The team at VisionMobile have updated their Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond research report with an infographic that describes the decisions a mobile develop makes from app design and platform selection to go to market and monetization.
Windows Phone 7 Design Resources
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.
- Expression Studio 4
- Blend 4 for Windows Phone
- Visual Studio 2010 & Developer Tools
- GIT Extensions for Visual Studio
- Using SketchFlow to Prototype for Windows Phone
- Prototyping RIAs in Silverlight with Expression SketchFlow
- Windows Phone 7 Developer Training Kit
- Expression Blend for WP7
- Windows Phone 7 Designing, Building & Deploying Tutorials (12 step tutorial)
UX Guidelines & Tools
- UX Guidelines for WP7
- Windows Phone 7 Design Template (CS4 PSD)
- Clarity Consulting’s WP7 Design Blog
- Building a Windows Phone Panorama Control
- Panoramic Navigation on Windows Phone 7 with No Code
- Panorama and Pivot controls for Windows Phone 7
- WP7 Panorama Sample code
A Major Milestone
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.
- 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.
- 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.
Rogers Wireless – Mobile Interaction Designer
Rogers Wireless, Canada’s largest wireless carrier, is looking for a passionate mobile interaction designer to join our User Experience team, to be based in Toronto, Ontario.
This individual will be responsible for the concept, design and execution of intuitive, highly usable, engaging user interfaces for all mobile devices and applications in Rogers Product Portfolio.
The ideal candidate will possess excellent user interface design skills, a strong understanding of human interface design, and a natural ability to understand users’ needs. Previous experience in application and/ or web design is essential, while experience in mobile device design is highly desired. A gifted eye for aesthetics and attention to detail are a must.
This individual is an analytic problem solver who can take user research, user & business requirements and translate them into user interface designs that are highly usable and engaging. Throughout the new product development process, this individual will be called upon to produce mock-ups, wireframes, storyboards, screen flows and prototypes (paper and/or interactive). As the successful candidate will design and produce all final graphical assets that will appear in Rogers mobile devices and applications, experience in icon design is essential.
This individual will also help to author, implement and test detailed user interface specifications and will be involved in roadmap planning & coordination, user interface concept development and technical specification development for vendor use.
The successful candidate will have strong organizational and problem solving skills, excellent communication skills both written and oral, and solid relationship building skills. The deployment of new products is the result of a team effort, so the ability to work in a team environment is required.
- Conceive, design and produce iconography and graphical UI elements for all mobile devices, applications and services.
- Develop a visual evolution roadmap for all iconography and graphical UI elements.
- Design user interfaces for mobile devices, services and applications in the Rogers Product Portfolio.
- Communicate, test and validate this UI designs by producing mock-ups, wireframes, storyboards, screen flows and prototypes (paper and/or interactive).
- Assist in ensuring new devices and applications are properly architected from end-to-end based on user experience guidelines.
- Act as Subject Matter Expert (SME) for User Interface and User Experience
- Testing and evaluation of new devices and applications.
- Assist in evaluation of new and existing vendors ability to comply with UI/UE requirements
- Providing user interface guidance to device OEMs and internal product managers for application development.
- Participate / co-ordinate conference calls between device manufacturers and third party vendors for product development.
- Provide support and assistance to New Product Development team members for all new product launches.
- Other day-to-day activities and/or projects as outlined by the manager.
- Post-secondary education (preferably in graphic design, interaction design, multimedia design, industrial design or a related field).
- 2-3 years of user interface design experience focusing on mobile (highly desired) web, or software applications.
- An outstanding portfolio of work demonstrating the successful delivery of innovative, easy-to-use, visually stunning interface design solutions.
- Exceptional understanding of fundamental design disciplines (typography, composition, color and animation) and principals (affordance, clustering, progressive disclosure, consistency, etc…)
- Ability to work effectively and independently on multiple simultaneous tasks within a fast pace environment.
- Proficiency in graphic design tools, including Photoshop and Illustrator.
- Proficiency in visual prototyping and wireframing tools, such as Visio, Illustrator and Flash.
- Proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Excel)
- Excellent oral & written communication abilities.
- Strong problem solving skills, detail oriented, with the ability to manage multiple tasks, deadlines and priorities.
- Highly motivated individual with superior organizational and analytical skills.
- Knowledge of overall wireless industry – GSM/GPRS/EDGE/HSDPA, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc…
- Willingness to work flexible hours to meet changing deadlines.
Applications can be email to Markus Grupp, Manager – User Experience on Markus.Grupp at rci.rogers.com.
Improving the mobile browser
The latest set of announcements at PDC have focused on improving the end user and developer user experiences. Windows 7 is a continued evolution of the desktop user experience. Internet Explorer 8 is a web standards compliant browser.
There is a gaping hole in the browser on Windows Mobile.
Why does a browser on mobile matter? Look at the Rogers market share this past quarter as a result of the iPhone. Is it phone bling? Definitely. But it is also a device that has a desktop class web browser.
Skyfire announced their open beta today. It boasts an impressive set of features including:
- New Super Bar that combines search and URL entry into one bar
- Skyfire can now be set as the default browser
- New search bar on the Homescreen
- New start page redesign
- Faster start-up and page loading times
- Share a link via SMS
- Invite friends to download Skyfire via SMS
- Save an image
- Download files
And the best part is that Skyfire also supports Flash video on Windows Mobile. The web is the primary distribution channel for content, wether your on a mobile phone, a custom application or dedicated device. The richness of the experience can be improved (see LukeW’s summary of Mix07 Beyond the Browser). And it’s great to see a desktop class browsing experience come to Windows Mobile.