Google release Gmail mobile client

· Applications

Gmail works pretty well on mobile devices already, but Google just announced a Java client application for mobile (Official Google Blog: Gmail mobile client is live) that runs on hundreds of devices. I visited the download page on my phone and it automatically detected that I was connecting via an HTC 2125 and supplied me with the correct Java “midlet” for my device.
It seems to work great, once I turned off the itsy-bitsy text-size option, although I’m not sure I really need it, since – as I said – the regular Gmail website already adapts itself pretty well to my device. Cool wow factor, though.

What World of Warcraft can teach web developers

· Design

I’ve often said that game interfaces tend to more forward-looking than those of productivity applications and that younger people are having their expectations set by the experiences they have playing games on their computers, on their TVs, on their playstations and mobile devices, and online in general.
Usually I haven’t pushed this idea too much further, though. How can we best capture these innovations coming from the game space and apply them to the nongaming part of the Web?
This blog post suggests a few ideas about what the online multiplayer fantasy game World of Warcraft can teach people developing “Web 2.0” sites. I’m not sure all of the suggestions are particularly compelling, but I fully agree with the last two:

  • User Feedback: The WoW Community is both strong and vocal and its good to see when a lot of people agree on changes that should be made, many times Blizzard (the creators of the game) implement those changes in one of their weekly patches. Which brings us to…
  • Frequent Updates: Updates don’t necessarily mean features, but even small tweaks allow your users to know that you still care about your site and are working on things. However, don’t tweak just because you want to look fresh, tweak for improvement.
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Jacco Niewland releases swipr, a Visio plug-in for information architects

· Applications

According to Jacco Niewland, swipr is “a toolset for Visio that allows the integration of sitemaps/screenflows and wireframes into one fully interactive HTML deliverable.”
Swipr is released under the GNU Open Source license, and is completely free. It “allows for one screenflow/sitemap document and multiple wireframe documents to be exported into one integrated HTML set, viewable by any browser; it also has the option of creating a simple prototype from all your wireframes.” It’s suited for collaboration by teams of multiple IAs and it doesn’t require any special plugins to view the HTML prototype output.
Niewland suggests that the prototypes created by swipr are suitable for early usability testing, and that the documents print well from Visio.
At swipr.com you can download the software (still in beta), see examples, and contribute to a forum.
Thanks, Jacco!

Yahoo's time capsule

· Design

Austin Govella posted a link to the IA Institute mailing list the other day pointing to Yahoo Time Capsule, an intriguing project for gathering memories from users and making them browsable in interesting and innovative ways (that may break the browser in some use cases, but still… pretty cool).

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