In my last post, I discussed my experience at the Boston Festival of Indie Games (F.I.G) and Adobe’s Create Now Tour. At both events I discovered different types of inspirational UX/UI examples that I’d like to share.
THINKING ABOUT GESTURES
Touch screens have recently reinvented the way we move through our daily lives by making swipes, pinches, and taps almost as natural as breathing. Unlike the buttons on a controller, gesture controls aren’t physical, visible items, and have to be taught to/ remembered by the user. Our job as designers and UX thinkers is to keep adding to an intuitive gestural vocabulary.
Big Action Mega Fight is a mobile and action-packed brawler game. When I demoed it, I found that each swipe and tap is well thought out. The controls in this game are a great of example of intuitive UX. Tablet games involving moving characters and fighting enemies can present a tough UI/UX problem, but this game rises to the challenge.
I witnessed Photoshop Touch in action at the Adobe Create Now presentation. Although there is no physical controller (like a mouse), with this application Abobe has figured out how to port a desktop UX to a tablet world. Both applications brought a new set of gestures to add to a growing language. And that sparks new questions for me: How can websites benefit from this dictionary of gestures that users are constantly building? And how can we leverage them to create better experiences for our users?
SETTING UP AN INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE
Fluid controls are meaningless if the world we put the user in isn’t engaging. These next few apps show the power of pairing a captivating environment with simple controls.
Apsis is a tablet game that uses flock formations, habitual bird migration data, and fantastical art style to create a beautiful, explorative world. The interaction is simple: the user guides a single bird by dragging a finger through a colorful maze -- collecting fellow birds as they progress.
Skipping Stones, a point-and-click explorative game, pairs a simplistic art style with sound and poetry. The geometric art provides interest but the stars of this game are the music and sound effects that are attached to each object in nature. As the user moves through the game and touches objects, they start to create their own sound track. Although the environment is the same for all users, each user will have a different musical experience with the game depending on her level of curiosity.
Adobe’s Kuler application is a color palette generator application, which seems to be a popular trend these days. But what’s unique about this application is how it uses the tablet’s camera to take photos and extracts a color palette based on the image. It’s another, although more literal, example of utilizing the environment to engage the user.
REFRESHING OLD CONCEPTS WITH NEW TECHNOLOGIES
Propinquity takes the game of tag and adds glowing motion/touch sensors into the mix.
Spooky Thumb Wrestling at a Distance utilizes Sony’s move motion controller to reinvent thumb wrestling. In both instances above, combining the old and the new leads to an exciting and interesting user experience.
Synthesis is what I like to call an exciting “fish tank” type game. The environment is simply a black void filled with shapes and lines. The user assigns certain shapes certain behaviors and then simply watches how each of the shapes interactswith each other. The shapes take on a mind of their own from that point and the user just watches how things grow and change. Will the shapes create a peaceful ecosystem? Or will one kill off the other? Lack of control can sometimes be the most engaging thing.
I hope you check out some of the cool games and applications that I’ve linked to above. You’re in for a treat. Happy 2014 everyone!
How is the growing touchscreen and motion-sensored world changing how you interact with websites and applications? Leave us a comment below!