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.

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...
A while back, I spoke about how I’ve been noticing User Experience (UX) becoming more of a differentiator across various industries.  From airlines to fast food to automobiles, it is the entire experience someone has with a particular brand that brings people back for more, often trumping price as the driving reason people spend their money. I can speak from personal experience on this.  I recently upgraded my satellite DVR to support TiVo instead of the standard interface on the box.  Sure, it costs me an extra 10 bucks a month, but I’m willing to pay it for that enhanced...
July 30, 2014  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, QML, QPrinterInfo, printing
The Qt 5.3 release made a lot of "under the hood" improvements to the internals of the Qt printing system. There were also some changes visible at the API level. One of the more noticeable changes was to add enhancements to the QPrinterInfo class. In this blog post, I'll go over this class and present an example application illustrating how to use it. The QPrinterInfo (1) class returns information about printers available on a machine and has been included in Qt since version 4.4. It is part of Qt's PrintSupport module, so when using qmake as your build system, you need to enable...
Common user experience (UX) wisdom says that you have a short period of time (approximately 3 seconds to 3 minutes) to attract, seduce and convince a user to use your app, site or device. Once you capture their attention, you need to sustain a long-term relationship by offering the user real value (Skype), enduring enjoyment (Candy Crush) or at the very least, an obligation to be a participant in popular experiences (Facebook). Do the same principles apply to public kiosks, such as ticketing, retail and museum kiosks? The answer is yes and no. Yes, Kiosks Depend on Attraction, Enjoyment...

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