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.

October 22, 2014  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt Developer Days, Conference, Berlin, Europe
I recently returned from the Qt Developer Days Europe conference and I wanted to share a brief report on some of the highlights of the show. The event was held from October 6 through 8 in Berlin, Germany. The conference was held at a new venue this year, the Berlin Congress Center. The conference last year outgrew the Cafe Moskau as it offered limited space for seating during the keynote within the main building. The new location allowed for more attendees and offered a better layout for the presentation rooms, vendor booths and break areas. Similar to other years, the conference...
Natural User Interface (NUI) is a concept that sounds simple enough at first but then it defies a simple, one-sentence definition. A command line interface (CLI) and graphical user interface (GUI) can both be described concisely, as in “the user types commands to the computer in the form of text” and “the user directly manipulates graphical representations on a computer screen with a pointing device.” A NUI, because it is not limited to particular input and output technologies as CLIs and GUIs are, have exponentially more possibilities for realization and thus are more difficult to define....
October 8, 2014  •  By bkenyon  •  Qt & QML  • 
ICS is proud to promote our partner QNX Software Systems’ web seminar tomorrow  (Thursday, Oct 9): “Simplifying the software integration & certification challenges for connected medical devices” Attend this webinar to learn about: Integrating middleware components and libraries, such as OpenCV for imaging, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for connectivity, Qt, Open GL for UI Reducing scope, timeframe to compliance (to standards like IEC 62304), and costs Gain an understanding of the challenges medical device manufacturers face in developing connected medical devices. This is...
September 24, 2014  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, QNX, BlackBerry, RTOS
When BlackBerry introduced its new Qt-based BlackBerry 10 platform for smart phones and tablets, it generated a lot of interest in Qt on mobile. BlackBerry 10 is based on the QNX 1 operating system, a subsidiary of BlackBerry. What is perhaps not as well known, is that Qt is well supported on QNX as an embedded operating system in its own right. QNX is a commercial POSIX-compliant real-time operating system intended for embedded systems applications. Originally developed in the early 1980s by Quantum Software Systems, later renamed QNX Software Systems, it was acquired by...
When a person encounters a kiosk or computer device in a public space, such as a sales or museum kiosk, they can only benefit from it if they can figure out how to interact with it rather quickly. So one of the requirements of public interactive devices is that they be very easy to use, or easy to learn to use. But the learnability must be part of the user experience design. Depending on the content, a design may use very common interactive navigation patterns such as “next” and “previous” buttons that leave no questions about how to interact with them. But likely, the content needs more...
September 10, 2014  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, QML, 5.4
Representing a significant milestone towards the next Qt release, the alpha version of Qt 5.4.0 came out this week. Qt 5.4.0 will include a number of interesting new features. In this blog post, I will briefly mention just a few of the highlights. QtWebEngine, the replacement for QtWebKit that I described in a blog post a few months ago, will be included in the Qt 5.4.0 release and will be supported on the following desktop platforms: Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. Another new module being added is QtWebChannel. This facility makes any QObject accessible to arbitrary JavaScript...
September 2, 2014  •  By Louisa Katlubeck  •  User Experience  •  Usability, User Experience, UX, good design
I just made it to my daily 10:30am coffee break (the one where I refill my coffee mug, since I already drank my 8am coffee) and wanted to spend a moment to chat about usability/user experience (UX) and project management (PM). Now, I’ve never met you, so you might be on the usability side, the PM side, or juggling both roles.  Or you might just be someone interested in either the UX or PM worlds.  Nevertheless, I only have a few minutes while the office Keurig works its magic, so let’s assume that you’re a PM who’s ever so slightly skeptical about UX. What do you think are the...
August 27, 2014  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, QML, virtual keyboard, on-screen keyboard, Maliit
With touchscreen-based systems such as tablets, smart phones and embedded devices, there is often a need for a virtual or on-screen keyboard. Qt itself does not provide a virtual keyboard and I am often asked for recommendations on approaches for a virtual keyboard. I thought this would make a good topic for a short blog post. Let's look at some of the options available. First, the operating system may provide a virtual keyboard for you, in which case your application will not need to worry about it. This is typically the case for desktop and mobile platforms such as Android...
+ Just between the two of us, I think the first 10 seconds of a usability test are the most important, not because you’re already running the test - far from it.  It’s what happens even before testing begins. Your participant who is already seated, might be perusing the consent form or pre-test questionnaire they found on the table.  More likely, though, the participant is looking around the room, trying to figure out what they just volunteered to do and hoping they “pass”.  Yes, I intentionally put “pass” in quotation marks, since the folks who perform usability testing...
August 13, 2014  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, QML, Raspberry Pi, Yocto, Wayland
It's summertime here in the Northern hemisphere, and many people are on vacation (I just got back from a week off, myself). Despite that, we are very busy at ICS with consulting projects and preparing for the upcoming Qt Developer Days (1) conferences to be held in Berlin and San Francisco this year. Given the lack of time, this blog post is going to be a grab bag of updates to earlier blog posts, with lots of links to more information. The Raspberry Pi (2) continues to be very popular, both as a platform for education as well as embedded computing. To better support the...

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