Windows Phone 7 Design Resources

MS Holm Daylight app from Clarity Consulting
MS Holm Daylight app from Clarity Consulting

I updated my Open Source Icons post earlier to include updated list of icons. The interesting part was this brought up some great mobile design and development resources. With the list of available mobile icons being just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Speckboy provides an unprecedented list of resources for mobile developers and designers it includes: Android, iPhone & iPad, mobile web & app testing, .PSDs of different phones, and other mobile platforms.

Tools

Training Materials

UX Guidelines & Tools

WP7 CS4 Design Template
WP7 Design Template for Clarity Consulting

Panorama Navigation

Panorama Navigation on Windows Phone 7

Icons

A Major Milestone

Milestone Test Drive
Photo by gillyberlin

The Motorola Milestone goes live on Telus today. I’ve been playing with one for about about a week now. It’s a great device, as others have described the Droid as posing a “more significant challenge to the iPhone than any other phone to date”. The Milestone is the HSPA/UTMS/GSM version of the Droid. The dock and the Alarm Clock app are cool but it’s just a dock, not a deal breaker for me.

Likes

  • Network Unlocked – Whether this was intentional or a feature of a pre-release phone, I just popped out the Telus SIM card, stuck in my Rogers card and I was good to go. With Fring/Skype and Google Voice I’m pretty much up and running anywhere.
  • Speed - The tradeoff for battery life, is speed. This thing is a speed demon. Network fast. Processor fast. Everything but the camera was fast.
  • Apps – There was an app for almost everything I needed. Only 2 of the apps have paid versions (PDANet and Twidroid). The only app that was really lacking is the Skype Lite application, in comparison to the iPhone application this is just an embarrassment. Otherwise the new apps have their quirks but Seesmic, EverNote
  • Google integration – This is either a like or a dislike. If you believe in a Skynet like future, having the GOOG on a device that integrates with their services and with my location scares me. Contacts, Mail, Calendar, Voice, Sky, etc. All executed very, very well.
  • Soft keyboard – I’m hoping to try out Swype at some point, but the soft keyboard is pretty good. I find the auto-correction less intrusive than the iPhone. I was also surprised how little I use the physical keyboard. I only use the keyboard when in landscape mode.
  • Landscape mode – It’s great to have the entire screen real estate in landscape mode. While the physical keyboard isn’t a must have feature, it is very nice to see everything on the screen when banging out a long email.

    Dislikes

    • Battery life - I only get about 3/4 of a day under heavy usage. This might be a feature of all 3G phones but it feels like I need to bring the USB->micro-USB cable and charger with me every where. Given that I’m comparing it to a Palm 750wx (with 3G modem disabled) and an iPhone 2G the battery life is appalling.
    • Unlock button - You press the power button in the top right corner to bring up the unlock screen. It’s just an interaction design nightmare. I can’ hold the phone in one hand and press the big home button like on my iPhone and sweep across using the gorgeous gesture unlock.
    • Industrial feel – The iPhone feels like a piece of nature. Like a comfortable stone shaped by water to fit in your palm. The Milestone has a much more industrial feel. Hard edges, sharp lines, metal and glass. It’s a beautiful device that feels great but it’s harder.
    • Physical keyboard – It’s a little cheap. It takes some getting used to. I had though this was going to be something like the HTC TyTN that was a selling feature for me. However, while it is a nice to have, it’s is not a must have feature. I think the iPhone has taught me how to be very effective using a soft keyboard.
    • Background processes – I feel like a Unix administrator always running “ps aux” trying to figure out who is using memory, battery and other resources. Even with task killers, I just want my OS to effectively do the memory management for me.  It’s still way too low level and nerdy. I want the simplicity of the iPhone where the OS manages it for me.
    • Camera speed – The camera is slow! The pictures are fine. But it’s like going backwards 7 years in terms of speed. I missed every picture of the little ones at a birthday over the weekend because the camera would stutter and then take a pic 100-500 msec slower than I was expecting.

    The Milestone is a great device. It’s a worth competitor to the iPhone.  I’m interested to see the newest generations of HTC devices running both Android and the Windows Phone 7 Series. However, in the meantime, the Milestone is a great experience.

    Corded Innovations

    It’s time for a new laptop. In the recent past I’ve owned/used:

    • Dell m1330
    • Apple MacBook Pro (late 2007)
    • Lenovo X60 Tablet
    • Asus EeePC 1000HE
    • Apple Powerbook G4

    All have been great machines but they have been lacking. The Dell m1330 has the audio jacks on the front edge, which makes using headphones on the couch an impossibility and the plasticy bits are glued/taped on, lots of power and battery life. The MacBook Pro is missing an SD card slot, the battery life is mediocre but the MagSafe connector and overall industrial design are winners. The Lenovo is a tablet which means it’s overpriced and under powered, it’s a good solid machine. The Asus EeePC has great battery life, but it is too small the keyboard is tiny.

