Advertising Age has a summary of the best Health & Wellness products at CES09. I have been fascinated by the industrial and interaction design work, done by my friends from Carnegie Mellon (Ivo Stivoric & Chris Kasabach), at BodyMedia. The product has developed significantly since the early days in 1999 where they were focused on the initial design and consumer adoption. It’s great to see the development of a multi-focused products built on similar technologies with offerings for: research; clinical applications; personal fitness; and club-based fitness. But it looks like there is an explosion of competition at CES.
Since I suffered a heart attack in 2006, I’ve been thinking about buying a heart rate monitor (the meds now keep my heart rate artificially low). I’ve been thinking about purchasing a Polar FT80. It’s probably feature overkill, but the device and user experience is beautiful. I am curious about the integration to Polar Personal Trainer supports the software+services development and business models (it’s too bad that Polar hasn’t completely opened their API to support other applications like TrailRunner).
Fitbit, which launched at the TechCrunch50, was the category winner at CES. They are a wellness tracker. It tracks data about a persons activities including calories burned, sleep quality, and distance travelled (the calories burned and sleep quality must be interpreted numbers). It’s a great concept, that is similar to BodyMedia’s GoWearscience of tracking your galvanic skin response, acceleration, skin temperature and heat flux.
It’s the data, stupid
There is a lot of focus on big when it comes to health care. HealthVault and Google Health are big solutions from multi-billion dollar companies. (Wow, I think the Polar RT80 connects to HealthVault, it’s not explicitly listed but I’m hoping it works). However, I’m wondering if there is a need to focus on individuals. The focus on individuals and individual responsibility can be seen with the appointment of Dr. Sanjay Gupta as the leading candidate for the Surgeon General. What better than a physician with broadcast experience to reach out to promote health and prevent disease for the American people.
With the development of devices like the GoWear, the FitBit and the Nike+Plus, it is possible for consumers to start collecting their own bio-signs. And begin monitoring, analyzing and altering their behaviour. Like the accelerometers have proven with innovative iPhone interfaces (think UrbanSpoon read about accessing the GPS and accelerometer APIs), the importance is in the sensors and the data. The Canary Foundation (thanks WIRED) uses simple tests and data to identify cancer at it’s earliest stages. I wonder if the tools around heart rate, metabolism, sleep combined with social networking can be used to change behaviour and alter the courses for obesity, diabetes, heart and blood vessel disease.
What other automated data collection could your personal healthcare devices collect? How could it be used to improve your quality of life? Or reduce your risk of disease?
HealthBlog – Bill Crounse, MD, Senior Director Worldwide Health, Microsoft
Jess and Gene and the nForm crew are hosting another CanUX workshop in Banff this November. They have managed to put together a fantastic group of user experience design speakers. The CanUX event is a very intimate venue that is limited to 75 attendees. You get a great opportunity to connect with other user experience professionals and engage with everyone in a very personal environment. The sessions provided by the Banff Centre for the Arts are some of the most engaging executive training sessions that round out the sit back and learn engagement. Just check out the speakers coming to share their stories and experiences:
CanUX comes immediately after StartupEmpire in Toronto. I am clearing my schedule to travel to Banff and spend some quality time at a great user experience conference. That and apparently ski season opens at Sunshine on November 7, 2008 so wax up your board(s) and get ready to for a UX conference that is unparalleled in intimacy. It is a great conference for designers looking for an opportunity to connect with other designers and speakers in an intimate environment, to learn about techniques, methods and tools to improve their craft. It is a great conference for developers looking to expand their understanding of how designers, developers and strategists work together on real world projects.
This is an entry level position to work with our team to assist in a wide array of creative projects from initial concept development through to final execution. The position is available as a 2-3 month contract starting September. Candidates should posses the following:
Passion for creating original and effective media solutions
Graduate of design program strongly preferred
Strong motion graphics skills in Flash first and foremost
After Affects skillset is also required
Strong interactive design
Strong organizational and time management skills
Excellent interpersonal skills
Detail-oriented, well organized, quick learner with the ability to work concurrently on multiple projects
Ability to work independently and be effective in a team setting
Advanced knowledge of Flash
Intermediate knowledge of Photoshop, After Affects and Final Cut Pro
3D modeling would be nice but not necessary
How to Apply
Please email your resume and links to your work to “jobs [at] teehanlax [dot] com”. Suitable candidates will be contacted promptly.
Founded in 1992 and headquartered in downtown Toronto, Novator Systems is an e-commerce solutions company that assists clients build brand loyalty and maximize customer satisfaction.
Novator delivers innovative and profitable online strategies to clients and it has helped them gain strong and competitive positions on the Web as well as deliver the highest conversion rates, customer satisfaction scores, and site performance in the industry.
