To kill, or not to kill the hamburger, that is the question

I like to eat hamburgers and even turkey burgers. But we’re not talking about burgers that would make Jules Winnfield salivate. We’re talking app and mobile web experiences that have become the virtual junk drawer.

Thanks to Luis Abreu the conversation about the value of the hamburger has kicked up again. I don’t want to rehash what Luis has written. But in summary Luis suggests that the hamburger has become the place to stick all of the leftover stuff that couldn’t fit elsewhere.  Once you have relegated a feature to that area you run a significant risk of your users never finding it.

Many “big brands” consider themselves excluded from the discussion. Why? Take a look at the examples used by Luis? Facebook, Twitter or IRC chat are not going to be a strong sell to a Fortune 1000 company. The notion at those organization many times is that “we’re different” or “that might work for them but we have many more products/services”.

What to do then? How can a large corporate entity that isn’t a tech giant in social make sense of the UX pattern? How can consensus be built to avoid this pattern? Is this another blog post talking about a bunch of stuff that doesn’t apply to a corporate gig?

Stakeholders need to be reminded that mobile web/apps should not be treated like a website. Our websites have grown heavy with bloated keyword rich content, ‘sexy’ imagery, features and functionality that attempt to capture a long tail user. Repeatedly reminding stakeholders that mobile is a tiny screen where customers will view content in 60 seconds or less is going to be crucial in building a great mobile experience.

Companies may need to break the “concept” into different applications. This may sound like blasphemy, but it’s not unusual. Chances are you do it on the web already. Microsites are used all the time. But is anyone other than Facebook or Foursquare breaking up their apps? Yes!

There are 15 apps available for iPhone. They have made 7 of those apps available on the iPad as well as one iPad only app. That means ESPN, the “World Wide Leader In Sports” has 16 applications on iOS alone. Of these only three and a half use the hamburger menu. Couldn’t they just combine these into a “mega app”? Maybe but is anyone else doing this?

Ford has 16 apps available on iPhone and 9 of those work on iPad. They also made 8 iPad only applications. You might be able to argue that two of these apps have a hamburger menu. These two apps to have the icon, but it is presented in a different way than the typical location in the top left corner.

Others Examples
Rolex (4 apps, no burgers)
Amazon (15 apps, 4 burgers)
AT&T (40 apps, a few burgers)
Coca-Cola (40 apps, a few burgers)

In short, do not let the “hamburger menu” be the cure for all of your ills. There are ways around using this approach. Other large companies are doing it and so can you. If your direct competitors are lagging behind, champion a user centered approach that fits you user approach.

Next time we’ll explore some Pros and Cons to this approach and try to make some more sense for killing the hamburger menu. Sure it may be much easier to include a junk drawer to pacify stakeholders, but what about your users? Do you want to give them an easy experience that they keeps them coming back? Or do you make it a hassle that they despise?


iOS 7

Today at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference iOS 7 was presented among other updates. There is so much that could be discussed but rather than a deep review I’ll give my first impression.

I’ve heard all sorts of reactions to the announcements today, but I’m encouraged. Primarily because iOS was getting long in the tooth and really needed to get an overhaul. However, I will also agree with many that point out how much of the new OS resembles Android. The interesting thing will be how apps will adjust their look/feel to reflect the new updates. It’s a good time to build applications that are focused on user centric interactions.

In the end people are going to be grumpy because it’s different and eventually will move on.

Starbucks & Square

The news from Starbucks is that they are going to invest $25M in Square and join the board. Square users will be able to use their consumer payment application at Starbucks to process a payment using their mobile application. Previously you needed to use the Starbucks application to manage your payments.

The interesting news is that Starbucks processed $60M in last year and a half. That’s a lot of money when you consider most transactions are around $6.

Playing with Patters – Designing for Android

Playing with Patterns
Marco Paglia – Android Interaction Designer

The Android style guide is an important resource to help users perform similar tasks across applications. It’s also important to have something special and unique.

Unique and Beautiful but is consistent and usable.

