Friday, March 30, 2007

(Pictures): Amazing Ads of Casino di Venezia

This AMAZING advertising appears in one of italian airport. It is developed by AdmCom agency for Casino di Venezia. As you can see the luggage belt has been painted and looks like casino roulette wheel!

Agency: AdmCom, Italy
Creative Director: Maurizio Cinti
Art Director: Andrea Ligi, Sergio Lelli
Copyrighter: Rebecca Rossi, Silva Fedrigo

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Stolen Design: "Lada C" vs. "VW Golf V" (Pictures)

It seems that designers developed "Lada C" play their usual game again—the design of new "Lada C" is very similar to new VW Golf V, Jetta, Caddy and Audi A3.

Find 10 differences below:

click to enlarge:

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Optimus keyboard faces another delay

Another delay??? Oh NO!

The much-talked about Optimus Maximus keyboard project is facing another problem but the product should still be available this year, its designer said Tuesday.

The manufacturer of the OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays that are intended to be fitted inside each key is having “serious financial troubles and is not able to deliver displays at all,” designer Artemy Lebedev wrote on the Optimus project’s blog. He didn’t name the display maker.

The displays are an important part of the keyboard and just what makes it stand out. Each of the 114 keys will be customizable and the OLED display in each key will signify the key’s current function. These could include various letters or characters for different languages, quick launch buttons for applications or short-cut keys for programs.

The loss of its OLED manufacturer means the project team has to find a new manufacturer and prototype new displays, Lebedev wrote.

“Good news is that we will start tooling processes without waiting for the displays to arrive. This way we’ll be able to insert OLEDs into the keyboard case with electronics and stay within our schedule,” he wrote.

Lebedev, who is based in Moscow, noted that should the new displays be a different size from the original plan it would mean additional delays and charges for retooling the production line to suit the new OLEDs.

Along with details of the problem Lebedev also said that the keyboard is still on-track to ship in December with preorders accepted from April. That just about matches the time-frame he gave at the Cebit trade fair in Germany earlier this month.

The keyboard was supposed to be unveiled at the fair but wasn’t on show.

At Cebit, Lebedev said it will cost about $1,500 when it goes on sale in December. That’s at least $300 more expensive than the price quoted by the company in November last year.

See Also:

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

USA vs Rest of the World, a graphic design comparison


Just how different is graphic design in the United States when compared with that of the rest of the world?

I think you’ll agree that the difference is quite striking.

This week, TIME Magazine’s US cover features a story about whether or not the Bible should be taught in school. It’s international editions feature a different story however – that of Talibanistan.

Apparently Rick Stengel et al. believe that the US cover design will make a better news-stand impression in the States. Politics aside, you’d think they could’ve designed a nicer cover.

see the rest there:

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Top 10 Simulation Tools for UI Designers, Information Architects and Usability Specialists

Today I wanna share my UI design experience and introduce you top 10 tools for UI designers, information architects and usability specialists. Below is the complete list of tools which help the UI designers in their difficult work.

1. Microsoft Visio

Company: Microsoft

Let’s start with MS Visio—diagramming software for Microsoft Windows. It uses vector graphics to create diagrams. We all know this tool—doesn’t need to discuss it here.

2. Axure RP

Company: Axure

This is a well-known and lightweight tool for UI modeling, wireframes and prototype development, also supports page design development, widgets, dynamic display, annotations, export to Microsoft Word, etc.

The latest version has certainly added a number of new features compared to previous one. New version provides the ability to create a basic sitemap (indicating pages) and the ability to link these pages together. It also offers masters for rapid changes to an entire project and allows for basic annotations but doesn’t offer a robust requirements management solution.

3. Adobe Creative Studio

Company: Adobe

You may want to say that Photoshop and Illustrator are not simulation tool. I would say: “yes” but I’ve included this great application to support millions of UI designers who design their pages manually in Photoshop. Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are still industry standards in graphic design and, of course, UI design and web page design. Don’t need to write many words about these tools, just say—they are something huge, professional and all-in-one tools. You can also use Adobe ImageReady to prepare HTML prototype.

