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December 03 2013

11:32

Gramophone per iPhone e iPad: un amplificatore vintage che funziona senza corrente elettrica

Si chiama Gramophone. E’ una base di legno su cui è inserito un corno di metallo. Sfrutta il principio del fonografo introdotto da Thomas Edison nel 1877. E’ sufficiente inserire il vostro iPhone nella base di legno e sarà possibile ascoltare il suono amplificato di circa 3/4 volte. Funziona così com’è, senza elettricita. In pratica ve lo potete portare dovunque vogliate senza bisogno di dover ricaricare pile o inserire la presa in una spina della corrente. Parte dai 199 dollari per la versione iPhone per salire a 299 per la versione per iPad. Per gli amanti del vintage, assolutamente da tenere in bella mostra su qualche mensola dello studio. Potete acquistarlo sul sito di RH Hardware.

Gramophone per iPad.

Gramophone per iPad.

June 07 2013

10:00

Tayasui Sketches – Creative iPad App for the Paper Lover


  
tayasui-sketches-artistry-w550

It's been quite a while since we last published an article in our series of iPad apps for the creative professional. As we all know there is no shortage of apps for the Apple tablet in general. Hundreds of thousands can be downloaded. All in all more than 50 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store since its inception, which allows us to roughly estimate, that each human being walking this earth must own 8 apps on average. Hey, the numbers never lie. The app we want to introduce to you today is called Tayasui Sketches and at first sight it will remind you of Paper by FiftyThree, closely. At second, too...

April 16 2013

15:17

Quando i grandi sbagliano. Steve Jobs:«i tablet da sette pollici destinati a fallire». Oggi costituiscono il 50% del mercato globale.

A Steve Jobs non erano mai andati a genio. «I tablet da sette pollici sono troppo grandi per competere con uno smartphone e troppo piccoli per competere con un iPad». Li aveva bollati come una blanda via di mezzo senza alcuna possibilità di guadagnare significative quote di mercato. Ma si sa, anche i più grandi alle volte sbagliano. E c’è da riconoscere al suo successore, Tim Cook, di aver avuto fiuto. Perché a distanza di pochi mesi dalla scomparsa di Jobs, l’iPad Mini è stato un bel successo commerciale.

Secondo un recente report di IDC, nel primo trimestre del 2013, ogni due tablet venduti, uno era inferiore agli otto pollici. Il Nexus 7 di Google, l’iPad Mini e il Kindle Fire HD dominano la classifica delle vendite che, secondo alcune stime, passeranno dai 172,4 milioni di unità del 2012 ai 190,9 milioni del 2013. A dispetto dei PC che hanno registrato un crollo del 14%, i tablet godono di buonissima salute e per il 2017 le previsioni parlano di 350 milioni di tablet venduti a livello globale. Per questo 2013 la quota globale di mercato dei tablet Android è stimata al 48,8%, iOS al 46,0%, Windows e Windows RT al 4,7%.

Non vanno invece granché bene gli eReader che registrano un brusco rallentamento e si prevede che dal 2015 in poi per la categoria inizierà un graduale e permanente declino.

January 11 2013

07:46

$10,000 Contest: Design Tablet App Templates for Oomph Marketplace

10000 Oomph App Contest Banner

The tablet app development platform Oomph has launched Oomph Marketplace, an app marketplace for self-service customizable app templates. Like Themeforest is to Wordpress templates, designers can create and sell their templates in the Oomph store.

Oomph will be launching new functionality in the coming weeks so Designers can sell templates they have created in store.

Leading up to the release of Marketplace, Oomph has launched a $10,000 app design competition on crowdsourcing website DesignCrowd. The competition comprises of four separate contests focussed on four popular app genres. The interactive template designs should be suitable for organisers of arts or music festivals, industry conferences, travel agencies marketing holiday destinations, retailers who want to build a rich media interactive experience for customers and branded magazines.  (See examples of tablet app covers are below.)

Brand Magazine

magazine_template

Travel Brochure

travel_catalogue

Retail Catalogue

paint

How to Enter

Click here for the DesignCrowd contest page. Read the brief and guidelines. Oomph has included template creation guidelines that are required reading. To help you design an Oomph app template, Oomph is giving away a best practice app template, icons and artwork and a blank template. Register at Oomph Marketplace and you’ll receive the free templates in your account, or take a sneak-peak at the tools and guidelines here.

The Prizes

Each contest offers $2,500 in cash prizes awarded to the top 3 designs in the following contest categories:

  1. Event Apps
  2. Brochure Apps
  3. Retail Catalogue Apps
  4. Magazine Apps

Designers designers have until January 19 to submit designs to be in the running to win cash prizes.

December 20 2012

08:10

The Top Ten Games Apps of 2012

The iPhone App Store hit the internet back in 2008 and in just four years apps have been well and truly accepted into the mainstream. From getting on top of your finances to managing your personal fitness, there’s an app for it. But the most fun aspect of apps is the possibilities they present for the gaming industry. And things have come a long way in just a few years. It’s now possible to get games with console-style graphics quality on the go; video and animation you’d only expect to find in a games arcade. Here are some of the games that have swallowed our spare time in the past twelve months – our top ten games apps of 2012.

Angry Birds Star Wars

Somewhere in a galaxy far, far away, the ultimate games app just got a whole load better. Star Wars Angry Birds isn’t just the best incarnation of the game, it’s also the best movie spin off we’ve seen in a long time. Yup, you still shoot birds at pigs, but in this game you get to do it with lightsabres and lasers. What’s not to love?

Angry-Birds-Star-Wars-Wallpaper-angry-birds-32422194-1920-1200

Fieldrunners 2

The original Fieldrunners was one of the Apple App Store’s first hit games and this version takes to the next level for 2012. It’s a simple premise. Protect your tower and stop the bad guys from getting to the other side of the screen by using a variety of weapons. The more bad guys you kill the more money you get for weapons.

Fieldrunners-2-Title-642x424

Toca Tailor

The first app from Swedish interactive toy maker Toca Boca, Toca Tailor is a cool game for the over fours. This game lets users dress a variety of characters in an almost endless choice of clothes and is a brilliant game for encouraging creativity.

TocaTailor_site_pic

Toca Band

Hailed as one of the best children’s apps of 2012, Toca Band gets kids to create a song through an easy-to-use interface. All they have to do to make their music is drag and drop the colourful characters across the screen – each one has its own unique sound!

toca_band_web_pic

Clash of Clans

Clash of Clans is a cool cross between FarmVille and a war game. Build a village, train your troops and fight with other players. One of the most popular free apps of 2012 on Apple devices.

carousel_clashofclans_01

New Star Soccer

It might not look like much, but New Star Soccer is utterly addictive. Your aim is simple; score as many goals as possible while more obstacles – such as high walls and winds – are put in your way. You need to upgrade from the free version to the 69p incarnation for the real fun though. This version lets you live like a real player, earning wages and building professional relationships with other players and your club manager. Improve your skills and you make more money. You’ll also have to make lifestyle choices to help improve your fitness or, more importantly, attract your very own WAG.

xl_New_Star_Soccer_624

SongPop

SongPop is a free music-trivia app that was named app of the week by ABS News back in July. Guess song clips and challenge your friends – and there are thousands of songs on there, ranging from golden oldies to today’s top tracks.
song-pop-review-ipad-iphone-android-0

Rayman Jungle Run

The legendary console platform hero made a successful jump to mobile this year with Rayman Jungle Run. The graphics are gorgeous and the smooth touch-based controls are a pleasure to use. No wonder it was named the App Store’s Game of the Year 2012; it’s an easy game for all ages to get to grips with, but addictively tricky to master.
Rayman-Jungle-Run-Trailer-Screenshots-570x440

Waking Mars

This app was one of the biggest smashes of 2012. The narrative is one of the most engaging we’ve seen on this platform and involves the discovery of alien life on Mars and the subsequent mission of first contact. It’s an intelligent, adrenalin-fueled race against the clock to determine the fate of a sleeping planet.

waking-mars-developer-trailer_1

Batman: Arkham City

It may only have been launched last week, but Batman: Arkham City is set to be a last-minute big-hitter of 2012. It’s based on the most popular Batman video game on record and sees Batman fight some of the toughest villains ever – including Catwoman. It’s a hefty download, clocking in at 10.67 GB, so make sure your Mac can handle it before you buy.

bgd-batman_arkham_city-400

This is a guest post contributed by Neeru Pallen who writes on behalf of Print Express UK.

