Thursday, November 19, 2009


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Apple's AppStore is Bizarre

I don't want to bash Apple. I'm an Apple addict! Love every one of their products and have had nothing but good things to say about their quality and attention to design and detail. But... the AppStore process is a strange animal.

Our first iPhone application for FX360 was submitted on May 15th. I declared the 'release date' to be the 18th in the submission. I checked the iTunesConnect environment 2 to 3 times a day, everyday, to see if it was approved. After the holiday weekend, Tim from the office pinged me in the morning to ask if the app was live because he was looking at it on a review site. I logged into iTunesConnect and it was approved and live! Great, but, how about a notice that it was approved? An email... a text... a message on my phone... nadda.

That seems like a strange policy to me. Apple must realize that many developers are holding their breath for their apps to be approved. I'm not sure why they are taking a no contact approach on the approval, but it doesn't seem like a very well thought through User Experience on their part. Oh well. Part of doing business with them I guess.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

iPhone UX Sketch Templates

After giving a presentation at 360Flex on the value and necessity of pen and paper sketching and wireframes, I thought I'd eat my own dogfood! I've created a simple wireframe document based on the sketchboards from AdaptivePath:

Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

Choose your flavor below and get to work on some iPhone UX goodness!

Omnigraffle iPhone sketchboard
PDF iPhone sketchboard
Photoshop iPhone sketchboard
EPS iPhone sketchboard
PNG iPhone sketchboard

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

XD with Flash Catalyst and Flex Gumbo at 360Flex Indy

Well, 360Flex Indianapolis is over. It was a great conference! This was my first 360 conference that I attended. A big, giant shout of thanks to Tom and John for all their efforts on the 360 Conferences! It's really a wonderful event that any serious Flex or Flash developer should attend. Most of the sessions were quite technical but very approachable.

Joe Johnston, Francisco Inchauste (both of UniversalMind) and I spoke on Experience Design topics and were all very well received. We weren't sure if the Flex Developers attending would appreciate the topics, but it seemed that they did! Each of us had close to 50 attendees in each of our presentations! I think Joe topped the lot of us with a standing room only preso at 8:30 am on day 2... He gets the attendee award!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Transparent Background on iPhone UIWebView

Well, Apple has hidden a little nugget in the docs that took me quite some time to dig up. Here's the simple solution to creating a UIWebView with a transparent background:

  • set your background color of the UIWebView to clear
  • set the css for the body to background-color: transparent
  • here's the bugger... set the opaque property of the UIWebView to NO

The code looks something like this:

UIWebView *w = [[UIWebView alloc] initWithFrame:CGRectMake(10, 10, self.bounds.size.width-20, self.bounds.size.height-60)];
[w setBackgroundColor:[UIColor clearColor]];
[w setOpaque:NO];
[self addSubview:w];
self.myWebView = w;
[w release];

And in the HTML:

body {
margin: 0;
padding: 0;
width: 220px;
background-color: transparent;

Hope that helps someone!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Interaction Design Publication


My friend and colleague, Joe Force, pointed me to a link this morning that considers and discusses many of the finer points of XD and Interaction Design! "Thoughts on Interaction Design" was a book published in 2007 by Brown Bear LLC. There were only 1000 copies printed and a second run is not planned. So, to continue to dialogue, the complete book has been created in a web format for consumption!

The content is very well positioned and thorough on the topic of Interaction Design. It helps to frame up many of the questions and answers we as XD professionals struggle with each day.

One of my favorite sections is authored by Chris Connors of Apple:

When I entered the marketplace as a newly-conferred graduate with a Masters in Human Computer Interaction, I can recall trying to explain to my family and friends exactly what HCI was - something I still occasionally find myself doing. Describing our discipline to potential employers was a recurring challenge: many were confused by a CS degree without production programming, a design degree that didn’t deal primarily with product form, or a cognitive psychologist who wasn’t solely focused on modeling human performance or conducting experimentally-driven usability testing.

I have felt the same lack of understanding and appreciation for what we as XD professionals bring to the table but, the times are changing! It's encouraging to hear Chris' stories and see that Interaction and Experience Design are being recognized as valuable additions to a product's life cycle.

