Showing posts from 2015

UX considerations about Parallax scrolling - Part 2

Parallax scrolling has been used for animation since decades and in video gaming also already a long time. The use of parallax techniques for web design is also not new and has a gaining popularity.
Parallax scrolling is still a great technique in web design, but which can backfire if overused.

Brief explanation what does Parallax Scrolling mean?
Parallax scrolling is a scrolling effect when background images move more slowly than images in the foreground, creating the illusion of depth and immersion.

Please find 4 great examples which used parallax scrolling very well - as I think:
I already wrote about


Le Mugs

It doesn't need much to make good use of parallax scrolling effects ...


Fixed Group

as I mentioned before I already wrote about…

..... 4 traditional design rules

These four design rules ...

ContrastRepetitionGrid & AlignmentProximity
... have been and are standard knowledge for architecture and design for decades and surprise - surprise - they apply also for digital design.

I know or better I expect that already at that point one or two readers’ hackles get up - and you think hey come on I am a designer I will be free and do not need rules and guidance.
Perhaps it might be helpful for you that I often mention at this point ‘The Code is more what you call guidelines, than actual rules … !’ But I firmly believe that it’s important to learn the rules.
Because then you can
a) deal and design better than others
and you know
b) which rules you might break (if you have a good reason for it).

1. Contrast A difference in lightness, brightness and / or hue between two colours that makes them more or less distinguishable.
Using and finding a good color contrast is actually very important not just for the accessibility reasons and design reasons. More p…

Basics for designers

ART asks and inspires - DESIGN answers and motivates
Asking and inspiring vs answering and motivating is for my point of view the difference of art and design.
And it’s again and again the thing I have to tell upcoming designers or often experienced one. Yes as designer we have the freedom to do many things – to go various ways – but we have a clear aim: “helping people”.

To help someone you have to be understandable and meaningful. Understandability and meaningfulness is possibly the most important issue to be considered while judging the goodness of a design. And if we talk about design I am talking about visual appearance and content.

On the one hand beauty is subjective, and that makes our world so diverse. On the other hand it follows rules which we all learned as we grow up. To design something there are some rules and guidance we have to have in mind and should stick to. Yes for sure you can break rules and often it’s good and useful to do it but you should know what you bre…

Hailing a cab nowadays

World is changing also when we observe how people hail a cab. Nowadays it runs different to signal to a taxi that you want to be picked up or how you arrange a pickup.
Every city has its own traditional cab companies and these cabs are an essential part of our life. Whether you need a lift in your own city or if you’re somewhere else for private or business reasons there is always the question is a cab available and when and how much will it cost. But while cabs still have an important part to play in life, the old fashioned way for hailing them don’t.
And I am sure either you heard of Uber or you used already Uber. But Uber is not the only one who allows you to call a car to your location using an app on your smartphone.
And regarding mobile payment - most apps charge the ride directly to your credit card. I think it’s smart and up-to-date that you do not have to have cash with you or swipe your credit card when you are in a hurry to get out.

Uber  - Uber is f…

Omni Channel Commerce - Single via Multi through to Omni Channel Commerce

Running retail today is not really different now than it ever has been. First you have to meet two basic requirements offers which consumers want and ability to meet their expectations. But what has changed and is challenging today is the second point “meeting customer expectations” – Customers expecting more ...
... more customized in a variety of ways
... more often - really 24/7

The reason for this wildfire-of-expectations is that transactions and communication is omnipresent. The growth of touch-points provides customers the ability to reach out to retailers any time, any place, anywhere and through any device. Today's consumers split and bundle their online and offline lives at will, through whatever touchpoint is suitable in the particular moment and the consumer prefers.
They use their mobile devices to discover brands & products and social networks to share their experiences and to get advices from friends or colleagues.
The power of networks permeates everything, bec…

Let's tears down the wall between the digital and physical world

20 years we called it ‘on air’ today ‘cloud’ – I don’t care about names, phases or buzzwords – I care about people, human beings making their live easy and simple.

Here is a great solution by Demodern founded and driven among others by great former colleagues.