September 03 2012

07:00

Showcase of 40 Insanely Detailed iOS Icon Designs

iOS icons have come a long way since the birth of the iPhone. Not only are they now shared between iPhone and iPad, with the introduction of retina displays the resolution of the these icons is so high it allows the designer to incorporate some unbelievable detail. This post showcases some of the most detailed iOS icons on the web, with some even crossing into the realm of hyperrealism.

Sandwich iOS icon by Ryan Ford

Sandwich iOS icon by Ryan Ford

Toybox icon by Julian Frost

Toybox icon by Julian Frost

Unlaced App Icon by Ryan Ford

Unlaced App Icon by Ryan Ford

Tiki Kingdom App Icon by Fabricio Rosa Marques

Tiki Kingdom App Icon by Fabricio Rosa Marques

Broadcast iOS App Icon by Román Jusdado

Broadcast iOS App Icon by Román Jusdado

Mophie Outdoor iOS App Icon

Mophie Outdoor iOS App Icon

Treasure Trouble iOS App Icon by Michael Flarup

Treasure Trouble iOS App Icon by Michael Flarup

Cigar Box iOS Icon by Konstantin Datz

Cigar Box iOS Icon by Konstantin Datz

History of Rock App Icon by Michael Flarup

History of Rock App Icon by Michael Flarup

Journal iOS Icon by Román Jusdado

Journal iOS Icon by Román Jusdado

ProPlayer iOS App Icon

ProPlayer iOS App Icon

Record Player Icon by Iasha Simonishvili

Record Player Icon Design by Iasha Simonishvili

Veggie Meals iOS Icon by Max Rudberg

Veggie Meals iOS Icon by Max Rudberg

On this day iOS App Icon

On this day iOS App Icon

Nikon Camera iOS Icon by Gianluca Divisi

Nikon Camera iOS Icon by Gianluca Divisi

Game App Icon by Aleksandr Novoselov

Game App Icon by Aleksandr Novoselov

iOS Icon Design by Konstantin Datz

iOS Icon by Konstantin Datz

iOS Game Icon by Ratmotion

iOS Game Icon by Ratmotion

Record Player iOS Icon by Román Jusdado

Record Player iOS Icon by Román Jusdado

Physique Workout Tracker by Román Jusdado

Physique Workout Tracker Icon by Román Jusdado

Coffee Lovers Icon by Aditya Nugraha Putra

Coffee Lovers Icon by Aditya Nugraha Putra

Good Music iOS App Icon Design

Good Music iOS App Icon

InstaGenius App Icon Design by Artua

InstaGenius App Icon by Artua

Coach’s Eye iOS App Icon

Coach's Eye iOS App Icon

Camera App Icon by Aditya Nugraha Putra

Camera App Icon by Aditya Nugraha Putra

Boxing Glove iOS Icon by Konstantin Datz

iOS Icon by Konstantin Datz

Bacon Diet App Icon by Ryan Ford

Bacon Diet App Icon by Ryan Ford

Baby Accordeon App Icon by Serg

Baby Accordeon App Icon by Serg

Alarm Icon by Eddie Lobanovskiy

Alarm Icon by Eddie Lobanovskiy

Tape Icon Design by Sosoa

Tape Icon by Sosoa

Weather App Icon by Dash

Weather App Icon by Dash

Pizza App iOS Icon by Ryan Ford

Pizza App iOS Icon by Ryan Ford

Wee Rockets iOS App Icon

Wee Rockets iOS App Icon

App Icon by Jackie Tran

App Icon by Jackie Tran

Poker Club iOS Icon Design by Ruaridh Currie

Poker Club iOS Icon Design by Ruaridh Currie

Darth Vadar Icon by Michael Flarup

Darth Vadar Icon by Michael Flarup

Stormtrooper Icon by Michael Flarup

Stormtrooper Icon by Michael Flarup

Lendthing iOS App Icon

Lendthing iOS App Icon

May 05 2012

14:00

Do’s and Don’ts of Designing Tablet Ready Websites and Resources

This is the link to the original article creator of this site, if this message appears to another site than 1stwebdesigner - Graphic and Web Design Blog - 1stwebdesigner is a design blog dedicated to bloggers, freelancers, web-developers and designers. Topics focus on web design and inspirational articles. it has been stolen, please visit original source then!

The Tablet Revolution is the evolution of mobile technology and desktop speed. This is not the techno flavor of the month and it will not go slipping into the dark. The Apple iPad and other tablet products are what will drive tomorrow for a long time to come. Website owners who don’t respect the Tablet Revolution and make needed changes in website design and layout are going to be passed over by tech savvy consumers.

It used to be so easy: just build a website for the desktop or laptop and wait for the customers to come zooming in. Then came mobile smart phones and savvy web designers ramped up with mobile versions for those who shop till they drop with their mobile. That was a pretty smart move and updating the website for tablet owners is going to be even smarter. We are going to use this article as your magic carpet to that next level. A few ideas and polite warnings (your business safety in mind), some examples of companies whose sites are tablet ready, and the tools and resources you need to create a site for the tablet flyers to land.

Why is it Important to Make Your Website Tablet Ready

International Data Corporation predicts that by 2015 more U.S. Web users will access the Internet through mobile devices than by using personal computers. PC shopping is going to the elephant graveyard and mobile devices are being used for shopping and will be for a long time to come. So if you haven’t already, you should be thinking about how to upgrade your website for tablet based shoppers.

Do’s and Don’ts for Creating Tablet Ready Websites

Okay, here is what you really, really should not do:

  • Don’t include Flash if you want your website to work on iPad.
  • Don’t have too many clickable areas (links, etc.) too close to one another. Navigation has to be easy to find and easy to interact with. Make it so.
  • Don’t have too much media cluttering your site. This ain’t your mama’s website, so don’t let it look like her kitchen. Besides, too much media can create loading issues.

You want to make your website tablet friendly? Here’s how you can do it:

  • Use the medium to spot the problems. Access your current website from a tablet to see where the hang ups are, and determine how to make the website tablet friendly while still allowing for easy access from laptops and desktop computers..
  • Move at the speed of your customer’s life. Add more “on the go” content and information. Tablet users are mobile and that could mean that they are looking for more “mobile-related” content than anyone else. Think links to Google Maps, your contact information, etc.
  • No one can buy what they can’t read. Website fonts have to be tablet legible. Remember, tablet users zip around the town. Screen glare can be a challenge as well as the smaller screens that tablets have. Be sure that the website can be easily read on a tablet by using the right font style, color and size.

The release of Apple’s iPad has created an unimaginable amount of change. With more and more people surfing the Internet on tablets like iPad, more and more businesses are taking notice. Here are a few examples of big companies who have upgraded their websites to be tablet friendly.

  • Amazon.com – In 2011 Amazon made a huge push into the mobile space with the release of their Windowshop iPad app and with their new look website. Brennon Slattery of PCWorld commented, “the new look and feel of Amazon.com screams tablet. It has a lot more white space, the messy sidebar on the left is gone, the search bar is enlarged for touchscreen fingertip use, and the product photos are easily clickable icons”.
  • Utah – Last August the state of Utah released an updated tablet ready website to make interacting with their website easier for tablet users.
  • Nike – Nike has updated their website to fully take advantage of the tablet interface. As this new tablet trend gets a little old we are going to see more and more businesses begin to overhaul their website to ensure tablet users can easily navigate and interact with their website.

