I'm sure developers get their ideas from everywhere, especially when they're not sitting behind a desk, but I wasn't expecting to come across some inspiration while watching an episode (okay, several episodes) of HBO's Girls on a recent cross-country flight.
When you're deeply immersed in a mobile game or app, what would you rather see, an ad that pops up and blocks your view of the app's main interface, or some URLs that run somewhere on the periphery? Perhaps more importantly, if you're a developer, which would you rather your users see?
Few mergers and acquisitions are easy to predict, particularly in the technology space, where certain combinations of software or hardware may only make sense to a few strategic thinkers. In the case of Adobe, however, there was probably nothing more natural, more inevitable and possibly game-changing as its decision to follow up the purchase of Behance with Thumb Interactive.
There are no doubt plenty of developers out there hoping their app will hit the big time. Based on some recent recommendations put forward by Facebook, however, they might want to reconsider what they're doing and focus instead on a new goal: having their app hit users' Timelines.
Press the button. Flick the switch. Open the file folder. They're all terms we immediately know, but the context is a lot more complicated in a software-centric world. When you hear them, do you think first of handling objects in the physical world or using an app? Your answer will say a lot about how you will respond to interface design. More developers need to think about how their target market will react to this question.
When developers attend Google I/O 2013 this week they will probably have a lot to look forward to--in-depth technical sessions, visionary keynotes and major product and service announcements. As they get bombarded with information it could be difficult to remember everything they learn, just as it's easy to forget about what was announced at Google I/O last year. Which is why, before things get underway, it's worth taking a quick look back at I/O 2012 and thinking about the big promise Google made, and which it failed to deliver. I am referring, of course, to the Nexus Q.
When developers start creating their apps and games I wonder if they picture how they will be used. Don't just consider what features or functions will prove popular, but keep in mind what people will actually be doing with their bodies--how they will be sitting if they're sitting, whether they'll have use of one hand or two, whether they will hold a phone comfortably in their lap or with their arm stretched out.
A few weeks ago, I went to an invitation-only event featuring a visit from Vadim Larusik, who manages a program at Facebook to help journalists make better use of its social media platform. He spent the better part of an hour talking about how news sites could use a "like" button, how TV news reporters could upload raw footage to their Facebook account and use their status updates as a sort of online town hall with their audience.
You don't need to be a theoretical physicist to develop a great mobile app, but some basic understanding of how business and entrepreneurship really works would probably help. I was reminded of this recently when I caught a rerun of The Big Bang Theory, a sitcom from CBS that features the exploits of a group of scientists at a university in Pasadena, Calif.
The official slogan for Google Drive is "Keep anything, share everything." As mobile app developers have occasionally learned the hard way, however, it does not mean users should be able to do everything. That helps explain the company's recent decision to launch App Data Folders and suggests a new understanding about developer and user control.