Patents take awhile…

Over three years ago, I was designing a interface for the Bosch Automotive group (as a consultant for Cynergy). Those interface's were rolled out to the public as part of ENCORE, an integrated diagnosis tablet powered by Android. Today I received the notification that the first patent has been granted (it was actually 10/6/2015). I have been eager for this day as this has been a long process and this is my first patent. I am listed with James Fish and Kevin Gray, both incredible partners when working on this project. As the process continues, I am hoping that the pending patents that I know about are approved and issued. 

This patent, number 9,153,078 is for "Graphical user interface capable of changing units of measurement. 

A graphical user interface is provided that can be used on a diagnostic tool. The graphical user interface allows a technician to operate various functions of the diagnostic tool including searching for additional information on the Internet, receiving weather information that is relevant to certain diagnostic tests, and displaying in certain formats the retrieved vehicle data and when certain vehicles were last scanned or diagnosed.

A graphical user interface is provided that can be used on a diagnostic tool. The graphical user interface allows a technician to operate various functions of the diagnostic tool including searching for additional information on the Internet, receiving weather information that is relevant to certain diagnostic tests, and displaying in certain formats the retrieved vehicle data and when certain vehicles were last scanned or diagnosed.


Pandora anti-patterns disrespect its users and ruin its experience. Shame on them…

If I was advertising on Pandora I would be very concerned that the design of their controls, the placement of those controls and the presentation of ads on their platform were designed to cost me (as an advertiser MUCH more than they should. Pandora is using anti-patterns to drive unintended interactions. Eventually this will backfire, but in the meantime we as customers, are forced to deal with very poor user experience.

iBooks Author – An amazing storytelling platform.

About a year ago I started experimenting with iBooks Author. It seemed like a simple way to create interactive experience. It was surprising to see how easy it was to create a compelling iBook with NO CODE. Its not to say you can’t or shouldn’t dive into some HTML and drop a custom widget into your iBook, you should, I just haven’t had time to get into that yet. I have been able to tell my story (portfolio) and a create growing number of Customer Stories or Customer Journeys via iBooks. I’ve learned a lot and wanted to write a series of articles layout it all out.

My First Try

For my first iBook I built out a portfolio in a timeline format for interviews. Using an iPad and iBooks, it was easy to show my best work in a compelling way. I loved that I was able to carry an interactive, hi-res version of my work with me and I think it helped in the interview process (I got hired).

When building my portfolio, I very limited time and had to rely on the default styles and templates to help me go from concept to complete. I had to make some concessions and ended up with a portrait only book. I used strong images, focused copy and at key points, to drive home the story iBooks’ interactive widgets like image carrousels, popup windows and video.

I still have the portfolio and still like how the iBook works and looks. Its says something that a year later I am still happy with the iBook.If you are a designer I think that this is one of the best ways to share your work.

You can export your .iBooks file to a service like Dropbox and share the link of your are not able to meet in person. The file can be opened on a person's iPad or Mac (Mavericks and up) in the iBooks App. For a bit of security, I carried mine with me rather than distribute a link. The is also an option to protect your file with a password.

Three awesome podcasts

RadioLab

I’ve been a fan of RadioLab forever and suggest that you listen. If you do, the only problem with RadioLab is there isn’t enough RadioLab. Recently the 60 Words episode was been hard to shake.
Check out RadioLab.

99% Invisible

Recently, I added 99% Invisible to my rotation. It’s fantastic! Episode 148: The Sizzle is wonderful.
Check out 99% Invisible

Freakonomics Radio podcast

Finally I have to recommend the Freakonomics Radio podcast. With constant quality content I’m a fan. The weeks episode absolutely nailed it. Go listen to “That’s a Great Question!” now. 

A last though on how I listen to podcasts now. I was using Apple’s podcasts app which is ok. Over Christmas I grabbed Overcast. It’s a major upgrade in listening experience. Try it, it’s free! Also, I purchased the in-app upgrade for the premium features. Totally worth it. 

If you have suggestions for other great podcasts let me know. I’m @davidrmoulton on Twitter.

Sketching with Paper and Pencil by 53

Have you tried Paper by 53? With the Pencil stylus? You should… its great for fast, fluid capture of ideas or longer experiments in creativity.

Over the last six months I have used the app (Paper) and stylus (Pencil) to doodle ideas, takes notes (awful for this in my opinion) and to do serious work at Salesforce.

Download Paper | Buy Pencil

Out of the office

The latest win with Paper and Pencil was for a major media company. I was working with a team and the director was struggling with how to tell a important, yet seemingly complex part of the story. I was out of the office and just had my iPad and Pencil with me, so I fired up Paper and about 30 minutes had a couple solid ideas. I sent them out to the team for review and then, after settling on the strongest idea one of our digital designers converted it into a highly polished representation for the presentation.

Paper makes it easy to share your ideas and thoughts, and now with Mix, they have added the ability to download starts to ideas that have really translated into stronger work. Much of the story telling we do at Marketing Cloud is set against the backdrop of a phone (iPhone incase you are curious). When I am sketching, I will often lop a rectangle shape onto the screen, add a circle near the bottom and call it a phone. Many times I have had to explain “this is an iPhone”. Now with Mix, I have an iPhone as a starter screen… in fact I have two options, one with a single device and another with two phones. This is incredibly helpful for me as I am often explaining customer interactions and the second screen is key to the concept.

