Taking smart shopping to the next level

When shoppers enter a retail store, they are generally free to browse and shop as they wish. They can move around the store, inspect products, engage with staff, perhaps price check items on their phone. This free-flowing, customer-controlled shopping experience stands in stark contrast to the rigid checkout process where customers are funnelled into a specific location so that their items can be tallied before they pay by cash or credit card.

In practical terms, this kind of static payment process can act as a bottleneck, whether from lack of staff or unprepared customers who have to dig around in their wallets for a credit card or cash. Yet retail stores, for the most part, continue to follow a traditional in-store model which no longer matches evolving buyer behaviour. Not to mention that the purchasing bottle-neck takes up valuable time which the customer could spend moving about the store and exploring other products.

The proliferation of internet-connected devices like tablets and smartphones is interrupting this traditional retail model, providing customers with more flexible ways to shop, while offering retailers an inordinate amount of data which can better inform the delivery of products and services.

At Bilue, we take the retail shopping experience very seriously. Our prototyping team has put significant investment into R&D, developing a model that speeds up the bricks-and-mortar experience by removing the checkout bottleneck. Here’s what we came up with:

The Smart Shopping Bag

The Smart Shopping Bag is a personal, mobile point of sale (POS) system which scans items as they are placed into the bag and keeps a running tally as the customer moves around the store.

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This prototype pairs with an app on the user’s phone, connecting their physical shopping bag to an online cart. Placing an item into your digital cart is as simple as adding it to your physical bag.

Customers download the Smart Shopping Bag application (available on iOS, Android and Windows phones), fill in their registration and then visit the ‘pair shopping bag’ option in the menu screen. Each identified phone will have a shopping bag icon next to it. To pair, they simply select the icon next to their phone’s ID and hit connect. The bag will connect to the app via Bluetooth.

All of the products in-store are fitted with RFiD tags which the app will read and update in the cart when they are placed into the Smart Shopping Bag. Once the customer has completed their shop, they simply unlock their phone, enter the app to see the total, hit the pay button et voila, checkout complete!

Because we can track what a customer has added in real-time, there is no need to interface with the traditional POS system. Decided they no longer want an item? They simply remove it from the Smart Shopping Bag and the app will automatically deduct it from the subtotal.

Once a shopper is done, all they need do is detach the inner bag and walk out of the store.

Where to from here?

While 2015 was a strong year for mobile payment systems with the launch of Apple Pay in Australia, the technology and its implementation is still in its infancy. We have yet to see saturation of these innovations in bricks-and-mortar stores, meaning the next two to three years will likely see a mobile payments gold rush to bring the retail experience into the 21st century.

Apple Pay increases the speed of payment transactions, but still requires users to choose a payment method, authenticate with their fingerprint and place their phone or Apple Watch on the POS terminal. Being a deliberate play in increased security and convenience during payment, it is no surprise that Apple Pay does not yet address the pain point of having to stand in a checkout line.

Smartphones allow retailers – and their customers – to do an awful lot more than they are currently taking advantage of. Customers are literally holding the technology needed to bridge the innovation gap. In order to remove these payment bottlenecks in the shopping experience, it is now up to bricks-and-mortar stores to invest and connect to these devices.

By allowing customers to scan their products as they shop with a one-touch checkout, retail stores get the added efficiencies from a distributed checkout system. This is the beauty of internet connected devices, with every customer carrying a potential POS system with them. When transactions are completed on a mobile phone, it closes the loop between the physical shoppers and your digital customers.

The Smart Shopping Bag is still in prototype stage. However even this proof of concept showcases the technology that can be utilised for enhancing the customer experience in retail stores today.

Rolling out RFiD tags to the products in a retail store opens up a raft of new experiences for businesses and consumers to enjoy. Leveraging these technologies would allow retail environments to be free of traditional payment counters and to focus on crafting the ideal retail experience. Consumers could browse and interact with products they are interested in and simply be charged for whatever they are holding when they leave the store.

