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.

The user experiences (UXs) of Internet-enabled devices that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT) are expected to require little or no learning for users to be effectively proficient with them. As these devices proliferate, it’s inconceivable that users will have any patience to figure out complex or confusing user experiences. This is particularly so with public devices where the time that any one user might engage with a device is measured in minutes. How does a designer deal with this dilemma? To add to the challenge, many of these connected devices are not built upon platforms...
June 24, 2015  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, commands, documentation
In this next installment of our blog series on lesser-known Qt commands, we'll look at four tools related to documentation: qdoc, qhelpgenerator, qcollectiongenerator and qhelpconverter. Qdoc Qdoc1 is the tool used to generate the developer documentation for the Qt Project. It is not specific to Qt, and can be used to create documentation for other projects or applications. Similar to tools like Javadoc2 and Doxygen3, it works by extracting structured comments from source files and using them to generate documentation in HTML or other formats...
June 16, 2015  •  By Dorothy Shamonsky  •  User Experience  •  Internet of Things, IoT, user experiences, UX, Design
  The Internet of Things (IoT) will be an opportunity for new kinds of user experiences (UXs) to proliferate - smart, ambient, minimal and wearable. These new interactive experiences will need to be very appealing and easy to use. In other words, these new devices and systems must possess a very high level of usability; users/consumers have come to expect that. This is good news for designers because it ensures that their skills will be highly valued as the IoT grows in scope and size. However, employing high UX standards are not the only factor at play here. The number of IoT...
June 10, 2015  •  By Joe Mulligan  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, Boost, C++, Logging
In this post, we'll look at Boost::Log, a facility of the Boost C++ libraries that makes it easy to add logging to applications. QMessageLogger 1 was introduced in Qt 5.0 as a means of providing a framework for logging application messages. While QMessageLogger is useful as a lightweight logging tool when in debug mode, it fails to provide the flexibility and features necessary to suit many application requirements. Boost::Log V2 2 was first released with Boost 1.54 and provides a flexible, robust framework that is capable of supporting a variety of application logging...
Automakers have long strived to make their in-car experiences unique and distinctive: not just in an effort to distinguish themselves from their competitors, but also to distinguish their low-end car models from their luxury models. The low-end to high-end distinction has been important to them for two reasons: The in-car experience is an integral part of the automakers’ customer loyalty strategy and customer upgrade strategy: if you like the car you own now you are more likely to favor that brand again when you trade in or trade up. The auto industry makes most of its profit from...
  The emergence of the Internet of things (IoT) is reshaping our relationship with computing technology, including the interface paradigms that we use to interact with digital technology. Touch has replaced mechanical pointers such as the mouse on some classes of devices, notably mobile. Speech recognition is slowly finding appropriate use cases where hands-free interaction is desirable, such as in-vehicle devices. Physical movement is the interaction with wearables that track your activity. With all of this change, the question becomes will the once ubiquitous Graphical User...
May 27, 2015  •  By Val Vachaev  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, C++, localization, internationalization, l10n, i18n
In this blog post, we will show an example of how to support dynamic language selection in an application using Qt. By "dynamic", I mean that the application can change the displayed language from within the application at run-time, rather than picking it up from the locale once on startup. Text or ID-Based Translations? In this example we will be using the text identifier translation mechanism, which may not be familiar to you if you have only used Qt's more common string-based translation method using the tr() method. The ID-based method (1) is described as an "industrial...
May 20, 2015  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, QML, C++
  According to the book C++ GUI Programming with Qt 4 (1), the first public version of Qt was uploaded to the ftp site sunsite.unc.edu on May 20, 1995. This was the first public release of Qt and was identified as version 0.90. It was announced six days later on the comp.os.linux.announce Usenet newsgroup. That was 20 years ago today. In honor of that anniversary, I downloaded the oldest Qt source code I could find at download.qt.io, version 1.41 (2). I remember using Qt of this vintage, around 1999. At that time I was working at Corel Corporation on Corel Desktop Linux which...
  Integrated Computer Solutions (ICS) is known for its expertise in user interface design and software implementation for embedded, mobile, desktop and interactive kiosk systems. Our work is visible in everything from smartphones to vending machines and medical equipment to vehicles of all sizes. What has less visibility – literally – is our low-level work with hardware, operating systems and device drivers.  A recent project related to the Internet of Things gave us a chance to highlight some of these capabilities. Internet of Things, or IoT for short, is the latest thing in...
If you are not yet honing your design skills for the Internet of Things (IoT), I’m about to light your fire. I don’t generally buy into technology hype. As designers, we tend to remain calmly skeptical about incitements coming from our business and marketing departments. However, the predicted growth and market penetration of smart devices is frankly staggering. I can only imagine that user experience (UX) design skills for smart devices will be in huge demand. Before the introduction of smartphones in the early 2000’s, IoT devices were estimated at about 50 million worldwide. The...

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