Embracing Apple Watch Limitations

Bobby Emamian with good advice when designing for Apple Watch:

For all of its sleek design and media hype, the first incarnation of the Apple Watch is simply less impressive than many of us might have hoped. Although watchOS 2 shows promise for the future by offering increased power, functionality, and options, the current version on the market imposes many constraints. In our time exploring the watch, we uncovered four limitations every app designer and developer should know about. Being aware of these limitations — and how to work around them — is critical when beginning a foray into designing the next great watch app.

As designers we should already know how important it is to embrace limitations, but it’s always good to be reminded. 


Product, Technology

‘Shad the Season

Shkreli fraud arrest incites schadenfreude fest:

December is a festive month for most cultures around the globe, but yesterday was an especially jolly day on Twitter. People were mirthful and friendly and humorous, and all it took for them to bond together into such a united whole was the arrest of a despised pharmaceutical CEO by the name of Martin Shkreli.

I sometimes wish we could write headlines as caustic as this tweet. It gets right to the point: Shkreli is disliked because, firstly, his company cranked up the price of an HIV-treating drug by 5,500 percent (“price gouging”), and secondly, he’s remained completely unrepentant about it (“fuck-tard”). As to attention whoring, Shkreli has a habit of posting multi-hour live streams of himself doing not much at all, plus he splashed out $2 million to buy the only copy of Wu-Tang’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin album.

You see that? No, you don’t, but I’m doing a little dance over here. 

Now Bill Murray, go get that Wu Tang album back

Marketing Design Vs. Product Design

Meagan Fisher on the difference between marketing design and product design:

The majority of my recent work leading up to SproutVideo has been in marketing design. These projects are so fun because their aim is to communicate the value of the product in a compelling and memorable way. In order to achieve this goal, I spent a lot of time thinking about content strategy, responsive design, and how to create striking visuals that tell a story. These are all pursuits I love.

Product design is a different beast. When designing a homepage, I can employ powerful imagery, wild gradients, and somewhat-quirky fonts. When I began redesigning the SproutVideo product, I wanted to draw on all the beautiful assets I’ve created for our marketing materials, but big gradients, textures, and display fonts made no sense in this new context.

That’s because the product isn’t about us, and it isn’t about telling our story. Product design is about getting out of the way so people can do their job. The visual design is there to create a pleasant atmosphere for people to work in, and to help support the user experience. Learning to take “us” out of the equation took some work after years of creating gorgeous imagery and content for the sales-driven side of businesses.

‘Getting out of the way’ is a skill all designers should learn to use (when appropriate).

Fun With UK Copyright Laws

Copyright legislation will destroy design publishing says Charlotte Fiell:

New legislation regarding the use of images of “works of artistic craftsmanship” is being introduced next year as part of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act.

The legal reform will extend copyright protection on mass-produced artistic works from 25 years to the length of the author’s life, plus 70 years – the same as books and music.

While the main intention of the law is to protect mass-produced products from copycats, it could also mean 2D images of designed objects will be subject to the same copyright rules as 3D copies. This would mean publishers will be forced to pay licensing fees for images of designed objects.

“What we’ve got here is an unintended consequence of probably well-meaning legislation, but it could have a disastrous effect on design teaching and general debates about design too,” Fiell told Dezeen.

What about a carve-out clause:

“There’s a simple fix, which is to have what’s known as a carve-out clause that says yes this governs 2D copies or representations, but not if they’re used in publications or for review purposes,” she added.

According to the consultation document, the government will make no distinction between a 3D or 2D copy.






Uber is going back to court next summer:

Next summer, a federal court in California will hear arguments in a lawsuit that could change Uber forever. The lawsuit challenges the way Uber and other so-called transportation network companies classify their drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. But if that case goes poorly for Uber, the ride-hailing company already has a fallback plan: the states.

State governments in Ohio and Florida are considering bills that would statutorily define Uber drivers as independent contractors and not employees entitled to certain benefits and protections, like medical insurance and wage guarantees. They join three other states — Arkansas, North Carolina, and Indiana — that have successfully passed bills classifying drivers for transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft as contractors, according to Reuters.

Uber just received another round of funding that could value it at over $64.6 billion, but they’ll not interested in having any of their actual drivers as employees, just the people behind computers in Silicon Valley.

