As a result of losing the direct viewing of Instagram photos Twitter went swiftly ahead in releasing a photo filtering service. The service will be very familiar to Instagram users who will still be able to share their filtered photos but they will appear as a simple link rather than a rich media preview of the photo, which is just bad user experience.
Mike Krieger wants companies to think about whether they’re getting the design right or if they have the right design. He fleshes his theory out by providing eight basic principles that will help build products that users really want: understanding, observing, synthesizing, ideating, prototyping, and iterating. Read more here.
Mobile devices are a key player in the growth of Social Media with consumers, in fact it allowed for 63 percent of the year-over-year growth in users accessing social media through mobile apps and mobile websites. Forty-six percent of social media users say they use their smartphone to access social media, and 16 percent say they use social media on a tablet. See the full report here.
Cyber Monday was a big success with shoppers taking in 8.5 million page views per minute and online sales that jumped 30.3% over 2011. Mobile access to deals presented some issues, including app performance issues within retail stores. There were also some worthy attempts at reaching mobile users, like Macy’s apps offering “unpublished” deals to shoppers who are physically within their stores. Hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot of growth in this area of mobile development within the next year.
These are some of the findings from the latest report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project:
- The number of cell owners who have used their phones to take a picture has grown from 76% in 2010 to 82% now.
- The number of cell owners who have used their phones for texting has grown from 58% in 2007 to 80% now.
- The number of cell owners who have used their phones to access the Internet has grown from 25% in 2008 to 56% now.
- The number of cell owners who have used their phones for email has grown from 19% in 2007 to 50% now.
- The number of cell owners who have used their phones to record video has grown from 18% in 2007 to 44% now.
- The number of cell owners who have used their phones to download apps has grown from 22% in 2009 to 43% now.
- The number of cell owners who have used their phones to get health information has grown from 17% in 2010 to 31% now.
- The number of cell owners who have used their phones to check their bank accounts has grown from 18% last year to 29% now
Today’s news of Black Friday madness is making the “holiday” even more unappealing to the average shopper. From long lines to outright violence shoppers are looking to the Internet for comparable deals and an overall better (and safer) shopping experience. This New York Times story discusses how retailers are using mobile applications, like interactive store maps and real-time parking availability apps, to enhance the physical shopping experience for deal hunters.
Have you ever been at a store and pulled out your smartphones to check out reviews before you purchase an item? Apparently this is just scratching the surface of what mobile enabled shopping is headed towards. This article and infographic give us a sneak peak into the role that mobile will play in the new holiday shopping ritual, Cyber Monday. It seems most mobile purchases are made from iPads, which is reasonable since they are better vehicles for digital shoppers to visit full screen websites.
Navigating public transportation systems has always been a challenge even for the savviest of patrons. Mobile technology should be able to provide real-time transit information to help city residents and visitors get to their destinations faster and more efficiently. This Read Write Web article shows us some of the ways in which mobile transit apps are still far behind in efficiency and user-friendliness.
This Ars Tecnica piece tackles what makes a good Android tablet app. From wasted space to too-small text size the review takes on big mobile players like Twitter, Spotify and Dropbox. The author points out that the iPad apps for these services rank high in style and usability and attributes this to Android’s market share and fragmentation.
Ars Technica has produced a comprehensive review of Apple’s latest product, the iPad Mini.
- Size, weight, and shape are all great. It’s what the full-sized iPad can’t be
- Screen size is technically smaller than the iPad, but real world use doesn’t make it feel that way
- Good battery life means I’m not having panic attacks when I’m not near a wall plug
- Gamers who are unimpressed with the iPad 2’s performance will remain unimpressed with the iPad mini
- May feel more cramped when typing on-screen in landscape mode
- The pixels! The jagged text! The iPad mini needs a retina display option
The National Journal briefs us on how both campaigns are using mobile apps to reach voters and also collect turnout data. Considering the unprecedented adoption of mobile apps since the last election, these efforts might create new strategies for political campaigning. We’ll have to wait and see how each campaign and party uses the data to their advantage.
Don’t forget to vote!
In lieu of this week’s market introduction of three Nexus products -a phone and two tablets- the NYT has interviewed John Lagerling, director of business development for Android, to talk about the company’s strategy with the Nexus brand. The interview addresses several topics like the lower price, the role of Motorola in the production of the hardware and Google Play.
Mobile data provides companies unfettered access to potential customers needs, interests and geography. Google, purveyors of the Android environment, is slated to earn $8 billion from mobile sales while Pandora’s -the music streaming company- mobile sales add to 58 percent of their earnings. Read more about what advertisers are doing to get on the bandwagon in the New York Times article.