Tablet Ready WordPress Themes

MobilePRO WordPress Theme for Mobile Devices

There are thousands of free and paid versions of WordPress themes out there for you to choose from. Sadly, there aren’t a ton of WordPress themes that will allow you to have a website that looks good on laptops and tablets. If you’re running WordPress and want a theme that you can install in order to create tablet ready websites, here are a few good ones to choose from:

  • Onswipe – Make your blog look beautiful on tablet web browsers in under three minutes.
  • MobilePRO – A beautiful professional WordPress theme for mobile devices. However, it looks great on any computer screen.
  • Mobility – An iPad-ready WordPress theme with finger sliding capabilities and a custom drag-and-drop gallery admin.

Tools and Resources to Create a Tablet Ready Website

Converting your website into a tablet friendly environment can separate you from your competitors. We will end this article with links to various resources and tools that you might want to check out if you want to take advantage of the Tablet Revolution and create a tablet friendly website.

  • Pressly automatically makes online publications as beautiful and touchable as native apps when visited on tablet web browsers.
  • For anyone looking to learn a little more about what the future holds for Tablet e-Commerce , check out Zmags recently released ebook entitled, “Mobile and Tablet e-Commerce: Is Anyone Really Ready?
  • HTML5 would be a great skill to have if you’re thinking of making your website more tablet ready. Todd Anglin said, “virtually all modern devices with a web browser have broad support for the technologies defined by HTML5, like Video, Geolocation, Offline Apps, Local Storage, and CSS3 styling, making them the perfect target for aggressive HTML5 development.

Don’t wait for the tsunami to hit you. Catch the tablet wave and ride it to big profits. At the very least, open your website on a tablet to see what it looks like and how easy it is to navigate. Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

April 02 2012

11:00

Cool Tips and Resources to Make Your Website Tablet-Friendly

Is your website ready for the Tablet Revolution? Unless you are one of those Doomsday Preppers and you’ve been living in your bug out bunker for the past few weeks, you know iPad 3 just hit the market, and people are going crazy over it. It’s only taken a few years, but the release of Apple’s iPad, among all of the other tablets, has created a new HUGE trend that website owners need to be aware of. The Tablet Revolution, as some are referring to it, has cause many website owners to rethink their website design and layout. Earlier you could simply build a website for desktops and laptops. Then mobile smart phones came along and changed everything. Many website owners now have a mobile version of their website ready for any visitors who decide to stop by from their mobile phones. Well, it’s time to update your website yet again, this time for tablet owners. In this article we are going to cover why it’s important for your website to be tablet ready, talk about some Do’s and Don’ts, provide some example companies who are making sure their website is tablet ready, and provide you with the tools and resources that you need to create a tablet-ready version of your website.

Tablets have been growing in popularity over night

Tablets have been growing in popularity over night

Image Source

Why is it Important to Make Your Website Tablet Ready

International Data Corporation predicts that by 2015 more U.S. Web users will access the Internet through mobile devices than by using personal computers. 2015 is only a few years away and obviously in order for this to come true, the trend between now and then is UP.  Think about it. How many times have you gone to a website from your smart phone only to realize it’s clunky and you cannot navigate through the site easily? How long do you stay on that website? How often do you return? Using that same philosophy, now think about what tablet users will do if they hit your website and it’s not tablet ready. With more and more consumers using the Internet from their tablets, it’s critical that you take some time to update your website as soon as possible.

Do’s and Don’ts for Creating a Tablet Ready Website

Now that you realize how critical it is to create a tablet ready website, let’s go over some Do’s and Don’ts. Let’s start with the Don’ts.

If you’re doing the following, your website is not tablet ready:

  • Don’t include Flash if you want your website to work on iPad.
  • Don’t have too many clickable areas (links, etc.) too close to one another. Make sure your navigation is easy to find and easy to interact with.
  • Don’t have too much media cluttering your site. Photos and videos are great, but too many on any given page can make the site looked cluttered and could possibly even cause loading issues.

In order to make sure your website is tablet friendly, here are a few things that you can do:

  • Access your current website from a tablet to see where the hang ups are, what looks good and what doesn’t, and what the overall experience is. Take notes and brainstorm ideas for making your website function better on tablets, while maintaining its functionality for laptops and desktop computers.
  • Add more “on the go” content and information. One of the biggest advantages of tablets are that they can come everywhere with you. Tablet users are mobile and that could mean that they are looking for more “mobile-related” content. Think links to Google Maps, your contact information, etc.
  • Make sure your website font can be easily read from a tablet. Glare and lighting, as well as, a smaller screen size can make certain websites hard to read from a tablet. Usually laptops and desktops are set up and used inside and in well lit areas. Again, tablets are mobile which means lighting is going to be an issue more often for tablet users. Update your website font style, color, and size if you need to.

Following the steps above will help you get started updating your website to be more tablet friendly.

Example Websites that Have Become Tablet Friendly

Tablets have acquired several versatile usages, including reading

Tablets have acquired several versatile usages, including reading

Image Source

In just under 2 years, the release of Apple’s iPad has created an unimaginable amount of change across a multitude of industries. With more and more people surfing the Internet on tablets like iPad, more and more businesses are taking notice. Here are a few examples of big companies who have made their website tablet ready.

  • Amazon.com – In 2011 Amazon made a huge push into the mobile space with the release of their Windowshop iPad app and with their new look website. Brennon Slattery of PCWorld commented, “the new look and feel of Amazon.com screams tablet. It has a lot more white space, the messy sidebar on the left is gone, the search bar is enlarged for touchscreen fingertip use, and the product photos are easily clickable icons”.
  • Utah Government – Last August the state of Utah released an updated tablet ready website to make interacting with their website easier for tablet users.
  • Nike – Nike has updated their website to fully take advantage of the tablet interface. Nike’s website is one of the very best examples of a tablet ready website.

As this new tablet trend gets a little old we are going to see more and more businesses begin to overhaul their website to ensure tablet users can easily navigate and interact with their website.

Tablet Ready WordPress Themes

Are you running WordPress for your website? If so, then you’re very familiar with WordPress themes. There are millions of free and paid version of WordPress themes out there for you to choose from. That said, as of today, there aren’t a ton of WordPress themes that will allow you to have a website that looks good on laptops and tablets. If you’re running WordPress and want a theme that you can install in order to create a tablet ready website, here are a few good ones to choose from:

  • Onswipe – Make your blog look beautiful on tablet web browsers in under 3 minutes.
  • MobilePRO – A beautiful professional WordPress theme for mobile devices. However, it looks great on any computer screen.
  • Mobility – An iPad-ready WordPress theme with finger sliding capabilities and a custom drag-and-drop gallery admin.

Tools and Resources to Create a Tablet Ready Website

Converting your website into a tablet friendly environment sooner rather than later is something that can separate you from your competitors. We will end this article with links to various resources and tools that you might want to check out if you want to take advantage of the Tablet Revolution and create a tablet ready website.

Pressly automatically lets you beautify your online publications

Pressly lets you beautify your online publications

  • Pressly automatically makes online publications as beautiful and touchable as native apps when visited on tablet web browsers.
  • For anyone looking to learn a little more about what the future holds for Tablet e-Commerce I highly recommend checking out Zmags recently released ebook entitled, “Mobile and Tablet e-Commerce: Is Anyone Really Ready?”.
  • Learning HTML5 would be a great skill to have if you’re thinking of making your website more tablet ready. Todd Anglin said, “virtually all modern devices with a web browser have broad support for the technologies defined by HTML5, like Video, Geolocation, Offline Apps, Local Storage, and CSS3 styling, making them the perfect target for aggressive HTML5 development.

