19 July 2016

Screenestate: Site redesigns... (Part 3)


So, today (or maybe last night depending on your time zone) Ars Technica finally revealed their revamped 'new' design. The above is not 'it'. Above, you can gaze upon the wonder that is the updated 'white-on-black' theme (which is much easier on my eyes than typical 'black-on-white' themes of websites and windows programmes). 

This is gorgeous to my eyes:

  • It's relatively information dense
  • Makes use of the horizontal space available quite well with a dual column design
  • Minimises the menu bar and empty space between posts
  • Is chronological in posting order
This is everything that is good in website design!

Let's take a look at the 'real' website:

Well, you can't win 'em all...
Okay, this obviously isn't my preference. I think this would look great on a touch screen mobile device like a tablet or mobile phone. However, on the desktop it looks pretty terrible:

  • Information sparse; not enough posts and too much picture per post
  • Minimises the menu bar and empty space between posts
  • Makes use of the available width of the screen
I don't really have anything else to say about it. I guess it's functional in the loosest sense of the term... The fact that I can only really see two posts is really a useless site design and makes no sense: reducing usability.

To my sensibilities and my design understanding, it's clear that the first picture shows a site that allows its users to understand what is going on and to navigate effectively. I think it's also clear to whoever designed the Ars Technica website too because they are using something very similar for the mobile site design... counter to what I would expect considering the second image.

Like I said in part 1: It's pretty damming that your mobile site, designed to be read on a 5-7 inch vertically-orientated rectangular screen, is more readable than your default website design for expansive 19-30 inch horizontally-orientated desktop screens. Even worse when you provide a 'hidden' (or at best, not promoted) option to view it similarly on your own website...

I wish there was a thumbs up/down option for the available website designs like there is for the user posts on Ars' site. I think it might be quite telling (either way!).

15 July 2016

The rise and rise of AR...

So Pokemon Go is a thing. It's such a big thing that the servers are overloaded, people in un-recognised regions and people on non-supported platforms are trying workarounds in order to play the game!

Not only is the game an unqualified success in terms of user numbers, news coverage, IP capitalisation and implementation but part-owner of the brand, Nintendo, has seen its stock shoot up in the wake of the game's release.

For me this isn't a particularly surprising result - I mean, Pokemon is a multi-generational IP that has had strong societal mindshare and very strong repeat user support; The developers who made the game have already proven the technology through Ingress (which works on mobile phones) and, finally, the fact that the game is more inclusive and open by being an AR implementation is the coup de grĂ¢ce - the trifecta of perfection. 

If anything, I think Nintendo, Niantic and co. have been too reserved on the release of Pokemon Go and I think that, aside from having microtransactions (which seems to be working really well for them!) they could have also charged a small fee to purchase the app in the first place (maybe $2-5) - so strong is the Pokemon fan base that they would have generated the word-of-mouth that it has seen anyway.

I've long been (and I hate to use this word but it fits in this instance) 'bullish' about AR in comparison to VR and this is, for me, further proof that AR will only go from strength to strength. There are so many more implementations and opportunities out there for AR in comparison to VR that I just can't see the ground swell of support (both user and hardware numbers) for it to really get off the ground.

I can see many more Pokemon Gos in the future of AR. I can't see a Pokemon Go in VR's future.

9 July 2016

Installation probation...

My PC has been a bit slow for the longest time. Let me correct that - my DESKTOP PC has been slow for a long time despite me not using it. Why wasn't I using it? Well, that's mostly because I didn't have a desk or desk area to use it in or on. As a consequence I've not been playing many PC games since my laptop is pretty under-powered, nor have I been recording music or creating graphical art. 

So, slowly, over a period of a few months (because of a combination of work, laziness and lack of focus) I have set up the area for these endeavours and now it is almost complete; the PC was still slow - slower than when I had assembled it. 

Of course, I decided to give it a fresh install.