Posts Tagged ‘Design’

Do Gesture-Based Mobile Apps Represent a New “Attention Risk”?

May 31st, 2010 No comments

This quick post is about a question from a project design meeting for a new mobile application. The application will have a gesture-based graphical interface, initially targeted for iPhone and later on for Android and other platforms. At issue is the question of whether use of screen gestures while driving represent a new driver attention risk.

My first thought was “Anything that takes concentration off of the road is an attention risk, similar to texting or holding a phone instead of using a hands-free system.”

A compelling counter-argument in the discussion was that the device would be mounted within easy reach of the operator, in a fixed location, and these are “large gestures” that do not require any screen attention or reading. Doing a gesture on a touch screen device like this is no different in terms of attention for the driver than reaching to turn on windshield wipers or to adjust a radio on the dashboard.

In thinking about this while driving this afternoon, I’ve shifted to agree with the counter-argument, and think that gesture interfaces, as long as they don’t take careful examination or reading of a screen shouldn’t be a new risk.

What do you think about this question? Under what circumstances would using gesture-based commands with a mobile app represent a new driver concentration risk, and under what circumstances are this sort of interaction benign?

Three Simple Steps to see if Your 3D Virtual World Scene is a Low-Performance Computer Killer

April 28th, 2010 No comments

Have you checked your 3D  virtual world scenes on a really low powered machine like a netbook? If not, you may be in for a surprise. Users with low performance machines like netbooks may find a huge performance penalty when they visit your virtual space. In other words… things may look just fine and performance may be “totally ducky” on your machine, yet with a low performance machine your space may be close to unusable.

Isn’t There a Simple “Follow This Rule” Design Guide?

It would be nice if there were simple “follow this rule” guidance that would make design for low performance machines easy. Unfortunately every simple rule I have seen is either incorrect, incomplete, or creates unnecessary compromises.

In other words, simple rules don’t really work well in creating performance optimized builds for a wide range of hardware. Because of the number of variables, testing is the only reasonable way to be sure your build works well with lower performance machines.  When there is a build-induced performance issue, the cause is often that one aspect of the scene exceeds the complexity and performance levels low performance machine graphics systems.

A Recent Example of a Surprising Answer

I recently diagnosed a problem in a well known virtual world environment where even mid-level computers were showing 25-50% frame rate reductions, and netbooks showed extreme performance problems with no other avatars present. We found that the grass surrounding the stage was constructed in a way that caused particular problems for low performance computers.

Removing the grasss and replacing it with a different ground cover improved the frame rate on mid-level computers by 25-50% and a netbook by over 100%, all by replacing ONE graphical element in the scene! This illustrates that a single element can have a surprising and large impact on user experience.

A Simple Three Step Test Read more…

2009-09-15 We Are The Network: Virtual Space Planning for Business and Education Uses

September 13th, 2009 No comments

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)WeAreTheNetwork-istock-titled.001.150x88

This Tuesday,  Sept 15, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life
Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

What are the most effective virtual space designs for business and educational uses? In virtual spaces anything can be built, and structures do not have to obey the laws of physics.  For some reason, virtual world newcomers almost universally assume that the “right” answer is to model traditional physical spaces  such as offices, classrooms, conference rooms, auditorium spaces, with real life proportions and the standard accessories found in our daily lives.

Experience has shown that copying physical space design is often an ineffective solution, when compared to a design that takes full advantage of virtual world possibilities. What are best of breed answers for these challenges?  As an emerging body of understanding, we may be in the best position to start to articulate real answers to the question “How should I design a space for business or education use?”, so let’s give it a try!

In this session we will discuss best practices for space design for business and education uses, including private discussions, small meetings, large meetings, presentations and lectures, and interactive education. I won’t be surprised if this topic becomes another of our “oops, we’d better split this into a few sessions” discussions, as there is a lot of ground to cover.

Please add comments to this blog post with names of Second Life locations, or even better SLURLs that you know of as example solutions for business and education space designs, so that we can discuss them and maybe do a field trip during the session.

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon SL, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

Best regards,


Reading links below – have fun and see you soon!

Read more…

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