Creating a network that can identify a customer and the individual products they are interacting with, without manual input opens up possibilities for the next generation of shopping experiences.

We would love to get your feedback on our first round of prototypes. If you are interested in helping shape the future of retail experiences, contact us and join the conversation.

An Intro to Design Thinking – Part 1

Design thinking seems to be the buzzword of 2016. Since gracing the front cover of Harvard Business Review, more companies are claiming that they are a design lead organisations, many are asking how to become one and many more are asking what the hell is it?

The quick answer is, Design Thinking is a formal method for practical and creative problem solving.

Design Thinking has been around since the mid 80’s where it was commonly used in architecture and urban planning. During the 80’s and 90’s, Stanford University expanded on the concept of Design Thinking by teaching “design thinking as a method of creative action.” When IDEO was established in the early 90’s, it was then adapted to the business realm where it has slowly gained traction since.

There are different methods, processes and flavours of Design Thinking, but the core fundamentals are the same regardless of the flavour you use.

Design Thinking can be broken down into two parts; the first is the approach to problem-solving while the second is the process of problem-solving. This article is going to tackle the first half – The Design Thinking approach to problem solving. Establishing what to focus on when it comes to solving problems for a project.

Design Thinking has an approach to solving problems using three spheres; Human Desires, Technology Feasibility and Business Viability.

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To understand why this diagram has everyone talking about Design Thinking, let’s break it down. First off, it helps to understand what type of organisations or roles operate within each sphere.

Business Viability – Management and Business Consultants, Accountants, Business Analysts, etc.

Technology Feasibility – Software Developers and Programmers, Industrial Factories, Car Manufacturing, etc.

Human Desires – Market Researchers, Psychologists, Advertising Agencies, Actors, Humanitarian Aid, etc.

Understanding how these spheres interlock will help you understand the type of organisation you are a part of. It is important to note how these approaches differ in the way they solve projects and operate.

To illustrate this, below are some examples of different types of companies using components of the Design Thinking ideology and how they operate using different sectors of the three spheres.

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Startups – Many of today’s startups focus on a user needs and how technology can help or solve a problem. Unfortunately, many startups don’t focus on their Business Viability. Instead, they worry about acquiring users and scaling up with the hope of working out monetisation later on. In many cases, they fold because of ‘poor market fit’ (meaning, they couldn’t work out how to make money from their users). For example, while Twitter has millions of users, they are still struggling to solve their Business Viability at a level that is deemed successful.

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Agencies and consultants – Many Advertising Agencies, Market Researchers and large consulting firms look at what will work best for customers and consumers, though mostly from an initial Business Viability problem first. Companies tend to find a way for the human needs to fit within the business model they are developing. Solutions form plans that haven’t had any technology feasibility taken into consideration. Either the solution they come up with can not be delivered, or the execution is below what the customers and business expectations are.

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Enterprise – Seen in many large enterprise organisations, this is the most common or default approach companies take to running projects inside their business. With a business problem in hand, project managers turn to the company technology department to create a solution. The solution may be able to be built and be considered viable from a business point of view, but uptake is lacklustre within the market. Possibly not improving the customer’s experience or fulfilling any of their needs.

Where the Design Thinking approach is clearly different to the above examples, is that Design Thinking seeks to use ALL three spheres in the problem-solving process.

One of the core principles of Design Thinking is to solve a problem that the user has. In other words to take a Human Centred Design approach to each project. So, what does that mean and what does that look like?

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Rather than take a business problem and move through each sphere in a clockwise direction. For example, going to your technology department with a problem, asking them to solve the problem and only then checking if customers can use the solution.

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Start with the customers and move through each sphere in a counterclockwise direction. For example, see the problem from your customers point of view, Test a hypothesis with them, iterate on the learnings with customers and the technology department before closing the loop with stakeholders. This way of thinking uses Human Centred Design that not only solves the problem, but it is also technically feasible as well as desirable for customers.