    Replug.com

    I really like the MagSafe connector on my MacBook Pro. It has saved the laptop from an excessive number of falls (though the frame is now dented and bent from the few falls it’s had). I was wondering why we haven’t seen other manufacturers attempt to innovate around the power connector. Sure the easy answer is because Apple owns a patent for a Magnetic connector for electronic device. However, there are other patents with similar ideas and different implementations.

    There is the Replug connectors for headphones (see photo). This combined with the MagSafe connector would provide break away connections for the 2 items often plugged into my laptop.

    But why has no other vendor innovated on their power connections? Do consumers just not care? Is this feature non-essential in the selection of a laptop? Or is it like many of the features on a Mercedes S-class as described by Jeremy Clarkson,

    “When a new S-class hoves into view, you need only look at the technology that lurks under its vast bulk and you’ll know precisely what will be fitted to the Ford Fiesta 10 years down the line”

    It’s a look at the future of laptops. As much as I like hardware hacking, I’d rather not have to hack my power connector with a DIY solution (which is strangely similar to my desire to not add aftermarket products to a car).

    Social and Personal CRM

    Erick Schonfeld blogged about Ten Technologies that will rock 2010 on TechCrunch. Number Ten is Social CRM. It’s started me thinking about the power of personal or small team CRM. There are many incarnations of CRM including those with a focus on:

    • marketing automation,
    • sales automation,
    • and customer service & support.

    There are a number of converging trends that are making both personal CRM and social CRM an interesting place:

    • Consumerization of technology
      We’re buying our own laptops, mobile devices, home services and entertainment. The combination of low-cost, easy-to-use devices and consumable content is helping to change expectations about procurement, enablement and scarcity.
    • Email and communication overload
      You can check voicemail, email, Facebook messages, IMs, tweets, Skypes, etc. But conversations often get lost or forgotten in the flow of messages.
    • VoIP
      Skype, Google Voice, Microsoft Office Communication Server. While not perfect, I can imagine making quality or reliability tradeoffs for VoIP usage, i.e., email withe every conversation I’ve had with people on social networks, over email or voice. That would be awesome. Imagine a searchable database of every conversation. Think I’m nuts, well check out Total Recall.
    • Mobility
      Let me pick the device. Netbook, laptop, slate, tablet, phone, console. Yes. Home, office, on the move. Yes. I want the open Internet on which ever device I’m using.
    • Cloud
      I hate feeling like I have better access to personal data on my PC. It’s my data, I want to access it on whatever device I’m using, laptop, mobile, gaming console, etc. Security and privacy are tantamount, but it’s my data and as credit card companies have proven, privacy is dead. So put my files, images, music in the cloud, preferably on hardware that I own so I don’t have to pay a subscription fee for everything.
    • Social media
      Next generation platforms are  where there is some very interesting change happening. Commerce, communications and consumer shifts.

    Companies and products to watch in enabling both personal and social CRM.

    Related Links

    Refreshing my technology

    Michael Arrington has a great list of products that he uses everyday. It includes a number of products that I’m hoping to add to my arsenal including:

    I’m not sure what’s up, but I’ve been Jonesing for an Android phone. I’m hoping to either snage a Motorola Milestone (think Droid on HSDPA/UTMS) or a Google Phone. I’d like to retire my first generation iPhone, and while the HTC HD2 looks amazing I’m just not excited about it. I want to try to use Goggles and Swype (also available on the WinMo 6.5). The integration with Skynet, sorry Google Mail, is appealing since all of my personal mail has lived exclusively in GMail since 2006.

    I’d also really like a Kindle or a Nook, but I’m willing to wait until after CES to see what gets released (Notion Ink, HTC or another manufacturer). It’s also got me thinking about cloud platforms, HTML5 and the browser as OS, improving and dealing with email, improving my calendar, and personal data backup.

    I think it’s time to revamp my entire technology stack and usage.

    Canadians, Canadians, Canadians

    CanWin

    Steve Ballmer is coming to Toronto.

    He’s speaking at the Can>Win initiative presented by The Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The event is focused on helping to “define strategies to secure Canada’s global advantage”. The effort is publishing 16 one pagers from thought leaders (there 8 published as of Oct 15, 2009) in a dialogue on what Canada must do next. I’m waiting to see who is lined up to round out the remaining 8 dialogue pieces. I am a little underwhelmed as none of the published pieces are about telecommunications, technology, copyright, education or any of things that interest me. So I’m hoping based on the event participants that these topics will be covered. Speakers like:

    • Dr. Indira Samarasekera,
      President, University of Alberta
    • Parker Mitchell
      Co-CEO, Engineers without Borders
    • Trish Wheaton
      Chief Marketing Officer, Chairperson, Wunderman Canada

    I’m hopeful that there will be some thought pieces on topics that interest me.

