Last week I flew out to Bangalore for the UXa Masterclass and meeting, this was my first UXa Masterclass, so it was great to meet representatives from all of our partners around the world – many of whom I’d worked with on projects.
The Masterclass workshops were varied, with a mixture of speakers from inside the UXalliance and external organisations, such as GE. There were lots of interesting discussions from novel ways to present findings to clients, to the differences between mobile testing in the East and in the West. We also discussed some of the challenges around designing for customers in rural India. The sessions were all really informative and well organised (with a great lunch and high tea to network over).
The audience were also told about UX-PM, a new international UXalliance certification for project managers.
Late last year the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced the eleven winners of their “grand challenge” to make condoms more appealing and pleasurable, and hopefully more widely used. The idea behind the challenge is simple: condoms are currently the best defence against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, they are cheap to produce and have few side effects, however, despite this, condoms aren’t always used, and one of the main reasons for this is that a lot of men don’t like wearing them. So, the Gates Foundation ran a design competition to make condoms better, with the aim to “significantly enhance or preserve [the] pleasure” of condoms, with each winner receiving $100,000 to develop their ideas.
Reading about Transform Africa 2013 paints a great picture of Rwanda on the emerging technology front.
Here's a little sketch of their recent deal with Korean Telecom to deliver 4G internet across the country. It runs nicely alongside their 'Smart Kigali' initiative, which aims to give free wireless in specific areas of the city, such as taxis (you can read more here).
Looks like some great initiatives going on and a place to watch for future innovation.
(You might also be interested in BRCK)
1. Sign language on FaceTime
I was on the bus and I saw a girl using sign language over FaceTime. Apart from being super impressed with the ability to sign with one hand and hold the phone with the other, seeing FaceTime for something other than two callers awkwardly showing each other where they are made me really happy.
2. A stroke patient using an iPad to help ask for directions
An elderly lady held up an iPad in front of me, on it were the words, "Where is the nearest library?". I gave the woman directions to the library (after double checking on Google maps) and she typed, "Thank you so much". This also made me very happy.
3. Cycle powered mobile device charging zone
On a recent trip to Antwerp I saw something that I always imagine is possible when I am at the gym, using energy from bikes for something useful. At the train station there was a mobile device charging zone powered by cycling. Not only could you rest your tired feet, if you had your power cable with you, you could charge your mobile device with you too - and burn a few calories from all those Belgian chocolates/waffles/beers. This was the third technology use that made me happy.
At the weekend I had some friends staying with me and we went to Wahaca (to brighten up the very damp evening). We’d hardly finished ordering when someone came over, armed with an iPhone, to tell us about, “something new” they had at Wahaca. I told the guy that we weren’t really interested as I didn’t want to bore my guests with a Wahaca app. He insisted, saying it would only take a second and that we could use this in other places. Before I could say anything, out came a QR tag and the iPhone and an app appeared on the screen.
“Ohh”, I said, “Is this that thing that that Tel Aviv startup developed?”
The guy looked at me slightly shocked. I don’t think anyone had really listened to him all night. My friends looked at me, slightly embarrassed at the level of my nerdy knowledge. I cringed for encouraging him.
“No. It’s similar. They are our direct competitors.”
“So tell me why you’re better.” I thought I may as well get a blog post out of it.
Earlier this year, we invited Triptease into our office to tell us about their travel review product. The aim of Triptease is to make it easy and fun for you to create beautiful travel reviews that you want to share with other people – and that other people actually want to read. Reviewers can follow one another and comment on each others’ reviews, which builds a sense of community lacking in other travel review websites.
While at a barbeque this weekend discussing/boasting how excited I was to get my StickyGram, I met Linus one of the founders of Copygram. Apart from being able to view, comment, Follow and Unfollow, and even backup photos, Copygram also has a similar feature to StickyGram (minus the magnets) where you can print and post your Instagram photos. Uhh ohh! Only a weekend away and I’m ordering more photos!! But I didn’t think it would be fair to review StickyGram and not try out Copygram too.
The thing I most love about taking photos is having them to look at afterwards. But I don’t just like having them on my phone or computer, I like being able to hold them and having them up on the walls.
I think there’s an interesting modern day dilemma of how to show off your personality, or what you like, with more and more content being digital. Sure, you can “Like” books, films, artists on Facebook and share different links, but is this really the same as having your stuff out on your shelves? Also, how can your kids inherit your great taste in the future if it’s all locked away on your iPod? And I think the same goes for photos? Where’s the fun if they stay on your phone?
So, it was when I was on Photobox printing some photos that I noticed a link to StickyGram and thought, “What a great name, what could that be?”. StickyGram is a simple concept that takes Instagram photos, which is all about digital sharing, and makes them into tangible magnets, which are posted (for free) straight to your door. This combines two things I really love, photos + getting things in the post, I had to try it!