Thank you to all the contributors for their excellent insight!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

YouTube Musician Kutiman Kicking It!

This is amazing! An artist from Isreal - Kutiman - took some time and 'found' YouTube videos of people performing and edited them together to create original pieces.

THRU YOU | Kutiman mixes YouTube
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

Please take the time to listen to these. It's an amazing collection of work! Here's his MySpace page as well:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Augmented Reality - 'Living' Flash 3d

I think I just saw quite possibly one of the coolest things I've seen since working on the web: Augmented Reality. The use of Flashpaper3d, a webcam, and FlashPlayer 10. Check out this link for the GE Ecomagination site:


In a nutshell, the effect is created by using the Papervision3d library, a new library called FLARtoolkit and the interaction of your webcam with a printed 'marker' page. The page has a unique pattern on it that the Flash environment is 'seeing' through the webcam and drawing the Papervision3d objects in place relative to the real paper! Very, very cool stuff!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Dashcode Browser Back Button Issue

Wow. I just spent 2 days trying to hunt down a pain in the butt issue with Apple's Dashcode application. I'm creating a web app version of for viewing on the iPhone and would like to make it as iPhone sexy as I can. I've been using the Dashcode application from XTools to create the basic framework of my 'browser' application.

All is good for the basics of the app. I've created multiple views and have used the standard list controls for usability consistancies. The struggles began when I was customizing the content for the app. I have a design here

that shows a 15px space at the top of the white background for the content to be placed on. So, when I built this page in Dashcode, (without all of my graphics for background and such) I created a div that had a 15px margin on the top to create that space. Then I filled that div with my content... Simple right? Not so fast!!

The issue was that when I clicked on my nav


the first time, my detail page would show up fine. Like the screen shot here that shows a gap at the top of the page (not the full size for the gap but you get the idea):


But, if I continue to go back and forth between the detail screen and my selection list, my content page gets pushed down the viewport! If I kept going back and forth it eventually pushed it right out of view... wtf!


After much frustration and searching the blogosphere for some help with this issue, I finally figured it out by tracing the entire DOM of the HTML generated by Dashcode as it was running. It seems that either the StackLayout component or the Browser component is adding inline styles to the DIV's that represent the pages as a user clicks on the navigation list! I also noticed that this style incremented the 'top' style for the DIV by 15 pixels each time the HTML traced out... AH HA! So, now I needed to find where in the code this was occuring.

I found a section in the StackLayout.js file that points to this here:

fx360_iphone_5.dcproj (Running)

It is referencing a _topPosFromBody and curElement.offsetTop properties and adding them together on line 74. This is the closest thing I could find that had a 'top' sounding property in it. Unfortunately, the file in the project space within Dashcode is locked so a user can't edit it! Stupid.

So, for now, I've removed my margin from the top of my placement div so the 'offset' is zero. It functions as expected. The larger issue is the way that Apple has released this stuff. The tools seem to be nice and well organized, but there is no documentation on any of the components. No reference as to how their objects are put together. No list of methods, properties, and styles... nothing... anywhere. That's lame. All of Adobe's built in objects and components are fully documented and searchable. At the minimum, we should be able to find a reference to these packaged components to see how they are structured from a best practice point of view.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I'm Speaking at 360|Flex Indy!

Well, this is pretty exciting: I just got accepted to speak at 360|Flex Indy! My session is Experience Design with Flash Catalyst and Flex Gumbo. The show is May 18-20, 2009 in Indianapolis. You can check out the other great 49 speakers on the schedule at: It's looking like it's gonna be another great 360|Flex conference. Tickets are cheaper on a first come, first serve basis! So buy your tickets asap at to get the best possible price. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

(RED) Wire Launches

The subscription product from (RED) recently launched. It's a music and awareness subscription that allows users to contribute to the global fight on AIDS/HIV. It was showcased at the Adobe MAX 2008 conference in San Francisco in the Fall as it was built in Flex and distributed via AIR!

You can sign up for an account at! Check it out.