One of the cool elements of the mobile revolution that is taking place is that it is forcing a new focus around the importance of good creative design for mobile applications. While I’m not sure if this is due to the differences in screen size and interaction methods (touch vs mouse driven), it doesn’t really matter. The good news is that it is resulting in software developers being asked to really re-think good user interface designs and that’s good for all of us!
Part of the evolution is certainly due to the fact that smaller screens and form factors require that mobile applications must be simpler – the best ones are not simply replicas of web site or existing traditional apps, instead they are built for simple tasks and discrete purposes that often require re-imagining key customer interaction processes. As functionality is re-thought from the user centered design perspective, it provides an opportunity to rethink the graphical interfaces and feel as well. While it’s not very often you hear anyone bragging about the cool UI on a traditional PC app – it is quite common to see cool designs on mobile platforms.
Recently I came across this list of ten sites that was posted by Jacob Gube , the Founder and Chief Editor of Six Revisions, that can provide mobile app developers with some inspiration for design patterns and graphical interface models. It’s pretty cool – check it out. I think my favorite is lovely ui – but let me know what you think! As some of you know – my lovely wife is a graphic designer – so I’ll have to ask for her vote too and she what she thinks.
This week here at IBM we were also proud to report that our IBM Interactive Design Services team was cited as one of the best design and digital marketing teams in the industry as noted by their placement in the Gartner Magic Quadrant! If you aren’t familiar with them – you can check them out here – and as you can see by clicking on the Our Work tab, they have done some great, cool projects with great user designs.
As I’ve written about several times before – every developer I meet talks fist about the cool cloud and mobile projects they are working on, and our Tech Trends survey backed up the enthusiasm with these two areas outdistancing all others as the hot topics for developers and startups around the globe.
So yesterday at IMPACT we unleashed some incredible new free tools for developers up on our developerWorks site:
PureSystems Cloud Sandbox/Free Trial Environment – to help individual developers create their own patterns of expertise to optimize their applications for either IBM PureSystems, or the IBM Smartcloud, developers can now use a completely free cloud development environment up on our cloud. That’s right — free access to our IBM PureSystems technology on the IBM Smartcloud. This is our first ever totally free cloud environment for developers to leverage. I’ll be posting more later today on why this is such an advantage for developers — and offers so much more than other cloud sites.
PureSystems Virtual Patter Software Development Kit — if you are thinking about how to optimize a home-grown application, or want to work develop “off-line” from the cloud – they you can also download the new SDK that we made available yesterday, enabling you to create a pattern of expertise for your own application. Once you complete the pattern work, your app can then run on IBM PureSystems, or the IBM Smartcloud. One pattern – runs seamless on either platform. Others have promised this, but so far we’re the only vendor to deliver it.
New Mobile Zone & Community Tools — we also unveiled a big new Mobile Zone on developerWorks, and released IBM Mobile Foundations to provide developers and IT practitioners the tools they needs to create and manage an end to end mobile environment. The new Mobile Foundations includes content from our Worklight acquisition, Endpoint Security from Tivoli and technology from our Cast Iron acquisition.
Make sure you check out these toolkits and especially the Free Cloud Environment from IBM!
ps – Stay tuned for my next post – I’ve gotten lots of questions about how our Trial Environment compares to a free trial on Amazon – so I’ll be posting some key points on that next.