A look at Kinect Fusion and Lightspace from Microsoft labs

Nice video from The Verge – with colorful comments bellow – on work being done in Microsoft Labs on Kinect and Lightspace. We hope to experiment with Kinect after I am done with the bulk of work for Project IVY

A look at Kinect Fusion and Lightspace from Microsoft labs (source:TheVerge)

UX and GUI Guides from Vendors and Manufacturers

One of the most important considerations for a developer – when writing code for an application or website – is to ensure a good level of usability, a task quite difficult as more often than not users have their… own way of classifying usability in applications and consequently turning them into favorites or not.

UX has become a complex task, almost a science in the tech world and software companies need to embrace this. Many do not pay as much attention as they should and do not offer assistance or tools to their developers, the driving force for their applications. Nonetheless, many are starting to realize that paying attention to UX is the way forward if they want to be successful in today’s tech markets.

Most current OSs, devices and application frameworks impose certain usability standards to developers, in a sense assisting the latter to maintain a good level of user friendliness but at the same time ensuring uniformity which it self, provides a sense of cohesion, compliance and… well, usability! If the environment itself does not provide an adequate level of usability, the user is going to turn down applications within, no matter how well designed they are.

It is quite promising that manufacturers are starting to embrace UX as an important factor to the success of their products – what the authors consider to be the most important contribution of Steve Jobs, as we will argue in a future post – by starting to provide guidelines for GUI and functionality development. This has direct consequences to both users and developers. Developers can do their job faster and less costly when guided, while the benefits from the attention given to the aesthetics, user friendliness and better performance.

An article on usabilitygeek.com is trying to gather most usability guidelines from major vendors and manufacturers. It is not a complete guide, but it is a very good start. You can read the article here.

WebAPI: The Mozilla Proposal For Smartphones (The Open App Interface)

WebAPI is basically an idea from Mozilla which promises to bridge the gap between native and web applications.

With the constant development of Mobile Applications for handheld devices there are quite a few solutions and frameworks out there for developers, but these solutions always refer to closed OS environments. On the other hand, there is a trend for a portion of developers to consider writing an application in JavaScript, HTML & CSS. By using a framework which converts it into a native app they can publish their application easily.

This can be done by using, for example Phonegap (iOS, Android, Blackberry OS, WebOS, WP7, Symbian & Bada) which is quite popular, or write an app and put it under the Cocoa Touch iPhone App Wrapper which will make it a native app.

Now… Mozilla’s idea on bridging the gap between native apps and web applications is quite different from frameworks like the aforementioned Phonegap because the purpose of WebAPI is not merely to make native applications but to reach low-level functionality of a device using HTML5.

Of course, if Mozilla wants this to be a success, it has to be adopted by companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft. So Mozilla has to, first and foremost, convince users it is the way forward. For the time being they are hiring developers for it.