Now that you have more information on why it’s some important for you to update your website tablet ready design and navigation, do you think it’s something that you’ll make a priority over the next 6 – 12 months? At the very least, open your website on a tablet to see what it looks like and how easy it is to navigate. Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

March 11 2012

10:00

8 Tips to Follow for iPad App Designers

Most of us didn’t understand the real use of iPad but still we bought it. The touch keyboard wasn’t as quick as our laptops, still we used it. And, before we even realized, the iPad had become an integral part of our lives. Now, no gadget is complete without the plethora of apps (good or bad) that come running alongside. iPad was no different. A market came into existence and everyone was looking for “iPad compatible” design. Guess what, the keyword iPad compatible is already being searched over 50,000 times on Google every month if Google’s Keyword Tool is to be believed. And then there are multiple related keywords. It simplyshows how important the iPad market has become for app designers.

(The usual) NOTE - This discussion will not teach you how to create a riveting iPad app. And, trust me when I say that “I am NOT covering the usual tips that have been covered a zillion times already on other blogs!”

How Many Instructions are too Many?

Personally, I hate apps that have a lot of instructions. What is the use of designing an app when you cannot keep it simple? If your app requires the end-user to read the thick user manual over and over to easily use the app then, my friends, you have just designed a flop app. Remember that you give out instructions for your app users so that they get the feel and move on to the real app. Your list of instructions should never be a turn-off for the app users.

So, avoid the usage of a “question mark” icon on every possible screen of your iPad app. Let the app be the instruction booklet in itself. Seriously, I hate apps with too many instructions!

Now, Don’t Confuse “Hints” with “Instructions”

You know what? Sometimes I feel bad when I get the feeling that my reader may have misunderstood me. Above, I asked you to avoid using too many instructions for people to be able to use your app. “Hints” are a different ball game altogether. Hints are a form of “positive poking” that helps the users move on when they are struggling. So, its good to give away hints to keep the app users interested.

WARNING - Never overdo your take-my-hint-and-move-on style in your app. The end-user might just lose the much wanted interest.

Layout Must Change Comfortably With Orientation

The image above says it all. In the case of orientation sensitive devices like iPad the layout of an app must not be broken with the change of orientation of the device. Though the broken layout might not hamper the productivity of the app, it is surely a turn-off for the end-user. Who would want to use an app that does not understand the orientation of iPad? It is like using an app which was never designed for iPad (or any other orientation sensitive gadget for that matter) in the first place. Consider checking out the Holy Grail of Mobile Layout?

Always Display the Username On Screen

This might sound weird, but with devices like iPad this is a must. iPad is the sort of gadget which will be used by multiple members of a family. I am not saying that iPad is a family gadget, but in many cases it might just be. One family member uses the iPad and then another picks it up. Who would want to use an app or an interface while someone else is logged into it? Worst case would be that you would never know if someone else is logged in until you figure out the data is not yours. Like the eBay app for iPad which won’t display the logged in user’s ID:

So, it is suggested that you clearly show the logged in user’s ID on every page of your app. It will help clear any sort of confusion and unwanted situations.

Never Overdo the Gestures

Users of iPad know that the device understands tapping and sliding. You don’t have to write it in bold and make it overly obvious. A slight mention of “Tap me for more” is all that is needed to keep the users looking for more. You don’t have to explain to the end user what tapping means, how it can be done and what are its advantages. Don’t make it look silly.

The White Space..Pleeeease!

Don’t tell me that this is one of the obvious tips that has been discussed already. I have to discuss this over and over til you guys understand the importance of it especially in the context of iPad like devices. See, devices like iPad can stretch your design or make it look cluttered. If you are creating an app especially for iPad then you can minimize the clutter, but what about the times when the app has to be updated every now and then?

Dynamically updated apps can sometimes break because of the different sizes of images that are pushed on daily basis. So, design your app in a fashion that there is lot of free space available. It helps the user’s mind to relax. Also, it automatically de-clutters the result.

iPad Hails Minimalism. So Should Your App!

Steve Job’s speech below has nothing much to do with the minimalist looks of iPad (and all other Apple devices) but somewhere or other they all connect. I’ll be shocked if you tell me that you haven’t seen this video before. Which bunker do you live in?

One quick glance to your iPad and you will know how simple it is. The device is packed with extremely amazing technology but it doesn’t show off. Now, will you consider designing an iPad app that pops out of your gadget especially when the gadget itself is placed comfortablly in your hands? Follow minimalism and see how your app merges itself with the amazing iPad interface.

Touch is Good but Don’t Over-Use it

Quickly, check the image below before I start explaining what I want:

The CNN app for iPad features a sleek-looking navigation bar at the very bottom. This bar makes it easy for readers to quickly go through various stories and read whichever stories interest them. See how CNN minimized the usage of browser buttons by pushing the important content on one screen itself. It is good that iPad features feather touch experience but sometimes too much slide and touch kills the experience too.

Make it comfortable for the end-user and see how they fall in love with your app.

Conclusion

Tips to design iPad apps are available everywhere. I’m not saying they’re not valuable or useful. but sometimes you have to think about the small things that can be the reason why people ditched your app. Design but don’t overdo it. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

February 12 2012

10:00

How iPad is Changing the Face of Businesses

Has anyone else noticed how many different facets of our lives that Apple’s iPad has changed? Education. Yep. Healthcare. You bet. Entertainment. For sure. As we move into 2012, another iPad trend is forming. iPad is starting to change how businesses and customers interact. Call them what you want, “businesses, website owners, authors, speakers, colleges, etc.” these folks are beginning to use iPad as a tool for interacting with their customers at a physical location. Restaurants are using iPad as menus and making apps that allow patrons to place orders and pay their bill from their table. Retailers are building iPad apps that play educational videos to store visitors. Speakers are using iPad as a teleprompter for speeches. The list is starting to grow. We see a new trend forming and we wanted to see what you think about it.

Uses for iPad by Businesses


As we started to get into above, there are a number of different ways for businesses to leverage iPads for interacting with their community. Here are a few ideas for using an iPad to interact with your community at a physical location:

  • Use iPad to display your website
  • Use iPad as a customer survey tool
  • Build your own iPad app for whatever purpose you feel is necessary
  • Show videos to your community on iPad
  • Collect email addresses on iPad
  • Display your social media updates on iPad
  • Turn iPad into a menu in your restaurant
  • Use iPad as an educational brochure

The uses are many, and yet we are still at the very beginning of what we see as a HUGE coming trend.

The Benefits of Using iPad as a Customer Engagement Tool


put ipad at a bar

Image from OnSpotSocial

Using iPad for customer engagement is such a simple idea, but it packs a powerful punch. Here are a few of the many benefits that businesses will receive if they start using iPad for customer engagement:

  • People are naturally drawn to an iPad. The tool itself captures attention…
  • Branding
  • Display educational content
  • Engage your community when they are at “peak attention”, which is when they are visiting with you at a physical location
  • Increase your social media connections
  • Collect customer email addresses
  • Show off your website
  • Survey your audience
  • Encourage them to make a purchase through sales promotions

This is just the beginning of the list of benefits. There are many more once you determine how you want to use iPad as a customer engagement tool. More and more companies are building their own iPad apps, as well as, 3rd party companies popping up with iPad business tool apps.

