Archive for October, 2009

iTunes Solves the Nested Clause Dillema

So the first time I ever saw a crazy rule builder was in a desktop application at Sabre in 2001. They had been around longer than that obviously, but this was the first time I was ever befuddled by a screen that looked a lot like this:

All I could think was there must be a better way for letting normal people set up conditional rules. So we designed something easier, and when I moved to the world of Apple, I found that they stole my design. Just kidding, but I did feel reaffirmed by my early design attempts since they were really close to the ’smart’ mailbox/album/playlist design and the advanced search feature:

Now, to my delight, Apple has tackled the last remaining frontier of predicate editors- the nested clause. My design partner, Jessica, found this when trying to pull together a playlist for her birthday last week.

She needed something more complex than a simple AND or OR (which Apple eloquently rephrased as “matching all of these conditions” or “matching any of these conditions”). Like only play songs:
- from the ‘World’ genre
- if the album contains the term ‘Salsa’
— that are rated 4 or more stars
— or were added after Jan 1, 2008
— or are longer than 5 minutes

iTunes_Smart_Playlist_nested clause

It turns out that Cocoa has a visual editor for editing predicates, and if you hold the ‘+’ it will turn into an ellipses, which will add a clause- but that is way to sneaky for me. A permanent ellipses button is much easier to find and play with.

And there is an Ajax library out there supporting this too. They call it the Advanced Filter. Very nice interaction design, although it could benefit from a more sophisticated visual design. Demo

If the other major RIA frameworks will add this control, we will never have to see one of these again:

**As a side note- here is another post about the smarter playlist in iTunes with people responding to how they are actually using it. Good user research up for grabs.

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Rich Internet Application Gallery

Inspired by TapFancy- a showcase for the very best in iPhone and iPod Touch application design, we started a tumblelog to showcase the very best RIAs.


The initial content is from our InsideRIA article highlighting the 50 Most Usable RIAs, but we’ll add more weekly. If you know of an app that deserves recognition, please let us know.

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Job Opening: Technology Leader/ UI Engineer

Posted by Theresa on October 6, 2009

I’m leading the design on a new project and we are seeking an experienced UI engineer to bring the designs to life. The front end technology has yet to be decided- so you can guide the direction.

Here is a bit about the project:

The IQVine platform will provide niche market info and customized insight at mass pricing. This is a $3B+ addressable market. We use a crowd-sourced approach with what we think is a very differentiated back-end. Our longer-term goal is a real-time collective intelligence system that can extend into other ‘long-tail’ info/advice spaces. We plan to raise capital in January.

IQVine was started in early 2009 by Scott Kwon and Jim Heerwagen, who have success with taking several concepts to commercial product in venture-backed and public companies. Our profiles are on LinkedIn. Over the Spring/Summer we did initial customer and contributor validation. Based on this we now have two seasoned N-tier architect/programmers working on the object model, community authoring tools, a proprietary real-time transaction system, and a quality filtering system to automate a good chunk of the interaction processes. A project is underway to produce a clickable prototype. And we are doing more validation and fine-tuning go to market strategy this Fall. We need a technology leader who can bridge the gap from the object model on through to pixels.

What we need:

  • Previous success as a team leader in successful startup
  • System-level web app architect
  • Hands-on development horsepower – doer, not supervisor
  • Champion of open source, agile, and lean development
  • Knack for great user experiences
  • Crowdsourcing, rec. engines, machine learning, and content mgt. a plus
  • Solid engineering education or meaty large web-company experience
  • Communicator with a sense of humor . . . life’s too short

Our tough challenges:

  • Data visualization that shows semantic structure of complex and evolving market information.
  • Real-time transaction system that converts rated community contributions into dollars.

Email me, theresaneil at gmail, if this appeals to you and I will make the introduction.

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UX Booth Redesign & Giveaway

The nice guys at UX Booth, a blog for and by the User Experience Community, are celebrating their 1st anniversary.

Check out the blog and all of the great prizes:

Open Hallway Premium Plan

Open Hallway, a very simple usability testing solution, has offered our readers an amazing prize! We have a 6 month subscription to their Premium Plan, valued at $1,200!

Axure Single User License

Axure RP is a wireframing, prototyping, and specification tool that allows you to design applications and websites faster and easier than with your current tools. Axure has offered our readers a single user licensed valued at $589!

Theme Forest Credits

The kind folks over at Theme Forest have brought us an excellent prize to offer to our viewers! We have five $25 “forest bucks” (think the name will catch on?)!

Mail Chimp Credits

The Atlanta-based email marketing company, MailChimp, is not only beautifully designed but also an amazing email marketing tool. MailChimp does it all. Build and manage your list, design HTML emails, send emails that are sure to get through filters, and track and analyze the results.

Books from Rosenfeld Media

Rosenfeld Media publishes short, practical, and useful books and webinars on user experience design. Rosenfeld has donated some great books to help expand your UX knowledge.

Books from O’Reilly

O’Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, research, and conferences. You may know them as the publisher of the iconic “animal books” for software developers.

Make sure to visit their site by Oct 2, 2009 to enter in the giveaway.

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