For years and years, motion controls have held a persistent place in our visions of the future. We’ve watched the super heroes, future scientists, and aliens control digital interfaces with just a wave of their hands. We’ve been fascinated by these powerful, natural, and intuitive interactions; imagining what it would be like to have that power at our own fingertips. Now it’s the time to experience it in live, business, retail, spare time, sport and and and  - Envision is a great example / solution which tears down the wall between the digital and physical world. - Enjoy !

Nike Digital Retail Experience from Demodern on Vimeo.

IOT more than a single idea ...

Internet of Things is far beyond than a single idea or technology. It is rather a new paradigm that involves a wide set of technologies, applications, and visions. IOT from my view is where physical objects are seamlessly integrated into the information network, where reality becomes virtual and virtuality becomes real , and where it can become active part in live and business.

Today I like to share with you a speech from Andrea Krajewski at ThingsCon 2015 in Berlin.
Andrea is an industrial designer, speaker and blogger. She is a professor for the Design of Interactive Media Systems at the University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt. She was my first manager, became a great colleague and mentor for me.

I still use and like the expression UX ( ) but we have to keep in mind that we are humans and that we have to take into account this human and not only his ro…

Thinking outside the box – seeing things different and to see the bigger picture

Thinking outside the box – seeing things different and to see the bigger picture and not to be restricted in one's thinking is crucial for designers. And to be honest I learned a lot by thinking different for my job and my live. I studied architecure and city planning and I work in both job until I switched to the new media – but I still make use of the things I learned and practiced. And in my spare time I worked and trained horses and sleddogs and became vice world cup champion. And I am happy to become acquainted with Temple Grandin …

We can learn a lot of understand what surounds us – even animals - Chris Packham and BBC explored the remarkable ways animals use their senses. Focusing on dogs, he discovers how their powerful sense of smell creates a bizarre alternative reality. He explored the minds of the cleverest animals on the planet, discovered the astonishing abilities of the best, and most unlik…

AGV Visor goes from dark to clear at the push of a button

Since a few weeks I own my first motorcycle helmet with LCD display from AGV. OK it's still no HUD - but it's a very first tiny step.
The Italian helmet maker AGV has unveiled a new motorcycle helmet visor that can go from dark to clear instantly.

In this video I will show show you the new visor from AGV. It uses LCD technology. The extrem thin LCD foil is stuck to the inner visor's surface. The switch button is on the left of the visor.
If you push the button the visor darken to a similar level as we konw it from black racing visors. Pressing the switch button again and the visor instantly return to clear.

AGV says the battery power lasts for about 12 hours in dark mode and my experience up to now are about 10 hours, I tested over night ;-) The batterie is recharged via a micro USB port. If the battery runs out the visor switch automatically to clear.
The AGVisor recharges in about 2hrs , has anti-fog features, and can be fitted to AGV’s Pista GP, Corsa and GT Veloce. In…

Retail will be changed by AR and VR

Online shopping has become ordinary and goes without saying, retailers are still often confused or all too often overwhelmed. Consumers are expecting more and making web purchases more frequently, spending more in a broader range of product categories, and buying more expensive items online.
Over the past two decades the growth of mobile has been unprecedented. Device penetration, and how we have integrated mobile phones into our daily routine, has reshaped entire industries, transformed commerce and impacted our society at all levels.

Retailers have to make the experience as easy and convenient as. With consumers shopping online more frequently and spending more across an increasing number of product categories, retailers that remove as much friction from the online shopping experience as possible will capture the most additional sales.

One important point in the near future will be mobile payment. That varies already from business to business and from country to country – but it w…

Catching somebody's eye and attention - Flight Safety Video - part 3

For Air New Zealand’s latest Safety Video, released end of April 2015, the Air New Zealand turned to action cameras, eye-catching surfing sets and scenes, and not forgetting popular, professional and championship surfers (and their buff bodies :-) … to catch the eyes and attention to pass along the rules of the air.

and there is also, as my followers might expect, a new safety video from my former partner / employer Delta Air Lines:

If you are interested to know more about catching attention please read my first article about it from 2013 (links below) and find more creative video in the former articles - enjoy and have a good and safety (next) flight !

Please check out also the second part

and also the first part - which goes more in detail - how to raise attention:

Google's Project Soli is using radar technology

Up to now we know gesture-based controls only as systems which are usually attached to video game consoles like the Microsoft Kinect. But this is awesome. Google's Project Soli replaces the physical controls of devices - not even a screen or other surface is needed - you use only your hand and familiar movements with your fingers and Soli capture your movements by radar.

