

(Don’t answer that.)

June 25, 2007

Black user interface…

iphone.pngEli Evans (one of our information architects) sent me some thoughts on the “black is the new blue” trend.

It allows for high contrast designs that probably work pretty well on very small devices; it makes colors pop even as it allows otherwise incompatible colors to coexist peacefully without clashing; its much easier on the eyes than white if you need to stare at it for long periods of time…

I remember Encarta as being the first major Windows app to “go negative”, and now there are lots more. But Encarta seems to have gone back towards the light.
Some examples:

Color is not the most important feature of the next version of Logos Bible Software, but when it comes to the overall tone, it’s an important early decision. It influences the design of the interface itself, as well as all the art that has to be made, and it’s expensive to change later. And, done poorly, it can make the interface harder to use and the text harder to read.

June 22, 2007

Adobe hits the road

Inspired, no doubt, by the Logos Bible Study Bus, Adobe is hitting the road to promote their Adobe Integrated Runtime.

June 22, 2007

Should apps go black?

I just downloaded the new Adobe Digital Editions. It’s cool to see the next generation of “rich internet applications” starting to emerge. I’ve always preferred client side applications interface to seeing everything through the a web browser, but I love apps that are easy to install, ready to go, and always connected.

This is the way to go.

But should it be white on black? I’m so conditioned to light app chrome, but now I’m seeing more white on black UI. Is it better or worse? And is the answer different for “reading applications” like this? Does it frame and emphasize the black on white content, or just make the controls harder to use?

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