If you get it right, you will land in the centre of the Venn diagram, which is sometimes called Innovation, but we prefer the term market success. Not all your projects will land in the centre of the diagram, but using a Human Centred Design approach will get you as close as possible within your constraints.

From today, you can use this approach for your projects, problems and goals. Ask yourself, who is the end user or customer? What do they want and what are their goals? Using this approach in your projects is the first step to understanding Human Centred Design and Design Thinking.

So, with your new understanding of how to approach a challenge with Design Thinking, let’s look at how to solve problems with Design Thinking coming up in part 2 of this Intro to Design Thinking.

Linkly #5 – Office must haves!

Linkly is a curated list of interesting products, topics and talking points from the world of design and technology. This week its all about innovative office products that inspire creativity and increase productivity.

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Stop watching the clock

We’ve all been there, sitting, watching the clock, waiting for time to pass. Tick tock, tick tock. Letting time cast its shadow over us, and rule our lives. Always looking for more time or for less time, time is never enough, or time is just too much.

Scott Thrift, Filmmaker and Designer, has produced an unconventional clock titled ‘Today’, that ditches the menial division of time into seconds that overwhelms. Instead Thrift seeks a more fluid perception of time. The Founder of ‘ThePresent’ lives in Brooklyn New York, and says the clock “is for people who have careers that are less about how many widgets you can make in an hour and more about the longer term thinking and being creative.”

I think the idea of re-framing time in this way serves as a gentle reminder to focus on the bigger picture, but whether or not the concept applies in a practical and modern utilitarian context is another matter.

 

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Alexa, what’s on my calendar tomorrow?

Amazon hopes to make your office smarter with the new Amazon Echo, personified through the word ‘Alexa’. Alexa offers over 1,000 features and skills that have been introduced since the virtual assistant’s very recent launch. While some features are better than others, Alexa can play your music, answer a vast array of questions, read you audiobooks, and cover the news. She can also control the lights switches, and even hail you an Uber!

Alexa’s exciting potential shines through Amazon’s Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), the opens up the technologies to third party developers and unlocks an endless potential for powerful integrations. In this way Amazon’s humble virtual assistant is at the forefront of the ‘Connected Home’ concept and could very well be the key to Home & Office automation becoming the reality we’re hoping for. Alexa is now a regular attendee in our Bilue boardroom.

Hot Tip: Ask Alexa if she can rap! 

 

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Shortcut the shortcuts

Most pixel pushers and software developers rely on keyboard shortcuts to maximise speed and efficiency when working. Keyboard shortcuts are fast, but what if there was something faster?

This finger-aware shortcuts system can detect how a single key is being pressed and can be configured to do whatever you want it to do. Pressing the letter ‘G’ with the index finger on your left hand would work exactly as you’d expect it would, but pressing it with the index finger on your right hand could perform an entirely different action. It could launch a google search, search a definition, or even copy and paste.

As humans become more computer literate, and children start to learn to type with keyboards at earlier and earlier ages, the potential for pushing the boundaries of human and computer interaction broadens. Interactions that were once incredibly difficult, such as pointing a mouse, and typing letters on a keyboard, are now second nature. This poses an fascinating question about the ways that humans will be interacting with technological interfaces 10, 20 and even 30 years from now!

 

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Shivering in the office?

Crank up the heat with a touch of a button. I for one, think this is genius. WristQue is a project from a group of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who are creating a low-power wristband equipped with sensors that monitor how comfortable wearers feel to adjust temperature. Imagine if it knew you were in a particular meeting room at a certain time most days, it could set the preferred temperature before you arrive. Brilliant!

 

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Cleaner office air

This air purifier is designed to look better than the typical ugly plastic tower and, if you like, it can also grow a bunch of basil for your lunch. The EcoQube Air is essentially a mini-greenhouse, complete with lights and a soil-less hydroponic system that boosts air quality indoors. Better air quality = improved productivity!