I plan to keep sketching, storyboarding and sharing via Paper and Pencil and I am looking forward to their next updates.

One last thought… if you are looking for an amazing site and artist that really push what you can do with Paper and Pencil check out Made Mistakes‘s review of Paper and Pencil and check out Michael Rose’s work. The Paper Faces series is stunning.

Monument Valley

I’ve been enthralled with Monument Valleyfor the last day or so, staying up late to finish it. This game is so much fun. Downloadit now for Android or iOS.

A quick comment on the sound design, its wonderful. The thought in the soundscapes is such a highlight. If sound interests you, check out my post on podcasts or go directly to 99% Invisible Episode 148.

Update:

The Huffington Post article “Huh” is an interesting back-story on development cost and revenue.

Update 2:

Just downloaded the additional levels… so far they are great too.

One space. That is it.

Over the last few years I have had a repeating conversation with people about how many spaces to put after a period. It surprising to me how many times I have had to argue this correction, but I know I am right I’m willing to point this out.

So that I might go on record on this one, I am pointing to two examples to prove that I am not the only person in the world that has considered this…

First, grab your iPhone or iPad, open the email program, type a sentence and then tap the space bar twice. Notice what happens? It added a period and deleted the extra space. If you don’t have an iOS device, I just tested this on a Samsung Note 2 in the email app and it works – so I think that Android (at least on this Samsung gets it). Think about what this means. Somewhere, a team that developed a keyboard realized they could hack peoples behavior (almost everyone I have talked to pointed to their high school typing class as where they learned the two space rule) and correct it with software. If two spaces were right your iPhone would leave the spaces in… it doesn’t

The next is the amazing article on Slate. The bolding is mine. Take the next three and a half  minutes to read this great piece… and then save yourself the trouble of tapping Space Space for the rest of your life.

“Every major style guide—including the Modern Language Association Style Manual and the Chicago Manual of Style—prescribes a single space after a period. (The Publications Manual of the American Psychological Association, used widely in the social sciences, allows for two spaces in draft manuscripts but recommends one space in published work.) Most ordinary people would know the one-space rule, too, if it weren’t for a quirk of history. In the middle of the last century, a now-outmoded technology—the manual typewriter—invaded the American workplace. To accommodate that machine’s shortcomings, everyone began to type wrong. And even though we no longer use typewriters, we all still type like we do. (Also see the persistence of the dreaded Caps Lock key.)

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2011/01/space_invaders.html

Now if I could get P. F. Chang’s to take the damn pull handles off the inside of their doors (you have to push to leave) and the folks that make microwaves to get rid of the panel of useless buttons I would feel that I made a good impact this year.

Do I have to give you my email to try your cheese sample?

This would be an insane conversation in the real world… and yet online, we often are asked to give up lots of information about ourselves in exchange for a trial. It sounds weird when you take online norms into the real world.

The social rules in the real world are often ignored in the virtual world. Try downloading a trial of software. This often requires you share an email address or more. Want to use that great new app… I am afraid you have to log-in, likely through Facebook.

Recently, I wanted to try some popular virtualization software. Finding a link to download the demo was a challenge but I found it. Then I ran into the question gauntlet.  I was hit with a variety questions and then was sent an email with a link where I could download the trial. The trial only last for a couple days… during which I was repeatedly emailed to buy. The emails pressured me as my trial ran out, ultimately I flagged their email as spam and avoided the companies offering.

Compare and Contrast 

What struck me about this experience was how different it was than what I compare it to in the real world. I love visiting our local bulk warehouse club when the samples are being given out. I love to eat and I’m an easy mark if your sample has bacon or cheese. I will try and I will likely buy.

Can you imagine walking up to the cheese sample stand and as you reached in to grab a sample, you were stopped and told you had to tell the sample lady your email. Maybe your name. If she was really feeling it, your job title and your annual income.

Whoa! No way I am telling you that for cheese. 

Of course this doesn’t happen. You grab some cheese and wonder on your way. Then as you round the corner to the bakery area the cheese sample lady shows up again and gets in your face about buying the cheese that you sampled.

Wow, this is creepy! 

Because you are polite, you say you are thinking about it but you need to grab some dinner rolls… so could you move? A couple minutes later she is back, telling you how great the cheese is compared to all other cheese. And then, she seems to notice you are heading toward the checkout and offers to put the cheese in your shopping cart.

Again, no way this happens in the real world, but if it did, what would you do? I’d look around for the hidden camera and wonder what show I was on.

However, this tactic is the norm in our virtual worlds, and frankly, the virtual world could learn a lot from the cheese sample lady.

My question is “Why is there a disconnect between how we treat people (and expect to be treated) in the digital world compared to the real world?” Once we understand why this schism exist, we, as UX professionals, developers, marketers and owners of digital experiences can work to change how people experience and ultimately perceive the things we build and offer to the world.

Examples

Microsoft being creepy.

Recently I was asked  to state “Your point of view.” After thinking about this I came to the conclusion that “Virtual interactions are an increasingly large part of our human experience, yet the rules and thinking that govern these experience is often not human centric. It’s time to challenging these “norms” and sync our real and virtual experiences.”