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

Unbundling: AOL, Facebook and LinkedIn


Any smartphone app can use the phone book and PSTN numbering system to access a ready-made social graph, removing a lot of the friction Facebook benefits from on the web. A core Facebook use case is photo sharing, and a smartphone's built-in photo library offers much more fluid ways to share photos across multiple services. In effect, the phone book and photo library are reservoirs that any app can tap into, where on the desktop, creating that resource is a major pain and a major moat for Facebook.

It doesn’t run on mobile


The bedroom designer is a god to creativity. They’re young, packed full of creative ideas, have parents that bring them free food and most of all they can work through an idea on their own…with the right tools. Unfortunately what the new toolsets had brought was a need to have a large team of multi disciplined workers that combined their different skillets to make the whole. The chances of one kid being proficient in 3D mapping, modelling, programming, web development and most of all, being full of great ideas, is slim to none. Flash had always given the bedroom designer enough tools to pick up the basics of coding and to run with it. Those same kids were now faced with a wall of complex tools that could take them years to master. If I were that teenager, I’d fuck it all off and go and watch the telly. My career over before it began.

Exploitation of in-app-purchases in mobile games


Two great posts showing how some free-to-play mobile games have turned into money-extraction mechanisms. Most of the top games lists are filled with these games, which seems to be having a negative impact on the morale of game developers since the crowd seems to demand the equivalent of Las Vegas style slot machines.

There's also a well-reasoned counter-argument here. I think everybody understands that the economies of mobile games market are tricky. The real issue though is that developers become greedy and focus on extracting money. This reduces games to slot machines instead of fun, challenging, social, story-driven interactive entertainment.

I'm curious if Apple will do something about this. They had to pay over $30 million recently to refund kids IAPs. If games become too greedy and therefore create distrust between parents and apps, then the Apple brand will take a hit. They might now allow this to happen, but we'll see.