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After the fall of Blackberry, RIM still doesn't get it

While we haven’t read the book yet, we have read several of the extended excerpts from LOSING THE SIGNAL: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry. Inevitably, much of the focus is on how the iPhone contributed to upending RIM’s business. It’s another “story of disruption”, whereby a confluence of consumer trends is led by a new product that obliterates the once dominant market leader. The narrative brought to mind the infamous...

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Intelligent cards are competing to make your wallet thinner

A few blog posts back we wrote about the convenience Apple Pay purportedly brings to the merchant payment experience. In a nutshell, while we think it’s a nice step toward improving security, it’s a tiny baby step towards improving the overall checkout experience. It just doesn’t provide much that isn’t already available now. Which is kind of disappointing, because that’s what Apple is supposed to be great at doing: monumentally improving on an existing product experience. But there’s another trend that’s evolving that also promises to...

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Has Apple Lost Some of its Design Mojo?

Several weeks ago we wrote about the Apple Watch, and our confuzzlement over how Apple can be successful selling the high-end versions in a consumer category known for rapid obsolescence. While in many respects the watch is indeed jewelry (it would be hard to call it anything else, given its likely $4K+ price tag), its appeal will still draw largely from its utility and its integration with the iPhone. Unlike a pricey handmade automatic Swiss timepiece that has an heirloom-quality patina, in ten years the Apple Watch will likely look rather like the original iPhone does now: chunky, clunky, and squarely locked in an inescapable moment in the history of technological innovation. Interesting? Yeah, in the way a Mac II is interesting. Still retaining its...

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Design Prototyping Tools: Our Highly Subjective Overview

OK, so here’s a dorky admission that may give an indication of how long we’ve been designing interactive products: we love HyperCard. Some of you…um, “seasoned” enough to remember, might recall HyperCard as one of the most awe inspiring apps ever created for MacOS. It gave “mere mortals” the power to build relatively complex interactions using an extensible authoring language and built-in graphics tools. Back then, we built HyperCard apps to build interfaces for everything from controlling 50-slot videodisc jukeboxes, to museum way finding systems, to environmental control hubs that could wirelessly open blinds or turn up the thermostat in conference rooms. Oh, and did I mention it didn’t support color? Yeah, that kind of sucked. But it left the door open for...

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Apple Pay: Remind Us Why This is Better Again?

When Apple rolled out Apple Pay several months ago, it was hailed by many as the long-awaited Apple-ization of transaction processing. While as of this writing we still don’t have iPhone 6s, we were jealous when we saw the seamless integration of Touch ID authentication. Finally, it really is about “touch…and go!”. They’ve taken something we all do regularly — purchasing products with a credit card — and made it simpler and easier. Apple has done it again. Or have they?

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Taking a Hard Line on Personas

We came across an article in UX Magazine the other day that fired up some interesting discussion on the subject of personas. When we talk to clients, we generally define a persona this way (and it’s usually included on the first page preceding a persona deliverable): “A model of goals, attitudes, and behaviors distilled from observing real behavior. Typically a persona is presented as a narrative description of a single “person” who represents a customer segment.” We also include this brief definition of why it’s useful: “Personas help to guide design decisions, focus development efforts on what users need, and build consensus on how experiential and feature requirements.” Pretty simple, right? Despite the simplicity, clients frequently want to...

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UI Minimalism: The Trend Continues

Now that we’re comfortable with iOS 8, we’ve almost forgotten the uproar that ensued on the introduction of iOS 7. The stark minimalism and flatness of the UI freaked a lot of people out, us included. “What happened to all the affordances?!” “How are people going to know that ‘Shuffle’ is actually a button, not just a word floating untethered in the middle of that sea of white?!” Well, it turns out much of our initial freakoutedness was kind of unfounded. When I asked some of my elderly relatives “how they were getting along” with the OS, they...

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