Online retail is all about creating a good customer experience. At Novator, we like to practice what we preach. We want our employees to have a great experience too. It’s important to us to attract – and keep – the best people. It’s how we stay ahead of the competition – and get to work with the best clients in the industry.
We offer a flexible, relaxed work environment, a competitive benefits program, challenging projects with brand-name clients and a few nice little perks to show our appreciation for our employees’ part in our success (free on-site massages come to mind).
At Novator, you’ll work hard. You’ll hang out with smart people. You’ll definitely learn a lot. And you’ll have a great time doing it.
Duties and Responsibilities
The Interface Architect will work within the Product Management team to create, specify and oversee the development of an intuitive and consistent software interface for the Novator ecommerce platform, based on the product vision, roadmap, and high-level requirements.
Review, analyze and interpret artifacts such as software requirements, use cases, technical specifications and complex data models, translating them into concise, intuitive interface designs for enterprise software.
Produce and manage meticulous design deliverables such as User Interface Specifications, workflows and wireframes capable of providing systematic guidance to development and quality assurance teams through the software development life cycle.
Collaborate with the product management team during software specification by providing input on interaction strategies, and supplying the ability to rapidly draft prototype interfaces for validating potential requirements and use cases.
Review ongoing development and QA testing to ensure adherence to User Interface Specifications and Novator standards for usability, human factors and interface quality.
Negotiate deviations from spec and revise documentation as necessary. Maintain a current and consistent library of user interface documentation.
Provide ideas and input to the Product Management team relating to product development, user experience, process improvements, and product features.
Be a subject matter expert on the product, as well as on usability, human factors, and application design, providing guidance and consulting services to internal and external stakeholders as requested.
Apply business case logic and sound decision-making skills when scoping interface requirements and reviewing design feasibility.
Minimum and Essential Skills and Qualifications
University degree in Human Factors/HCI, Information Technology, Industrial Design or related discipline. A diploma with extensive experience in user interface design may be considered.
3-5 years of experience as an information architect, user interface designer, or interface developer with significant design responsibilities.
Must have prior experience designing or developing for complex transactional applications such as commerce platforms, financial systems or analytics packages.
Must have strong knowledge of information architecture, user-centered design, interaction design, navigation design, and online user experience.
Must have the ability to create and manage bulletproof user interface documentation including User Interface Specifications, wireframes and process diagrams.
Portfolio must demonstrate an exceptional ability to interpret and distill complex requirements and processes into elegant, intuitive interactions.
Must have detailed knowledge of web interface principles and technologies such as HTML, CSS and AJAX, and the ability to use this to estimate and establish the feasibility of each design.
Familiarity with software development processes in a Java environment, including the role of databases, object modeling and web tier integration is preferred.
Demonstrated fluency with Microsoft Visio and Office suite is required. Knowledge of modeling and prototyping applications such as Dreamweaver, Axure or Enterprise Architect is a plus.
Superior technical aptitude combined with proven creativity and lateral thinking.
Effective analytical, problem-solving and organizational skills.
Strong written and verbal communication skills. Must write precisely and concisely.
Absolute and meticulous attention to detail and consistency while maintaining the ‘big picture’.
Capable of producing pixel perfect documentation.
Strong work ethic and the ability to follow through on technically demanding projects.
Proven ability to work professionally as an effective member of a high-performance team.
Research In Motion Limited® (RIM)® is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. RIM’s portfolio of award-winning products, services and embedded technologies include the BlackBerry® wireless platform, the BlackBerry smartphone product line, software development tools, radio-modems and software/hardware licensing agreements. For more information, visit www.rim.com.
As a User Interface Designer at RIM, the successful candidate will influence the expanding market of Mobile User Interface Design for leading edge technology products. The candidate will also be involved in Mobile Game Development, Interactive / Rich Media Content Development, and actively contribute in taking Mobile Usability and Interactivity into the future.
The successful candidate will have an interest in functional design and an understanding of how to best design and implement graphics for mobile devices. An interest in iconography, communications, the latest design tools/trends and user interaction will also help to ensure success as a UI Designer.
Passion for creative design and innovation
At least 5 years of Photoshop development knowledge
Minor mark-up/coding background is helpful but not a requirement
Portfolio (maximum file size 2MB) required with resume
If you’re driven to take wireless technologies to the next level, it’s time you join the team at RIM. We offer a challenging environment that fosters creativity and rewards excellence. Employees also have use of our award winning BlackBerry!
Cineplex Entertainment LP is part of a unique industry that is passionate about providing an exceptional customer’s experience while having fun doing it. We are 100% Canadian and employ over 8,000 full-time and part-time employees. We are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange and generate revenues in excess of $800 million. Our company offers a competitive, comprehensive total compensation package. If you are passionate, innovative, enjoy a fast work pace and love movies, Cineplex is for you!
The Interactive Media department has an immediate opening for a Sr. Web Designerreporting directly to the Director, Web Operations.
