Category Archives: Innovation

Web Apps Raise The Ceiling Above HTML5 As Famo.us Recreates Facebook’s Paper

UX design has been getting pretty slick in the world of iOS. Facebook released Paper (subtitled “Stories from Facebook”), perhaps the best newsfeed app I have seen. This native iOS app is built using a toolkit called Origami that the Facebook design team has developed on top of Apple’s Quartz Composer for OSX and iOS. But even with the usability improvements introduced by Origami, Quartz Composer is still only a prototyping tool for iOS. You still need to know to write native iOS code (in this case UIKit) to implement the actual app.

Christain Billings of Tapity calls Quartz Composer the “key to iOS 7 design,” since it enables designers to prototype sophisticated interactions using iOS 7’s built-in physics engine. And indeed a quick look at the gallery of beautiful UX samples at Capptivate reveals how look and feel have exploded in the flatlands of iOS 7.

Surely the high-performance animations in this new crop of apps with their multiple parallax effects and highly-rendered transitions are just the kind of thing you can only make as native app and preferably an iOS app, right?

Actually… not. Wednesday night the team at the JavaScript  app platform Famo.us gave a demo where they showed how they rebuilt an exact replica of Paper using only web technologies (in other words HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript.) And the demo was accomplished by a single team member, Hongxu Liu, in his first week on the job! (see video below) Everything from the swiping scrollview to the signature “unfolding” of story links and a host of other effects were rendered with perfect fidelity to their native iOS counterparts.

via Forbes.

Google announces Project Tango, a smartphone that can map the world around it

Google has built a prototype Android smartphone that can learn and map the world around it. The device comes from a new initiative called Project Tango, and it’s ready to get the phone into developers’ hands to see what the technology is capable of. Google says that the phone will learn the dimension of rooms and spaces just by being moved around inside of them — walking around your bedroom, for example, would help the phone learn the shape of your home. The hope is that by creating a robust map of the world, Google’s phone could eventually give precise directions to any given point that needs to be reached.

via The Verge.

Dear Car Makers: Please Hire People Like This

The interfaces in modern cars are, with rare exception, awful.

It’s almost absurd, really. The car is one of the most expensive things that people buy for themselves. It’s massive. It’s got a power supply that lasts for days… and yet, it’s one of the least “smart” devices in our lives. A three-year old tablet headed for the recycling bin puts the stock interface in most cars to shame.

The operating systems are slow, and often bug-riddled. If there’s a touchscreen, it’s almost certainly a crappy, low-res screen using yesteryear’s touch technology.

Worst of all, they’re dangerous. Over the last few years, touchscreens have become fairly standard in many new, mid-range lines. Which is great! The problem? Manufacturers didn’t really go about it right. Rather than seizing the opportunity to design something entirely new around touch, they just took all of the physical, oh-so-pressable buttons they once splayed across the dash and crammed them onto a touchscreen. Haptics? Sensible, spatial design? Whatever, we’ve got a touchscreen! Shiny!

via TechCrunch.