The Project Soli team started with a device which was about the size of a pizza box to about the size of an SD card in less then a year. They announced that they will have more end of the year. I am very curious to see more.

Watch the video for an introduction to Google's smashing idea and approach.
It's very very impressive.

ALDI NORD / NORTH accept NFC payment for purchases

Aldi has 9,000 stores in 18 countries and is the leading discount supermarket chain in Germany.
And ALDI North (ALDI NORD) expects consumers to be able to use the mobile payment method for in-store purchases from now on, the retailer announced on today (June 9th 2015

NFC - Near-Field-Communication

Innovative technologies such as Near-Field-Communication – NFC –will lead to essential change in the retail world as I mentioned in articles before.

Make good time in the checkout line - Online Payment

From Single via Multi through to Omni Channel Commerce

The NFC chip in either the payment card, credit card etc. or smartphone or any other device securely communicates with the vendor’s electronic device / terminal. At the split of a second the transaction will be approved and the customer is on his way. Both components have to be near to each other, as its name, NFC, implies and both components must be equipped with …

Making retail smart with beacon technology

The idea of Bluetooth beacon technology is fairly simple and even Apple is the ‘top dog’ - the beacon wars are heating up.

PayPal ( PayPal Beacon: ) and Qualcomm ( Gimbal: are gearing up to challenge Apple with beacon hardware of their own. And also retailers like Target (Cart Wheel) and smaller vendors like Estimote, Swirl, and GPShopper are entering the mix with beacon management and consulting on top of hardware or software platforms.

I already explained the beacon technology ( Understanding and Using iBeacon - BLE and IoT )  – it’s a small device installed on a wall, a counter top or a ceiling of a retail store, and it could be many of them installed.

Apple’s ibeacon device:

PayPal’s beacon device:

They send out information / messages to all the blue tooth receivers around them, typically your smart phone.

Now the short, little beacon messages, that your phone got, tells your phone to go to the web and pull down co…

Understanding and Using iBeacon - BLE and IoT

Still a bit confused about iBeacon?
What it is – what it does – how it works – and why it’s relevant for us – for everyone who like to merge online and offline?

Well – let me explain it.
iBeacon is a new technology that extends Location Services which allows Mobile Apps (running on both iOS and Android devices) to listen for signals from beacons in the real world and respond e.g. offering services. iBeacon went live in early January 2014, in more than 150 U.S.Giant Eagle and Safeway supermarkets and is increasing from month to month.

In essence, iBeacon technology allows Mobile Apps to understand their position on a micro-local scale, and deliver hyper-contextual content to users based on location.
The iBeacon technology can alert apps when a customer approaches or leaves a location with an iBeacon. In addition to monitoring location, an app can estimate customer’s proximity to an iBeacon (for example, a display or checkout counter in a retail store).
Bluetooth Low Energy BLE is t…

Online identification and authorization - Electronic Identity Card

It was always tricky and is still not so easy to identify the user securely in the virtual world. We are used to identify ourselves through passport, ID card or driver’s license in our traditional world.
The need for online identification and authorization is increasing from year to year. All too often we are connecting authorization only with safety, security and fraud prevention. But it is needed much more often for instance if we deal with age-dependent goods and services.
The proof of identity goes always together with the sharing of personal and often sensitive data. On the one hand the handling of these data has to be reliable and safe – and on the other hand it should be convenient, easy to handle, cheap and in best case not a physical object.
Online identification and sharing his personal data often worry the average consumer.

A good way for identification is the Electronic Identity Card, often abbreviated as eID or eIC. The Electronic Identity Card is an identity card for on…

The unillustrated wireframe - Page Description Diagram

Wireframes are schematics or blueprints – a way to show clarity of purpose and function, showing quality of being easily seen or expressed, remembered, understood, etc.. And it’s up to you how schematic or how precise it has to be.

As architect I worked with various deliverables and so I do now as information architect and user experience designer. 7 years ago I wrote ab article about the UX process on Boxes and Arrows ( and I published a flow / overview of possible deliverables within the design process

If I think about granularity of wireframes I distinguish various forms and levels.

