Between Mobile Web & Native App

Although Startups these days are aiming for HTML5-enabled platform for their apps, reason is simple write once run everywhere approach sounds cost-friendly and easy to maintain, however there are three factor they need to understand before choosing Native App approach or Mobile-web App approach.

1) If your app contains stream of statuses and posts which include media related bit too, then choosing native app will give a very smooth-scrolling experience to your desired target users
2) If uploading media is also the core bit of your app, then opting for Native App will speed-up the process
3) Want to get rid from lags? Go with the native app approach. It will serve you well.

Now read those three lesson in detail and see how Facebook embrace them and why they opted for Native app in their recent version for Facebook for iPhone:

Why Facebook Ditched the Mobile Web & Went Native With its New iOS App.

iPhone Apps that Makes Me Productive in 2010

Recently one of my very best friend requested me to share the iPhone Apps that I frequently use in my day-to-day life. Reason he was wondering is when I told him that “iPhone is the tool that I uses most for my note taking to idea sketching activity”. So here is my apps list:

I did try the MindMaker now known as MindMiester, I never fall for it head-over-heal as I keep loving iThoughts as time passes and as they keep upgrading it with cool stuff. DropBox Support in the iThoughts is the best ever integration I love! Second important feature is XMind support. Try it out! It is very wonderful app for Mind Mapping, if you love doing your “To Do” in that style? Or laying the map of Project flow, it gives you the bird-eye view about your projects/tasks.

What I really like about this app is, how aesthetically pleasing interface is! Only one complain though, if I can sync all my to-do list on DropBox!

If you are working on the iPhone App Development, and you need to sketch the rough prototype, and you really want it done without using the Pen & Paper, but right on iPhone!? Then Interface is your best bet! Quickly drop the controls, and create screens, and the best thing is you can export the mock-up in XCode Format!

Like any “mentally active” guy :P you may think a lot and the ideas start poping in and out from your mind in one-billionth of the second! Then why not capture it with style. Try Momento it is fun way to keep the journal of your idea or your emotions or anything.

Now the most important app on my iPhone. GoodReader is your PDF Reader, your MP3 Player, and your Video Player, and it is swiss-army knife of couple of  “on-the-go Reader” that comes with a core feature of converting your iPhone as USB Drive.  I love the PDF Reader feature of this app, it gives you annotation too, a big plus.

Second most important on-the-go reader for me! Using the bookmarklet in Chrome and then clipping all the articles that I wanna read but couldn’t read it so I queue it in Instapaper. It is basically let you bookmark the article in to their server and then you can download it and read it off-line. A superb commute-companion.

That’s all I have so far, although for fun I do download tons of app 90% free apps to try them and get some inspiration for the apps I am working these days, but mostly my productivity companions are the above captions apps that I used them almost daily.

The iPad: Reality, Unicornism, UXism

So that’s the magical device, the most important invention. Well for average joe,  it is somewhat promising. For some power user it is not.

Let’s take a look in to the reality first, it has awesome or I would say gorgeous screen, unlocked but useless on T-Mobile in short AT&T is your only best bet, virtually the only way to go with 3G version is with AT&T, great for high school and college kids, flashy bookstore and iBook no doubt the user experience is really appealing, existing iphone apps compatibility etc.

However in my family these days we are debating over the purchase of webcam based laptop, which I believed going to be an easy decision however it turned out little bit tough. As an average American family we are being careful with our spending. I was expecting the iPad with front facing webcam, because my second half is keeping in touch with her family abroad mostly with Skype Video Chat, alas! The introduction of first generation iPad is really not that impressive anymore from the “need” perspective.

I may buy one (iPad), only to awe myself with the Apple’s latest UI and UX bonanza and get the daily dose of UX inspiration from it. Other than that, it is just a man-up version of the iPhone. As I learned a very good lesson with iPhone that the third iteration is rock solid hence “third time is a charm”. So when they will have the front-facing webcam, I will be the first person in the line to get that device. Why? Apple is the king of “User Experience” enrichment.

From my pictorial experience I would say I am totally disappointed from the “Lock Screen”. The “Slide to Unlock” bar is tiny, it is like a small wee-wee on a Gigantic Dinosaur. I rather prefer something iPad centric as it can be seen in the following figure.

When you slide it up, it will fold-up like “Blinder”. And when you lock the screen, it will fall like a “Blinder”, you get the idea? Right?

Well, right-now we are inclined toward the HP Slate, it has freaking webcam plus full blown OS, and seriously when on Skype video chat you do not need a typing just rest at kitchen counter while in kitchen and continue chatting, on a table? Just dock and keep chatting.  Freaking iPad doesn’t have that webcam.

Here is what I am expecting in 2011 iPad, the front-facing camera that will recognize the the user and will launch only those apps that bought or authorized to use for that specific user. Then Apple once again can bank on “$19.99” price for iPad Software upgrade, by default it will have 2 User Pack (couples mostly) and then if you have a big family you can have “$39.99” for Family Pack (5 users). Anyways, too much day dreaming I should go to bed now.

My today’s ranting ends here and hopefully I will continue more ranting on my user experience in coming days.

Good Luck and Thanks to all the magical Unicorns’ bubble burst.

Disclaimer: I took the iPad image from Gizmodo’s “Apple iPad: Everything You Need to Know” blog entry. Thanks to my friend Kamran for the design touch-up.

Balsamiq Mockups: UI Elements for iPhone Application Part 1

Balsamiq Mockups from iPhone App wire-framing perspective…. Fortunately for any Experience Designer who religiously follow the wireframes ideas, related to websites or software, targeting any platform: mobile or desktop, is blessing in disguise, yes I used the word disguise, because I noticed whenever someone talk about Balsamiq Mockups they usually love to talk about Website Wireframing and Software Wireframing, but iPhone App UI Wireframing never discussed. I would like to point out the key Mokcup Elements available in the Balsamiq Mockups for iPhone UI Elements. iPhone Menu: You will notice the iPhone Menu Mockup is rich with the elements that needed in any general iPhone App, see figure 1 follow

Lets explore it one by one

For a simple label “This is a Label”

To mimic the Delete Button type (without quote) “- Delete Button”.

To produce the Add Button : “+ Add Button”.

Sub-Menu UI representation can be achieved by using the “A Sub Menu, >” command, where “A Sub Menu” can be the text of your desire, and “, >” is the real meat here. Here comma “,” will right-aligned the “>” / Greater-Than Symbol. From iPhone Human Interface Guideline, this navigational icon falls in Tab Bars UI elements.

For Label with Sub-Label the syntax is simple “Label and, Sub-Label”, again comma / “,” is to right-aligned any text it is similar as Sub-Menu except we are using Text instead of Symbol to produce the “Label & Sub-Level” effect.

Checkbox / Checkmark is interesting, to produce the “checkbox/checkmark” effect use “v A Checkmark, (>)” syntax. “v” is to produce the “Checkmark” and (>) is for “Detail Disclosuer Button” .

To produce the “Bulleted List” use “*” / asterisk,

Toggle Button’s “On & Off” state sketching can be done by using “Toggle button, ON” and “Toggle button, OFF” command in Balsamiq Mockups.

In my next post, we will explore more iPhone related UI Elements goodies in Balsamiq.

Happy Wireframing!