 

 

 

Linkly #4 – WWDC Predictions

Linkly is a curated list of interesting products, topics and talking points from the world of design and technology. Last week was all about Google, so we only thought it was fair to give Apple a go too. WWDC is only a few weeks away and we’ve curated a list of predictions our team at Bilue are hoping will turn into a reality at this years event.

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iOS 10 Concepts

Macstories have published this concept video for iOS 10. Some of our fav ideas include the Control Centre updates, system dark mode,  revamped Messages app and improved iPad multitasking!

 

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Siri Smarts

There is speculation that Apple is planning on releasing a Siri SDK to allow developers to tap into Siri functionality and open up clever possibilities for apps inside the iOS ecosystem. We’re really interested in seeing how this might change how people interact with their devices and if talking to Siri in public becomes more conventional.

 

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iPhone 7 and iOS 10 rumours

Zac and Benjamin from Happy Hour have released this podcast where they talk through iPhone 7 and iOS 10 rumours. Also mentioned is Apple Car, how smart connectors could work with the phone, removing the iPhone home button and more! An easy listen where they talk through some interesting ideas.

 

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Apple Music Changes

This article makes mention of a colour scheme change from magenta to black and white, larger album artwork images, smart playlist functionality and a moments style feature where you can track what music you were listening to at particular points in time or place. Apple loves to pull the heart strings!

We’re all super excited to see what is unveiled at WWDC. If you have more to add on the topic, we’d love to hear your thoughts and predictions!

 

Linkly #3 – Google>Skynet

Linkly is a curated list of interesting products, topics and talking points from the world of design and technology. This week is all about Google…and some other cool things too, such as headphones that listen to YOU and power suits! Not referring to the 80’s style of suits with massive shoulder pads, although, they do empower…

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The 10 biggest announcements from Google I/O 2016

Definitely not a company that allow themselves to stand still, they have thrown a whole bunch of new ideas, apps and tech at a wall and now it’s the user’s time to figure out which will stick.

Google Home seems like the next obvious step for them in their attempts to create the next Skynet. This is their first step into a connected home but for me personally I find that having a stand alone “thing” won’t be of much use, until it can be connected to more elements in the home. I need the ability to check my front door is locked and that I turned off the iron while I’m at work, I need that in my life to help soothe my anxiety.

The other stand out is the VR framework called Daydream. It basically gives developers more access to the Google framework so they can further explore the possibilities of VR and VR gaming.

The last standout would be the updates to Google Search, making it act more like a personal assistant. It will be interesting to see how far they go with this for the next release especially in places like Australia, where we often get shafted from cool features. Let’s just hope it continues to be more helpful than Clippy.

But one feature presented at I/O needs it’s own link. See below.

 

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Google’s understated glory at I/O

Not the most flashy of things, not the sexiest or the most headline worthy, but easily the best from a user perspective is Google’s Instant Apps. How often do you download an app, simply to use it once or at max twice, only to leave it gathering dust in the app draw, until a day as to which you run out of storage and go on the hunt for useless apps to delete? Well Google have fixed this will a great, bleedingly obvious solution. Need an app for a one time use? Just run it virtually on your phone and close it when you’re done, no downloading, installing or anything. I for one think this is one of the best new features on Android N.

 

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These new Nura headphones listen to YOU!

Sounds like something from the Twilight Zone? Well i’m sure there is an episode about it somewhere, fan made or otherwise. These headphones with in-ears as well, analyse the small sounds generated by your ear canals. This all gets processed and then the headphones alter the sound they emit to create perfect harmony (pun! boom!). I think it’s an interesting idea, but whether or not it works is another matter, and whether it sounds pleasing is another matter again!

 

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A step towards sweet as POWER SUITS!