4. Elegance Tech Lucid Spec

Company: Elegance Tech

Much like Axure, LucidSpec offers the capability to create static “prototypes.” The product does not contain an actual simulation engine, thus limiting the product’s ability to save and reuse data at a later time. The product allows the design to “describe behaviors” or specifications in annotative form. It does not offer a solution for tying a non-visual requirement to visual elements. So there are no scenario design, widgets, dynamic displaying, annotations, requirements management, etc.

5. iRise Studio, iRise Manager, iRise Server, iRise Reader, iRise iDoc

Company: iRise

See how iRise makes an introduction:
“iRise simulations are so close to the final applications that people can't tell the difference between the two. SunTrust recently unveiled their new banking application-a critical element in retaining acquired customers through a merger with NCF Bank-that was simulated first. In addition to look & feel, the user experience between the simulation and the final website are nearly identical.”
This is a real simulation engine that allows users to save, edit, and delete requirements data. iRise Manager provides the most comprehensive requirements management solution. Studio generates a portable simulation known as an iDoc, which can be reviewed with the free iRise Reader. Shared Server enables collaboration and incorporates a model for check-in/out capabilities and synchronization with the requirements management server. The shared server also provides an alternative delivery method, allowing stakeholders to view the simulation by accessing a URL. iDoc Express is a cost-effective service offering, where companies hand over requirements and receive a comprehensive simulation at a fixed price. No product purchase or installation is required. This is by far the most mature product in this space, with the most extensive list of recognizable customer names.

iRise product suite supports whole set of features: scenario design, page design, widget library, dynamic display, data interaction, decision logic, annotations, centralized server, portable distribution, requirements management, enterprise support: yes, export to MS Word.

6. Serena Composer

Company: Serena

Composer fits at the lower end of the higher tier products. It offers the ability to model business processes at a very high level much like MS Visio. It then extends that ability to creating activities and detailed page designs. Composer provides greater support for requirements management; it is probably closer to iRise than any other tool. The challenge with Composer is that all users must own a licensed seat to view anything created within the product; this really limits the ability to share with stakeholders.

7. Simunication Enterprise Simulator

Company: Simunication

This solution is a web based. This is most likely the product’s biggest advantage over some of the lower- and middle-tier applications. Its interface, however, is quite cumbersome for the non-technical user. It offers the ability to simulate data through a scaled-down simulation engine. The workflow is driven primarily by creating use cases, then designing screens around those cases. Delivery is simplified by its all-online approach—thus anyone with a web browser can access it.

8. Sofea Profesy

Company: Sofea

Profesy is comparable to Composer in product maturity. It offers requirements management with a scaled-down simulation engine. Much like Composer, there isn’t an easy way to distribute the simulation outside of the tool/editor in which it was created.

There are no scenario design included, no widgets; Supported: page design, dynamic display, data interaction, decision logic, annotations, requirements management, enterprise support and export to MS Word.

9. Intuitect Professional

Company: Intuitect

Intuitect Professional allows to address the design and documentation needs of information architects and user experience designers. It actually allows building of sitemaps, design wireframes and flowmaps, and generate high-fidelity prototypes.

Actually, the tool is not so powerful as iRise or Composer but you can try to use this tool—it is very simple and lightweight. Intuitect Professional is also available as a Microsoft Visio Professional 2003 add-on and allows you to improve productivity in Visio.

10. OmniGroup OmniGraffle

Company: OmniGroup

Okay, this is a diagramming application rather than simulation, but I’ve included it as a Visio substitution for Mac platorm. According to the site, OmniGraffle is built specifically—and exclusively—for Mac OS X. It can be used to create diagrams, flow charts and illustrations. It features a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG interface. "Palettes"—groups of shapes to drag and drop, are available as extensions for OmniGraffle, and users can create their own palettes.