At first glance it seems that this short guide is chock-full of obvious advice e.g. put your address in a prominent place. Duh! But you would be surprised how many small companies forgo a lot of this seemingly obvious advice. Here are the tips-in-brief:
-If you depend on local customers for your business, make sure they can find you.
-Make sure it’s clear where you’re located and what services you offer so you’ll show up in search engines. Do the same thing on your social media profiles and pages.
-Get your business on Foursquare and encourage happy customers to write a review on Yelp.
Yes, Yahoo! has made their first acquisition under Marissa Mayer’s watch. Stamped is a one-year old, New York based startup that allows users to keep track of and share the things they like with their friends as well as tap into their friends’ recommendations and those of well-known tastemakers. It seems though that the main motivation behind the purchase was the talent behind the company, which consists of five ex-Google employees. In their Q3 earnings call Mayer said that Yahoo! very much needed more mobile engineers as it transitioned to a “mobile-first” company.
Foursquare, the location-based social networking service, is now an open local search tool with a redesigned desktop home page that allows non-members to search for local listings and get recommendations on nearby restaurants, bars and businesses. They have partnered with OpenTable so users can easily make reservations and share reviews. We’ll see how this expands their current audience and how they decide to distinguish themselves from already established products like Google and Yelp.
Publishers have been sluggish in responding to the market need for portable content that’s responsive and truly engages with their audience. There are basically two main directions they can go when developing a strategy, Mobile or Native. This article nicely summarizes the benefits and drawbacks of both approaches when devising a mobile content strategy.
Alongside the impressive technological advances of the last two decades, software patents started to be used as destructive weapons, stifling competition. A Stanford University analysis found that almost $20 billion was spent on smartphone patent litigation and patent purchases in the last two years. In fact, according to SEC public filings, Apple and Google spent more on patent related expenses than on research and development of new products.
The New York Times recently explored the inadequacies of the US Patent system in our current digital marketplace and today they asked six thought leaders in the legal and tech industry to weigh in on the influence of intellectual property over innovation.
This semi-annual survey of over 7700 teens found that Apple has a lot to gain from the loyalty of its younger customers. The release of these survey results come at a great time for Apple, whose shares rose 1.1 percent to $642.80 today after it fell from a peak of $700 last month.
In spite of Mark Zuckerberg’s comments that HTML5 is not yet ready for prime time, the New York Times has released a mobile version for the iPad using the markup language. If this version of their site gains a strong following the company could circumvent the 30% cut Apple gets from all ll iPhone/iPad subscriptions.
The Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard has written a comprehensive review of the App.
Did you know that the US Federal government has launched over one hundred Apps and mobile-friendly websites in the past few years? Thought so.
Nextgov has asked three app developers and experts to review several of the most popular Apps. The reviews are brief, but offer great insight into what makes an App worth using. This will be a monthly feature on Nextgov so stay tuned.
The feds should take note of this and release App development documentation reports in their usability portal.
Insightful study from the University Of Huddersfield (UK) about how mobile access to information affects information literacy. Mobile searcher behavior and needs is an emerging field of study in the information field, one that we’ll be tackling for years to come.
Libraries are increasingly developing services that take into account the massive effect of mobile devices upon our users. But what does this increase in use of mobile devices and related services mean for information literacy? Some databases and library catalogues are delivered in mobile friendly formats, or cross platform search tools (such as Summon at University of Huddersfield). More of our users have the equipment to take advantage of these services each year, with mobile access to the internet soon expected to overtake fixed access. When a library user is as likely to search for information on a mobile phone, tablet or handheld gaming device as on a fixed PC or in the physical library, will that change the concept of what it means to be information literate? How does mobile search change the discovery, evaluation and re-use of information? We should consider how the concept of information literacy may be affected in this pervasive mobile context and whether we need to develop a new lens through which to view the literacies required by our clientele. This paper will first consider the mobile context for information literacy. Then the presenters will compare and contrast their experiences in meeting and harnessing these devices in the delivery of Information Literacy in their own institutions, the University of Bedfordshire and University of Huddersfield in the UK.
“He who controls the hardware, controls the platform. He who controls the platform, wins the war.”
This quote from Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is the hallmark of the current analog wars. Apple is at the forefront of this strategy by announcing the removal of their YouTube App, they also recently blocked Google Maps. Apple’s actions have received some backlash, but Mr. Bezos’s comment gives us perspective into why Apple is fighting to keep customers within its walled gardens. In the past five years software companies like Google and Amazon have become major players in the analog world. Facebook is the one company that seems to be holding out (for now). Some think that this analog/ecosystem customer-lock is a short-term strategy by stating that the real way to control distribution is through the “fourth utility”, connectivity. There is a strong argument for this point of view if one looks at the increasing jurisdictional power companies like Comcast and AT&T have. Also, let’s not forget that Google recently tested out a broadband service in Kansas City.
