Notes on interaction design & development. Get the Feed.
By Christoph Ono, builder at GBKS, and tweetable at @GBKS.

Siri Response Times


Marissa started with a story about a user test they did. They asked a group of Google searchers how many search results they wanted to see. Users asked for more, more than the ten results Google normally shows. More is more, they said. So, Marissa ran an experiment where Google increased the number of search results to thirty. Traffic and revenue from Google searchers in the experimental group dropped by 20%. Ouch. Why? Why, when users had asked for this, did they seem to hate it? After a bit of looking, Marissa explained that they found an uncontrolled variable. The page with 10 results took .4 seconds to generate. The page with 30 results took .9 seconds.Half a second delay caused a 20% drop in traffic. Half a second delay killed user satisfaction.

You don't understand why the iPhone 5C is brilliant yet


When you walk into an Apple store, the question is no longer “how much do you want to spend”, now you’re being asked who you are. The identity question changes the smartphone market in a few ways for Apple. Firstly, the iPhone, which has always been a pretty premium product, now owns the luxury segment of the market by a mile with the 5s (the gold color is a nice touch here). The 5s, and future non-c iPhones, don’t have to play it cool, they’re the cream of the crop and they will adopt the appropriate swagger: chamfered edges, sapphire crystal home buttons, and metal and glass bodies. Second, for a younger generation, having an iPhone doesn’t have to mean having the same phone as your parents. The 5c is appealing to a big swath of the current iPhone market, but it also expands the boundaries to newer segments who might have been alienated by the perceived professionalism or expensiveness of the device. Now, people who see their phone as a more casual component of their life don’t have to get the old iPhone. There’s a cuter, cooler iPhone for them.

Communicating Animation Ideas


Static mockups, whether mobile or not never tell the fully story. The two main things I’ve found that help the most when implementing designs for mobile apps are: communication and animation examples. Communication meaning clearly articulating the vision of the animation and examples meaning, giving examples of your animations ideas and visions.

TED talks are lying to you


...the real subject of this literature was the professional-managerial audience itself, whose members hear clear, sweet reason when they listen to NPR and think they’re in the presence of something profound when they watch some billionaire give a TED talk. And what this complacent literature purrs into their ears is that creativity is their property, their competitive advantage, their class virtue. Creativity is what they bring to the national economic effort, these books reassure them — and it’s also the benevolent doctrine under which they rightly rule the world.

On the emptiness of tech myths


From the outside, regardless of who “thought” of it, that whole process seems like an amazing story in management that i’d love to hear much, much more about than who thought of a thing. Seriously. How has there not been ONE interview with Ev that talks about his decisions in that time? They seem amazing to me, but don’t correspond to some stupid, boring myth about a dude saying a sentence on a playground.

And you know what? Same thing with Apple. Seriously. What happened to Steve Jobs at NeXT that he basically solved the innovator’s dilemma? What made him such a better leader when he got back to Apple than when he left? It was amazing. But we get a 600 page bio, a movie and a million articles that say, in sum, maybe three sentences about it. For everything written, we still don’t know what he learned, what his epiphanies were, what his management was really like. We just get stupid, boring, useless myths.

Videos to watch


I love watching videos recordings of conference presentations, mostly the ones that don't deal so much with technical issues, but the ones that address culture and where the speakers share their experiences and stories. They are great to play in the background during certain types of work, and you get to see all the goodness without paying thousands of dollars in conference fees and traveling around the world. Last week I saw that both Webstock 2013 and XOXO Fest 2013 have most of their presentations online. Watch and learn.

And a short documentary on Karim Rashid, a highly prolific designer immediately recognizable by his pink suits as well as his use of bold and vivid colors and shapes. Check it.

The Effortless Method Of Making A Design Personal


The title is a little misleading as it's not about making designs in general, it's just about default user profile images. 37 Signals did something similar with Basecamp, but I like this idea better. Instead of a silhouette of a non-descript guy, the default avatar is a big colorful circle with the first letter of the users name in the center. It's nice, simple and colorful, and I just implemented this for Wookmark.