Eric Burke
– 1st app was released same day as iOS
– skewmorphic design (leather wallet) but the interaction was a problem
– update was streamlined, light colors and uses Android design guides
– significant reduction in taps
– auto-tab opens tabs while you walk around
– cards is a new feature to share in the UI
– images are in all sizes and shapes with compositing. the server does this on the fly
– launcher shortcuts to favorite merchants to add icon to homescreen
– notifications, can leave a tip later
– sharing is important for the service
– consistent look on any Android ActionBarSherlock

Michael Novak
Guenther Beyer

Application lets you follow an artist to notify you when artists are in town.
– Branding
– limiting color implications so they aren’t fighting over each other.
-Typography: early was all over and not consistent; now using Roboto completely
– Dashboard: phones was button/icon and the tablet also has some additional content
– ViewPager to help with displaying content
– Location took quite awhile to figure out; ended up using the GPS to pull content nearby and added favorites
– Empty screens: handled issues with better display so it isn’t just empty, actions on screen when relevant
– Notifications: when the app is updated the notifications populates to show new stuff
– Be polite: use vibrate notice when listening to music
– Event details: was boring and text heavy, now bigger pictures
– Artist details: needed to get more excitement around upcoming events

Android WebView

Android WebView
Nicolas Roard

Architecture WebKit
WebCore layout and JS core

JS benchmark in Jellybean on a Nexus is much faster

Reder loop
event > paint > draw
– for pictures you can represent the whole page without going back to webkit when scrolling or zooming
– software rendering issues though: dependent on the time spent traversing and rasterizing, no 3D CSS, limited support for plugins and video

Honeycomb and beyond
– tile content
– hardware rendering is scroll > draw uses a separate thread for paint to get a new tile

CSS Animations
– CSS property to animate HTML elements
– supported on webkit browsers
– On android hardware accelerated and faster than JS

Remainder of presentation is full of code examples and would be better to review the slides. I’ll post a link when it becomes available.

The Sensitive Side of Android

The Sensitive Side of Android
Ankur Kotwal, Tim Bray, Tony Chan
Android Developer Advocates

Sensors – the hardware in Android devices
– Demo: Blackjack
– tried to simulate natural interaction
– used Touch events GestureDetector, VelocityTracker and Gesture builder sample
– data gathering phase and gesture detection phase

Best Practices for using Sensors
– Tailor your rate by how often the data is returned, don’t use the fastest possible
– Unregister aggressively so the app isn’t processing data that isn’t being used which drains the battery

Proximity Sensor
– found on phones to turn screens off
– provides continuous or binary values

Light Sensor Gesture
– can be used with the proximity sensor

– motion related changes to apps

– controls-free/clean-screen apps (tap, shake, wave, chop)
– Sensplore: to collect data
– accelerometer, gravity, gyro, linear acceleration, magnetic field, orientation(depricated), rotation vector
– watch out for sensor rotation – blog post
– power consumption
– sampling rate (only as fast as you need, stop when not needed)
– static & random variation
– accelerometer data (unless in orbit)

Tilting a mostly-flat device
– games can use sensors directly
– sensors are not really very good compared to a Wii or Kinect

– use the microphone for things beyond voice
Demo: heartbeat monitor
– MediaRecorder
– AudioRecorder if you need more processing with the source
– picking the right sampling rate 44.1kHz in all devices, understand the signal before selecting the frequency
– buffering by responsiveness, memory/CPU cycles, tolerance to failures
– ASP audio signal processing filter noises, spectral analysis, easy in frequency rather than time
– Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT)

Making sense out of your Sensor Data
– Thresholds
– Time
– Statistics
1. Mean, median, mode, range, etc.
2. Moving/weighted average

– android includes a visualizer but only applies a currently audio track
– custom visualizer, you have to down sample for display and use a circular buffer for a scroll effect

Key Learnings & Innovations #cokemobility

Key Learnings & Innovations
– President and GM Sparkling Beverages
Coca-Cola North America
Presentation (.pdf)

Movement of Stories
– social content, brand content, brand experience built around consumers
– making owned media more social
– Depreciating asset or hard working media (delivery truck design)

Build Consumer Engagement Across all Assets
– 70% core 20% new 10% next
– Superbowl ads (70), lead up digital campaign (20), polar bowl (10)

– Market exploration and experimentation
– Learning: tracking
– Reappliction: evaluation