Posts Tagged "UI"

Brand-new FileMaker.com

Months of work has led up to a brand-new FileMaker.com. This version of the website sheds the 3 or 4 (more?) previous designs, and brings the entire site into a single, unified design:

New FileMaker.com
The new FileMaker.com
The new FileMaker.com

The previous state of the website had iterations of old designs from years and years past running together simultaneously, with their own sub navigation, their own css, and to a degree, their own structure. As you can imagine, this was a huge headache for updating the site. Just to illustrate what a mess this was for the user, here’s random handful of pages on the old site, each pointing out 6 different sub navigation designs:

Sub-navigations
Yep, this is all the same website
Sub-navigations

We invested the time to bring all these different generations of the website under one, brand-new design and architecture. The sub navigation is now pretty consistent across the entire website. It was a big project up-front, but I know that it will really pay large dividends in the coming years with future product launches and general maintenance.

The global navigation underwent a huge overhaul. The old global navigation:

Old nav
Old
Old nav

…and the new one, using the superb protofish dropdowns:

New nav
New
New nav

As a side note, I made a big push to use some forward-thinking CSS 3 techniques, and drop full support of IE6 (Hallelujah!). Small CSS 3 enhancements like rounded corners, drop-shadows, and pseudo-selectors sped up development time, allowing me to literally re-code the old site in this new design in the insane project schedule we have here.

This was a huge effort, and a big redesign of the site was something that I have been wanting to do since I came onboard. I jumped at the chance to get it done in the small window of opportunity that I had. Congratulations to the web team for a job well-done. Now if only we could get a break–onto the next product launch…

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And since this took so long to write and post, FileMaker 11 has launched already. Bring on the purple!

Initial Thoughts on the iPad

The iPad.  And I have a printout of it.

There’s been a lot of chatter on the internets the iPad, the new, long-rumored tablet Apple announced yesterday. The most interesting part about the iPad for me was the user interface. The iPhone was revolutionary, in large part due to the multitouch interface. At the time, there was just nothing else like it. The iPad makes the same move, only in its large form factor.

I really liked the thought that went into the UI of the applications that were demoed. Previous tablet PCs have been clunky ports of a desktop OS. Even the new generation of tablets running Android look this way (more on that later). Apple approached this differently–if you haven’t seen it already, it’s worth watching Apple’s intro movie for the iPad. If you could use your computer on a touch-screen OS like this, you wouldn’t even miss a mouse.

From the movie, you can see the iPad isn’t simply a port of OSX with touch screen capability. Nor is it a port of the iPhone OS in terms of the UI. The apps themselves have been redesigned to be a touch interface for the larger form-factor and what you get is an elegant, well-designed OS. And from all early accounts from people that have actually spent time with the iPad, it works beautifully.

Caleb’s Computer?

I immediately started to think, is this going to be the way we interact with our computers? (By then will they even be called “computers?”) The mouse was a great invention in bridging the gap between the user and the screen, but using your finger makes so much more sense.

Sure, the external keyboard and mouse won’t be replaced anytime soon, especially for people like me who work on a computer all day, but I believe there will come a day when touch-screen interfaces will have matured to the point where it is comparable and eventually replaces these old input devices.

Hit or Miss?

As to whether or not people will actually buy the iPad, who knows? This is new territory not only for Apple, but for the industry. If haven’t noticed, it seems like every major manufacturer has announced their own tablet recently, most running Andriod. The HP Slate, Viewsonic VTablet 101, Lenovo IdeaPad, and Dell’s unnamed tablet to cite a few.

The most successful device that I can think of that is in the same form factor is Amazon’s Kindle. I like Kevin Rose’s post which compares the iPad to the Kindle DX:

Kindle DX 9.7” – $489.00

1024×768 color display upgrade – $1.00
Internet browsing upgrade – $1.00
iPod w/16GB upgrade – $1.00
Run iPhone apps upgrade – $1.00
1Gz A4 processor upgrade – $1.00
H.264 720P HD video upgrade – $1.00
Bluetooth upgrade – $1.00
10hr battery upgrade – $1.00
Multi-touch display upgrade – $1.00
Digital compass/accelerometer – $1.00 

Your cost: iPad $499.00

So true…Amazon is going to have to do something about that Kindle DX price point. When you put the Kindle side-by-side with the iPad, it looks like technology from 10 years ago:

Kindle DX and the iPad

The Kindle DX and iPad, both at the $500 price point

There were plenty of mp3 players on the market before the iPod debuted and shook up–and popularized–the industry. The cell phone market was mature and flooded with handsets before the iPhone came in and shook up the (smartphone) industry. It will be interesting to see in the coming years if the iPad can do the same.