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Guenther Beyer
Works at Opoloo
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Working on a product like the Digital Concert Hall of Berlin's finest band was certainly a very rewarding experience. We'll publish an in depth case study soon. 

If you care for classical music on Android, there's no way around this app, perfectly executed by the guys from +Novoda.
Enjoy.
 
This is what we've been working on the last 3 months +Novoda, awesome designs by +Guenther Beyer and much fun with +Alexander McWilliam 
Sehen und hören Sie die größten Dirigenten und Solisten der klassischen Mus...
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Congrats! I know this feeling ;)
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You've probably seen +Taylor Ling 's excellent second Android Design Challenge. Congratulations to the winners and thanks to the judges and everybody who participated.

While working through the 40+ submissions, I realized some problematic patterns, that appeared over and over. Instead of pointing fingers, let me try to add some valuable tips for young designers, participating is such a design challenge: 


Stay away from big technology brands

Companies like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram spend a lot of time and money on their well-known apps. While you probably can point out plenty of personal issues in their layouts or design language, be aware that those companies employ some of the best designers worldwide. And they come with a certain expectation. It's hard to grasp their complexity or to improve their app with a couple of quick mockups.


Spend your time on apps that can actually benefit from it

There are plenty of smaller, lesser known apps that desperately need some UI polish or interaction design. Those are probably much better suited for you to show off your skills, since they don't come with high expectations. And compared to the big brands, they will actually value your work, and possibly even implement it. Instead of Evernote, Last.fm or Spotify, have a take on something fresh.


Don't just follow the guidelines—stand out

Android's design guidelines are a very solid set of rules to start from. But they are meant to be used as a guide for OS consistency, not to be seen as dogma. Don't just copy patterns from the Play Store, but build upon them. Use them to push aesthetic and interaction to a unique level—try to differentiate if you want the attention. 


Keep it short, keep it sweet

With more than 40 entries, it can quickly become a burden to judge all those slides and ideas properly. Don't try to showcase your skills with sheer quantity and 20 screens-mockup that all look the same. Instead, try to impress with a couple of well crafted highlights and exceptions, like Glass or Android Wear UIs. Skip the boring lists and about screens. Your judges will appreciate it.


How about responsive?

+Juhani Lehtimäki pointed out the lack of responsive approaches to the design challenge. Almost all entries focused on ~4" portrait devices. Responsive design is a core component of every Android design project. If you want to be taken seriously in the community or by project owners, don't skip this challenging part. Show how your UI concepts scale across landscape and portrait mode, and from 4 inch to 10 inch devices.

--

There are certainly plenty more areas to consider when approaching an Android app redesign. But those tips should at least help you get a foot in the door of a company or a challenge like this one.

What are your thoughts?
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Making apps responsive is where designers and developers spend a lot time. Especially, when it is properly done for whole range of device form factors. Just wondering whether it pays out at the end? Any experience with this?
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Observation

Something remarkable happened the other day. Over at a friends’ house, we were exchanging YouTube videos. In the video list recommended for me, I noticed a special band I had never listened to, right on top. As it turned out, that band was a particular favorite of my friends, and they enjoyed it frequently. 

This could have just been a coincidence, but I doubt it. Apparently, Google’s recommendations factor location data into YouTube suggestions, completely independent of personal tastes. 

At first I was amused. Then the correlation slowly started to become creepy. As long as I got additional entertainment suggestions, I’d be fine. But imagine what could happen if specific local information was detained from me? What if a particular group of people with a similar mindset in location X received a different set of data than another in location Y? I’m thinking especially about more unstable places that aren’t just love, peace, and harmony all over, places where control of information is crucial.

Thinking about the impact of location-specific information control is horrifying, especially on an economic or political level. Correlations between sets of data can be very valuable, as long as they can be determined and controlled by a human.

In the case of the YouTube example, a small label like “this video was recommended because ...” would bring back the control needed to strengthen trust in the service. Probably together with some option for further calibration.

What are your thoughts?
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Android Developers for hire!

Our friends at +Appgenix Software  are the people behind the mighty Business Calendar for Android. They are looking for a full-time Android developer and a student Android developer.

http://businesscalendar.de/hire.php

If you’re looking for one of the coolest, nerdiest jobs with a superfriendly team in Berlin, you should pay them a visit.

#androiddev   #androidjob   #businesscalendar  
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That's a good question, +Maria Judi. Go ahead and drop the guys a line, the are very friendly.
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 Your attention is precious. Don’t squander it. Don’t throw it away. Don’t let companies and products steal it from you. Don’t let advertisers trick you into lusting after things you don’t need. Don’t let the media convince you to covet the lives of celebrities. Own your attention — it’s all you really have.

Sure, I'm quoting a quote here, but this message will become quite a theme in 2014. Found via Offscreen Mag this morning.
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I'm quite sure you are not only quoting, but also live those quotes :)
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Our content-wizard Nino just launched his personal project Verse Magazine. If you can appreciate some beautiful words, set in equally beautiful typography, hop over and give him some love.
 