Think about how much untapped solar energy hits the earth everyday. That leads us perfectly into solar suits that we wear everyday to become all powerful superhumans. Imagine wearing a t-shirt that charged your phone, or hooking up your clothes that are on the clothesline to your electric dryer to dry some clothes! This newly developed solar cell membrane is like a band aid that allows solar energy to be stored. It’s hard to see now why this is important, but a few years down the track this could be the future, especially for powering wearables and even future Mars missions. POWER SUITS!!!

 

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Nokia is back!!!

They are back and now planning to run Android. After the initial smartphone boom, Nokia tried to keep in touch with their Symbian OS, but after a few years of pretty much no sales at all, they were bought by Windows to run the Windows Phone OS. After again, a few years of no sales, they kind of drifted off into the ether. But they are back and are planning to run Android, like they really have a choice. I would really like to see a stock Android phone from another company other than Google. 

 

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After Effects animations to iOS apps with SQUALL!

One of the toughest parts of being a designer is communicating an idea, especially when it comes to interactions and animations. One of the toughest parts of being a developer (I imagine) is understanding what a hipster Clarke Kent is trying to get at. “…like it’s gotta move outwards from the button, but fade in at the same time, maybe slightly delayed, I dunno we’ll see what it looks like.” Prototyping tools have come a long way in helping with this but there is still the gap in between a Prototype and the actual app. After Effects is not strictly a prototyping tool, but rather a really powerful and loved animation tool, being able to animate in After Effects and bring it in exactly as it is into the iOS app, seems like crazy talk. But SQUALL allows you to do exactly this. I think app loading pages are soon to get some really beautiful animations. 

 

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Twenty-two Ways Ramsay Bolton Could Die

Storytelling still plays a very large part in out lives, if we think back to the days of when we were wearing bear pants and hunting mammoths, we were telling stories via cave paintings and “ohw” and “ahh”ing to each other. I find it amazing that Game of Thrones have created two of the most hated characters in all of storytelling, I know that every GOT fan is just waiting for the day Ramsey dies, because he is the new Joffery….WARNING: that was a massive spoiler. My money is on Reek…or whatever his name is now. 

A Little Delight

When designing software we tend to be focussed on the “overall look and feel”. That is the combination of the visual design, or the UI and usability.

However, as technology steadily progresses, digital products, be it hardware or software, are becoming more simplified and usable.

So what does this mean for design? Are we all heading towards a monotonous, standardized wasteland of templates and patterns?

Well, maybe. But if products intend to stand out from their increasingly capable competitors they’ll have to utilize a much more delicate element of design: emotion.

Products that are designed with emotion in mind have the ability to ‘delight’ their users, surfacing positive emotions. This, in turn, encourages frequent engagement which transforms a functional product into a pleasurable one.

Below are a number of examples of how design elements can be used to delight.

 

 

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Mailchimp – If you continually click MailChimp’s high five hand, the hand will start turning red.

 

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Gilt.com – When entering your email address in the sign up form, the domain name will autocomplete for the common domains. 

 

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Google Hangout – When you type “Happy new year” at the start of the year, a cute, fun animated GIF will display in the conversation.

 

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Medium – The feed cards highlight how long an article will take to read.

 

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Digiday – Articles have a ‘TLDR’ (Too Long; Didn’t Read) button to summarise the article for you.

 

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Google Hangouts – When anyone asks `Where are you` in the conversation, a ‘share your location’ button automatically appears.

 

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Google Translate – When to listen to the translation audio for the second time it is dictated at a slower speed.

For more great examples of the little details that make big differences, check out http://littlebigdetails.com.

Linkly #2: Zuckerbots Rollout!

Linkly is a curated list of interesting products, topics and talking points from the world of design and technology. This week we highlight Facebook’s F8 conference, designs big hitters and a t-shirt that helps you travel.

 

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Zuckerbots Rollout!

Facebook’s F8 conference is one of the tech worlds biggest events and this years event had plenty of interesting talking points. But the one that took centre stage was the launch of Facebook Messenger’s chatbots, an artificial intelligence platform that allows businesses to provide contextual, and automated interactions with users. 

