ICS Insight Blog

ICS Insight Blog

A Blog for Application Designers and Developers

Connecting software developers and UX designers with ideas, inspiration and insight to build really cool stuff people want to use.

At some point in any extended-length development project -- whether it’s a multi-year project or a multi-month project -- you’re going to need what I’m calling a Surge. What’s going to prompt a Surge? Here are some examples: The market shifts and the target customer changes: for example, the successful launch of another product provides insight into your intended customer and a re-alignment of your product vision. Some opportunity, such as an early customer adoption or the need to demo at a trade show, will force a re-alignment of development priorities. New product requirements...
“The Times They Are a Changin’” – Bob Dylan, 1964 How many of you have noticed a change in the buying behavior of consumers today? As Bob Dylan so aptly stated more than 50 years ago when major disruptive social change was occurring, change comes with a force that shakes the walls and windows. The times, they are indeed changing. And for everyone in retail today, times they are a changin’ yet again. Technology has changed everything, including consumers’ expectations of how and when they buy. This affects everyone. Commodities, products and services are external and each of these...
March 11, 2015  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, QML, quick reference, reference card, cheat sheet
QML Cheat Sheet
I am a strong proponent of quick references or "cheat sheets" as an aid for recalling often-used information. In my career, I have created many work-related reference cards for colleagues and for my own personal use as well as for hobbies such as electronics and retro computing. Last year I put together a one page double-sided QML quick reference. ICS gave out hardcopies of the quick reference to Qt Developer Days 2014 attendees in Berlin and San Francisco. I recently updated it for the latest Qt 5.4.1 release. Printable Adobe Acrobat (PDF) versions in US...
March 2, 2015  •  By Dorothy Shamonsky  •  User Experience  •  Internet of Things, IoT, User Experience
When designing a user experience, we usually assume we are engaging a user’s center of attention, albeit short. We design an experience that will be a user’s primary focus or foreground activity for the duration of their engagement with a device, whether it be on a desktop, laptop, phone or tablet. In an attempt to provide added utility, we design reminders, such a notifications and badges that can inform users of unread messages and overdue updates. Personally speaking as a user, I already have notification overload. Although the idea is sound, notifications and badges may be too...
February 25, 2015  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, tools, lconvert, pixeltool, qlalr
Every Qt developer should be familiar with the common tools like qmake, Qt Designer and Assistant, but looking in your Qt installation's bin directory will reveal a few more programs there. In this and future blogs, we'll look at some of the lesser known Qt development tools. First, let's review a list of the tools for which you should be familiar. A few, like moc, rcc, and uic may be less familiar to you if you primarily let qmake or your IDE take care of building software, but the tools shown in the table below are ones that most Qt developers use on a regular basis....
February 24, 2015  •  By Peter Winston  •  CEO Corner  • 
Over many years of developing software and building user interfaces, I’ve seen numerous shifts in technology and been present for multiple evolutions in the way developers craft quality software. Yet, while the development tools and languages available to developers make them increasingly capable, software projects still consistently run into trouble; they miss deadlines, hit intractable technical obstacles and run rampantly over budget. As an independent software consulting company with broad capabilities and deep domain knowledge, my company ICS often gets the call when a client project...
So often, the Internet of Things (IoT) is discussed in terms of the technology that enables it, particularly focusing on cool, smart gadgets that will propagate in our lives. There is inevitably mention of in-vehicle entertainment and navigation, smart home appliances, wearables and robots. At its foundation, the IoT represents a whole lot of technological innovation, albeit driven by certain human desires, but herein holds many opportunities for usability design! User experience (UX) designers will need to meet the challenge of making all of these new devices and services a success with...
February 11, 2015  •  By Cartik Sharma  •  Qt & QML  •  Software Development, Medical, FDA, Qt, QNX
Software development in general follows a particular flow. This article describes the software development process for medical device products and some of the notable differences within. Some examples of medical device products include everything from user interface design for image guided surgical tools, intraoperative devices, CT/MRI (as shown in Figure 1) and fluoroscopy imaging systems, surgical robotics and devices for tumor ablation. Figure 1. MRI Scanner with head coil.                              ...
January 29, 2015  •  By Dorothy Shamonsky  •  User Experience  •  Internet of Things, IoT, User Experience, UX, context of use
As the Internet of Things (IoT) proliferates, some user experience (UX) designers will migrate to working on unique one-off computer appliances rather than platform specific apps. On IoT projects there are likely to be more context of use issues to consider because: Devices can exist in a myriad of locations Devices will not always depend on existing platforms with pre-designed interaction patterns The most appropriate interaction modality will have to be selected from a list of options including pointer, keyboard, speech, touch and air gestures.  Context of Use Definition...
January 28, 2015  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Application Analytics, Google Analytics, Qt, QML
A previous blog post (1) described how we've been using Google Analytics at ICS to collect usage information for a Kiosk application. In this second blog post, I'll present more technical information about how to use Google Analytics from C++ code and how Qt makes this very easy to implement. Administration of Google Analytics (2) is done through a web browser. Once you've signed up, you need to create a project. You will be given a unique tracking code to use when recording events so that you and others can see the data from the web interface. The Google Analytics Measurement Protocol...

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