Companies Using iPad to Engage Customers In-Store


stacked ipad

As seen on USA Today

There are already a lot of organizations out there that have jumped on this new iPad trend. Most of these companies have built their own custom apps to use with customers in their stores or at events. With that said, there are also more and more iPad apps being built around this new trend, which means more businesses will begin to buy 3rd party iPad apps to use for engaging their customers at a physical location. Here are a few companies that are currently taking advantage of this new trend:

  • Stacked Restaurant – Stacked is a new California-based restaurant chain that’s putting iPads on every table to use as a menu and allow customers to place orders.
  • OnSpot Social – OnSpot Social is an iPad app that allows businesses to collect Facebook Likes, Twitter Followers, and Customer Email from customers while in their store.
  • Lebron James Unknwn Store – Unknwn is Lebron James’ new apparel store. He’s put iPads next to every sneaker so that customers can access information like pricing, stylish clothing combinations, tech specs, etc.
  • Puma - Puma has built their own iPad app and is using iPads in-store to allow customers to create their own shoes.

As you can see, there are companies out there who are already using iPad to engage their community at a physical location. You might be thinking, “I don’t have the money or the skills to build my own iPad app”. That’s OK. Again, there are more and more 3rd party apps coming out that you can buy. You can also use iPad for more simple branding tactics, like playing educational videos or displaying your website at an event or in your store.

3 Web Browser iPad Apps for Displaying a Website In-Store


If you want to display your website to your community at an event or at a physical location like a store or trade show, be sure to thinking about downloading a web browser app for your iPad. There are some limitations with using the built-in Safari browser. These apps expand your web browsing capabilities, which will aid the customer experience when they’re interacting with your website on your iPad.

  1. Night Browser – What’s nice about the Night Browser iPad app is that it gives you the ability to adjust your device’s brightness, which is nice when using your iPad in your store. Everyone businesses lighting is set up a little differently. Make sure your customers don’t have to strain when trying to interact with your website on an iPad in your store.
  2. Skyfire - Are you frustrated by being unable to play Flash videos on your iPad? No more is that an issue. Download the Skyfire app and play all of the Flash videos you want for your community.
  3. Duo Browser – Have 2 web browsers opens simultaneously with Duo Browser. Have both Facebook and Twitter open. Have your website and your Flickr page displayed. There a lot of combinations that you can take advantage of with this browser.

Use an iPad in Your Store for Social Media


Do you have a Facebook page set up for your website? How about a Twitter feed? If so, then why not use an iPad in your store to display real-time social media updates to your customers while they are in your store. Using iPad at a physical location like your store or an event is a great way to increase your social media following. Social Media for business really caught fire in 2011. 2012 should be the year of using iPad as a retail tool. Let’s combine these two trends to find ways to allow your customers to interact with your social media through an iPad. Collect Facebook Likes at an event on iPad. Display your Tweets in your store on iPad. Get those who visit your booth at a trade show or conference to opt-in to your email newsletter program by having them input their email address into a form on iPad. With these two trends seemingly converging at once on the business world it’s inevitable that we will begin to see more and more people using iPad for social media marketing.

Will You Use iPad for Customer Engagement?


What do you think? Is iPad coming to a retail store near you anytime soon? Have you ever considered using iPad to engage your community at live events? What other iPad uses can you come up with for businesses? Leave your comments below. We look forward to hearing what you think.

December 14 2011

21:00

Tablet Tidbits: How To Make Your Website Tablet-Friendly

While smart phone’s got the ball rolling for mobile browsing some years ago, the arrival of the iPad in April 2010 really began the revolution for people who wanted to cruise the net while out and about.

As with all new technologies, there were initially a lot of doubters who insisted the tablet concept wouldn’t get off the ground. Boy have they got egg on their faces now! The tablet market now has a very strong foothold with sales exceeding 20 million in 2010 (3 million iPads were sold within 80 days of its release), and it’s estimated that this figure could quadruple by 2012.

The tablet is an excellent example of the speed with which the technology industry evolves. Just a few years ago if you wanted to design/build a website, there were just a few browsers that you needed to consider. With the introduction of mobile/tablet browsing, creating a website that looks good and is easy to use on a full size screen as well as a smaller one poses a significant challenge to designers.

Considerations for Tablet Design


Scaling of sites

Since web designers no longer have the luxury of knowing users will be visiting their website from a standard size monitor, they now face the issue of figuring out where to put “the fold”. For those new to the game, the fold marks the point where a user must scroll down to see more content. Hence the most important information/content is generally placed above the fold to ensure it’s seen before the user navigates away from the site.

With the trend of more viewing been done from smaller screens, many designers are beginning to scale back their designs and raising the fold to ensure important content and navigation options are readily available on smaller screens.

Giving the mouse the flick

A very important consideration for tablet design is that users will be using their finger to navigate rather than a mouse. While human fingers are pretty nifty little tools, they’re not as precise as a mouse is when it comes to navigating a website. The simple fact is your finger is a lot larger than a mouse cursor, and is physically incapable of doing what the cursor can. Given this, it’s important to ensure that important areas of your site, such as the navigation bar, don’t need to be zoomed in for tablet users to access them.

Catering for this doesn’t require that you go out and develop a tablet version of your site. Ideally you’ll want to achieve a middle ground with the size of your buttons, where they’re large enough to access with fingers, but don’t look ridiculous on a full size screen.

Check the form (fields)

Particularly for business sites, forms are an important part of the user experience. Whether it’s a simple contact form, shopping cart or newsletter signup; poorly designed fields can create immense frustration for users, and lead to high abandonment rates.

The easiest way to ensure your form fields are functioning correctly is to test them yourself. Jump on an iPad or any other tablet device and check for things like: clear rendering, speed of processing, unnecessary fields, and in general anything that makes the experience difficult or unpleasant.

Don’t be flashy

If you want your site to display well on a wide variety of platforms, the best way to achieve this is by sticking to standards-compliant HTML and CSS, and avoiding technologies which require additional software or browser plugins. As you’re no doubt aware, Apple has ditched flash and the iOS no longer supports it – so if you’ve got a flash-based site it might be time to consider a rebuild.

Sticking to standards compliant platforms doesn’t mean your site has to be boring. HTML5 has a great range of features for creating media and interactive elements which will work equally well on tablets and desktop browsers.

Up, down and sideways

Extending our discussion regarding “the fold” – another important consideration is that the majority of tablet devices have a built-in accelerometer. This means that the user could be holding the device in either a portrait or landscape position, or even switching between. So in addition to having to cater for multiple screen sizes and resolutions, you must also keep in mind different orientations.

The important thing here is to test your site from both orientations, and ensure that important information is visible without having to swipe. Also check for any kind of distortions that may occur as the site is switched between views, and iron out any problems so that the design and content are displayed optimally from both.

Test, test, test

Before you freak out at all the complexities of designing for multiple platforms and quit your web design job – rest assured it’s not THAT hard. The key thing is testing. Get your hands on a tablet device, preferably a couple of different ones if you can i.e an iPad and an Android based tablet, and put your site to the test. Key things you’ll want to consider while testing are: does the design display well? Is navigation simple? Is key content displayed above the fold?

If you don’t have direct access to a tablet, you could head into your nearest Apple store or tech provider and use theirs. Alternatively, there are a number of desktop simulators available online – just be careful to use one that actually renders your site in tablet resolution.

Three ‘no good for tablet’ designs


It’s always helpful to see where other people have gone wrong, it’s what allows (smart) humans to keep moving forward. With that spirit in mind here are three designs which don’t present so well on tablets.

MarcEcko.com


A cool brand with a really cool website, unless you’re viewing on a tablet. Entirely flash-based, it doesn’t cater well at all for mobile devices.

TennesseeTheatre.com


I feel a bit bad throwing the unsuspecting Tennessee Theatre into my ‘bad designs’ section, as their site isn’t that bad. Unfortunately they’ve disobeyed one of the key rules for tablet design though, drop down menus.

Ingenfeld.de


Okay I admit, this one is kind of  a joke – when I searched ‘bad website designs’ this little number was pretty quick to present itself. You name it, this website disobeys it. It’s crowded, has little buttons everywhere and is downright ugly. Be careful, this one might actually make your tablet self destruct.

