Continuing my journey into UX

It’s been a while I have updated my blog. I am currently working on multiple projects and what is worth noting is the interest in UX these days. here is a recent idea that I thought of and really wanted to share. It is a case study I worked on over a duration of 3 days. It focuses on the problems people face when it comes to food. Have a good read. It is also now featured on UX Collective. Its a great blog, please go check out other UX writers’ work too!

My UX solution for a better food experience in Singapore

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Line up for Cabs!

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In their effort to combat Uber in Japan, the dominating messaging platform Line is coming out with a new service. Their launch of a taxi service within their primary app is evidence that the company is seeking to beef up offerings. The service starts in Tokyo, collaborating with Nihon Kotsu to provide the supply of taxis while Line continues to focus their part on handling the payment platform. Facing direct competition from Uber, it becomes imperative that such initiatives be proposed early to secure market shares. Afterall, Japan needed an app that not only offers better network coverage, but also quicker cabs.

COBI smart bike

It’s amazing how so many interesting ideas are floating in KickStarter now. Some are really very innovative and seeks to improve our daily routines. Take “COBI” for example, its probably the only smart bike around that allows you to connect with your gadget to configure the bike. It currently has 100 intelligent features to play with. This bike gives us great automation especially when manoeuvring through difficult situations. Check out the video to see how the bike can work closely with the mobile phone for example. See the project here.

Google Photo Sphere

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While I have yet tried Google’s latest app release for iOS, i am pretty sure the Google Photo Sphere app is another thrilling innovation. And im right. It allows us to take really wide panoramic view and three-dimensional views through our phone. Frankly, I love how Google’s UI always have that snazzy minimalistic design packed with truck loads of exciting features. Not only does the camera now comes with the positioning tool, a dot that allows you to target frames, it’s objective is to complete the experience for generating a fantastic image. And of course, it allows you to post your picture onto Google Maps! Check out the Photo Sphere app.

Notegraphy

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Interestingly, good creative work can be automated and still look compelling. While most of us adore the brilliant works of designers who craft beautiful visuals out of words, many do not know the process of doing so. Typography as this process is called, is one that requires sharp eyes, a creative layout experience and a nice balance in space. Try imaging words as pictures for a start. Not making it too frivolous, one can experiment working with wider white spaces and neater fonts. Be cautious on the use of kerning and lading and achieve great balance between positive and negative space. Now, with Notegraphy, you can forego these tips and immediate craft brilliant typography! Available on mobile and web, this amazing app allows users to create very complex and visually compelling typography. Simply enter the text and select from the templates, a style that suit your liking and preview it! Extremely easy to use and great implementation interface. And it is very much connected to social media. By adding titles, tags and sharing functions, it becomes well integrated with social media. Check it out!

‘Paper’

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Before there were social media, people scuffle to pen down messages, attempting to capture moments of details on paper and then evolved towards sending text messages and photo images through smartphones. Despite taking social media for granted now, these experiences still impinged upon us as if it happened yesterday. So, when you combine that nostalgia with current social media technology, the formula is suffice to deliver an app so simple, so original yet functional. The new mobile app by Facebook allows us to browse content on Facebook with breeze, filtering the alphabet soup of buttons and controls. Known as Paper, this app will be available for download starting February 3, 2014. Interestingly, this Facebook reader app has such a fluid yet simple layout that lets you share and browse content effortlessly. We could see how the app functions from the video below. The video is almost so placid, so direct, almost like an integration to our daily lives. A strong user interface backed by really solid user experience design, Paper might just set the benchmark for a new category of user oriented app design.

 

 

Japan within

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Very little has been shared about creative news in Japan. While Japan still remains a very advanced society with great influences and demands for newer innovations, a lot of their inventions have been kept within the doors of their thriving culture. The Japanese society remains adamant when it comes to sharing their inventions to the world. It is evident from how they would create amazing games but only to serve domestic markets or create interesting apps that would most likely contain within Japan itself. I guess to a certain extent, this arouses much of our curiosity over stuffs that got out of Japan. But it is the things that are kept within those walls that are worth seeking for. This year, there have been lots of amazing mobile apps from Japan. I refer to a post from thebridge.jp, where they mentioned about the app Nohana.

