All Posts Filed in ‘Art and Design


Bad car interface on tire pressure


Bugged by this really bad car UI display. Can’t really tell which tie the display is referring to….

Checked the manual and it said: “There is no correlation between the order of the displayed values and the tire positions…” WTF?


Two slight better design of what it should have been.


When Web App > Native App – on launching things

For the most part, application designers and engineers are drawn to native application because it allows full access to the hardware features and native user experience. In the end, you’ll ended up with prettier, more responsive, and easier to use application.

But one of the big advantage of Web app over native app is the easy of quick deployment, and potentially roll back of features and functionalities without going through the application marketplace (ie iTunes or Google Play).

One might also notice whenever you download a major update of your beloved application (say a 2.0 version of the app) there’s usually is no turning back to the old 1.0 version of that native app. Usually, you can’t have the same app installed side by side.

On the other hand, many large scale Web apps usually can accomodate a “try before you buy” UX. Users are encouraged to try the new UX before fully by-into the new features and user experience. I have yet to see any native app (either on PC or mobile) that does something like: ask the user to try a new version of the app (that’s a separate download and a new binary), and encourage the users to submit feedback before the official roll out of the major update. It’s an extra layer of work for the team but this is something worth experimenting for many larger organizations.


Some random thoughts on “The Tablet”

The “Jesus Tablet” was revealed yesterday. Here are some of my random thoughts of this new device. Some of these thoughts I’ve already posted on Twitter.

– Pinch gesture is the new “Back” button. Very smart and very Apple like solution.

– The one native iPad App I’d love to see: Flickr. Flickr API + touch interface + big screen.

– While re-watching the keynote, this became very clear to me: there will be a fork between iPhone / iPad Apps. In fact, Apple encourages you to write iPad specific apps. This is not a good or bad thing. iPhone’s small screen (classic) demands the simple UI. iPad is just another ball game.

– Speaking of running “stock” iPhone Apps on the iPad, the 160ppi iPhone apps scale up to a larger physical screen size but with less pixel density (132ppi) might actually look decent. I haven’t seen the real thing yet, but there’s hope for “stock” iPhone apps on the iPad – at least for the short term.

– Some had wished for complicated new gesture with the bigger touch screen – i.e. tripple-tap-pinch-drag-swipe that does amazing things. I for one, am glad Apple kept it basic. After all, with the mouse one can only do point and click, double click, and click drag. 3 very basic motions. Keep it simple my friend.

– Speaking of complexity vs simplicity, it’s both surprising, and inspiring to see the Apple team had ported iWork suite to the iPad. It’s a daunting task but those 3 Apps (Pages, Keynote, and Numbers) will become the UI and usability reference of the Touch interface for years to come – Just like MacPaint for the Macintosh.


    Perdicting the Next Decade

    “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – Alan Kay

    Rather than another blog post that predicts flying cars or the end of the world in 2020, I’ve put together a few thoughts on what’s to come in the next 10 years.

    Simple observations on trends, wishful thinking’s, and in many case, the logical next step on what’s to come.

    On Technology

    – Before we get to “Cloud Computing”, we will see the rise or “consumerization” of the Data Center: i.e. I will be able to transfer MY 1TB plus of RAW photography and 200GB of audio (which most consumer could have in time) with ease to the Cloud. (Note: Think S3 “for the rest of us”)

    – The Desktop GUI Files and Folders metaphor will have to evolve. Files and folders work great when you have hundreds or even thousands of files, but the metaphor becomes pretty pointless when you are tasked to manage millions of digital records. This is a big challenge we have to solve in the next decade.

    – Call it Web 3.0 if you like. With so many standalone Web Services out there, it’s still pretty hard for non-tech people to build meaningful digital content (let alone business) on the Web. In the coming decade, we should be able to figure out a way to tide all these standalone services together into something much more meaningful. (Note: Think today’s 10 person Web 2.0 startup can be built by 1 person in the next decade simply buy gluing together existing services on the Web)

    On Business and Economy

    – The rise of micro / digital transaction from the Digital World into the Real World. In the next decade, it should get much easier to paying someone for goods and services. Think of it as P2P economy. i.e. I can pay the kid down the street to mow the lawn via digital credit. Why this is important you ask? The less friction it is to any form of transaction, the better it is for the commerce right?

    – Another financial bubble in the next decade will be driven by either Clean Tech or Biotech. We had the boom and bust in tech, real estate, and finance sectors in the last 20 years. The new cycle is bound to happen in those two industries next – with the requirement of some form of technical break though takes place.

    On Media and Entertainment

    – Traditional live TV will completed moving to the Web. After all, you living room TV is just a monitor. (Note: Think Hulu for ALL TV content but with live broadcast)

    On Design

    – Design and Fashion will finally move away from the Neo-grunge into something much more Baroque like or other style that’s focus on individual craftsmanship. (Note: Think Etsy, and TAD Gear)


    Mad Men has the answer

    Re-watched season one Mad Men, and found this amazing dialog between Don Draper and Roger Sterling:

    Roger: “I bet there are people in the bible complaining about kids today.”
    Don: “Kids today they have no one to look up to…. cause they are looking up to us.”

    I guess that’s the answer to my post almost two years ago.


    Why we think the PSP Go hardware design is ugly

    With the leaked photos of the upcoming Sony PSP Go hardware, common consensus, is that, the hardware / industrial design is pretty darn ugly. While I am not an industrial designer, let’s try to examine why the public reactions are so negative.

    The Shape
    When the old PSP first launched, everyone commented on the beautiful 16:9 screen. Sony did a great job keeping the shape of the old PSP simple and honest. With the addition of the new PSP Go slide out control, you ended up with many more circular design (4 circles shape on the control + the 2 added round edges of the slide out bottom) to compete with the rectangular 16:9 screen. If the actually PSP Go screens is square, you will have much less of a problem, but right now, in most consumers minds, it’s no longer the sexy 16:9 device, instead it’s something with various mismatched shapes.

    Moving Parts
    Moving parts might look great in a transformer movie, but in general, things that move break. When things break, it mean they are cheap (and negative feeling abound). Just look at most of the consumer slider mobile phones and you will probably agree anything that slides around is just low-end or easy to break . (Note: the exception of this would be flip phones and laptop design – since the flip / clam shell motion communicate privacy and hidden treasure).

    The Material
    Glass is sexy. Metal is sexy. Plastic not so much. In one of the press photo that got leaked, gone are the sexy “breathing holes” on the old PSP, what you gain is uneven cheapo plastic surface. I hope Sony can (will?) fix it in production model, but the damage is done.


    The Mylo legacy.
    Dear Sony, nobody cares about the Mylo. The 12-14 years old these days all have cellphone, Mylo is not that useful to them as a communicator, and bringing the Sony Mylo legacy to the gaming world will just further confuse the consumers.

    I blogged about the original PSP launch in 2004 with enthusiasm. How times have changed….