My daily readings 10/20/2011

  • tags: design

  • tags: education e-learning

  • tags: customer service

  • tags: Typeface fonts design

  • tags: Typeface fonts design

  • tags: Design

  • tags: design designer

    • But he’s not just a skilled designer. Matias can talk about his designs in a way that people understand. Not only understand, but get excited about. He’s effusive, brilliant, and very focused.
    • “Coming in and being put in charge of the design and UX for this enormously successful platform that now has years of legacy behind it. It’s completely unlike getting behind the steering wheel of a zippy, agile little car. It’s more like driving an aircraft carrier.” He gestures as if he’s pushing a button, “Okay guys, turning left! Are we turning left yet?” His point is that it’s a big machine.
    • “We’re designing something bigger. We’re designing a showcase product for people that says ‘okay, this is what you could build,’ but then we’re also designing the Lego system that people build those products out of, and we have to do both of those at the same time. And we can’t really cheat and cut any corners and do anything with our product that couldn’t build out of this system.”
    • Matias explains further, “Honeycomb was like: we need to get tablet support out there. We need to build not just the product, but even more than the product, the building blocks so that people stop doing silly things like taking a phone UI and stretching it out to a 10-inch tablet.” It’s obvious that products like the original Galaxy Tab, with a bastardized version of Android for phones, annoyed him.


      “So that was the mission, and it was a time-boxed mission. Any corner we could cut to get that thing out the door, we had to.”


    • “I want to set expectations. Android’s growth, because it’s got this legacy, has to be an evolutionary growth.” He’s asking me to lower my expectations — something he repeats throughout our interview. “What I’m going to show you here is something I’m really proud of. But the device I’m going to be giving to everybody this Christmas, the Android phone I’m actually feeling good about people carrying — my Android phone — it’s not the end of the journey.” His Android phone. Noted.
    • “The question we were asking was not ‘what’s the milestone for the next release,’ but ‘what’s the vision for how we want to evolve the platform,’ and this is the pithy question we asked. Aspirational. Challenging.”
    • “Android is the new machine. It represents that new type of potential for computer / human interaction. Mobile is exciting because it breaks us out of this stodgy stuff that we’ve been looking at for two decades,” he’s worked up, “Two decades of windows, and cursors, and little folder icons!”
    • “I don’t think anybody ever asked about the soul,” he answers in a very matter-of-fact way, “This was my question, it was the question I challenged the team with.”


      “I think people had very clear and concrete visions about Android and its strategy, but from a holistic design perspective — not just the look and feel — what does it mean in your life? Why are we doing the things that we’re trying to do. That was the question I wanted to ask.”

    • “A lot of what we found confirmed what I thought for years. At Danger, we had this idea that smartphones were not for a certain kind of person. They were for everyone. Smartphones were the way phones were supposed to be.”


      “What we heard from everyone we talked to in the study was that they love these things [smartphones], they are a part of their lives. They’re incredibly passionate about them. They can’t live without them. That was awesome. But we also heard a lot of things we didn’t like to hear.”

    • “With Android, people were not responding emotionally, they weren’t forming emotional relationships with the product. They needed it, but they didn’t necessarily love it.”
    • Matias says that the studies showed that users felt empowered by their devices, but often found Android phones overly complex. That they needed to invest more time in learning the phones, more time in becoming an expert. The phones also made users feel more aware of their limitations — they knew there was more they could do with the device, but couldn’t figure out how to unlock that power.
    • “We want to create wonder. We wanted to simplify people’s lives. Right now, there’s a common trap that can happen when you load up too much power into a piece of software that’s not that intelligent. Like the junior assistant that you hire, who instead of helping you by taking work of your plate, makes more work for you. We wanted that really senior assistant that really knows how to help.”
    • The company has created a new typeface for Ice Cream Sandwich dubbed Roboto, designed in-house at Google, something the company has never done before. It’s clean and modern, but not overly futuristic — not a science fiction font. Matias says that it’s been designed for “high resolution mobile displays” as “a complete typeface, in a great many more varieties than have existed for Android before.” He adds “It’s a modern typeface, it’s trying to take a point of view and is not ashamed to do so.”
    • But the device is only half the story. The interface of the phone is completely new. It looks a lot like Honeycomb, but also shares much in common with Google’s new aesthetic that it’s been pushing for its web products. It’s clean and modern, and the company has removed the overly masculine, Tron-like feel to the OS.
    • He’s on a roll now. Clearly Matias has spent a lot of time thinking about what he doesn’t like. “If you look back at the web, people did the same thing. All these cartoony things hanging off a page. If you tried that today, people would be laughing, unless you were doing it in a kitsch, poking-fun-at-yourself, retro art way.”


      But what about Microsoft and their “authentically digital” design? “The problem with going too starkly systematic, forcing everything into this completely constrained, modernist palette, for both of them, you’re not leaving any room for the content to express itself.”


      “The incredible diversity of applications and content providers… that’s the reason people have these machines. Not for the five bundled apps and the beauty of the OS — they have them for the hundreds or thousands of games, or books, or movies.”

    • “Instead, I offer the web. Here there’s beautiful examples of very customized, very different feeling websites.” Matias flips through slides in his deck, a variety of websites, some news-focused, others which are services or shopping sites. “These look completely unlike each other, but people understand how to use them because the right things are standard conventions, and other things are flexible.”
    • “Gestures are much more fun than hitting buttons. Touching and moving things; way better than buttons,” Matias says while moving around the device. Even the calendar app didn’t escape the touch treatment; you’re now able to pinch-to-zoom on your schedule to expand or contract the view, which seems incredibly helpful.
    • Applications like Gmail have been completely redesigned. Gone are hidden menus — they’re now replaced by contextual menus which change with your selections, similar to Honeycomb. But on the phone things feel more complete, easier to reach, they make more sense. “We’ve taken all the hidden stuff away,” Matias says. You can swipe left to right to move backwards and forwards through your messages. There’s a new inbox selection chip at the top of the screen, but still no unified Gmail inbox. “It’s harder than you think,” he tells me.
    • “I came here because they’re winning, but also because I could not stand the thought of there being another decade of being trapped in one paradigm, of being trapped in the past just because somebody manages to grab maximum marketshare, and then that’s the thing everybody uses with incremental evolution.”


      “I thought ‘okay you know what, I’ve tried to win so many times before,’ and it’s been shown that it doesn’t matter how great a product you have and how revolutionary the product is… distribution and marketshare are the things that matter.” Matias smiles, “Now I’m going the other way around.”

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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