High fidelity wireframesAnnotated wireframes (valuable to clarify function and interactions)Collaborative wireframes ( team produces )Hand drawn wireframes (early sketches)
First the most detailed is for sure a coded wireframe - th…

Challenges of Omni-Channel Retail

Customer expectations are continually increasing as consumers get more experience and much more important more acquaintance to services such as free accelerated supply or capabilities e.g. availability in a local store (next to my current location or to my hometown address) reserve online and option to pick it up in my local store or the store of my next trip.
Features and services that looked as if it was game-changing yesterday are quickly becoming the commonplace as consumers expect these raised standards of service.
Retailers must constantly prove, reconsider and update their omni-channel strategy to innovate and make their mark with in customer experience, rather than constantly trying to catch up with what their more agile competitors have already done.

In few previous articles I wrote a lot about the consumer facing issues and aspect – But if we talk nowadays about retail in the omni-channel-commerce world, all what you do is like a castle in the air if it is not based on a so…

Faceted navigation on

Faceted search, also called faceted navigation or faceted browsing on ...

Or did you know that also provides a reverse image search?

You can use a image from your PC as your search to find related images.
For instance, if you drag and drop a picture of your favorite sports team, you can find similar images, and sites that include the same picture.

You have 4 ways to search by image
Drag and dropUpload an imageCopy and paste the URL for an imageRight-click an image on the web

Let's get down to brass tacks - bringing online und offline together

Talking about Omni-Channel Commerce ( ) raise the question how can the associate can get the needed information. The store needs something to manage customer engagement business processes for bringing buyers into their local shops, offering an outstanding, unique in-store shopping experience, and keeping the customers coming back for more.

This business process is circular in nature and delivers real business value by optimizing customer relationships to build and raise loyalty, customer spending, store revenue, and boost selling best practices for vendors and assistants. In addition to managing the process, a true in-store customer service application often called clienteling app ( ) allows you to screen and quantify success for continuous improvement.

The opportunities presented by powerful mobile technologies within the local stores will have major impact on the …

UX checklist - user experience tools + design techniques

Today I’d like to share a useful checklist about user experience tools and design techniques ...
 ... by Andrea Soverini.

Each element is linked to articles about the techniques.
By the way this UX checklist would make a good poster for a workspace.

Doctor Who's TARDIS time machine and spacecraft

And now for something completely different - Doctor Who's time machine and spacecraft is placed outside Earl's Court Underground station in London - now you can take a peek inside. Google is allowing anyone to take a look inside using its Street View map.

You start in front of the police telephone box. Click on the cross and hold on as you're swept inside to the Tardis control room.

And now let's visit the time maschine on Google Street View

Google's Modular Smartphone - Project Ara

smartphones are for sure one of the most empowering mobile devices in our lives - we know our smartphone and our 'constant companion' is indispensable. But what about not only a individual tile collection - what about a individual phone - Have you ever thought about build your own phone ... ?

Just by plug and play - or in other words - by attach and use - ...
Or ask yourself what is when your battery is dead? Or your mobile graphic card is running out of performance? Or you think your camera is too bad or any other part is broken or bad

Soon there might be a solution. Google and Motorola are teaming up to create first modular phone. It will allow you to treat your smartphone as collection of individual peaces. Just like Lego.

Project Ara is the alias for an initiative by Google that aims to develop an open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones. Google provides a kind of base plate which holds a whole bunch of removable modules, camera, loudspeaker, processo…

Icon Design - I don't care if you like the icon - I want to know if you understand it

'I don’t care if you like the design! I want to know if you understand the meaning!'
That's a phase I often use. It's a modification of a quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery: 'I don’t care if you like it! I want to know if you understand it!' (The Little Prince)
I use it again and again because in the first step what we have to keep in mind is that design is no art - art asks questions, while design answers them.
Design has an objective, a task, a purpose ... Design is there to fill a need.
OK in the second step after I saw that my user understood the design and the tiny elements 'icons' - for sure I love it if s/he likes the design. :-)

In my opinion the perception of UPLOADING is to shift something one level higher e.g. to shift a content from a personal source to a more global source (e.g. cloud). The perception of DOWNLOADING is to shift something one down. And finally the perception of SHARING is to shift something on one level to one or more recepti…