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 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...
July 16, 2014  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, table, Widgets, spreadsheet
QicsTable is a full-featured, high-performance table widget suited for use in industrial-strength applications. It incorporates a model-view-controller architecture, so that multiple table widgets can display the same data. The QicsTable widget has extensive printing capabilities, including the ability to print the table with different visual characteristics than the on-screen table display. ICS originally developed QicsTable a number of years ago after having developed similar table widget functionality for a number of our consulting customers. Rather than reinventing the wheel again, we...
With the recent announcements of Apple’s CarPlay® and Google's Android Auto In-Vehicle Infotainment Systems (IVI), in-vehicle systems in general have recently been pulled from relative obscurity into the limelight. IVIs are becoming a much more integral part of everyday life with people spending more and more time in their cars. Having an easy to use system that integrates with technology you are already using (e.g., Smartphone, MP3 player, Tablet, etc.) lets you better enjoy your driving experience. In this article, I want to introduce a recent user experience (UX) project and the...
July 2, 2014  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, QML, qmlscene, QML tooling, QML run-time
A new feature in Qt version 5 is an executable program similar to qmlscene that can execute QML files. It is sometimes referred to as the QML Tooling or QML Run-time, although both of these terms are sometimes used to refer to other aspects of QML. A few colleagues mentioned to me that they were not familiar with this feature of Qt, so I thought it would make a good topic for a short blog post. The program is called qml. Unlike qmlscene, it supports the standard shebang (1) feature of Linux, UNIX and other POSIX systems that allows specifying the interpreter to run a program. By...

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