The Sr. Web Designer is responsible for the ongoing design, development, and maintenance of Cineplex.com and associated projects for external clients. Candidates must have a strong sense of graphic design, as well as excellent XHTML and CSS skills along with experience in Flash.
On a daily basis, the Web Designer will work in a fast-paced team environment and will be required to work independently while continually communicating with other team members and delivering the highest quality product possible. This role is heavily production focused on a day-to-day basis.
The Sr. Web Designer’s responsibilities include the creation of websites, newsletters, micro sites, online promotions/contests, online media, games, and flash animation.
Possess the ability to create outstanding work while meeting deadlines for multiple, simultaneous projects.
Participate in brainstorming and creative meetings along with other Cineplex team members as well as clients as required.
Present creative work to Director and internal / external clients in an articulate and descriptive manner.
Develop, evolve and maintain online standards in partnership with Director.
Ensure that internal and external client needs are met in “look & feel” despite personal design tastes. Must be able to work in many different designs styles (corporate, edgy, animated, etc.).
Work closely with Director to plan the layout and design of large projects.
Work closely with the Technology team to ensure developed functionality is in full working order.
Each project will have unique requirements that must be achieved while maintaining outstanding aesthetic quality.
Ensure all projects are well scoped, and are delivered on-time, on-target and on-budget with a high level of client satisfaction.
Support new business / revenue-generating initiatives and collaborate on client presentations as required.
Knowledge and Skill Requirements
Related post secondary education or commensurate experience.
5+ years of relevant experience in a busy, demanding studio-type environment.
Demonstrated experience of building for Accessibility.
Excellent understanding of cross browser and cross platform coding practices.
2+ yrs of experience working in and around backend scripting languages – .ASP, .NET, PHP, etc.
Experience with Enterprise level content management systems an asset.
Intermediate level Flash with a focus on the creation of ad units and promotional interactivity is an asset.
Extensive knowledge of Photoshop, Image Ready, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, etc.
Strong project/time management abilities – can take a project successfully from concept to mockup, design, execution, launch and takedown with high levels of client satisfaction.
Excellent oral and written communication skills are requirements for this position with the ability to communicate technical detail to non-technical team members.
Quick learner who functions well in fast paced production environment.
Passionate interest in integrated/online media and user experience is a definite must.
Willingness to learn and seek out opportunities.
Strong work ethic with a passion for quality and customer service orientation.
All applicants will be required to supply work samples that demonstrate the requirements outlined above.
While we appreciate all interest, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. As part of Cineplex Entertainment’s standard recruitment process, suitable candidate(s) will be required to undergo pre-employment screening as a condition of employment or promotion.
Elizabeth Churchill wrote one of my favourite pieces recently, Maps and Moralities, Blanks and Beasties, about using maps designed for online daters “showing areas of San Francisco in terms of nighttime inhabitation and illumination, aimed at people concerned with being alone at night in deserted places. The map shows which areas of San Francisco are dark and isolated in the evenings”. This is a great abstraction of personal safety through mapping activity. Just as companies like Dash are using a P2P network of other Dash users to build traffic and AirSage uses cellular signals to build traffic predictions and estimations. It’s possible to start building mapping applications for next generation mobile devices. In my favourite part of the article Churchill describes a solution where she "designed a map and route/navigation tool for perambulating San Francisco irrespective of footwear practicality. The map charts routes based on the height and style of your shoes with rules like: Five-inch platform boots should not be worn on steep slopes, and stylish stilettos are a no-no on potholed, grated Mission Street”. You can see her prototypes including MapChat based on current work at Yahoo Research. It’s possible to start building applications that enable individuals to share and use metadata relevant to them to construct safer routes.
The Aurora project has always intrigued me, a successor to the famed SR-71 Blackbird (though I thought it was designated SR-75 and not SR-91). In a vain of building a next generation experience, the team at Adaptive Path and Mozilla Labs have partnered to build the Aurora Concept, “a video presenting one possible future user experience for the web”. It’s the second time in recent history where I have been thoroughly impressed with the design process used by the Adaptive Path folks, check out my commentary on the book, Subject to Change, and the Charmr project. The work on the Aurora Concept is a fantastic way to design, prototype and explore future design directions for Firefox and Mozilla and how the web should be built for the next generation of uses.
Video as a prototyping is not new. Video has been explored by the HCI and design researchers for a long time. In 1992 at Sun, Bruce Tognazzni created the Starfire design prototype. The team at Apple created the Knowledge Navigator in 1987 and Future Shock in 1988. Video is a compelling storytelling medium allowing designers to explore concepts and ideas without having to create functional environments. They are engaging spots that are designed to present a dream to a community in a digestible format.
