Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Great UX boost brand loyalty -November 29th.

By Magnus Ingelsten

Consumer experiences are what make a difference, whether it’s is going to a restaurant, on holiday, driving a car, using your home media centre or your new tablet. It’s long been proven by Apple’s products and understood by also many restaurants. Steve Jobs once said “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” So we cannot assume that users will look past a poor user experience to see the quality beneath. Because they will certainly not.

UX includes the whole journey. It covers everything from the new product demo, how you enjoe the feel of the box, how you open it, the user documentation, the device in your hand, sensing the keys and the ease in which you switch it on & set it up. The user interface must be easy, logical, automatically localized and personalized. The visual impact must be compelling, attractive and so much fun that you don’t want to stop playing with the device.

Why and how has this trend become the single most important competitive factor? Can we blame Apple? Since their first Macintosh debuted 1984 based on its Natural User Interface (NUI), their devices have been selling on user experience, which includes industrial design and problem-free usage. In almost every product category where Jobs led Apple he upset the status quo. Before the iMac, people accepted that computers came in beige or grey, arrived in multiple pieces and took hours to set-up. Jobs’ product integrated everything into a single device. Set-up was so simple that users only had to plug in the power cord to a single unit which people were proud to display at their homes.

The iPhone swept away design conventions by being the first to omit all but one of the physical buttons from the face of the phone, abstracting the interface elements into a software UI. Crucially, Jobs team emphasized on delivering the best user experience for music, video, web browsing and email, allowing them to scrap the legacy rulebook created for standard voice phones. Yes, it was such a revoulution that the market for other MP3 players/media players was instantly gone. Almost.

And since 2008 there has been a 100% increase on Google Trends for "the User experience industry."

This has been fully recognised since a few years by us at Teleca and we can help you by applying creativity, experience, consumer behaviour and full execution of UX and UI projects. Anything on your mind? Our UX design teams will take on your challenge.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Qt Developer Days in Munich -Nov.15

By Toni Nikkanen

Qt Developer Days, hosted by Nokia Qt Development Frameworks 24.-26th of October 2011 in Munich, Germany, was an event packed with developers, exhibitors and expectations.

The Tuesday morning keynote session was hosted by Alexandra Leisse, Qt's Web Community Manager. The first keynote speaker was Marco Argenti, Nokia's SVP of Developer Experience. His main message was that despite the strategic shift to Windows Phone, Qt continues to be important for Nokia and Nokia developers: over 100 million Qt phones have been shipped (Symbian, N9) with millions more still going to ship, and 90M apps are downloaded from the Nokia Store every day. What I would have liked to hear is how much money developers are making with Qt apps on Nokia Store right now.

"Qt for the next billion" was given as the reason why Qt will continue to matter for Nokia in the future: Nokia will make affordable phones that will have apps, and Qt is at the centre of this plan. Unfortunately this was not further elaborated. For the credibility of Qt, Nokia should communicate their future Qt plans more clearly. With Qt 4.8 being the last version of Qt for Symbian, some people even asked does this mean Qt 5 will be irrelevant for the mobile device sector? The answer was that Qt 5 will be very important for Nokia's mobile device plans, but they simply can't speak openly about it for now. My guess is that the planned release schedule (first half of 2012) for Qt 5 will coincide with product releases from Nokia.

Argenti also said Nokia has finally addressed the lack of Qt on Windows Phones, having released porting guides both from Qt to Windows Phone, but also from Windows Phone to Qt.

The major next steps for Qt will be the 1H 2012 release of Qt 5, and the move to Open Governance. Qt 5 will introduce several new features and improvements, such as increased modularity, small footprint, major upgrade of Qt Quick to version 2.0 with 10 major new features, an all-new graphics stack, and moving all platforms to use the QPA (Qt Platform Abstraction) system. On platforms with OpenGL (ES) support, the new graphics stack will perform about 2.5x fast as Qt 4.x, which could enable apps written using Qt to perform well on less powerful devices than currently possible. Open Governance means Qt is now developed entirely in the open, with collaboration and contributions welcomed.
Picture: Jari Saarhelo at Teleca being interviewed on NFC solutions.

After the keynotes it was time to head for the technical sessions. I gained lots of useful information on topics such as optimizing Qt Quick apps, Qt Quick 3D, persistent object storage for Qt Quick, and Qt on Android. It was intriguing to see how far the Qt for Android project has gotten to and that it is actually quite easy to make and sell a Qt app on the Android Market. And I was glad to find out how little rocket science or college math you need to remember in order to take advantage of 3D graphics using Qt Quick 3D.

I also browsed through the exhibitions and noted that while a lot of the exhibitors were Nokia subcontractors or partners, there were also many companies that have no other tie to Nokia other than that they use Qt, or offer services related to Qt. Qt wasn't an all-Nokia show before Nokia's acquisition of Trolltech in 2008, and today it still isn't. Qt always was, and still is, first and foremost a high-quality cross-platform application development framework with Nokia platforms being just one out of many possible platforms you can target with it.