Unique interface design
You know you work with an amazing group of people when you are always just one email from having your mind blown and today it happened thanks to Katya Nick. Responsive design has been the buzz with digital designers for the better part of the past year as we are now challenged with how to design experiences that can seamlessly move between devices. This conversation normally been limited to creating collapsing grid systems and ways of handling images across these grids. But today I saw something mind blowingly cool from Marko Dugonjić - responsive typography. In this demo he has created responsive typography that using facial recognition to dynamically change the size of typography based on your distance from the screen. This means that the closer you are to the screen the small the type gets and father away the larger it gets. Like all great ideas it is really simple but really effective. The implications for how this can be used to dynamically change an experience as it moves from desktop to mobile are really exciting. Check out the demo for yourself here.
Read more of: Mind-blowing responsive typography using facial recognition »
For years retailers have been trying to figure out the right formula for integrating digital experiences and shopping into their store windows. The more shopping focused windows have been from brands like Ralph Lauren who has tried using QR codes to let you buy the items in the window or use an iPhone app to customize a Ralph Lauren Rugby shirt. Interactive store windows have used all different technologies to let shoppers interact with them like the Top Chef slot machines that were texting activated. The problem was that all of these solutions looked to another piece of technology like a smartphone to make them work. I just saw an interesting new solution to create an interactive store window at the Cartier flagship store in New York City where shoppers can open and close jewelry boxes with just a wave of their hand.
You can watch the video above which shows the entire creation process and can see the windows in action. There are motors are hidden underneath the table, along with a Mac Mini that control the movement of the boxes. I really like this approach because it let’s anyone control and interact with the windows without an additional piece of technology like a smartphone. If you are in NYC and want to brave the hoards of tourists swing by the Cartier flagship store at 52nd and 5th and check them out.
Read more of: Cartier interactive holiday windows »
I just saw this video for The Leap which is being described as a “revolutionary piece of hardware no larger than your iPod that’s two hundred times more accurate than any product currently on the market.” You can see from the video that The Leap brings natural user interface and gesture control to your laptop. I would love to get my hands on one to see if it really works as well and as easily as it seems to in the video. They are accepting a limited number of pre-orders for The Leap which will be priced at $70 so point your browsers here to get on the pre-order list now.
Read more of: The Leap: gesture control for your computer »
I can count on one hand the number of projects where I have been just as excited at the beginning of the project as I have been at the end of the project. I think it’s a natural trend as you take an idea from the wide open possibilities of concepting to the realities and compromises that need to happen when you make that idea a reality. The new SPG iPhone and its state-aware interface that we launched last week is one of those rare ideas that I am still completely in love with.
When we started building the new app we had to make some fundamental upgrades like integrating key features into the app instead of directing to an outside mobile browser to create a faster, more user-friendly experience. We also needed to add options like having the ability to find hotels by airport code or map and create a streamlined home screen with “tiles” that are easily tapped or swiped to access frequent requests such as account information, upcoming stays, customer support and special offers.
The real breakthrough came when we decided that we were tired of creating dumb apps for smart phones. For most apps you need to tell them everything before they are useful and even then you need to do too much work to curate all the information you are presented with to get to what is useful to you. So the SPG app is the first in the travel industry–and one of the first apps ever–to utilize state-aware design. That means that the app unites all nine of our distinct lifestyle brands and its 1,100 hotels into a dynamic interface that adjusts the app’s look, feel and content depending on whether the user is planning, en route to the hotel.
Read more of: The New SPG iPhone App – Launching State-Aware Design »
I came across Gojee.com today which is a new cooking site that just launched. It’s simple design isn’t revolutionary but if you look beneath the deceptively simple design you see it has a powerful and well thought out user experience.
The overall design direction borrows from so many photography sites we have all seen in recent years with full screen images that slowly scroll but almost betray some of innovative thinking hidden under the surface. But the real power of the site is in the main navigation which is simply made up of three fields – ‘I crave’, ‘I have’ and ‘I dislike’. ‘I crave’ which is an open suggestive search field where you can enter what you are in the mood for and it will return corresponding topics the site has content for. ‘I have’ lets your enter ingredients you have in your fridge and ‘I dislike’ lets you add foods you are allergic to or just don’t like to eat. When you look at these three fields individually they don’t seem very remarkable but when you look at them together you see they are really powerful. They combine an open search field that sets direction of the search while the other two fields are used as content filters to refine the search to the most relevant results. So you get a powerful and targeted search that combines search with filtering system all done through three deceptively simple navigation options.
Another really nice feature is hidden in the ‘I have” menu where you can link your grocery store rewards card to the site and it will automatically add your purchases to your “I have” list. Right now you can only do this with a D’Agostino card but since there is one right round the corner from I office I tried it out and it worked perfectly. You can see how more grocery stores will be trying to build this link between their virtual real estate and their brick and mortar store because it makes cooking easier for everyone and they can easily up-sell products and drive suggestive purchasing. Obviously if they could also extend this type of strategy into a mobile app that would completely tie the web site browsing experience with the in-store shopping experience then they would have something really powerful that would had the potential to drive a huge increase in sales.
