Monthly Archives: August 2011

UX Resources for Beginners

User experience design (UX) matters a lot to us at Cantina. A great user experience will magnify a successful technology implementation, while a bad user experience can turn success into disappointment.

As one of Cantina’s UX experts I am often asked about learning resources for those who are starting out or wanting to learn more about UX design and development. I will cover some of my favorites for each below.

If you want to learn more about UX design, then my first bit of advice would be to attend a conference like An Event Apart. Also, attending art / graphic design related classes at a local college would prove to be beneficial for learning things like typography and color theory.

A lot of good books have been published focusing on UX design. Some of my favorites are:

Some UX design related websites are:

For UX development, you can find a lot of information online, but some books I consider to be bibles of UX development. They are:

Also, you should read every article on A List Apart.

And here are a few other things you should check out for UX development:

That should get you started!

If you know about other UX resources that you’d like to recommend then please post them in the comments below.

A great user experience will magnify a successful technology implementation, while a bad user experience can turn success into disappointment.

Web vs. Native App Conundrum – The Debate Goes On

Perusing my news feeds today, I came across an article entitled, Could Mobile Apps Be Evolutionary Dead End? by Steve Rubel of Ad Age Digital.  Steve posits that ‘Marketers May Find New Breed of Web Apps Preferable to Multiple Platform’.  The article goes on to discuss the fragmentation of the global marketplace, the leverage and distribution advantages inherent in building HTML5 web-based apps, the easing of Apple’s restrictive posture, the proliferation of Google’s Android Marketplace and discoverability through search, and the benefit for advertisers.

I believe the article’s assertion is right, namely that ‘marketers may decide it’s more cost effective to develop a strong web application and control the experience end-to-end, rather than support hundreds of phone and tablet formats’.

Back in May, I posted a blog on the topic of designing apps for multi-channel experiences and the need for analysis and planning to capture the value of the development investment.  There are compelling reasons to entertain web app approaches vs. native app development, and Cantina has assisted many clients with this strategic decision.

Cantina is hosting a roundtable discussion at our Newton offices on September 29th to discuss the exact topics debated in Steve’s article.  The forum will assist B2B and B2C mobile leaders compare approaches and discuss solutions that address the challenges of designing mobile applications.

There are compelling reasons to entertain web app approaches vs. native app development, and Cantina has assisted many clients with this decision.

Where Did HP’s Tablet Go?

In our continuing series of conversations with Dan Barron and George White they discuss the surprising recent announcements from HP, canceling not only the recently launched WebOS HP TouchPad tablet, but their discontinuation of all WebOS devices.

Why is it that no one has come close to Apple’s success with the iPad? Dan and George offer their opinions as app developers for iOS, Android and other mobile platforms.

In our continuing series of conversations with Dan Barron and George White they discuss the surprising recent announcements from HP.

Vote for JewishBoston.com in Forrester’s Groundswell Awards

Cantina and Combined Jewish Philanthropies have submitted JewishBoston.com to Forrester’s Groundswell Awards. As a social media award it only makes sense that the awards themselves are socially enabled: you can view our JewishBoston.com entry here, as well as rate and review it. We encourage you to do so; we’re proud and pleased to have developed this popular social site.

From the Award Entry

JewishBoston.com features current local Jewish information, events, blogs, recipes, and conversations. Visitors can join using their Facebook ID, enabling participation in blogs, comments and sharing. A detailed survey identifies likes, affiliations and locations which are saved as preferences to personalize the site and newsletters. The site achieves balance between a “walled garden” for Jewish individuals, organizations and businesses while sharing with Twitter, Facebook and other social media. MORE

 

Cantina and Combined Jewish Philanthropies have submitted JewishBoston.com to Forrester's Groundswell Awards.

Super-fast Tour of the Scala Programming Language

In an effort to learn Scala (or at least to a reasonable degree) I put together a Scala script that illustrates the primary language features especially as someone with Java/Groovy/Ruby knowledge. The hope here is to quickly give you a feel for the language while diving deeper into some specific features.

The tour includes:

  • val vs var and defining variables
  • Strings and string interpolation
  • Operators and defining new ones
  • Functions
  • Lists, Maps, and other collection-isms
  • Case classes and pattern matching
  • Traits
  • Implicit type conversion
  • Ternary operator (or lack thereof and the Scala equivalent)
  • DSLs (a simple one)
  • Generics
  • Lazy variables
  • XML literals
  • Exception handling
  • Tuples
  • Regular expressions and case matching
Let me know if I’ve left anything out super-important and I’ll loop back and include it.

 

[Read more on Dan's blog at http://mrdanadams.com]

The hope here is to quickly give you a feel for the language while diving deeper into some specific features.
Programming

Brightcove App Cloud Emulator for Browser-Based Development

As noted previously, working in-browser when creating an App Cloud app is hugely useful as turn-around time is faster and the development tools are much better. While creating our first app we also created a tool called the App Cloud Emulator which further supports in-browser development. Main features include:

  • Displays your application inside the device with the same resolution as on-device.
  • Toggle between portrait and landscape orientations. Change in orientation triggers the same JS events the device API would normally.
  • Toggle between iPhone and Android devices (back button support for Android).
  • Support for tap/click and scroll (provided by default).
  • Buttons for firing swipe left/right events on the current view.
  • Access to all views included in the manifest.xml with icon (if provided).
  • Access to the App Cloud API object via the JavaScript console.
  • Easy installation: just drop it in your application root. Only used in development and doesn’t have any effect on production (other than the file size which is about ~500KB total).
You can find more info on the project here:
See the video below for a quick demo:

 

[Read more on Dan's blog at http://mrdanadams.com]

While creating our first app we also created a tool called the App Cloud Emulator which further supports in-browser development.
Applications

July’s Posts: App Cloud, CoffeeScript, Human Momentum, iCal in Lion and New People

Cantina’s team of consultants continues to write articles on new technologies, business applications, and things we find interesting. For the middle of the summer July was a surprisingly busy month of posting with 19 articles released. They’re compiled here for your convenience:

Cantina's team of consultants continues to write articles on new technologies, business applications, and things we find interesting.