This has been cooking in my kitchen for more than a year now: An online magazine for fine contemporary poetry that puts the reader back in the center of the experience.

http://www.verse-magazine.com/

Finally, the first issue is out, thanks to the help of my friends at +Opoloo, +Jared Chapman, and the wonderful poets who were willing to contribute to the idea of making a magazine that tries to finally give poetry on the web its due share.

I'm curious to hear what you think.

This first issue features works by:
Douglas S. Jones
Lydia Daher
Therése Halscheid
Sina Klein
Iván Iglesias
Lyrikkollektiv G13
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High-rises going up at an incredible pace. Thousands of living spaces being built to house the tech workers of San Francisco. The people who burn the midnight oil day after day. Making applications to help you locate which bar your friends are at. To help you call a car to go meet them. To help you find a mate for the evening. Applications that make it easier to voice your displeasure at having to pass the people you’ve displaced as they attempt to make their homes in the corners of society you haven’t decided to take over yet.

+Mike Monteiro shares a short story of the other side of our crazy technology world, right in time for Christmas. If you plan on flooding your home with yet another wave of the latest and greatest gadgets, stop for a minute and think. There are plenty of opportunities around you, that deserve your energy, creativity, passion and money more than the next tech giant.

Enjoy.
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So in classic disruption theory, the hybrid model is eating its way up through the complexity chain. I’d argue that the majority of information-based apps today can be successfully implemented through this approach with varying levels of the native/HTML split.

While I had plenty of heated conversations with Android- and Web-Developers over the years, it's good to get some insights of people who know what they are doing, without being religiously biased.

Basecamp's David Heinemeier Hansson discusses their hybrid approach, instead of choosing one technology over the other.
Decisions based on computing speeds quickly decay. With that in mind — that performance data driving previous tech choices was outdated — we set about to do a series of bake-offs. We implemented the main progress screen in the iPhone app in first a fully native version, then again in an ...
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Very smart approach. I like it.
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If product design is about solving problems for people within the constraints of a specific business, then it simply feels that many people calling themselves product/UX designers are actually practicing digital art. They are Artists. They are Stylists. Executing beautiful looking things, certainly an important skill, but not practising product design.

I appreciate that we slowly understand that a beautiful interface is just a small piece of what we call User Experience. Clear words, good read.
Product design work from applicants created with one eye towards Dribbble is superficial- things that look great but don't work well or solve real problems.
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Yes, yes, and yes. Many so-called UX Designer are really just about designing in that fixed device frame (be it computer or mobile or any form factor) without thinking across the product experiences - when we talk about product experiences, there are so much more to explore, to test, to challenge, to verify than just eye candies on the screen (which sometimes rendered useless in the entire product experiences). I have started to believe (from experiences) that UX is something that everyone in the product team (dev, product, design, marketing etc.) has to practice and believe rather than from the only one in the team in order to create a truly great product with great UX.  
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 #UX
 
I appreciate the attention user-experience is getting lately. The unfortunate result is a misuse of the term and a explosion of so called UX-Designer jobs.

If you're working somewhere in technology, do yourself a favor and have a look at some of the great links, +Nino Rapin put together. It's almost weekend, after all.
 
Hook 007
Opoloo’s UX Link Digest

http://blog.opoloo.com/articles/hook-007

It's time for a new Hook, everyone. Today’s link digest centers around a starting point of resources to freshen up your understanding of UX and get your cortex cracking.

On board today:

+Izabel Grey  & +Nazmul Idris  from +Android Developers’  channel
+Ryan Singer
+val head  with an article on A List Apart
Christina Halvorson with an article at UXmag
+Aarron Walter  of +MailChimp  (also with an article on A List Apart)
+Peter Merholz  
 
 
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After +Wolfram Rittmeyer shared some great thoughts on Firefox OS a couple of days ago, it's my turn today. If you're still wondering if this breed of devices could be a worthwhile addition, have a look and follow the fox.
 
The Apple, the Green Tin Man & the Fox
A short review of Firefox OS

http://blog.opoloo.com/articles/the-apple-the-green-tin-man-the-fox

A couple of weeks ago, we ordered an Alcatell One Touch Fire, a small Firefox OS phone, to take a closer look at the performance of applications and mobile sites. This little device replaced +Guenther Beyer's Nexus 4 for a week. Read up on his trip to wonderland.

#firefoxos  
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Being one of Android's most iconic UI elements, the overflow has lead to quite some heated discussions. Recently an icon with round dots has appeared on Google Now and some other apps. While this is not yet to be seen as the standard overflow icon, we got a couple of requests for the alternative.

Here's a free, rounded overflow icon in 5 sizes and all 14 colors.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/462883/androidicons.com_overflow_round.zip (updated)

 If you don't have the full Android Icon Developer Set yet, get it from
www.androidicons.com
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10x, i just used the white one in my app.
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  • Opoloo
    Owner, 2009 - present
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I’m an icon and interfacedesigner from Mayence, cofounder of Opoloo and Androidicons
Introduction
Guenther is cofounder of Opoloo where he designs interfaces and icons for smart websites and mobile software.

He created Androidicons in the early days of the OS, to support developers with handcrafted icons to improve their apps.

When he's not making the digital world a little nicer, he enjoys lots of (live) music, growing beards and training ladybugs to talk.


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Helping little monsters find a home since 2009.
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