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Category Archives: UI

Gosh, this quite slipped my mind. Must have been all the excitement of the nuns. So, you should have in your AppStore right now a super spanky new update to flook – searchbot.

Here he is all happy, shiny and yellow.

The first thing you’ll notice about him is that he is very friendly indeed. The second thing is that he has three eyes – that’s two more that you if you are a cyclops. It also means he’s very good at looking for things.

Tapping on him lets you filter the cards you see nearby in oh-so-many-ways. You can filter by category, user or even just text. So you could for example search for all the cards Ronaldo has made about “Killer Robots destorying London”

Sadly there aren’t any but you get the idea. Try searching for hashtags like #LDNEP to see all of cpchannel’s elephant cards.

We’re really pleased with how this functionality works – you can get back to a card you saw earlier really easily and use it to tweet or post to facebook. You can filter the type of stuff you want to see nearby – say you’ve already eaten but want to find an event to go to. Or maybe, you saw one of Sam’s cards and want to see everything she’s done before you follow her.

Flook with added search™ is available on the app store – right this instant!

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Selecting the right colurs to show it is worth pressing the details tab but not make it look like the details tab is pressed…

When we won the MEX UI award, one of the prizes was a ticket to the MEX conference. Well, Jane is such a clever stick, they asked her to present. Here’s what she’s going to talk about:

  1. What does serendipitous discovery mean, and how does it differ from task-based search? What are the different use cases, what are the interaction flows, and what are the implications for the UI? Are these two top-level use cases in competition with each other? How efficient are traditional task-based search applications on mobile anyway?
  2. How does the application learn the user’s content preferences? Is it necessary to explicitly ask the user, or are there other ways of discerning her likes and dislikes? Which is best? How does the social graph play into this, and what about the dangers of the empty room syndrome? What are the implications for the ‘engine’, whether that be on a server or in the mobile application?
  3. The difference between location-based content that is ‘broadcast’ (one user to any user) versus ‘personal’ (one user to friends) and managing the tension between these in a mobile application.
  4. What happens when we add commercial content to our applications? Can ads ever co-exist happily with user-generated content, and if so, how do we do it without relegating the ad to become a second-class citizen? Why receiving a text message from Starbucks as you walk past is the most ridiculous thing ever, and how to achieve a similar aim while delighting the user. ‘Facebook and the menopausal ad’ or ‘why a little ad relevance is a very dangerous thing’.
  5. Goals for the session

    Many of the metaphors we used for discovering new places, information and experiences in the mobile environment are relics of traditional methods. This talk explores how new techniques can transform mobile devices into the ideal platform for serendipitous discovery.

    More details at the MEX site.

As you probably know, we like to keep flook moving along. The next release we’ve codenamed socializr as a kind of weak Web 2.0 joke. It’s still i nthe works but we like to keep you hungry for more. Socialzr is an apt name and the release will have some yummy tidbits in it. Not least is the ability to socialz yr crds as the kids might say*

Here’s what the share dialog you can get from any card currently looks like:

You get this from any card. So now in addition to tweeting your own cards, you can share someone else’s card to Twitter or Facebook. If you’re friends with one of us on Facebook you’ll have seen it in testing:

We also added OAuth to Twitter which sounds boring (and is) but it means that when you tweet your cards, they come from ‘flook’ rather than ‘API’.

If you were on the flook beta test and you would now like to help test Facebook and Twitter posting from within flook. Drop us a line and we’ll get you an early release.

*if thr kybrd ws mssng all vwls.

One thing we missed out from the site when we launched it was support for mobile browsers. Last week, we shut Tristan in a room with only a copy of “CSS for dummies” and here’s the result.

When we shipped the initial version of flook all those weeks ago we weren’t really happy with the card backs. Rog kindof fluffed pete’s art. The tab buttons confused people with their portrait text and the selected state wasn’t that clear.

So, when nextstop-bot arrived with his rather-too-wordy-comments on every card we decided to redo the backs and add a details section. It’s in testing now and, assuming there are no bugs, should be in the app store very soon.

We are feeling very un-Mondayish today, even though it is in fact Monday, the 15th of February. In fact, we’re feeling positively “Friday at the start of a long weekend”! That’s because the kind people at the Mobile Premier Awards, organized by dotopen, have just this minute awarded us the “Best Startup in Mobile Experience”, out of 115 other entries in that category!

This award was sponsored by MEX, whose founder Marek Pawlowski said:

“Investing in truly user-centered design is essential for a successful mobile service and goes far beyond creating a pretty UI for your app. Flook has embedded great user experience in the heart of its product through clever interaction flow, interesting visual metaphors, customer involvement and attention to detail. It is a deserving winner of this Award and a great example for other start-ups to invest in user experience from an early stage.”

All our robots wholeheartedly agree with Marek’s words. They’d like to point out that user experience was the initial inspiration for flook, when we thought that swiping cards would be a much more mobile-friendly interface for location-based discovery than maps and pins.

We’d like to thank dotopen and MEX for choosing flook, and Andy Chung of Eden Ventures for accepting the award on our behalf.

Jane of the silly hats did (and does) much of the design work on flook, but we’d be very remiss if we didn’t also thank Nick Healey of Slash Design and Pete Borlace of pbdesignsolutions for their massive contributions. Nick is our user experience guru and is a real person not a robot called Robert. Pete is our graphic designer and he dreamt up our rainbow of robots. I’m not sure if he really does wear tin hats.

Rog and I just got back to our house in America after 6 months in the UK. I switched my US phone on to find flook frozen in time as it was in July last year – quite an interesting sight.

Look how empty those robot views are! When we changed the tabs around and added the new robots, some people were worried that flook had become too busy and crowded. I admit I’d like it to be a little simpler, but those tabs with just one or two robots look very silly!

The card creator went through a massive design review. Looking back at this previous version makes me realise how successful that redesign was!

And look at that template chooser! No-one ever discovered that we had two pages of templates either.

I’m so glad we had a proper long beta, where we not only got user experience feedback like the chooser, but also design feedback too.