 

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Digital intimacy

IDEO, the north star of design studios, have decided to start their first podcast series: How Might We. The first episode is an interesting exploration into how technology is changing the way we view and relate to intimacy.

 

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Bilingual in seconds…kind of.

Ever been travelling in a foreign country and found yourself making exaggerated hand signals and weird sound effects in an attempt to get your message across? Well, the creators of ICONSPEAK have and they decided to design the travellers communication utility belt in the form of a t-shirt.

 

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Interview with a Designer

An in-depth interview with design legend Milton Glaser, and his greatest client, Brooklyn Brewery founder Steve Hindy. An insightful look at a thirty year client relationship and friendship built on mutual admiration and respect.

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Plug in your plant

Yep, just plug your phone into your pot plant and let Photosynthesis do the rest. I want to believe that this could replace your traditional power socket charger, but have my doubts. No matter what, it’s a nice idea and a good way to add some life to a particularly bland element of the tech life.

 

Game on!

Many of the Bilue staff have a long commute to and from work which leaves plenty of time for gaming. I asked everyone around the office what their favourite games to play were and why. The games ranged from simple problem solving concepts to dramatic adventures through rough terrain. With a combination of visually rich imagery and awesome sound effects, this list should help you out on your next train ride home. Get your game on!!

 

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Alto’s Adventure

Anna: I love how the visuals transition through various times of day and weather patterns, there’s an infinite mountain and a series of goals that need to be tackled. The goals are hard enough to keep you feeling slightly infuriated when you can’t do them but easy enough that you feel like a pro. The sound effects and landscape give off a soothing vibe which puts you in a good mood for the day. A great little game to keep me entertained on my train ride.

  

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Monument Valley 

Min: Beautiful graphics aside, what sets this game apart for me is the movement in an isometric aesthetic; where the designs appear 3 dimensional & at a 30 degree angle on all sides. It means that every screen is an illusion and the constraints are unclear, which gives the game such depth and allure. In an isometric world, they’ve managed to make the complex simple.

 

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Kiwanuka

Sye: I am not sure what it is about this game in particular that I enjoy, maybe it is the bright colour palette, the simplicity of the mechanics, or the difficulty of later puzzles? More likely though, a combination of the above.


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Two Dots 

Anna: There are a never ending amount of levels so great to just keep plugging away at. It’s a simple problem solving concept that kicks your brain into gear for the day.

 

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Lumina City

Sye: Lumino City’s shining achievement is the deep sense of warmth achieved by its story, art direction and more stunningly the fact that the “city” was first modelled with real paper and cardboard. This deeply artistic approach drives a sense of comfortable familiarness and adventure that keeps bringing me back.

 

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Path to Luma

Marcelo: It’s a relaxing game with some intelligent puzzles where your goal is to help recover planets from pollution. The artwork is astonishing and the soundtrack very relaxing.

 

For anyone wanting more…

1. Check your passport is valid and book a flight to the next annual Game Developers Conference which is otherwise known as the GDC. Ok maybe not…but be sure to check out their website for a look inside the future vision of the gaming industry. 

2. Be sure to watch Good Game (Episode 10). They did a special on GDC last week. Lots of interesting stuff! 

Design inspiration: Gradients

Over the last little while some of the team at Bilue have been finding ways to relax. You may have read our Meditation post from a few months back. Well, to continue down this path of finding ways to zen out we’ve chosen to collate some of our favourite visuals that help us relaaaax. Use them for your wallpaper, stick them up near your desk, we guarantee you that gazing into one of these juicy gradients whilst listening to some calming tunes for a few minutes will leave you feeling refreshed.

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Sky series by Eric Cahan

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Double Vision by James Turrell

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Visual Gradients by Jordan Provo.

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ManvsMachine x Nike by Ten Studio.

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Gradient Wave by Subliming.

