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.

January 19, 2015  •  By Louisa Katlubeck  •  User Experience  •  User Experience, UX, team building, team formation
Welcome back!  Today I’ve been pondering team formation and team building.  While I try to avoid buzzwords, team building is often about synergy – that moment when a team comes together and the overall team performance is even more impressive than individual contributions alone.  Teams in general, often go through four phases - forming, storming, norming, and performing. ₁ Each of these stages presents its own challenges for the team, whether it’s determining team or project objectives, how to build trust, learning to resolve conflict, choosing how to work together as a team or...
January 14, 2015  •  By Maggie Kean  •  Qt & QML  •  analytics, Google Analytics, Desktop, Qt
There is often a desire of some companies to monitor usage of specific software applications to improve business over time. Reports and dashboards that provide visual representations of usage data can be used to inform product development, establish product value and influence business strategy. Google Analytics (GA), while originally intended for web analytics, offers a number of advantages as a framework for monitoring products with the use of Qt-based applications.  Google Analytics event tracking features are sufficiently flexible to capture usage information for most applications...
December 31, 2014  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, Embedded, 2014
As the year draws to a close, I thought it would be good to take a look back at some of the major events of the Qt world in 2014. Qt is now on a regular schedule of two major releases per year. We saw Qt 5.3.0 (1) come out in May and Qt 5.4.0 (2) in December. More minor releases occur, as needed, between the major releases. Qt 4 continues to see maintenance releases with a Qt 4.8.6 (3) coming out this year, and a 4.8.7 release planned in the first quarter of 2015. As announced at Qt Developer Days, Qt 4 will be officially supported for one more year. If the experience of Qt 3 is any...
December 22, 2014  •  By Dorothy Shamonsky  •  User Experience  •  Internet of Things, UX, User Experience, touchscreens
During 2014, the user experience (UX) group at ICS worked on our usual fare of mobile and desktop apps, but we also saw a large expansion of embedded device projects that fall into three categories: kiosk information systems, in-vehicle infotainment systems (IVI) and robotics control systems. Each area presents unique and complex challenges for a UX designer. However, we noticed some common requests between all three of those areas: the preference for touchscreens and the desire to be connected to the Internet. This implies that the UX challenges tend to fall into two categories: the tangible...
December 17, 2014  •  By Chris Cortopassi  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, QML, PDF
A consulting project I worked on recently needed to display an interactive PDF document in the style of Adobe Reader on a touchscreen device running embedded Linux using Qt and QML. I have been working with Qt for nearly ten years and had not come across this requirement before, so of course I turned to the Internet to see what was available and I came across this page, which lists all options available for dealing with PDF files from Qt. Amazingly, Qt natively supports writing PDF files using a few lines of code via QPrinter. However, it does not support reading or rendering PDF files out...
December 11, 2014  •  By Roland Krause  •  Qt & QML  •  IVI, QNX, Infotainment Systems, In-vehicle infotainment
Congratulations to our friends at QNX for powering Ford's next Connected Car System, Sync 3. Given that Qt is the standard GUI toolkit for QNX, I suspect that this means that Qt will soon become the de facto standard for IVI System development as well. Read more about this in the articles below: Ford drops Microsoft and revamps its Sync system for more speed - Engadget Ford Sync 3 revealed: a whole new system with QNX - Slashgear Ford Sync 3 drops Microsoft, puts MyFord Touch out to pasture - Cnet
December 8, 2014  •  By Louisa Katlubeck  •  User Experience  •  UX, User Experience, design-centric
Welcome back for a chat about user experience (UX) in the real world. Today, I want to talk about user experience and coffee. Now, I know not everyone drinks coffee, so for the sake of discussion, let’s assume that you want to drink some coffee. Initial Decision Once you’ve decided to drink coffee, the next question is what kind of coffee. Instant? French press?  Maybe take it black, with milk, with cream, sugar or no sugar, espresso or flavorings? The list goes on and on. Which factors will determine the type of coffee or caffeinated drink you will select? Possibly personal...
December 3, 2014  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML, Raspberry Pi  •  Raspberry Pi, Qt, Wayland, Maynard
Since my last blog about the Raspberry Pi in August, there have been a number of interesting new developments and the Raspberry Pi project has continued to move ahead. As expected, the new Raspberry Pi Model A+ was released. With the Model A+, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has been able to achieve a price reduction over the $25 Model A, with a suggested retail price of only $20. Like the Model A, it has 256MB of RAM, 1 USB port and no built-in Ethernet. Like the model B+, it features a 3.5mm TRRS jack providing composite video and audio output, uses a MicroSD card for...
In a previous blog post (Defining a Natural User Interface) I explained how finding a clear and concise definition of a Natural User Interface (NUI) was not easy. Finding a clear and concise list of user experience design principles for a NUI is even more challenging. An obvious reason for this is that NUIs encompass a broad range of possibilities, and it’s difficult to be general enough to cover the range and at the same time specific enough to be useful. After searching for lists of design principles that have already been published, I ended up making my own list. Here it is. 1. Choose...
November 19, 2014  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, Qt 5
In this blog post, I will cover a new class introduced in Qt 5.4.0: QStorageInfo. This post is based on a Lightning Talk I gave at Qt Developer Days 2014 in San Francisco. Overview The QStorageInfo class provides information about mounted filesystems, also known as volumes. It allows retrieving information about a volume's storage space, mount point, label and filesystem name. New in the Qt 5.4.0 release, QStorageInfo is part of the Qt Core module. The supported platforms are Windows, WinRT, Mac OS X, Linux and Android. It should also work on the various flavors of Unix such as BSD,...

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