Sounds greedy as shit to me.


Business, Career


Kickstarter Project Investigation

Kickstarter hires investigative journalist to dig into one of its biggest failures:

In November, the company behind Europe’s biggest ever Kickstarter project told its backers it was shutting down. The Torquing Group had raised more than £2.3 million ($3.6 million) to fund its palm-sized Zano drone, but after delivering only around 600 of the 15,363 units paid for, the company went into liquidation. Now, with frustrated backers still smarting from their loss, Kickstarter wants to find out what went wrong. The company has hired technology journalist Mark Harris “to write a story about the collapse of the Zano drone project on Kickstarter.”

As it was reported recently, about 9 percent of Kickstarter projects fail, but when they do fail, they fail BIG, it seems.



Who You Gonna Call?

RZA is tempted to steal back the $2 million Wu-Tang album:

Pretty much everyone was sad to learn this week that the only copy of the Wu-Tang Clan’s new album was sold to Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old pharmaceutical executive who made millions by raising the price of a life-saving anti-parasitic drug by 4,000 percent. Bloomberg broke the news that Shkreli had bought Once Upon a Time in Shaolin for around $2 million, and RZA wasn’t very happy about it, telling the outlet that no one in the Clan was aware of Shkreli’s reputation before closing the deal and noting that a “significant portion” of the proceeds were donated to charity.

But the internet had a glimmer of hope that the tragedy could be reversed, after Twitter user Rob Wesley posted what seemed like a hilarious clause in the contract. “The buying party also agrees that, at any time during the stipulated 88 year period, the seller may legally plan and attempt to execute one (1) heist or caper to steal back Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, which, if successful, would return all ownership rights to the seller,” the alleged clause reads. “Said heist or caper can only be undertaken by currently active members of the Wu-Tang Clan and/or actor Bill Murray, with no legal repercussions.”

Bobby Digital, call Bill.



Money for Words

Noah Davis on what writers make in 2015:

In my own work, I’ve seen my average rate for my writing, which
includes print and digital combined, jump from thirty-seven cents per
word during the first half of 2013 to fifty cents per word in the
first six months of 2014, and fifty-three cents per word so far this
year. While that increase is partially due to my slowly rising
standing in the freelance writing ecosystem, a lot of it stems
directly from writing for flush sites. In general, each new digital
outlet I write for pays better than the previous ones; there’s money
out there if you know where to look.

Being an artist—painter, writer, musician—is hard.






Last week Dropbox announced is was shutting down two of it’s services, Mailbox and Carousel.

There’s been some bitching and moaning about these moves, but it doesn’t bother me. I use Carousel almost daily, mainly to back up my photos to my Dropbox account (For a few years now I’ve been paying $99/year for 1 terabyte of storage).

When I have to hunt for a photo, I find the timeline scrubber navigation super-useful. Carousel should have been kept as a feature within the Dropbox app from the beginning. I hope this is on their to-do list for the next big update to the iOS app.

As for Mailbox, I’ve heard good things about it, but I don’t see it contributing to Dropbox’s business goals so having it go away makes sense. As Golden Krishna pointed out on Twitter, Mailbox introduced us to the UI paradigm of swiping left and right, which is now a part of the native Mail app on iOS 9 (and 8?).




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Reality Editor

The Reality Editor is a new kind of tool for empowering you to connect and manipulate the functionality of physical objects. Just point the camera of your smartphone at an object and its invisible capabilities will become visible for you to edit. Drag a virtual line from one object to another and create a new relationship between these objects. With this simplicity, you are able to master the entire scope of connected objects.


via Fast Company

3D Touch

Interesting to see how iOS apps are taking advantage of 3D Touch:

Flickr may have my favorite twist on 3D Touch so far, with a slight change to how peek works. When you’re previewing a photo in your camera roll, Flickr lets you scrub from side to side to quickly see more pictures. It’s a small change, but as soon as you try it, you wonder why Apple didn’t figure this out in the first place — it ought to be in the iPhone’s camera roll, and maybe even everywhere there’s a gallery of photos. Unfortunately, Flickr has only implemented this so far for your own overall camera roll; it doesn’t work inside of albums or for other users, and it totally should. (Flickr does, however, let you do a standard peek at most profiles, photos, albums, and notifications.)

I’m looking forward to getting an iPhone 7 next year.


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