Tips for awesome tablet design


So we’ve given you plenty to consider when optimizing your site for tablets, along with some examples of what not to do. Now here are some tips to ensure your website looks awesome from the smaller screen.

Push some buttons

As discussed earlier, the human finger is pretty clunky compared to the mouse cursor. Therefore, 16×16 px icons are going to be pretty useless to someone viewing your site on a tablet. As a guide, the average finger can fairly easily click on an area of about 20px. Keep in mind not to go overboard with button size, as you don’t want to present desktop users a site that looks like it was designed for a 3-year-old.

Getting the Type right

Hitting the mark with typography isn’t a simple feat with tablets. On one hand, you don’t want your type too small as it will require users to zoom in, and potentially swipe across if your lines are too long. At the other end of the scale, you don’t want it too large as it will require excessive scrolling. So, achieving text that hits the mark is about more than getting the right font-size. You’ll need to play with the size, line-height/length, and font-face. Until someone comes up with a simple how-to on this, the key is to just play around with it until you achieve something that’s simple to read and doesn’t strain the eye.

Less complicated = better

The less the user has to zoom in and out and scroll around to view your site the better. Keep in mind that if your site design renders well on a desktop – it won’t necessarily render so well on a tablet. The easiest way to achieve a less complicated design effectively is to go through your site and strip out any elements which aren’t absolutely necessary. Doing this will deliver two benefits; firstly it will make your site more tablet friendly, secondly it will in many cases enhance the desktop browsing experience.

It doesn’t have to be a bitter pill

While many of you may be cringing at the number of considerations to be made for tablet design, keep in mind that it’s a good excuse to review and improve your overall site design, and may also make your job more simple in the future. Tablets force designers to utilize limited viewing space more effectively, which means that a lot of unnecessary content and elements are stripped away – leaving a simpler, better looking design with a strong focus on what you want users to see: your core content.

Is your site optimized for tablet viewing?

Additional tablet design resources:
Resource for mobile UI guidelines
Designing specifically for Android tablets
7 Web UI mistakes to avoid for smartphone and tablet

December 08 2011

01:19

The COLOURlovers Gift Guide, Plus Exclusive Discount & Giveaway

Some people are tough to shop for, but not to worry because the COLOURlovers gift guide has a little something for everyone. This guide is full of colorful ideas from our favorite stores as well as some wonderful DIY projects that are so darn easy to do for that person that deserves something special. Check out the gifts below, and if you want even more ideas, make sure to check out our curated Gift Guide on Pinterest. We have lots of goodies over there too. So here we go!

For The Cooks: For that aspring chef in your life here are a few things that will brighten up their kitchen and spirits as they spend their days making magic in the kitchen. The bowls are perfect for serving and a hand-held blender is great for the friend that makes mashed potatoes or protein shakes and doesn't want the hassle of all the clean up. If you want to go the extra mile, consider getting a recipe book and filling it with your favorite family recipes and collect favorite recipes from family and friends. These gifts are sure to be a hit for that lovely cook.

1. Bowls, 2. Recipe Book, 3. Blender, 4. Cutting Board, 5. Knives

For The Nesters: Finding a unique and colorful piece to brighten up the home is always a good route to go for the friend who just moved or the couple who just married. The perfect pieces can add a little hint of color in the right spots and will be a staple in their home for years to come. Made By Girl offers custom colorful prints so you can add a last name to be hung in the living room or a baby's name for the nursery. Either way this gift will be a thoughtful addition to any home.

1. Candle Holders, 2. Knot Pillow, 3. Lamp, 4. Custom Name Print

For The Men: Oh the men. Us ladies can all agree for shopping for men isn't the easiest of tasks. So here are a few colorful and unique items that will get them excited. Let's highlight "The Present" a brand new clock that takes a full year to complete. The purpose and thought behind this idea is very interesting and worth checking out. Other items include a Tattly box, filled with faux tattoos, and a Tokyo Flash watch. It is worth giving honorable mention to a gift that is just as awesome, but a little different. Quarterly.co offers unique packages curated and sent by top designers and influencers. If your guy wants a little inspiration, this is a great way to go.

1. Tattly Box, 2. "The Present" Clock  3. Quote Books 4. Tokyo Flash Watch  5. Crumpled Map

For the Crafter: For that creative person in your life, consider an easy DIY project that will make all the difference to them. Yarn Letters, Wall Art, or a DIY holiday ornament are great suggestions that will add something special to their collection of goodies. And the best part is, they will keep your gift for years to come and always remember where it came from.

1. DIY Letters 2. DIY Wall Art 3. Ornament, 4. DIY Dryer Balls

For the Gals: I chose a few great ideas for any girl, but of course the list could go on and on, couldn't it? Colourful headbands or some statement bangles will be well-received by that special gal in your life. Last but not least are a pair of sparkly shoe clips that she can add to any pair of shoes to give it that extra special something.

1. Headband, 2. Bracelets, 3. Bando Shoe Clips

The Tech Snob: Yeah, you know who I'm talking about. There's always that one person on your list who has to get anything techy the moment it becomes available. So what does someone like this always need? Something to organize, show off and/or protect their investments.

1. CableDrop Cord Clips 2. SHOWWX+ (iPhone, iPad, iPod) 3. Lemon Yellow Elephant March - iPad Sleeve 4. Kindle Fire Case

Who couldn't use a cable organizing system? They come in a variety of colors so go loud, muted or plain white for the extreme minimalist if need be. A simple, yet affordable gift or stocking stuffer.

Anyone in love with their iDevice would be amped to receive something to utilize it even further by enabling it to show off their photo gallery as a slideshow, movies and even streaming content. Lastly, Etsy is chock full of sleeves, cases and covers for almost any tech device at decent prices and many amazing colors and pattern schemes to choose from.

1. mugoplayer 2. case-mate DIY cases (done COLOURlovers style) 

Finally, if you're trying to find that super unique gift for the computer user and music lover on your list, check out a mugo player. These super funky designer dual MP3 & USB characters will be a fast favorite!

Mugo gave us an exclusive COLOURlovers 25% Discount Code to be used at checkout, good until December 31st, 2011.

The Mugo Discount - 25% OFF Code: MUGOLOVERS 

Every techy of course has one of the latest smartphones on the market, so spruce up their rig with your own handmade pattern or palette you designed on COLOURlovers with the case-mate DIY (image uploader). DIY cases available for: iPhone 4/4S, 3G/3GS, Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant, iPod Touch 4G and Blackberry Bold 9900. 

The Case-mate DIY Case Giveaway

Case-mate gave us one (1) code for a FREE DIY case!

How to earn this: Post in the comments what your most ideal colorful gift is for yourself. You may post more than one, but must at least be one or you will not be considered. Random selection will pick the winner. Contest ends: December 12th, 2011 at 11pm PST.


Creations used on case-mate DIY case examples:
*Easter_EggsOvercrowdingPower_FlowerVINTAGE_PETALS...Make_Us_All_RightFaking_A_Funk*

September 09 2011

20:08

Reaching More Lovers of Color: Color Stream iPhone App Acquired

We've known developer/designer Sahil Lavingia for a while now and have continued to be impressed with the apps and services he puts out. One app in particular we've had our eye on is his color app Color Stream, an iPhone app that helps create & save color palettes... Something near and dear to our hearts.

So when the opportunity came along to acquire the app and provide continued color inspiration to the tens of thousands of Color Stream users, we jumped at the chance. And one of the reasons we made our iPhone app free is so all Color Stream users could switch over to our ColorSchemer app without having to re-buy anything. They'll be joining the nearly 100,000 users of the ColorSchemer app and can continue to get the updates for our top color app at no extra cost.

