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.

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, widget, 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...
When installing a touchscreen kiosk, the angle of the screen is a major consideration. First, it affects how quickly people perceive the device as interactive and also touch-enabled. (See my   previous  post, Is That a Kiosk? How to Best Position Your Public Touchscreen Display for Use.) Second, it affects how comfortable it is for users to perform touch gestures. On a mobile device, the angle of screen is a non-issue because the user can hold the screen in whatever way is most comfortable for them. They can also change the angle depending on the task they are doing and...
June 30, 2014  •  By Justin Noel  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt Contributors Summit, Qt, Open Source, Qt Project
The Qt Contributors Summit occurred June 10-11 in Berlin. Here is a quick summary of my impressions: 1) Unifying Qt Qt Project is highly interested in unifying Qt Commercial offerings with Qt Open Source. This was a major point made by Lars Knoll in his keynote speech and there were two discussion sessions on the matter.  They are worried about the confusion in the marketplace as to what Qt Open Source contains vs. Qt Commercial. The project would like to have Qt available for download from one source and have the installer / maintenance tool offer extra commercial packages...
Whether you are designing the user experience for mobile, embedded products or a website they all have elements that when applied consistently can make any product or website successful. One website that most of us are either familiar with or have used is eBay.  The online auction and buy-it-now site has been around since the mid 1990’s, and has millions of users (as of a year ago, there were approximately 84 million active, registered users (1).  This is a website that many people from various technical and non-technical backgrounds can and do use daily.  Some people use...
June 4, 2014  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Motif, CDE, Unix, Raspberry Pi, X11, Linux, Retrocomputing
Introduction In this blog post, we'll look at a couple of older graphical user interface toolkits that were popular in the 1980s and 1990s. Why would anyone care about old software like this? One reason is purely for nostalgia, particularly if you used these systems back in the days when they were state-of-the-art. They can also provide a glimpse into how early graphical user interfaces worked, and how they influenced today's systems. Another possibility is that you have a legacy application that you need to continue to support, but need to move off of obsolete hardware (such as a UNIX...
At Integrated Computer Solutions (ICS), we recently have begun marketing a touchscreen kiosk product that we call ViewPoint (www.viewpointkiosks.com). ViewPoint is a kiosk-authoring environment that currently runs on Windows 8, Android and Linux and can scale to various resolutions. As a result, it can be installed on various types of hardware and on various screen sizes and, a variety of housings can be selected. We have begun to deploy kiosks to customer beta sites and the user feedback and observations we have received are quite interesting.  As you might expect, size and...
May 21, 2014  •  By Eric Stone  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, 3D, OpenGL, Assimp
This blog post is the first in a series that will cover using OpenGL with Qt. In this installment, we will look at how to use Open Asset Import Library (Assimp) (1) to load 3D models from some common 3D model formats. The example code requires Assimp version 3.0. The code also uses Qt for several convenience classes (QString, QVector, QSharedPointer, etc...). Introduction First, we will create some simple classes for holding the data for the model. The structure MaterialInfo will contain information about how a material will look. We will be shading using the Phong shading model (2...

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