This Thomson Reuters report takes a look at the 416 smartphone patents Apple has filed since the launch of the original iPhone in 2007 to determine what Apple will develop for the device’s future incarnations. Among the new technologies, the report claims the the device could likely end up with a fuel cell system that will allow a portable device to stay charged for days or weeks, and an educational content display feature that allows users to interact with text to see images of what the word(s) mean.
The report also tracks active IP litigation between 2008 and 2012, noting a rapid rise in Apple’s recent IP litigation.
Last year privacy took center-stage, this year, it seems, that the patent wars -prompted by the Apple/Samsung battle- are taking over the legal tech news. This book came out last year and can be found in public libraries across the nation: Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Richard Rhodes. In 1940, Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil invented a secret communication system that would eventually become the basis for many communication technology advances in the last half century, including the cell phone. Lamarr and Antheil developed the spread-spectrum radio, which would allow the rapid switching of communications signals among a spread of different frequencies. This is a quick read that provides a wonderful glimpse into early tech development and the intricacies of US patent law, plus you’ll learn a bit about the lives a pop culture icon and THE original “bad boy” of music.
Mr. Moggridge, founder of IDEO, author of our class textbook -Designing Interactions- and all-around design visionary passed away last Saturday, September 9, at the age of 69. His multidisciplinary and human-centric approach to design forever changed the way people relate to everyday objects.
Mark Zuckerberg discusses the company’s mistakes, goals and new mobile approach at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2012. Here’s the link for the live coverage or, if you don’t feel like clicking on endless headlines, Forbes has a nice condensed transcript that touches on the more salient topics. For instance, Zuckerberg admitted that the company’s biggest misstep was betting on HTML5, instead of native, for their mobile app strategy. Moving forward the company will apply a similar infrastructure that Facebook built for iOS to build a native Android app.
As a digital preservation enthusiast I have yet to warm up to the low-quality, Instagram filtered photos I see on my Facebook feed among other places. I evangelize to friends about the perils of not backing up their phone photo libraries and the possibility that the images they are taking with these lower quality cameras will degrade drastically within the next few years. Nevertheless, smart phone camera apps automatically capture very valuable information for the end-user: descriptive and format metadata. Now we not only have the specific time an image was taken, but also its location and the device (including the shutter speed and aperture) with which it was taken. This New York Times article briefly discusses services that capitalize on the granularity of this metadata, particularly a history-centric service called Historypin, which uses Google Maps to “pin” photographs to their location. Graphic material metadata is notoriously hard to pinpoint and these location based apps are enabling a better discovery process by making the descriptive one much easier.
Retail giant Wal-Mart is testing out a new checkout system that enables shoppers to avoid long lines by scanning items in store aisles using their smartphones. Long checkout lines are always a good reason to stay home and get some use of that Amazon Prime account. Although this new system could cut workforce costs and improve efficiency, it could also decrease impulse buys as it increases shadow labor.
This Forbes cover story narrates the development of the groundbreaking photo sharing social network, Instagram. Most of the piece covers the serendipitous trajectory of the app and its creators, but there are some classic usability ‘a-ha!’ moments that crystallize the reasons why the tool has caught the imagination of Smart Phone users as well as the most powerful man in Social Media. For instance: “Instagram gives low-quality camera phone pics a hip, retro feel. One tap on the touchscreen and an average sunset changes into a tropical postcard, an old bicycle gets a sting of nostalgia and a half-eaten hamburger turns poignant. ‘Imagine if there was a funny button in Twitter or a clever button in Tumblr,’ says Systrom. ‘Most photo apps before asked something of the users. They said you produce, act and perform. Instagram said let us take care of the secret sauce.’”
A new consumer technology report by Latitude has interviewed 158 early adopters to complete the first phase of its The Future of Storytelling project. Multi-platform, intuitive story telling tools (like the BBC’s Perceptive Media Experiment) seem to be was future content consumers are going to expect. A lot of what the participants imagined involved mobile immersive tools that would be used to bring the reader into the story and personalize each experience. As a librarian and journalist, I am always excited to see new ways in which original content can be repurposed and re-imagined. Needless to say, I found the results of this study invigorating.
Smart phones have already enabled Internet enhanced driving; Jim Disanto from Transportation Technology Ventures wants to make this the standard for the automotive industry. The industry is still in the “seed stage”, but this very well seems to be the next logical step in immersive technology. It will be interesting to see how the stakeholders –US Department of Transportation, Automotive Industry and the National Transportation Safety Board – will work together to make this happen.