If you're a Color Stream user, now's a great time to join the family and get the free ColorSchemer app to continue to receive updates with the latest and greatest features and integration with the COLOURlovers community.

The Color Stream app was a well-designed and built app that worked great for creating palettes from scratch, or from a photo... but the biggest thing it was missing was an awesome community of creative people to share those palettes with, and now that's changing! We're excited to extend our community to more and more creative people and we look forward to even more inspirations that this growing and diverse mix of new users will create.

Download ColorSchemer for iPhone Now.

Sahil will continue to work on his own creative projects and sadly won't be joining the CL team... He's just the kind of creative talent we look for.

Ever Wonder How a Palette Was Made?

On every palette page in the "About" section there is a little link to the tool used to create the palette, so if you were curious if a palette was made on our site or was beamed up from a mobile phone somewhere in the world... Now you know where to look.

To our Android & WinMo members... I'm sorry our happy announcement brings you more sadness that we don't yet have an app for you to love colors on the go. Fret not, we continue to work on this and will get you something... If you're a killer android dev or know one, you can help us speed up this process by sending us an email. :)

August 10 2011

17:24

Painted Canvas: iPad Sleeve + Giveaway

How exciting—I get to give something away! Several people liked the Market Bag that I posted last time (thanks so much for the love, lovers!), so I thought it would be really fun to make something to giveaway this time. The palette—Sirus IFRC—that provided the inspiration for this project comes from napkin guy and I loved working with this combination of colors. The pattern comes from Sew4Home and was designed by Alicia Thommas (edited by Liz Johnson). With the exception of omitting swivel hooks (instead I used center-release buckles), using a concealed magnetic clasp instead of a nickel one (and, of course, using my own painted canvas and a coordinating fleece), I made the project just as it was presented.

Sirus_IFRC

It’s really a lot of fun to make projects from canvas that you have painted and made your own mark on. The person who first got me excited about painting layers on canvas with this approach is Roxanne Padgett. I took her Luscious Layered Canvas class last spring and have been having a grand ole time ever since. I continue to experiment and try new things and new ways of making each piece uniquely my own. You’ll be seeing more projects from me where I take this path using a palette, so I thought you might like to see briefly, how I go about painting the canvas. And if you don’t want know all that, just skip to the bottom and leave a comment if you’d like to try and win this bag. I’ll never know the difference.

For what I do, I buy unprimed cotton duck in a medium weight and I typically buy it in one big folded piece (72” x 6 yards [1.83m x 5.49m]) because it’s most economical that way. If I just want to paint canvas, without a particular project in mind yet, I like to work on pieces that are about 18” x 24” (46cm x 61cm) and I usually just tear it. Sometimes—as with the project I’m showing you here—I will read the pattern to see what sizes I’m supposed to end up with and then I tear the duck to individual pieces that are about three inches bigger than I need to allow for shrinkage (when the canvas gets wet).

Before starting to paint, I like to get an entire piece of canvas wet first and I just do this in the sink. Getting it wet allows the paint to spread faster and easier. Start with one color and just make several random strokes. Then use a foam roller and work it over the entire surface to spread the color. Irregularity is good—don’t get hung up thinking you need to end up with a consistent, solid fill here. You’re just getting started!

 

Take a second color and just squirt some in several places. Pretend you are Jackson Pollock and just have fun flinging it on there. Work this in a bit with the roller too, but leave it more concentrated in some places and less so in others. Now you have a decent background and it’s all assorted layering techniques from here. I’ll share a few of my favorites here with you, but keep in mind, you are the artist and whatever way you do it is the right way.

Okay, so one thing I like to create are washes/gradients of color. Be sure the canvas is still wet when you do this. (Or don’t—see last sentence, previous paragraph.) Wet your brush, load it with some paint and start working it onto the canvas. Lightly dip your brush in water and keep stroking, working out in one direction from where you started. Dip it in water again and continue working in one direction as the pigment starts to fade until your brush is more or less clean. I think it looks nifty to then rotate the canvas 90 degrees and repeat with a new color.

Let’s see . . .what else? What’s really fun is to make a watery mix of paint and then just pour it onto your canvas. I then like to lift one edge of the canvas while the paint is still pooled and hasn’t fully soaked in yet, and let it run and drip. Another thing to do with a watery mix of paint is to draw with is using a palette knife.

And then the last thing I’ll share today is that one thing I love to use are stencils! Stencil application works best with a dry roller, working on dry canvas and with paint that isn’t too thin/watery. Fluid acrylics are fine—just don’t add any water to them. Squirt some paint onto your palette or a paper plate and load your roller by evenly getting paint around it. Then, just roll it over the stencil onto the canvas. Sometimes you have to work it in a couple directions to get good coverage. Hold the stencil in place firmly as you do this. (Side note: You know who has cool stencils? Mary Beth Shaw. I was inspired to use her stencils when I worked on her book, Flavor for Mixed Media, and I have used a couple of her stencils in this project.)

Repeat all of these techniques multiple times in multiple layers for the most depth and biggest impact. What happens when you make mark you don’t like? You guessed it—paint over it. No pressure. Nothing but fun here. In lieu of overpainting, another thing that I’ve found is fun to do when you don’t like something (and this only works when the paint is still wet) is to take the canvas to the sink and run it under the water to soak it, wring it out and presto! You have a whole new piece of canvas with a cool stained look over the whole thing. See? Life is full of surprises and that’s where the fun comes in.

If you want some more ideas for painting with layers, I highly recommend Flavor for Mixed Media. (Not to mention there’s some great recipes for food in this book, too!)


iPad Sleeve (shown) Giveaway

So . . .enough of me talking already! Would like a shot at winning this iPad Sleeve (which can also be used as a small shoulder bag in case you don't have an iPad)?

I'd like to get to know you and your crafty interests.... so which books from the Create Mixed Media Shop are you most interested in seeing projects or techniques from?

To Enter, leave a comment by Friday, August 19th:

  1. 1.) Link to one (or more) books from the Create Mixed Media Shop
  2. 2.) Why you chose the book(s)

One winner will be selected randomly and will be notified via Love Notes (make sure your notification settings are set to receive these via your email). Contest officially ends Friday, August 19th, 2011 by midnight USA PST.


<div align="center" style="width:140px;border:1px solid #ccc; background: #; color: #4D116D;font-weight:bold;font-size:12px;"> <a style="text-decoration: none; color:#4D116D;" href="http://mycountdown.org/My_Countdown/My_Countdown/">My Countdown </a></div> <p>

July 14 2011

19:31
19:31

July 12 2011

14:11

July 08 2011

12:25

Well-Placed Pixels: Software inspiration

Looking for beautiful software (iPad, iPhone, Mac apps) inspiration? Well-Placed Pixels has you covered with several pages to get those creative juices circulating.

June 09 2011

16:13

The Colors of Mobile Games

When you want your website or business identity's color scheme to be fun, entertaining, or even little outrageous, you need not look any further than those highly addictive mobile games for a little color inspiration. From high flying birds to classic games with new color variations, mobile game's often use color palettes that are bright, funky, primary based and still highly usable. Here are a few games currently on top of the mobile gaming world and their color paletts that add to the fun and keep us all playing over, and over, and over, and...

Tiny Wings

Tiny_Wings

 

Feed Me Oil

Feed_Me_Oil

 

Angry Birds

Angry_Birds_level

 

Cut The Rope

cut_the_rope

 

Pictureka

Pictureka

 

Scrabble

Scrabble_Mobile

 

Doodle Jump

Doodle_Jump

 

geoDefense Swarm

Swarm


June 07 2011

12:30

iPad App Dos and Don’ts

Alt Desc

The Nielsen Norman Group took another look at iPad app usability.

