Expedia.com Mobile App

•October 15, 2008 • 7 Comments
Example of an iPhone home screen with Expedia icon

Example of an iPhone home screen with Expedia icon

Quick flight search on Expedia mobile app.

Calendar feature similar to Web site interface

Pop-up calendar feature similar to Web site interface


Wireframe for an independent record label home page

•October 8, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Flow chart example for a simple online record store

•October 8, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Journal Entry #1

•October 8, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Video games are perfect examples of how far user interaction and design have come.  Throughout the many ways users can interact with electronic devices, video games are one of the purest examples.  You touch a button, and your character performs an action.  Whether it’s a thrust of a sword or 20-yard pass, video games are all about user experience, and a bad interface can ruin even the prettiest and most graphically impressive game.

Our in class exercise focused on a variety of games, from the ultra-obscure to the mega-popular.  “Rock Band” and “Wii Sports” are wildly successful because of their unique style of controls.  Nintendo’s Wii console lets users control the gameplay simply by moving the “Wiimote” around.  The controller has buttons, but the real sense of movement gained by moving the Wiimote is unmatched by any other console.  Rock Band, and similarly Guitar Hero, let users play along to some of the biggest rock songs of all time with a not-quite-life-size guitar controller and drum set.  The user taps buttons on the “fret board” in time with the song, or bangs on the drum pad along with the beat.  It’s one of the most fun and interactive games of this current generation.  While having real musical skills can certainly help, anyone can enjoy these games.  The drumming aspect, however, actually requires the ability to keep a beat in order to be successful.

Nintendo, innovators of the handheld market, are currently enjoying a lot of success with the DS.  The game I tried out was a role playing game (RPG) by Squar Enix, one of the leaders in the genre.  It was called “The World Ends With You” and was a highly stylized, modern take on the RPG, taking place in present-day Japan and starring a group of teenagers.  What makes the DS unique is it’s dual touch-screens.  This allows the user to view more menus and options while keeping gameplay on a separate screen.  RPGs require a great deal of time and commitment, and are driven by story.  It was hard to get a good feel for this game in such a short trial period.

Sony’s handheld, the PSP (Playstation Portable) has one wide screen and no touch controls, but the buttons will feel like home to anyone who’s familiar with the Playstation series of consoles.  It feels natural in your hands, and the graphics are impressive for a handheld.

“Pacman” online, while classic and fun, suffers somewhat from the arrow key controls.  Without the arcade-style joystick, movement seems awkward and less responsive.

Gwap’s “Matchin’” game is a unique online experience that lets players guess which one of two photos their opponent will choose.  Based on the correct answers, you start to gain an insight into your opponent and what kind of images they prefer.

One of the most bizarre and pointless things I’ve encountered online was the text-based “Lambda Moo” game.   Players emerge from a virtual “closet” and must navigate their way through the room by typing commands.  For the life of me, I could not figure out why anyone would waste their time with this.  Perhaps I needed to spend more time exploring, but this one virtual world I was eager to leave.

Video games are more popular than ever, and players want fun combined with innovation, as evidenced by the run-away success of Nintendo’s Wii.  While still advancing, gameplay has certainly come a long way.