So while Gojee.com still needs more content and stronger visual design opinion you can see a lot of good thinking here that is probably a good indicator of the digital strategy many grocery stores will be adopting in the near future.
Read more of: Gojee.com: Building a better cookbook »
I have been really interested in multidimensional search results for a while. They are sites that start off like a normal search engine by take a single search term but return results in multiple forms (text, photos, videos, maps, blogs, etc.) from multiple sources on one page. Google has just launched WDYL.com which uses this multidimensional search concept. It asks you the simple question of “What do you love?” and the one page search results show pictures, alerts, patents, videos, statistics, books, translations, 3D SketchUp, latest news, blog searches, locations, group discussions etc. all pull from Google content sources of the thing you love.
I think you will continue see multidimensional search results grow in popularity until we hit a tipping point and one of the main stream search engines adopts it is their search result format. Yahoo! would be the closest since you can get a similar effect after doing a search when you can click the different mediums like photos, videos, shopping and news that appear above the search box and the results will change to the corresponding medium.
My favorite site to tackle the problem is still Addict-o-matic which I first wrote about two years ago and I like to more than WDYL.com for two reasons. The first is that I can customize the sources the site uses to return results which makes a huge difference in personalization and the quality of the search when you are dealing with so much data. The second is that I can browse broad news categories like politics, food or gadgets and the results are drawn from predetermined sources that are the most relevant for that subject.
In both cases I really like that they are challenging the traditional convention of search results because online content is much more diverse and much richer than it used to be and as a result people aren’t just looking for text links when they do a search.
Read more of: Google creates multi-dimensional search love »
I think that the use of augmented reality in the fashion industry continues to have huge untapped potential. Tobi.com showed up the potential about a year and a half ago with their virtual dressing room that would let you try on clothes from the comfort of their own home instead of going to the store and wedging themselves into a dressing room. Now Japanese glasses retailer Zoff has released this augmented reality glasses “mirror” through which you can try on the company’s collection of eyewear. This site uses a markerless AR technology similar to what we have seen for sites like Iron Man where once you visually calibrate the system it can place and track the object on your face in three dimensions allowing you to see the glasses as you turn and move your head.
I think this remains a suprisingly untapped technology especially for smaller fashion brands who don’t have a huge retail footprint. It has that huge potential because people have an inherent need to see how clothes and accessories look on their body and a lot of people can’t do that with any confidence just using their imagination. That is compounded because the online buying experience doesn’t allow that to happen. This use of AR lets you get over a huge part of that hurdle by giving you real images and feedback on how the clothes and accessories look on you. Once you see that real image your confidence goes way up and more importantly so does your intent to purchase.
Read more of: Virtual four eyes: AR Glasses Mirror »
Getting people interested in pursuing careers in public health is an uphill battle for obvious reasons. This interactive digital bus shelter ad does a nice job of using a simple interaction to make people feel empowered and create that interest around public health professions.
Read more of: Billboard makes you feel like a life saver »
For a long time, watching television was very straightforward. For as long as I can remember it has been sitting on the couch in the living room facing the TV with a set number of channels playing certain shows at a designated time. Technology has completely changed that concept with the introduction of DVR’s to record shows to watch whenever you want and mobile apps that can set those DVRs from anywhere.
So as technology continues to evolve where does that experience go from here? The guys over at Syzygy labs spent some time to think about that question and came up with what I think is the best possible solution I’ve seen so far. You can watch the video above or check out their site that documents all of their thinking here.
Read more of: GOAB: Experience TV Concept »
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh so I pretty much had no choice but to become a die hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan. As a result when it comes to the Steelers my better judgement goes out the window and I do things like wear my Steelers jacket into the NYC Subway the week before they played the Jets so I could get flipped off and cursed at by homeless Jets fans among others. It gets worse with other facts like my dog was named the Steelers fan of the week a few years ago (seriously). I am fully aware of how out of character and ridiculous all of this is but here I am writing about it and making it worse so you get a sense of just how bad it is.
So with that in mind, what do you get when you combine a microcontroller, a repurposed fan motor, Twiiter, a hash tag and a Terrible Towel? The Twerrible Towel which is microsite housing a live stream of a repurposed mechanical contraption that will twirl a Terrible Towel every time someone tweets #SteelersNation. It was the brainchild of the agency McKinney who did the recent Sherwin Williams Color Chip campaign that I think was one of the most visually beautiful campaigns done last year. So far it is up to 16,000 twirls and counting so who knows where it will be come game day.
Read more of: Twerrible Towel for #SteelersNation »