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Zero by Sydney Sie.

death-valley-gradient.jpgDeath Valley by Jordan Sullivan.

 

Respond 2016

In its third year and bigger than ever, Respond Australia’s Responsive Web Design Conference, was held for the first time in two cities, over two days. Kicking off on the 7th April at the National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour.

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Attending ‘Respond’ fuelled me with an overwhelming sense that you can never stop learning or being challenged. 

Attending a conference like Respond isn’t something I’d usually consider. As an Experience Designer, it probably comes down to an assumption that I would not understand a lot of the code rich talks and that these talks would scare me. Ironically, one of Karen McGrane’s leading themes throughout her presentation was advising us not to make assumptions about a user’s context based on any single factor. Thankfully through a stroke of luck I won tickets to Respond during Web Directions 2015, and was able to attend the conference despite my assumptions.

Greeted by new, friendly faces sharing a career and a love of coffee just like my own, I began my solo adventure into what I’d assumed would be a daunting two days that looked something like this:

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Those assumptions I made were completely wrong. The topics that were spoken about were very timely and relevant, and I even found myself eager to attend code rich talks. Not so scary after all!

Throughout the conference I picked up on some common underlying themes – opening our minds, challenging industry trends and a friendly reminder to update our passwords.

Adaptive design

What is it? How should we use it? And why is it any different from Responsive Design?

The term ‘Adaptive Design’ was mentioned quite a bit, most notably by Dina Gohil and Lucinda Burtt’s presentation from Fairfax Media on the latest SMH re-design, still under betaKaren McGrane defined Adaptive Design as serving something different. The concept is used to serve content to a user based on their specific device and context.

“Adaptive and responsive solutions work together – they’re not competitors.”

Karen summarised, “Adaptive and responsive solutions work together – they’re not competitors.” Yes it is important to deliver contextual variables to users, but the device type alone shouldn’t be what changes the experience a user might see. Many other factors come into play – analytics, location, velocity and time. Above all a seamless experience should be delivered across all devices. Don’t compromise on this experience by making assumptions.

Accessibility

Never forget accessibility, including catering for assistive technologies. At Bilue we believe accessibility is so, so important, we’ve written about it a few times before. People are using devices to access content more than ever. It is our job to make a product accessible, and we’re not just talking bigger fonts and AAA colour passes. We’re talking, making sure screen readers will be able to clearly communicate tasks and flows to their users.

Russ Weakley really brought it home that it’s our duty to ensure our sites and our digital products are truly accessible. Reminding us that small, simple steps can have huge rippling benefits for users that need them the most.

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Security

Digital security stakes have never been higher than they are now. Rachel Simpson from the Google Chrome team reminded us all that we are only as a safe as our weakest link when it comes to tech. Ensuring our users are secure and their experience is still pleasant can be a complicated balance to reach. It goes against human capabilities to expect users to remember different login credentials for each and every online account they’ve ever created. Often users end up falling short and expose themselves to security breaches. An important point made by Simpson was to understand that as your users are stepping through a flow they are also being expected to make a number of quick decisions. It’s important to be timely and meaningful when it comes to the safety of their accounts.

Performance

Performance of your site is directly affecting your revenue. Peter Wilson considered this hard truth, stating that performance is a hot topic in the industry and so it should be. Currently it takes 15.2 seconds on average to fully load a webpage, using a fast desktop network connection. Factor in poor mobile connections, and EFS interference, you will be losing revenue fast! Get rid of the baggage and set performance as a high priority when creating your product.

Be different

A number of speakers challenged why everything is looking a bit the same online these days and motivated us all to question exactly why that is. Navigation systems, layouts and modern frameworks together are creating websites that have become clones of each other. Be inspired by things outside of the digital world, it’s up to us to change that.

Respond has left me filled with motivation to learn, be involved and stay connected. Web Directions are holding a number of great conferences over the year, check them out here: Transform, Code and Direction.

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