All posts in UX & Design

Of course … everyone wants a Hololens, me as well. But … what to do with it? The power of such devices is not in the device itself, it’s in the use of it. That sounds like an open door, but it’s harder than you think to come up with good ideas. Hololens is part of the More Personal Computing idea – bring computers closer to humans and make the interaction more natural and powerful.

You’ve probably seen the demo’s of Hololens. It’s mind-blowing if you think about that. And as the actual Hololens is still very limited in production (only as a developer kit in the US and Canada today), it’s almost a bit silly to think far ahead. But today we released another video with an envisioning of how interaction can get more personal. Read more

Designing UWP apps

When the Microsoft design language was introduced with Windows 8, we tried to help out with an extensive set of guidelines around design and User Experience. These guidelines were in the beginning very restrictive, which resulted in lots of apps with squares. With Windows 8.1 we explained that guidelines means guidelines, not “the law”. And although the app certification team looks at the usefulness of an app, they never disqualify an app because “it’s ugly”.

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In one of the press talks at the E3 game show, Richard Irving from the Xbox Engineering Team revealed a major update to the Xbox One UI end of this year.

The new UI has a vertical orientation (which is a change from the previous horizontal one) and makes use of a quick navigation panel on the left hand side. Even from a game this navigation panel is quickly accessible by pressing the Xbox button twice on the controller. Another cool addition to the platform is Cortana. Cortana can be accessed throughout the interface and can help you out connecting to your friends and more.

For the complete listing of features, read the article on Xbox Wire.

In january 2015 we showed a new development from Microsoft that was something completely new and mind-blowing: Microsoft Hololens. Hololens makes it possible to combine the real world around us with virtual 3D models. Wikipedia defines a hologram as a photographic recording of a light field. Hololens also adds “3D sound”, so it can be positioned in the space around us as well to complete the experience.

During the //build keynote of april 2015 we already showed some very interesting applications of the technology, like the one used within a construction firm. During the Microsoft Press Conference at the E3 this week, we showed more what’s possible with Hololens. A special version of Minecraft for Hololens was demonstrated. Mind-blowing again.

If you’re looking for information on Microsoft Hololens, check out the Frequently Asked Question pagina of the Hololens website. If you would like to develop for Hololens, start now by building Windows 10 apps, as Hololens is running on Windows 10 (un-tethered). The game engine Unity is also supporting Hololens, as you can read on their blog.

UX Checklist

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This is a very nice helping hand for thinking about UX when you’re developing a website, app or application. Did you really think of all the angles important for the user to deliver the best experience? The links are to various websites with more information on that subject.

UXChecklist

Source: http://uxchecklist.github.io/

User Experience is not only about design and beautiful images. There is so much more to it. The core is to help the end user to feel at ease using the application. Error messages is something you want to prevent as much as possible. This can be done through good interfaces, good and helpful flows so the user knows what to do, etceteras. But still then, a user can make an error. I came across a few examples of very bad messages where the user is left in the dark what to do.

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Yesterday the Adobe Max 2014 took of in Los Angeles. A remarkable appearance of Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella made it clear that devices, Windows and Adobe tools make a great combination. Watch part of the keynote here:

 

You can also watch all the content from the conference at http://max.adobe.com

Perceptive Pixel, or PPI as it’s often called, is a range of big screen touch-screens. Currently there is a 55″ and a 82″ model. The goal of PPI screens is to “deliver exceptional, multi-purpose productivity solutions for brainstorming, collaboration and interactive presentations”.

Perceptive Pixel devices

Perceptive Pixel devices

I was involved with a number of TV shows that used a 55″ device, for instance with The Voice of Holland in 2012 and 2013. Read more

One of the design principles of Microsoft Design Style is Pride in Craftsmanship, or “sweat the details”. One of the important ways to do this is to align to the grid. I found this hard to illustrate when explaining this to others. Best I could come up with is showing the use of the grid in apps like Nick and Cocktail Flow.

Nick-grid  Cocktail-Grid

I just watched the presentation of Steven Abrahams at //build 2013 “Lessons Learned from Building Alarms and Calculator for Windows 8.1“. This is a very interesting talk with a very good example what it means to really sweat the details. Read more