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What the app does is it allows smartphone users to create small interesting photobooks from the pictures they took. These little photobooks will be be delivered by mail. As a fair deal, they are allowing users to order up to one free photobook a month with perhaps 90 yen for domestic shipping. Of course, with additional photobooks, the cost would just add up as accordingly. The good thing about the app is that it basically allows you to kind of “print” from your images. See, you can actually close up the chasm between the users and their families through technology. With the use of the photobook you can take a picture of your son and send it your hubby who might not be able to make it back for the festive holiday. Or one could also use the service to send a copy of the family events taken on christmas to their parents residing overseas. As much as we have seen great initiatives like this from Nohana, very little of these have seeped through the walls into our society. Lately, Nohana is reported to have released another app, Nengajo, which aims to create a New Year’s card. This again, is the company’s way of drawing revenues through the service which requires purchases for their new year cards. The company seem to be adept at leveraging on festive seasons and such festive apps are very popular amongst the Japanese community. Stay updated with more of Japan’s mobile technology trends as they seem to have a knack for grooming startups that pushes boundaries of emerging technologies.

Birds of a feather flock together

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Birds of a feather flock together. Every now and then you are bound to meet some one that would fascinate you, bring out a really good conversation or doing the thing you do most. That said, we now have a social app that is predominantly programmed to link you up with people who share the same interest as you or I would say, someone speaking your lingo. LikeMind, as the name implies, does this purpose of linking people who are interested in the topics shared and aims to pull the crowds together. Unlike most other social apps, they do engage but not targeted solely at building interest groups. LikeMind is going to be available by this week and with an aim to bond the people near you by giving them the opportunity to do so. Great idea isn’t it?

Let’s just assume the app works pretty much like an ad posting site. You could post a “flyer” on your on board and this virtual board serves as a means for people to locate you. Interestingly, on each flyer there would be six tabs where people could tear it off and use it as a means to contact you. Just like what you would experience in real life, you get to do so here virtually. This allows people to contact you and not flood you with overwhelming response. I pretty much love the idea of simulating real life experience on the virtual space. The great thing about these tabs is that it allows people to contact you and strike a conversation. The flyers are probably the main idea for interaction for the app but it does boost it’s capability to strike meaningful conversations rather than apps which mainly allows you to just browse the pictures or profiles of people you dont know. Which is kind of like stalking or weird?

Some of the other issues I believe for a new startup app is that it has a generally small groups of people populating the app database. While it is still in it’s infancy, the app’s potential for linking people with similar interests is one powerful aspect of online social interaction that is noteworthy. On top of that, LikeMind offers a set of full functionality that grants you features like flyer targeting, pinboard filtering and even image sharing. These could all be unlock with LikeMind points. However, it would cost you $3 to open up some of these premium offerings. While it isn’t a lot of money, my only concern is charging for premium services during an app’s infant stage but rather, aim to stabilize and perfect the system. And through updates later on, implement premium services accompanied by monetary charges.

I do hope to see more and more people trying this app and learn the development and progress for the app’s product cycle. Ideally, the app would change the way we make friends and understand each other through it’s more targeted online social interaction platform.

The Making of our part

I remembered the time when I had an opportunity to work with a client who is running a vegan business. He is one with a huge love for nature and a great vision to realize the need to keep sustainability for mother earth. There are tons of opportunities for us to do our part in helping to shape mother nature. Today, sportswear company Nike is taking up this role by means of a mobile app, Making. It is a free app which provides details of the sustainability for all the clothing materials relevant for your making. Nike has placed sustainable design as one of their top priority and has since developed a very extensive databse of materials over the course of eight years.

I personally love the app interface and it’s simplistic design. There is a nice infographic touch to the way the information is communicated. Very interactive and comes with rather smooth navigation. Check it out.

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