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The New MySpace
For long time, Facebook has made the social network feel rather cold and removed. Facebook is endowed with a plethora of social content, but the site’s design doesn’t imaginatively display this content. I like how MySpace employs a minimalist design, but lets the content express itself in a fullscreen, immersive and engaging experience. The whole site thereby reflects your friends’ personalities, interests, pursuits, and passions because the content takes the form of site that captures it.
Textbooks are the primary way children learn. It is no wonder that children find learning to be a chore and dread reading books that have been prescribed to them. Why has it taken so long to make textbooks fun to read and interact with? Inkling is one of the few companies that is delivering on the romance of learning: curiosity. It isn’t just making books interactive and social, it is making people more curious. And this is a very important internal trigger that sparks imagination and the search for answers.
This is probably the world’s simplest interval timer. The interface shows you the three most important settings of interval training right on the home screen: work, rest, and repeat. You can tap your selection, rather than fumbling with arrows, number pickers, and buttons. A really simple up and down swiping gesture allows you to specify each setting, and the app lets you work out to your music without missing a beat!
Rockify.TV is kinda like Pandora for music videos, but unlike Pandora it leverages Facebook’s social graph to help users find interesting content based on their own musical preferences, and those of their friends. In terms of design, what is really interesting is that it is a lean back experience like TV. We are so used to having entertainment media web services be a search-based, lean forward experience that it takes most of the fun of entertaining yourself away. Rockify.TV lets you kick back and turn off your brain so you can enjoy watching internet TV.
Paper is digital notebook for doodling and scribbling down ideas. People jot down revelations and insights down on a paper napkins as sketches or scribblings. These kernels sprout into full form ideas. This is exactly what Paper is for. It is designed to feel that way too. The interface is dressed to look like a drawing book and each page is enough to sketch or scribble down something unique.
Facebook has always felt too cold, built by engineers with an engineering mentality.
This site finally makes the social network, feel social. Pages display full screen, immersive images representative of people’s personalities, interests, pursuits, and passions.
I’m ready to make the switch. And when, people are not fearful of switching costs then Facebook should be very afraid.
MySpace’s Designer: josephmark.com.au
My Space is a good candidate for the bauhaus mentality of minimalist design. The main reason is that the content speaks for itself. It really about people and their interests, so any skeumorphism at the interface level will just be a distraction.
People who like the Apple way of designing UI usually argue that it is better experientially. Their usual stance is that selling UI to the end-user is like selling food to people at a restaurant. You can’t just serve them the food. It has to be presented well, the restaurant’s mood lighting slows down the tempo and lets you relax, and the soft music and wine makes you enjoy the food slowly. It is the same with user interfaces. When you open up the address book, the fact that it looks like an address book immediately conveys its function. There are no funky menu items or buttons that you have to look for. It makes sense because its dressed like an address book.
The guys who argue against skeuomorphism say that skeuomorphism is inherently confusing for the current generation because they haven’t grown up with the physical world objects that the user interface is mimicking. For example, I’ve never seen a rolodex but apple uses it for their date picker. They say that Apple’s iBooks app is really flawed because the user can’t feel or touch the pages as they swipe, and why should users be subjected to this real world limitation of moving sequentially page by page. But neither side is completely right because the whole page turning thing is really nice from an experiential point of view. You could even argue it’s better usability because its borrowing from existing user behavior. When people read books, they usually kick back on their bed and read books page by page. It’s nice to have the app remove all the menu stuff so you can focus on the words. I think part of the challenge with designing technology in the future, will be to make people slow down and actually do things. In the browser people usually open a billion tabs but dont really read much.