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Posts from the ‘apps’ Category

ios7 graphics: a step forward?

September 30, 2013

jessonline

apple ios7 upgrade

ios7 home screen

ios7 was a long time in the making- and a big move for Apple.  It’s the first major break from the iconic visual design driven by Steve Jobs and the warm, homey graphics that made the techie device feel familiar:  to-do lists that looked like lined paper, a bookshelf that looked like wood, and most importantly, easy to read text, links and buttons.

In this update, the new flattened design takes flat too far. The text is a pretty pale grey and the links a pretty pale blue, making both hard to read. All links are treated equally, so that “skip this step” and “next” links, for example,  look exactly the same. The new tool icons are flat and colorless, which combined with the pale blue outlines- make them hard to distinguish. They just don’t pop off the page. The one that’s highlighted is great- if they were all treated that way, they’d seem less diminutive and more actionable.

Simple line drawn icons are hard to distinguish at a quick glance.

I like the idea of modernizing the graphics, but this fails in the execution. The graphics are reminiscent of early web design that was less well attuned to customer experience mandates such as legibility, clear calls-to-action and ease of use. The newstand is still a newstand, and I can’t pull my New York Times out of it, so it continues to be two clicks away. The bookshelf design looks like something you might find in a windows app, with books floating on varying shades of blue. The safari icon looks like a compass. And I can’t find the new ‘easier’ to find spotlight search no matter what I do.

The critical issue: The text and link treatments are too pale. Too subtle. These are key elements of the design- and they need to be made legible.

The good stuff:

ios 7 control panel

Swiping up opens the control panel- for easy access to itunes, sleep, airplane, bluetooth, and other modes.

On the upside, ios7 seems stable and has some great new features. The new control panel is fantastic- it puts key functionality one swipe away, instead of multiple clicks- you can now access sleep, do not disturb, airplane mode- and even a flashlight with a quick swipe. Love that.

The camera is noticably better- with easy controls, and more accessible controls for a panoramic shot, square or video.

And the new App scrolling feature is cool- with two clicks, you get mini screens you can scroll through to see what apps are open and click directly in. Very nice.

There’s lots to like about the new OS release. Though I’m not a fan of how far they took the flattened design, I believe it’s easily fixable. The critical need is to fix the oversimplified text and link treatments.  I hope that Apple will recognize the need to do this quickly  in upcoming releases. The rest is just a matter of taste.

work happy.

October 29, 2012

jessonline

Poppin makes office supplies fun and colorful

Think old-school office supplies are on the way out? Paperless offices, Evernote, iPads, laptops, iPhones- there are so many ways to plug in and make your to-do’s a scheduled reminder list, your notes an archivable, searchable library on Evernote, or a quick email after a meeting. But the truth is, there are die-hard note-takers out here. There are paper lovers and pen collectors. There are those of us who are on a never-ending quest for the perfect pen, the perfect notebook- the proverbial blank page that invites and inspires and satisfies as you check off your to-do list, like no program, application or device can.

This is where Poppin comes in.

Poppin makes office supplies fun and colorful

Who says office supplies need to be black? Poppin’s site is all about color.

Of course, we need our technology, and we love that too. This is different. This is love at first sight.

Poppin’s tagline is “work happy”, and everything about the website reflects it. The copy is light-hearted and friendly- The people you can call for help are called “work stylists” who can set you up with a desk to love. On the Help page, the stylists are described this way:

“Each Poppin Work Stylist has been carefully chosen because they like to smile, have exquisite taste and looooove talking to people.”

The website itself is entertaining, fun and has a great design sensibility- you can shop visually by color as a secondary navigation bar at the top of the site.  The copy is believable and genuine, with a sense of humor. They “pinky-promise to take any Poppin product back that does not make you work happy.”

The branding is superb, end-to-end. The package arrives with writing on the outside, and air-bubbles on the inside printed with funny quotes. You actually want to save the air bubbles- they’re that cute. And a week or two after my package arrived, I got a hand-written thank you note on a Poppin card, mentioning my specific items.

All in all, it’s a complete delight. It’s not to say we won’t keep using Evernote and iPads and laptops. But it doesn’t hurt to have a desk that makes you smile everyday. Check it out at Poppin.com.

Sincerely yours

February 2, 2012

jessonline

sincerely ink

Sincerely Ink

How many pictures do you take in a year? Now that we all have smartphones- it’s probably thousands. Tens of thousands, for many of us. But how often do you actually print them? I find that now that everything is digital, I print less and less. I don’t feel the pressure to print and share, and make albums, because I can so easily share my albums online or on facebook, in the instant (and for free).

But sometimes it’s just nice to have a few prints for your mom, for your office- or for the holidays. Well, there’s an app for that. A bunch of them, actually. We’ve been able to share and order prints online for years, but this makes it easier. And a lot more fun.

Sincerely.com has apps for both iphone and android. The newest is Sincerely.ink, launched last fall. With the app, you can create and send a customized print card with photos and your personalized text, for about what it costs to buy a generic card at the drugstore.

Postagram allows you to simply send prints directly from your phone- via email, facebook, twitter- or mail.

My new favorite is the PopBooth app. You can take photos on the fly and turn them into a photo strip- choose color, black and white or sepia- or overlay color filters, and then send prints, email or post your photo strip online. It’s fun stuff. Check it out.

PopBooth

My PopBooth for Jessblogs

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