Architecture of Radio: discover the hidden world of digital networks

Created by Richard Vijgen, the Architecture of Radio is an iPad application conceived to visualize the network of networks “by reversing the ambient nature of the infosphere; hiding the visible while revealing the invisible technological landscape we interact with through our devices”. The app relies on GPS to get the user’s location and finds the cell towers that are within reach from OpenCellID. Then, it calculates the position of overhead Satellites based on JPL’s Ephemeris data.
Find out more on the project page.

Robot Factory: an app to build your robot

Robot Factory – the new app of Brooklyn-based developer Tinybop – Robot Factory is more than a simple interactive iOS game to build robots. It’s a digital toybox conceived to allow kids to practice imaginative play by following the path and the spirit of the original Lego blocks.

You can discover more on FastCoDesing.

Download the app (iPad).

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Tworlds: an app to compare your experiences with a random stranger

Tworlds is a free iOS app that lets you compare your moments with a stranger. Why? Just to find out if someone else somewhere else in the world is doing or feeling the way you do at that very same time. The app works as follow:

With Tworlds you take a photo which immediately is coupled with a corresponding similar moment at a random spot somewhere else on this globe. These two images are anonymous placed together, and only contain the two place names. Then, the newly combined image, we bombed this the tworld, can be viewed, saved and shared via email or social media.

Read more on the official page.

DO by IFTTT: one button to rule them all

DO by IFTTT: one button to rule them all

IFTTT has just released DO, a new set of mobile apps designed as a simple single big virtual button to trigger a series of pre-programmed actions – i.e. from sending pictures to family members to control your connected domestic devices.

As reported by Rachel Metz on MIT Technology Review:

IFTTT cofounder and CEO Linden Tibbets thinks the simplicity of the app will make it a lot easier to do specific tasks—especially ones you repeat often that typically require several steps. It comes at a time when many app makers are trying to invent stripped-down interfaces suitable for smart watches (see “A QWERTY Keyboard for Your Wrist”). Tibbets won’t comment on whether the new app, known as Do Button, will be available for the Apple Watch when that device begins selling in April, but he says it “would be certainly applicable there.”+

Although you see only one button when you open the Do Button app, it is possible to program two more, which are accessible by swiping to the side. The app is an attempt to branch out from the company’s existing Web service, which launched in 2011. The website lets users set automated rules to link various online services that don’t normally play together. For example, you can set a rule instructing the service to automatically copy any photo you are tagged in on Facebook to your Dropbox cloud storage account.

DO buttons are available for both iOS and Android devices.

Designing games for wearable devices

In this case study published by Ludomade, authors explore the limitations and constraints of designing games for small wearable devices – i.e. the Apple Watch. Below are some takeaways from the development process of  Mineshaft: Dynamite Blast (Ludomade, 2014) – guidelines you’ll find valuable to design interactions beyond the realm of games:

Game concept

  • Think about how it’s going to feel playing a game that’s strapped to your wrist: holding your arm up in strange ways gets tiresome quickly, so keep play sessions short.
  • Minimize the player inputs – simplify everything.

Touch interactions

  • On a 280×280 screen, space fills up really quick, so consider as few on-screen buttons as possible.
  • When buttons are necessary, think about their placement based on which wrist the watch is on. You don’t want players to cover everything up whenever they need to jump.

Graphic design on small size screen

  • Texture-packed realism isn’t going to work on such a small screen. Choose a graphical style and color palette that maximizes definition at this size.

The role of the form factor

  • Consider square and circle screens when designing UI, keep those buttons out of the corners.
  • Minimize the amount of UI needed – the small screen gets cluttered quickly.
  • You must remove the default “swipe right to close app” function.

Audio?

  • There’s no audio on most watches so use audio as an accessory.

Check the final game on Android Wears and iOS (smartphone/tablet).

Article originally seen on Dotventi.

Dreeps: an alarm clock to reinvent RPG

Dreeps is a classic (mobile) RPG with a special trick. It features characters, explorations, battles, interactions with other fictional people and objects. The only exception to the classic scenario is that it doesn’t require any input from its player – no grinding, looting, ripetitive tasks or hours spent on quests.

Hisanori Hiraoka, Daisuke Watanabe, and Kyohei Fujita  have conceived the game as an alarm playing game. According to the official page:

For you who don’t have time anymore to play RPG, “Alarm Playing Game” is a new type of game where you just have to set an alarm to enjoy an RPG adventure. Before going to bed just set the alarm in dreeps, and the robot boy will sleep like you.

When you’ll wake up with in that alarm in the morning, as you go to worker to school, the robot boy with go on an adventure though fields, valleys or peninsulas where bosses are waiting for him in dungeons. A new day is starting for you and the robot boy !

In dreeps, you will just have to set the alarm, that’s all. You can have a look at the adventure on the phone put on you desk while working, during snack time, just enjoy the game at your pace. If you woke up with dreeps, the adventure will automatically continue as long as the robot boy has enough HP, even if you don’t open the app. You might be missing some events, but don’t mind about it.
There’s almost no text in the game. You can imagine your own version of the story with the hints hidden in visuals and sound. You can share some screenshots and you thoughts about the game by pressing the « share » button.

  1. Set dreeps’ alarm before you sleep. After a restful slumber, your HP will be invigorated.
  2. dreeps’ alarm will ring when morning comes. As the robot Boy sets forth, your day begins!
  3. Observe the robot boy’s exploits while at work, or at snack time. The game will adapt to your life rhythm.

Downaload Dreeps from the App Store.

Plug & Play: an interactive iOS experience to depict human computer relationships

Plug & Play is a game (kind of) based on the animations drawn by Michael Frei and coded by Mario von Rickenbach. It is the interactive mobile version (iOS) of an awarded movie realised by Frei to depict the relationship between humans an machines through the lenses of wires to plug and switches to toggle.

That said, as reported on The Creative Projects,  it is also the reaction to a common pattern in the fruition of those videos he made: “after Swiss animator Michael Frei noticed that people liked to bounce around the timelines of his videos instead of watching them straight through, he decided to give viewers more control over his next creations”.

Download the app.

 

 

 

Be My Eyes: an app to lend your eyes to blind persons

Be My Eyes by Robocat is a simple app with a very special mission: enabling video calls to put in contact visual impaired people with seeing volunteers willing to help them.

The whole process is straightforward. According to the official website:

“A blind person requests assistance in the Be My Eyes app. The challenge that he/she needs help with can be anything from knowing the expiry date on the milk to navigating new surroundings. The volunteer helper receives a notification for help and a live video connection is established. From the live video the volunteer can help the blind person by answering the question they need answered.”

The app is currently available only on the App Store. You can download it from here.

No hamburger menu controller in Xcode

Hamburger menu is one of the crucial topic among UI practitioners. According to Mike Stern – Apple User Experience Specialist – there are three reasons you will not find a hamburger menu controller in Xcode: “[…] their value is greatly over-stated, and they have huge usability downsides too.  Remember, the three key things about an intuitive navigation system is that they tell you where you are, and they show you where else you can go. Hamburger menus are terrible at both of those things, because the menu is not on the screen. It’s not visible. Only the button to display the menu is. And in practice, talking to developers, they found this out themselves. That people who use their app don’t switch to different sections very frequently when they use this menu. And the reason for that is because the people who use their app don’t know where else they can go. Right? They don’t know because they can’t see the options, or maybe they saw it at one point in time, but they have since forgotten.”

Read the entire post on Manbolo Blog.