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  1. If you’re anything like me and own more than one computer that you check your email on, you might have the same inbox open on two machines. If and when you do, Gmail pops this alert up in your footer. This might just be a nice-to-have to most, but it’s especially important for security reasons. 

    Say you go to the library and forget to sign out of Gmail. You come home and see this alert. You can click on “Details” and sign out from all other sessions.

     

  2. Doing your homework is important. Even more so if you’re setting out to design a mobile application. As much as I encourage innovation, I am also a big fan of gradual transition i.e., following some universal standards before making your own.

    Designing a mobile application on the iPhone and making sure it works the same way on an Android isn’t as important as designing an app for the iPhone and making sure it fits with all the other apps on the iPhone. Chances are, your end-user isn’t going to be someone who uses an iPhone AND an Android. Yes, there are people out there like that, but the majority of the users stick to one OS. Design for the majority.

    Let’s look at the photo attached. The first photo on the hard left is of the native iPhone text messaging interface. The text circled in red is mine. i.e., I sent that text. I’ve been using my iPhone for a little over a year. When I look at text bound in a green speech bubble, I have been taught to recognize it as something I sent. What’s App and Kik Messenger, as you can see, have followed suit. They realize that iPhone users have been trained to recognize the two colors - green and white as messages sent and received respectively. They did their homework and it paid off. I don’t even feel the difference when I use their interface because it’s so similar to the native interface. They make me not think. I love it.

    Now look at Ping Chat and Words With Friends. They haven’t just picked different colors. The designers behind these messaging interfaces have taken the same hues (green and white) and reversed them. #doublefacepalm. So they’ve completely flipped the switch on this to confuse me more than I need to be. Why they would’ve done that, I don’t know. All I know is that I don’t appreciate it.

    Ever heard of the KISS principle? Keep It Simple, Stupid!

     

  3. "Make the world easier to use" is a pretty powerful statement, but if anybody can make it, it’s foursquare. 

    Formerly Dodgeball, which was acquired by Google in 2005 and later rendered a dead project, co-founder Dennis Crowley started this little baby from scratch. And it’s come a long looooong way. From just being a check-in service that didn’t care how far you were to check you in, Foursquare has partnered up with major brands like Louis Vuitton to deliver deals to the customer to their cell phone and big names like the Museum of National History to spread nuggets of historical information around the user’s GPS location.

    I too, formerly thought it to be a somewhat stalkerish app. But I’ve long since dropped that idea. It’s about sharing experiences and unless you choose to do so, the app actually doesn’t publish your information to the public.

    The new website looks very chic! The home page (so for new users) looks a lot more inviting than it did before, though I do miss the constant update of people becoming mayors of places (might be a privacy related concern) that used to grace the home page.

    The internal workings i.e., profile page is pretty similar to before. The top navigation bar is slightly thinner and sleeker looking and there are less lines staring at you and a lot more white space. Which seems like the way to go nowadays. Google Docs, 4sq, we’ll have to see who’s next.

    One thing I’m not a fan of is the rounded-corners profile picture of the user on the top right corner. Kinda out of place and really not flattering.

    What I love is the front page and the graphics on it. Oh, the graphics! They rotate and they twirl and they shine and they mesmerize. I especially love the carefully chosen words and how the five panes tell a story of what you can achieve if you harness the power of Foursquare.

    Dennis says he eventually sees Foursquare being able to tell him the must-see places to go to and visit if he ever travels somewhere new based on where his friends have checked in and what kind of places he frequents. I think that’s a wonderful future to look forward to.

    Hi Huda, welcome to Paris! Might we suggest you visit “The Louvre”

    OK, that was a little obvious, but you get what I mean - it has the potential to be Siri, only smarter and a lot less talkative

    Sam Brown is a user-interface designer at Foursquare. Read his blog post about the redesign here.

     

  4. American Express. Their cards look slick and they seem to have all sorts of point collection schemes. I recently got one. Their customer service is beyond terrible. BUT one part of their website is actually very awesome. It’s where they ask you to register your card. See how nicely everything’s laid out? So simple my grandmother could figure out.

    Bless the UX Designer behind this.

     

  5. For all of you who’ve upgraded your iPhone to the shiny new iOS 5, you’ve seen this in action already. For those of you with Android phones are no strangers to this new, very important feature on Apple’s most popular product.

    In the past, new notifications always came in the form of a pop-up on the iPhone screen. So say you got a Twitter message, a text message and a Facebook message, there was no way to view them all in a list of any sort. You’d have to hit “Close” on each pop-up to get to the next in line. Inefficient. Yep. But Apple has learned. Now, all your notifications are gathered in a neat little bar on the top of your screen. Swiping down shows you all your notifications neatly grouped together complete with the DOW index and your local weather.

    It works exactly like the Android, in fact the subtle little things like the “collapse handle” at the bottom of the notifications screen looks the same too.

    As always though, Apple’s managed to make a feature that’s been around for so long look so much nicer (and hence more useful in my opinion) than its competing Operating System.