My favourite part of the Concept Series is the call for participation. It is an open call to designers, developers and others from industry and higher education to get involved and design a vision for the future. The goal is to “bring even more people to the table and provoke thought, facilitate discussion, and inspire future design directions for Firefox, the Mozilla project, and the Web as a whole”.
Concepts may take the form of Ideas, Mockups or Prototypes.
Ideas It all begins with an idea. A sentence, paragraph, or even bullet-points kick-start the process. Ideas can be simple and non-technical. It should be easy for anyone and everyone to help shape the future of the Web. So throw your notions, inspirations, dreams and visions out to the community.
Mockups Turn your idea (or someone else’s) into an image, sketch or video. Words are great, but you know what they say about pictures. Mockups offer up a visual and communicate ideas in terms that are just a bit more polished and real. They draw the next person in, tempting them to pick up the concept and run with it.
Prototypes A prototype is interactive. Feel, touch and play with developing concepts. Prototypes get ideas across by showing off the moving parts. They aren’t always fully functional or pretty, but they’re more than a static image or two. They’re a dress rehearsal of sorts, with minimal programming. Make a prototype in HTML, Flash, or whatever puts things into action.
If I was a student designer looking for a design project to consider for my final year project I would think seriously about participating in the Concept Series or the Imagine Cup.
“If sketching is about asking questions, prototyping is about suggesting answers. Sketching takes place at the beginning of the development process, prototyping only later.” – Jessie Scanlonreviewing Buxton’s Sketching User Experiences in Business Week
As a designer I find that the most productive parts of a project are the exploration phase, the very early part where your are researching, sketching, exploring ideas and concepts trying to formulate an approach. It has always been really easy to grab my notebook and pen and begin drawing sketches of user experiences or find a whiteboard where you can sketch and erase and snap a picture when you’re done. Showing the initial designs to people, gathering feedback and making annotations. It has always been much more difficult and time consuming to build wireframes, screen flows, conceptual models, etc. There is a certain envy to being able to do low fidelity prototypes with a level of basic interactivity (if only because a number of past clients were not co-located and scanning sketches and providing written context was never enough, however, it might be a lot easier to share and annotate these days using ConceptShare, Octopz, Cozimo or DimDim).
It was tools like DENIM that first showed the power of sketching for web design. It provided a set of tools for creating sketches and adding interactivity to initial designs. DENIM allows users to create site maps, page flows, interaction scenarios and page designs using sketches. It works best with a tablet PC or a Wacom tablet. It works very similar to a paper notebook and can export the pages and links to HTML upon completion. The biggest challenge was that the integration with other tools was not significantly better than paper and pencil.
Today I found Balsamiq Mockups, a tool for creating mockups and designs using predefined sketched controls. No need to move to your tablet machine. No need to connect the Wacom. Just fire up Balsamiq and start laying out user interfaces. While sketched design templates are available for Graffle and Visio (check out Garrett Dimon’s Templates & Stencils; or Graffletopia; or YUI Stencil Kit). Balsamiq Mockups also makes it easy to integrate into a development workflow by allowing designers to export and integrate their designs into Confluence, Jira and TWiki.
I also discovered the Pencil Project. The Pencil Project is an open source tool aimed at diagramming and UI prototyping. It’s less of a tool for sketching and more of a replacement for Photoshop, Illustrator, Visio and Graffle that we’ve all become accustomed to using for creating higher fidelity interface mockups. The Pencil Project is available as a Firefox addon or as a standalone application using XULRunner. Pencil Project includes stencils for GTK controls, XP controls. It’s a great alternative to the existing tools.
Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design (Interactive Technologies) by Bill Buxton
What will you gain from your career experience at CAA SCO? Sure we’ve got great compensation, benefits and culture, but more importantly, you’ll thrive with the exposure to our multiple business lines including Travel, Insurance, Member Services and Member Advocacy!
Your Key Responsibilities
Build new web pages and make web page adjustments according to CAA brand standards and specifications supplied by the Business Unit and the Online Marketing Lead
Work within scope of web site and brand standards (CSS, CAA standards) to ensure all pages on our site comply and site structure is maintained
Ensure our web site is compatible across main browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera)
Create reusable web site templates
Build on-line web forms for email distribution or database input
Design creative microsites for contests, may involve use of Flash, video, banners, etc.
Design web images for web pages, banner ads, x-sell/up-sell icons, etc.
Create and deploy CAA’s 2 monthly eNewsletters
Ideally you’ll be up to date with web industry tools, best practices, new technologies, techniques and methodologies and will participate in continual review of our web solutions and processes to improve results for the team, business units and CAA overall.
Your Education & Skills
University degree or college degree in computer science preferred
Able to use current web standards, best practices and optimal coding practices
Familiar with source code version control systems, QA testing processes
Excellent design skills: typography, web page layout, colour, user interface (UI), navigation
Able to design for cross-platform/cross-browser compatibility
Experience designing for a corporate web site using brand standards.