Blog posts related to UX

Farewell mouse and keyboard?

Is it time to say farewell to our mice and keyboards? That is what Leap motion claims. In the past months, we have heard of many promising projects aiming to substitute mouse or keyboard input to a personal computer – an aspect of HCI discussed and researched for over a decade.

So what is the Leap? It is a USB device that allows us to interact with software on laptops and desktops, by sensing hand and finger movements in a very precise (claimed) way. Leap motion argues it is a breakthrough in HCI as it uses a mathematical approach to 3D, touch-free motion sensing and motion control software.

Leap motion also claims a limitless usage for this device,  as stated on their website, providing a few examples:

  • Artists can use The Leap to emulate a stylus or easily create 3D images.
  • Anyone can use The Leap to interact with Windows 7/8 or Mac OS X by clicking, grabbing, scrolling and using familiar gestures like pinch to zoom in 3D space.
  • Users pointing a pen at the signature line of a document to sign it in space.
  • Engineers can interact more easily with 3D modeling software.
  • Gamers can play more easily and many will modify with Leap in mind.
  • Surgeons can control 3D medical data with their hands without taking off their gloves.

The Leap is currently capable for interacting with Microsoft or MAC platforms, with Linux to follow. Pre-orders are out, for 69.99 USD for a limited number. In addition, Leap Motion is willing to distribute free developer kits to qualified people, in order  to promote the device and enable developers to “go for it”.

You can read all about it here. You can also check out their blog.

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 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.

An exploration of UX for AR

Synthetic Toys were invited to express our opinion on User Experience for Augmented Reality, in the new blog AR-UX, by @robman of MOB-labs, following our position paper on AR Standards Meeting in Barcelona, this February.