    I wasn’t always a Steve Ballmer fan. He was that funny dancing man from Microsoft. But it was at Mix08 that I changed my mind. Sure, I had become an employee of Microsoft Canada and ultimately Steve is my boss. But it was his interview with Guy Kawasaki that forever changed my opinion of Steve. 

    I was impressed with both the depth and breadth of his understanding of the Microsoft business. He was informed about strategy, about operations, about technology, about sales, about acquisitions. I was just blown away at the insight, honesty and the casualness of the conversation. It also helped me understand the “Developers, developers, developers”. Steve is a passionate guy. And he’s very, very intense.

    If you get a chance, watch the full interview with Guy Kawasaki and Steve Ballmer. It changed my opinion.

    Getting ready for PDC

    pdc09-300x36

    I’m starting to get ready for another trip to Los Angeles for Microsoft PDC. PDC08 was a great trip, however, it ended really poorly for me. I arrived home from LA and spent 5 days in Toronto General Hospital after complaining all week about chest pain. It turns out that after a heart attack, they take this stuff very seriously, and wanted to do an angiogram. I promise for PDC09 to not hole up in my hotel room and hide because my chest hurts!

    Thomas Lewis has a great post on Hotels for PDC09. I’ve stayed at the Westin Bonaventure for PDC08 and CHI98. It’s a great hotel. It was where True Lies was filmed.

    “Where do all the Microsofties hang after the event? If you are a fan of edgy chef personalities, you know that you always want to find the dives the chefs go to after their shifts are done. Later in the evening, after evening events and A/V checks are done, many of our kind will head over to the lobby of the Westin Bonaventure where everyone will be hanging out at the bar chatting up the news of the day and talking with attendees. Now, if you are looking to find all the hipster-Microsofties, then you want to head to the club at the rooftop of The Standard. The view there is awesome but the drinks can get expensive.” Thomas Lewis – Devil’s Field Guide to the PDC

    But I’m thinking I’m going to change it up for 2009. I’m turning over a new leaf. And in a tribute to my turn-of-the-last-century industrialists I’m thinking the Millennium Biltmore will be my home away from home for a few days in November. I stayed in the Biltmore as part of the planning committee for CHI2000. And while the hotel is not the family estate, it should be fun. It’s only a few blocks from Westin, check out my Bing Collection of the hotels to help find your friends in downtown LA, and it’s something new. Plus how can you go wrong with the name Biltmore?

    Local grub and why mobile matters

    I’ve been looking at buying a new laptop. I have been considering buying a netbook mostly because if I can reduce my cash outlay from approximately $3,000 to $700 that makes me happier. But I haven’t bought a netbook. I keep looking at a MacBook Pro, a Dell m1330 and a Sony Vaio Z. And I realized why, Joey deVilla describes the problem with netbooks

    Slightly bigger and pricier than a phone, but can’t phone. Slightly smaller and cheaper than a laptop, but not that much smaller or cheaper. To adapt a phrase I used in an article I wrote yesterday, netbooks are like laptops, but lamer.

    The mobile device is the platform of the future. Blackberry, iPhone, Android, Palm Pre, Symbian and Windows Mobile.These are the platforms. There may be others that emerge. Sure there are economics for application developers that are being explored. Simply, much of these economics are about distribution, customer acquisition and retention costs and the necessary scale to run a successful business.

    There is a different model which is similar to Google (read Googlenomics), Craigslist, eBay, Amazon, etc. A marketplace with a transactional model. Consider mobile devices as an enabler for players in a ecosystem. How does the availability of personal computers and the emerging high speed mobile smart phone enable?

    logo

    FarmsReach is a marketplace for “buyers to order food from local producers through delivery or local markets”. It uses technology to enable the transactions between local food producers and buyers. Using the web and mobile devices like the iPhone, FarmsReach is able to leverage an existing infrastructure of home PCs, carrier wireless networks, mobile devices and GPS to build unique applications for each person in the value chain. It’s brilliant. It also starts to look like something we’ve seen before. Who are the players in the local food production and distribution value chain? What part of the existing value chain are you disrupting? How are you going to acquire customers in each layer? What do you need to build as part of the prototype?

    I first saw Alistair Croll present FarmsReach at DemoCampGuelph8 and have been in love with the business they are building. And I’m not alone, FarmsReach is winning awards and trying to change the world.

