Today, Facebook launched its new app, Paper, and they are pulling off one of the biggest slight-of-hands in tech history.
Facebook has a long, raucous history with jamming massive User Experience changes down their member’s throats. Typically, this causes angry flare-ups from its users complaining about how the company has “ruined” the social network or how “they’ll never use Facebook again,” only to have all the clamor die down within a week.
Most of the time, users wind up falling in love with these features. Remember the member outcries when Facebook rolled out Status Updates? How “that’s why we have Twitter,” rang through the fiber-optic tubes of the webernets?
I should get this out of the way first – I’m no Apple diehard. I use whatever tech I like the most, which typically amounts to what tech has the best value or what tech is the most ubiquitous. I got an Apple device when I started designing apps, because there was a much greater demand for iPhone apps, not because I had to have the new hotness. It was a necessary decision that I don’t regret. I typically use my iPhone like a little laptop, probably like most of us do – playing games, poking around on social networks, watching videos, reading web content. I don’t get a lot of text messages and I rarely make or receive phone calls, but it’s still an indispensable tool in my daily life.
And then one day, my iPhone screen shattered into a million little pieces. It still works, but it’s like looking through a permanent spider-web. Kinda takes the fun out of things. I wasn’t ready to just go out and snag an iPhone 5, but my job affords me the opportunity to test drive new phones. We just happened to have an HTC One X available in the office for testing, so it was fate that I ended up testing my first Android for an extended period of time.
I’ve realized something about my gaming habits: if it doesn’t have a time limit of some kind built into it, I’m not interested. I’ll start playing a game, but I’ll drop off because I realize that I don’t have twenty minutes to devote to a single game! The games that retain my attention over the span of several months are those that have some kind of time limit, allowing me to squeeze all of my gaming into my busy schedule.
It’s why I stopped playing Letterpress, it’s why I stopped playing Dice With Buddies and it’s why I have a few unconventional favorite games.
I’ve always been told that every vote of an election matters. I have heard that phrase (or some variation thereof) all the way from grade school before I was old enough to vote, up to this morning while listening to talk radio commuting to Rocksauce’s Offices in North Austin.
While it’s both a comforting and popular thought to believe that each of our votes is critical to our American political process, the truth can be…well…a bit more complex than that.
For instance, chances are you will not vote for the President or Vice President in this election – if you have ever voted for them at all.
For people outside of the app design process, User Experience, AKA, how the app controls in the user’s hands, can seem a little nebulous. What is it? How does it work? Why is it important? Here are a few questions solicited from around the Rocksauce Studios office to help you better understand why UX is important and what my job entails.
Why is UX an important process for creating an App?
UX is not just an important process, it is the most important process! The UX of an application will influence everything from how a user interacts with the final product to the look and feel of the design that artist will take to create final graphics. The UX of a project defines the user flow and functionality of the final product. Without this step, a developer would not know what to build into an application. If an app was a house, the UX would be the house foundation, so to speak.
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