Weekly Round-up: 15th-21st March

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Hello! Its the return of the Ostmodern weekly round up. A brief digest of what we've been up to and what news stories have caught our eye from the world of UX, TV and tech.

It's been a busy week at Ostmodern Offices. On Wednesday we hosted the latest London Axure Meetup, where UX specialist Sandra Sears demonstrated how to build prototypes for responsive websites.

On Thursday I went to a talk by interaction designer Jon Dixon of Bunnyfoot, who reflected on the similarities between his experiences as an actor and in user-centred design. Drawing parallels between the characters who actors portray and the personas we create in user-centred design, he explained that truth and integrity are fundamental to these processes.

Jon also discussed some neurological insights into the complex decision making processes which people make, highlighting how contextual information influences our perception of the world around us.

This week has also seen TV Connect roll in to town, with expert analysts discussing insights from the industry. In his keynote talk, Jonathan Cobb from Pace argued that whilst linear TV is still strong (trends suggest that Telcos have filled the gap left by falling numbers of cable subscribers), changes in behaviour are creating new levels of complexity. Arguing that technological changes are driven by the consumer, Jon made the case that excellence in user experience is essential to attracting viewers in an increasingly competitive landscape. Usability is all about integration, and designing products which are more flexible and that can be better integrated with other systems, notably the cloud, is crucial in a rapidly evolving TV landscape.


UX Researcher gets papped at TV connect. Source: Informa Telecoms & Media, 2014

Here are some of the other stories that have caught our eye this week:

Polygon speak to computer game video streaming site Twitch about how four friends experimenting with crazy ideas for tech developed a unique broadcasting site which attracts 45 million views a month. Personally, I’m a little envious of their Rapture themed meeting room.

This shows that the potentially global reach of online video means that special interest content, which would once have been considered too niche to be viable, is now able to attract a large and dedicated audience.

Speaking on a similar subject at SXSW last week, House of Cards producer Dana Brunetti said that he believes “it's a fantastic time for content creators if you're looking to reach an audience”. In their report of the show, Contagious Communications reflect that producing quality content is becoming increasingly important.

Elsewhere, the BBC and BSkyB have both done a spot of spring cleaning this week, with the former releasing a newly designed iPlayer and the latter overhauling their EPG to appeal to Sky+ customers. Both products have been redesigned to put browsing and discovery have been placed at the centre of the experience.

In travel news United Airlines are planning to launch a free video streaming service on iOS, whilst KLM have partnered with Gigya to enable customers to choose who to sit next to during their flight using their social media connections. It will be interesting to see how these developments in air travel take off.

In the blogosphere UX designer Matt Isherwood talks about minimalising the online checkout experience.

Janel Torkington of Medium discusses how apps such as Tinder have generated success by using playing cards as a model for user interfaces.

UI designer Sagi Shrieber offers some alternatives to banner notifications on smart devices.

‘Cloak’, a slightly less social app, helps users avoid meeting people on their existing social networks.

And finally, polar bear cubs were unveiled to the world for the first time this week at Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich.

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