    Trending

    Identifying trends is important. Look at some assumptions around FarmsReach:

    • There is a growing local food movement
    • It is incredibly difficult for local farmers and local consumers to connect, other than through existing retail outlets
    • “Only 30% of farmers use the Internet as part of their business” – Keep It Rural
    • Average age of farmers is increasing (indicator that less young people are choosing farming as a career) – Farming For Us All
    • To attract/retain younger generations farms need to embrace technology – USAToday
    • High penetration of PCs in rural areas (yeah, it’s UK data but it demonstrates a point)
    • New mobile devices and data connectivity allow for distributed solutions

    It is incredibly important to understand the societal, economic, technological and other trends that are happening. Use them to help predict your market, to predict customer behaviours and expectations, to look for opportunities.

    Where to look for trends:

    Startups can learn a lot from FarmsReach.

    Knowledgeworx – Junior Developer – Microsoft/.NET

    Toronto, ON

    Hi – I’m Brent Ashley, independent DemoCamp sponsor and Ajax Pub Nite host.  I am a Senior Developer and one of the founding partners at Knowledgeworx.

    Knowledgeworx (http://www.kwx.ca) is a leading provider of wireless
    infrastructure services, technology asset management and networked device monitoring to the retail sector.  Our products and services are built with Microsoft Sharepoint and custom C#/.NET/MSSQL code combined with a rich and powerful back end toolset consisting of Linux/BSD, Nagios, Mysql, Apache, FreeRadius, PostgreSQL and many other Open Source elements.

    We are looking to employ two junior developers, one with a Microsoft/.NET focus, one with a Linux/OpenSource focus.  We are a small shop so there will be lots of opportunity for overlap and cross-learning.

    For the Microsoft focused position, we want someone with knowledge and experience with as many of these elements as possible:

    • C# and the .NET 2.0 framework
    • WSS / MOSS
    • MSSQL
    • building Web Services (client and server)
    • CSS/Design
    • Javascript/Ajax

    Our ideal candidates will have a passion for technology, demonstrated participation in the technology community, and a voracious capacity to learn and grow.  You will be eager to work with our intermediate and senior staff who have years of experience and in-depth knowledge to share.

    We are currently accepting resumes via email to careers@kwx.ca

    Ornge – Web Content Officer

    Toronto, ON

    Ornge is Canada’s leading innovator in the emerging field of transport medicine. As a progressive, dynamic organization, our vision is to have a fully integrated and comprehensive organization led by pioneers in transport medicine at the forefront of patient care. We are interested in people who are committed to the Ornge values of compassion, collaboration and innovation.

    REPORTS TO: Director, Corporate Communications

    The Corporate Communications Department of Ornge has a vacancy for a Web Content Officer.

    Postion Summary

    The Web Content Officer is responsible for the overall management and editorial content of the company’s website and the internal staff intranet. This function includes writing, editing and refreshing content, including department updates, communiqués not limited to patient stories for the website. The incumbent’s innovative and creative use of the web will be required to effectively communicate with the target visitor. He/she will work collaboratively with team members providing technical support and editorial quality to the site through resources and content to Ornge. Knowledge of Ornge’s mission and values and the ability to communicate it through digital media to staff and visitors is a priority. Cross-functional activities will be required from time to time, including supporting internal communications, stakeholder relations, media relations etc.

    Key Responsibilities

    • Working closely with the Director, Corporate Communications develop and implement an integrated web strategy that serves Ornge’s business objectives.
    • Editorial duties as assigned, including but not limited to research, writing and proofreading articles for website publication.
    • Work closely with subject matter experts to determine web content requirements for various projects and implement solutions to meet those needs.
    • Utilization of available web analytics and search engine optimization techniques to manage and clean content on websites and implement overall improvements to presentation and copy on websites.
    • Understanding of health protection legislation / medical transport system / healthcare an asset.

    Qualifications

    • University degree or equivalent experience in communications or related field (English, Journalism)
    • 3 -5 years experience in website management, effective and innovative use of the web to actively communicate and develop interactive features.
    • Superior writing and editing skills with an emphasis on web content, exceptional attention to detail.
    • Exceptional English language skills.
    • Proven project management skills, decision making, analytical and organizational skills.
    • Expert knowledge of web usability best practices.
    • Working knowledge of SharePoint, MS Office; Web Content Management software.
    • Creative thinker with the ability to work independently and collaboratively with cross-functional teams.
    • Advanced knowledge of Adobe Photoshop or similar design software for mocking up web pages and creating web graphics.
    • Excellent interpersonal, communication, planning and problem-solving skills with strong priority setting capabilities.
    • Ability to manage multiple tasks within tight deadlines.

    How to apply

    Qualified candidates are invited to forward their cover letter and resume by email in MS Word format to hr@ornge.ca or by fax to 647-428-2164 (attention Human Resources) no later than March 7, 2009 quoting Ref. # 9008.

    We thank all applicants for their interest; however only those selected for interviews will be contacted.  No phone calls please.