See Also:

Business Graphics, Wireframing and Diagrams:

Clicks Analyzers:

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Furniture For Teens: New Design Ideas


Brazilian designer Roberta Rimme introduced conceptual furniture, all-in-one set which can be used by teenagers and youth as computer workplace, shelves for books and CDs/DVDs, built-in TV system, etc.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Fresh Ideas in Design: Memory Sticks With Mini Pump!

See how the designer can operate with object shape to make the world easier. It is very cool when designer works with thin interaction things not only with visualization and functionality:

This work is idea of russian designer Dmitry Komissarov.
See more on his site

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Friday, March 16, 2007

"Design Will Save The World" Rendered In 90 Languages

You may find the most interesting letters below (I've underlined them by red line):
Up To 90 Languages In One Place!

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Microsoft Uses Watermarks On Their Web Site?

Hm..... look at the picture below. This is 15-March Microsoft Web Site. Try to find something extraordinary:

Okay, load Adobe Photoshop and invert the image. Then I made it bigger and fill with more contrast colour. Enjoy:

Does it mean that Microsoft places watermarks on their own images? Don't know :)

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New Google Reader Released!

There are some new features inside:

1) New style of buttons
2) Changes in buttons location and links to have more usable application
3) Ability to view video from
4) Labels have been renamed to Tags
5) As Goodle said - there are some improvements in server-side code
6) "Oops errors" now fixed in FireFox
7) WebKit support getting better

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

System Security and Usability

As you maybe know, the most thin bottle-neck we've ever had in a system security—is a human itself, which works in a system and performs incorrect actions which decrease security level.

90 percent hacks of super-protected systems usually appears when the user lost his password and someone else just simply enters his password to log in the system.

This topic is about how system admins can decrease level of security by using additional methods of increasing of secutiry :)

It's a fact, that human brain and memory—uniques substances, but, unfortunately, have a couple of limitations and lacks. The most famous disadvantage and problem is an ability to remember only very limited amout of numbers, for exaplme, phone and fax numbers (with no connection to letters, just long-long numbers) and too many complex passwords to access in various systems, which need to be stored in your memory!

The situation is usually complicated by system administators. You may ask: "How"? Let us explain you. The policy is very hard: at least 9 digit password, you need to change the password 1 time per 1-3 month, plus as additional nonsense—you need to have a password which won't be similar to 10 previous ones!

And now, what do we have as a result of such a cool policy? You are right: users write their passwords at stickers, monitors, at small pieces of paper and store this stuff at their wallets, etc.

We can undestand a situation when the user has 1 PNR for each 1 Credit card, but why do we need to make our life more complicated for the user which starts his day with the logging into system domain?

There are some simply rules, hope using of them allows to simplify and make everyone's life easier:

1) requirement to change user's password very often is bad. Yes, this action increases system security a little, but the negative effect (which it cause) is very huge. The system must ask uer to change the password not often than 1 time per 4-6 month. At the same time the user can decide—to do this action or not to do. So, the system just recommends and prompts.

2) if the user wants to change the password, don't prohibit to do this. As a workaround, the system can say the user that the new password is too similar to previous one.

3) there is no necessary to require including of the all possible digit-groups in one password phrase at the same time. Actually, using of numbers and letters is ussualy enough to develop a strong password.

4) and the final rule: password length. 6-8 symbols usually enough. If you want to help the user with establishing of a strong password—use real-time help tips like Google does:

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Usability Bulletin

Not so far, at we informed community about a very interesting event: the first usability bulletin has been released. And now, Dmitry Satin, an author of the the usability bulletin, developed the second issue of his bulletin.

You can subscribe on the bulletin here. Authors of this blog are gonna take part into development of bulletin's content. We will keep you posted on the process.

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First Steps!

Welcome to UI Design and Usability Blog, today we start posting any interesting information regarding UI Design, Usability and Information Architecture areas!

Stay tuned and get connected!

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