If you’ve spent any time with an iPad, chances are you’ve experienced some level of frustration when getting to know a new application (app). The excitement of a new download might peel away if you see a splash screen—perhaps with an animation or unexpected aural outburst;when it seems your fingers are too fat to properly navigate; or when the app lacks key features found on its parent site.

The Nielsen Norman Group (or NNG to make it easier for both of us) knew that the nascent soil of iPad app development was bound to be riddled with usability trouble. And why shouldn’t it? Developers are exploring new terrain, so a learning curve is to be expected. But as the iPad gains users and more businesses feel the need to expand into iPad app territory, new usability research can really help to ease users into a brave new world.

Getting their apps handed to them

A little over a year ago, the Nielsen Norman group released the results of a user-centered iPad app usability study. People listened; NNG is the usability consulting lovechild of gurus Jakob Nielsen and Don Norman. The hydra they uncovered revealed several particularly annoying commonalities between various app types (but, for the most part, excluding games): The Elusive Back Button, The Nonexistent Search Field, and Labyrinthine Navigation, to name a few.

Alt Desc

NNG was a little surprised when they uncovered this during their study. Credit: Luis García

Now, NNG has released a follow-up study to check in and see how usability has improved in 2010-2011 iPad apps. Sure enough, many of the apps they criticized in their initial had integrated the features they lacked. The New Yorker, Wired, Vanity Fair, and Time had all taken NNG’s indirect advice and implemented back buttons, search fields, and other absent-and-missed features. The report singled out USA Today for horrible section navigation, which the newspaper fixed only a few days later.

Clearly, app developers had gotten some useful information out of the research. But checking in on these spotlighted apps wasn’t the goal of the report; instead, it offers some valuable insights into developing and designing for the iPad. In this second round, 16 iPad users spent 90 minutes with a researcher and the device; each user was tasked with simple instructions (“buy movie tickets for tonight,” or “find yourself a birthday present.”), among many others. 26 apps were tested, alongside 6 parent websites. The users, it should be noted, were “mainstream use,” with about two-months’ experience with their devices.

And yes, even NNG acknowledges the small sample size: “Because [it’s] so small, our data needs to be taken with a grain of salt,” one researcher explains in the report. It’s useful to keep this in mind, but it also shouldn’t speak to the quality of data presented.

In other words, proceed with caution. Don’t cite this stuff as pure and bold science. Like any research-related pursuit, nothing is proven here. Instead, take the following account and advice as stemming from an observation of trends.

The iPad: Raw and uncovered

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The iPad, exposing its secrets. Credit: Pedro Eugenio Antunes

Here are a few of the resulting insights into what the iPad is (and what it isn’t), and how that can affect a designer or developer.

It’s not a phone

iPad development is often shaded under the “mobile” umbrella, but that’s not how they should be viewed because that’s not how people use them. iPads aren’t used like smart phones, and their owners typically see the devices more laptop-like than phone-like. The authors explicate with anecdote: how often do you see someone walking through a store, quickly checking a price for something on her iPad? How about driving while checking directions on an iPad?

Mobile apps are minimalistic, as they should be. They are pared and optimized so busy users can flick in and out while getting everything they need. iPad apps, however, needn’t be so hyper-optimized for quick-and-dirty use. That’s not how people are using their iPads.

In fact, users appear much less accepting of an iPad app that lacks parent-website features than they are of mobile phone apps. In the NNG report, Sears.com and the Sears iPad app stand before the firing squad, as user after user are highlighted failing to properly find and scrutinize a dryer. In these cases (as well as with Amazon’s Windowshopper app) users were more likely to just give up and launch Safari.

The community iPad

Users aren’t as attached to their iPads as they are their phones. The iPad is less personal, and as a result, the device is often shared by at least two users. In several cases during the NNG study, users would explain to researchers that, no, those aren’t my apps. They’re my husband’s/wife’s/child’s/roommate’s/soon-to-be-ex-mother-in-law’s. iPads tend to get around.

And what are these people using iPads for, primarily? Games. Lots and lots of games. Reading is a popular activity, as is checking (but not responding to) email and social network sites. For the most part, users aren’t doing too much word processing, photo editing, or spreadsheet generation on their iPads; they save that for their home computers/laptops, while the iPads function something like the computer’s peripheral inner child—a consumptive, playful child.

It’s this community aspect of the device that leads users away from potentially sensitive form-entry, such as shopping or divulging certain logins and passwords. They want the option to stay logged in to apps and sites, but don’t want it force-fed to them. If someone else will be using the iPad an hour after you, it’s nice to know they can’t access your stuff.

These observations are great, you might say, but what does any of it matter for me? Which leads me to the fun part of the study…

How not to botch your iPad app

No app is perfect, of course. But there are some particularly trying offenders out there. Without focusing on the offenders themselves, here are a few of the most aggravating issues users had while running trials with their iPads.

It’s alive! Splash screens back from the dead

Oh excuse me—launch pages is what they’re going by now. A rose by any other name still annoys the wits out of users. The researchers on the NNG study noted a few examples (the Washington Post app, Al Gore’s Our Choice app, and the Toys’R’us app). Users reacted negatively, especially when launch screens continue to plague the app after the first launch. Even the prettiest launch screen gets old after the fourth or fifth viewing.

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This is what you see, and hear, when you launch the Our Choice app. Credit: NNG

And launch screens with sound? Not acceptable. Not ever.*

(*Exceptions may apply if it’s a game or other sound-centric app—this study focused on more practical applications.)

Packing heat

iPad apps should have added value for the user, something that makes the app preferable in some cases to a parent website, if applicable. The NNG report praises Epicurious’s app for anticipating that some cooks might pull up a recipe and prop it before them in the kitchen. Because of this, the designers made sure the recipe could be viewed hands-free.

If there’s no need to have an app, think about simply making an iPad-friendly site, one with large buttons (to avoid the “fat finger” problem), targets with appropriate distance between them, and minimal required typing.

Design for liberal swipers

NNG found that users grew frustrated with the apps they were using if swiping was enabled but didn’t work all over the place. This was especially applicable in the magazine apps—users in the study liked to swipe to turn the page. But if that swiping mechanism only functioned properly in one portion of the screen, and a user missed that spot, he or she would become annoyed.

If your users are on a page that encourages the page-turning swipe, make sure to give the swipers some leeway.

Be popover-conservative

Popovers—the dropdown-type menus that Apple introduced across the iPad system (for instance, when you open the iPad mail client, the list of email address that pops down is a popover)—are easily and often abused. Some app developers like to shove and cram text into popover items, making a huge design mess for everyone involved—it invokes the “fat finger” problem, looks cluttered, and fails to communicate and properly organize content.

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NASA’s idea of an intuitive popover. With little scroll-ability and huge, unnecessary photos, NNG disagrees. Credit: NNG

Take a step back if you plan on integrating popovers. Is it wholly necessary? Is the content intuitively organized as items? Does the text look too small? These may seem like obvious questions, but enough apps were guilty of this crime to bear mentioning.

Pad those targets. Pad them real good.

This is the pinnacle of the fat-finger problem. Often times, targets are far too remote for users to reasonably touch with any precision or accuracy. This can lead to frustration and, in a worst case scenario, abandonment of an app or mobile website.

Both Microsoft (PDF) and Apple development libraries suggest that the ideal target size for touch screens is somewhere around 44 pixels squared, which works out to be about 1cm by 1cm. That way, users won’t have to focus too closely on an otherwise mundane, straightforward task.

Don’t boldly go where others have gone before

While the sample size of the NNG trial was admittedly small, there are still rather nice pieces of insight that emerged from the study. As the featured/criticized apps get wind of the study, draw in their products and fix them, then release them back into the app store, may the rest of us learn from their mistakes.

I’d love to hear how this kind of research affects your app development, if at all. Are there any particular issues you’ve come across while developing for tablets? Post your comments down below!


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