Weekly inspirations: January 23rd, 2015

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:   Ringly Has Raised $5.1 Million To Make Cocktail Rings That Light Up When You Get A Notification Ringly uses Bluetooth to connect to smartphones and discreetly notify the wearer when she gets a call or text. The ring also integrates with a growing number of apps, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Uber, Tinder, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. The idea is to incorporate tech into women’s everyday accessories so that they can enjoy the moment without missing something important — even when they’re not wearing pockets or holding a bag. Read the article and see more details here.   TETHR iOS Design Kit I am not usually a huge fan of design prototyping kits as I think they lead to a lot of cookie cutter looking apps. TETHR is a new one that is better than the usual average kit with...

Weekly inspirations: January 16th, 2015

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:   How Your Favorite Apps Will Look On The Apple Watch The hotly anticipated Apple Watch is expected to go on sale this year. Whether it successfully creates a mass market for wearable devices, as the iPhone did for smartphones, remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: Companies will rush to capitalize on it. Digital agency Huge did an exercise to look at how some of the most popular apps would translate to Apple Watch. Some of the designs are really interesting and some have some issues that wouldn’t work on the device but they are all interesting. Read the article and see the work here.   The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck I completely agree with the authors of this article who says “In my life, I have given a fuck about many people and many things. I have also not given a fuck...

Why did Google Glass go SO wrong?!?

Yesterday came the news that Google was going finally shut down the long-suffering Google Glass Explorer program. They are saying that they are going to spin-off Google (X) into its own division which will report to ex-Apple designer and Nest founder Tony Fadell. I hopefully I can offer a bit of a different perspective on Glass than a lot of a journalist who played with it for one afternoon and then rendered their verdict.  I have the rare distinction of being selected as one of the first Explorers, worked with the Google (X) team in Mountain View and was one of the less than 100 designers who actually saw an app they designed launch on the device. Glass has been under siege since shortly after they started the Explorer program so why did it all go so badly?   You need to launch something quickly and with the right people It made sense that Google launched Glass to a select group...

What would the Mac Classic look like if it launched today?

The designed at  CURVED/labs took up the challenge to figure out what a 30th anniversary version of the iconic. Mac Classic might look like. The based their design on the current components of a Macbook Air with an 11-inch screen. However, they transformed it into a touchscreen so you can choose whether to control it via mouse and keyboard or type directly on the 11.6 inch touchscreen. There are also some nice touches like honoring the detail that Steve Jobs wanted the Macintosh to have a face so at the spot located under the screen, where the drive for 3.5-inch disk sat, you will now find a slot for SD cards, the FaceTime camera, speakers and a microphone. All of this makes for one impressive look computer that is a fantastic tribute to the past while reflecting the current state of...

Weekly inspirations: January 9th, 2015

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:   Ferran Adrià Feeds the Hungry Mind Ferran Adria has long been one of my biggest creative inspirations for his work in advancing gastronomy and creativity. This New York Times article is a great look at since Ferran closed his landmark restaurant elBulli how he has been evolving as a creative person and what types of things he is now producing. He is someone I would recommend anyone creative keep an eye one because his thinking and creativity has changed the world once and I think he is planning on doing it a few more times before he done. Read the article here.   Billboard in Oslo Connects With NYC Cab For Virtual Tours To promote their new non-stop service From Oslo to New York, Norwegian Airlines is giving Oslo shoppers a peek into the big apple by way of a large interactive screen in one of...

Bezel – See your app on Apple Watch without actually having one

If you have ever done any development in Xcode then you know that seeing your work in a simulator window is less than inspiring, It also doesn’t help that the simulator doesn’t give you the context of the physical device your app will be running on so you can make design decisions about font sizing, button spacing and much more. This is an even bigger problem when, like in the case of Apple Watch, the device isn’t available so you can’t even port your code onto ta device to get the answers you need. My rock star lead iOS developer recently came across Bezel which is a free developer tool you can add to the iOS Simulator. It shows a window that looks like an Apple Watch and projects the contents of the Simulator’s watch window into it so that you can see what your app will look like in the context of a device frame surrounding it with the amount of extra black...

A new StephenGates.com for a new year

  Like most creative people, I don’t do well with having too much free time. So I spent my holidays relaxing, seeing friends and spending about 50 hours totally re-designing and re-building my portfolio site. So today I am happy to say that the 6th incarnation of StephenGates.com is now live. There was nothing wrong with my old site per se but I just felt that the style was a little too boring, the content was a little too light and there just wasn’t much that got me excited about it any more. So with this new version I re-worked, re-desgn and re-wrote every page of the site so it has a lot more content, more designs and more projects that give you not only a better look at the designs but all the thinking that went into making them which I often find more interesting the final designs. Like all my work it is still very much a work in progress as there are a lot detail...

Weekly inspirations: January 2nd, 2015

With the holidays it has been a pretty slow week for good article but I would 3 worth sharing so here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:   smartphone ≠ smart home I came across an interesting new controller called Flow that was designed to be a companion for creatives when they use Adobe Creative Cloud and other tools. I have seen drives like it before but this one caught my eye after reading their article which outlines why they made the device and why they think devices like this will be critical to creatives and even to home owners in the future. Read the article here or get your own Flow on here.   Write on Your Food With This Spice Pen My holiday exploration of connected and innovative devices continues with the CinniBird.  It is a Kickstarter-funded kitchen gadget that lets you literally write on your food—not just lattes but...

Weekly inspirations: December 26th, 2014

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:   Radical advice for tech companies: Put the designer in charge I thought this was an interesting article that makes the argument that for many companies the user experience of any product needs to be the most important thing so in that case why aren’t the designers in charge of their products? I don’t think many companies will buy into this think, which is a shame, but it is an good article as to why it is a good idea. Read the article here.   Top 15 Digital Marketing Predictions  I very, very rarely think that articles that make predictions about trends for the coming year have any value.  Most of time they are written to get attention or are spotting trends that I think are so big and so obvious anyone in the field should be able to see them coming.  This year I did find one article...

UXPin – A new way to make animated prototypes

I am constantly frustrated by trying to find new and efficient ways of creating interactive prototypes to test my digital design systems. Right now I use a whole host of different apps, applications and technique to patchwork together a system that will let me test my ideas.  I recently came across UXPin which looks to be a promising new entry to the interactive prototyping problem. You can export a Photoshop file into a UXPin format that you can drag and drop into their site. It should like something I have seen in other apps but in this case nothing is flattened and all the layers are preserved. Once you have your design in UXPin you can easily make it into an interactive prototype through a nice, clean workflow.  But the other things I love are that through the site you can do chat, do realtime collaboration and even have the sit email you when someone on the team makes changes to...