User Experience


Measuring Perceived Performance

Measuring user perceived latency | Foursquare Engineering Blog.

I’ve found one of the most important components of performance is the perception. Within reason, the actual performance doesn’t matter as much as how people perceive actions to be progressing and completing.

This is about the user’s experience.

Consider the two possible experiences of loading a web page. In one version – the browser waits until all content is loaded. The other version – the browser progressively loads content, as we’re typically used to. Which one will feel faster, less frustrating, and more “productive”?

Are you doing the same in your app? Luke W explains it well in his post about content loading spinners.




Raising the Bar on Real

Apple Outsider » Real.

We don’t need the deception of “photorealism” anymore. Despite the loss of these tricks, iOS 7 feels more real. The parallax effect conveys an entire living world under that glass, not just abstract pictures and icons.

On the surface, iOS 7 looks like a refreshed UI, and nothing more. But digging deeper and looking closer, we have entirely new channels of user experience and interaction design opened up to us – not because we can (we always could) – but because it’s the new status quo. The bar has been raised.




Raising the Bar on Real

Apple Outsider » Real.

We don’t need the deception of “photorealism” anymore. Despite the loss of these tricks, iOS 7 feels more real. The parallax effect conveys an entire living world under that glass, not just abstract pictures and icons.

On the surface, iOS 7 looks like a refreshed UI, and nothing more. But digging deeper and looking closer, we have entirely new channels of user experience and interaction design opened up to us – not because we can (we always could) – but because it’s the new status quo. The bar has been raised.




Planning an App: Mobile User Experience and Interaction Design

This second part in the series,  How to Develop an App, in which I walk you through some of the common steps involved with taking an app idea and turning into an actual product.

This article is intended for anyone interested in exploring some high-level concepts that will help you think about how the app should work on a very practical level. Whether you’re a project manager, designer, developer, or the person with an idea, I think you will be able to learn something here.

When discussing User Experience (UX) and Interaction Design (IxD), the cumulative goals of these two areas is making pleasant experiences for the user. That may be an over-simplified definition, but I think it gets to the heart well enough. There may be some debate over exactly what defines UX vs IxD, but for the sake of this article, I’ll be discussing concepts that you can use as you develop your app.




Catching Android’s Back Button in PhoneGap

This little bit of code is going to be useful to those of you developing a “singe page” app inside of PhoneGap. This applies to Sencha Touch (big fan), but doesn’t as much to jQuery mobile and jQTouch, as it’s a multi-page/navigation based event framework (it uses the app’s url string to do things like move around to different link anchors). This is really important on these single page apps because the Android hardware back button will send the PhoneGap app to the background. You need some way to intercept it so you can start building your own history management mechanism. Sounds fun, right? It’s actually not that hard.

On app initialization, add an event listener for Android’s back button, and the callback to handle it. PhoneGap takes care of the interface between Android and your app.

That’s enough to get you started, and it should be pretty apparent if it works or not.

How about history management? It will depend on the app and what makes sense, BUT you’ll probably want to create a history array, and pop off some value that directs the app each time you hit the hardware back button. Here’s another idea: change the destination of the back button depending on the view. I personally like the idea of the latter because apps built on Sencha Touch are going to have easy tie-ins through predefined listeners JS Objects that define screen elements like buttons.




Cool Download Page

I’m looking into new JS frameworks for frontend enhancements, and came across MooTools on recommendation from a friend. The framework has lots of cool features and seems pretty simple, but one thing I’m most impressed with is the download page. It acts just like the *nix package managers – allowing to you pick and choose which modules you’d like to download – even auto-selecting dependencies. Definitely a novel idea for the web.