Sunday, September 20, 2015

Pyrrhic victory

Cast into the lowlands, the lines of my future blur with each passing day and something of a mourning mist clouds the recesses of my soul. My mind has turned into an incriminate battlefield and my thoughts, wage war on one another. My profound successes appear to me like pyrrhic victories and their momentary consequences loom over me like a wanderer who has lost his way in the woods.
This wanderer chases me down a memory lane where shadows are sane and smiles are bane till I spot a ray of light insidiously casting an arrow into this silent wanderer. He vanishes into a hidden place inside the labyrinths of my mind  from whence he came, leaving only a question of dubious doubt in my head. It is at this juncture when I mull over the starkness of life; the lullabies of the light and the demons of the dark. I cannot take it anymore for there is very little road to tread the path.
I chortle on my pulsating fears and tears stream down as I begin to dream. Perhaps the light is blinding and the night is inviting. No more; no more can I bear these insidious insinuations.
I’ve written enough off my mind to weigh it down but a voice from the inside yells, “Nay!” and the very silent wanderer emerges before my naked gleaming eyes. I wanted him to disappear out of sight and for that I doused the light. Truth be told, I was at eternal peace with the dark.
Perhaps….. that’s my problem. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Common UI blunders

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” - Leonardo Da Vinci

UI/UX today has become paramount in building applications and websites. After that whole wave in the 80s with the advent of Macintosh by Apple, elements like typography, animations, user interfaces were touted to be as important as what the software does. How you do something is equally important as what you do. Industrial designers like Dieter Rams have always emphasized “less is more”.
This design philosophy was applied to UIs as well which were earlier cluttered not crafted with care or perfection. UIs existed only for namesake and nothing more. The world has witnessed the waves of different types of design philosophies. 1984 to 2000 saw the evolution of GUIs while 2000 was the dawn of skeuomorphism, which based its design on real time objects and creatures. Scott Forstall was one of the pioneers and proponents of skeuomorphic design.
Around 2010, skeuomorphism died a slow death and design philosophy was once again resurrected in the form of flat design called minimal design. The design preached a concept titled minimalism which advocated Dieter Rams’ philosophy. Only include what is minimally necessary. UI/UX design was segr egated as a seperate and revered avenues of designing.

However, aspiring designers in the process of learning tend not to study the concepts before trying out the art and end up committing severe errors impacting the user experience

keep these pointers in mind if you’re a UI/UX designer:

  • sluggish load: try not to cram your web page into a cumbersome place. prefer saving your files as a css
  • lack of responsive design: responsiveness is crucial since the major audience out there use their smartphones as their primary devices
  • cluttered design: simplify, simplify and simplify. simplifying something takes a lot of effort ironically. 
  • no variation between elements: without variation between the UI elements, the users wont know how to interpret your clunky interface. Deal with buttons, play with colors, think out the box to make it easy on the user. trust me, it pays off. 
  • complex navigation: you just can’t cram everything on the landing page so spread your content uniformly with seamless and flawless navigation. nobody likes the word ‘complex’
  • no message: User interface design is dependent on user interaction. Without giving users a clear set of rules and information, it will leave them out of control and uncomfortable. This may seem like an easy mistake to miss, but be careful not to assume that users will know how to complete an action
  • failure to understand end users: Before every activity that you undertake you must know your end users even though this is not always entirely possible. Note, however, that it is a crucial task in order to properly plan the workflow of the application, and consequently, the prototype and the final shape of the product
  • beta testing:  The more accurate the workflow is, the easier the later work becomes. It can be done best by UML (Unified Modelling Language) standards. 
  • Unnecessary welcome page: This strange tradition is slowly coming to a halt where you have either a welcome logo or text leading you onto the actual content.
  • superfluous animation: Too much animation is more distracting. Don’t digress from your content. 
  • Poor color contrast : Remember that drawing class where you learnt about color contrast and aesthetics? Yeah, that applies here as well. always remember every minute detail matters infinitely.
  • Typography: One word, Integral to your design. It’s an element you just cant dodge. always improvise and find the ideal font.
  • Pop-ups and new windows: Admittedly, it is not about the graphical interface, but it is impossible to ignore this error. When you click on a link, the content will open in a new window, and then you usually close it automatically. This is done because most ads open the same way.

and one last thing……

Prototyping: The viewer will be able to feel better, like he’s “flowing” through a real product. Always prototype your every build. In this case, the more the better. 

Good design goes to heaven, Bad design goes everywhere” ~ Mieke Gerritzen

Thursday, February 26, 2015


I grow increasingly excited as I compose this post. The genesis of Microsoft's software framework that has succeeded in blossoming into one of the productive tools for programming for developers and designers alike, today after 15 years continues to profoundly influence great programmers in creating miraculous applications.
    Folks, I'm pumped to announce the latest upgrade to their .NET suite tentatively nicknamed ASP.NET 5. Needless to say, the tech titan will be coming up with fresh features which include greater cloud optimization, increased flexibility, more modular ergo better cross-platform compatibility. 
   Microsoft has always heralded a handful of architectural changes to each one its exponential frameworks and this is no different. Lets cut to the chase by informing you blokes about the latest improvements in their recent suite:

  • Build and run cross-platform ASP.NET apps on Windows, Mac and Linux
  • Built on .NET Core, which supports true side-by-side app versioning
  • New tooling that simplifies modern Web development
  • Single aligned web stack for Web UI and Web APIs
  • Cloud-ready environment-based configuration
  • Integrated support for creating and using NuGet packages
  • Built-in support for dependency injection
  • Ability to host on IIS or self-host in your own process

There's a lot to look forward to, from Microsoft this year. Their arsenal already boasts of Spartan, Windows 10 for the PC and the mobile and ASP.NET is the much needed icing on this creamy cake. Happy developing!

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Internet of Things

Every so often now, you stumble upon a quotidian term which everybody has started throwing around. The Internet of Things, a jargon which the tech blokes have come to admire affably is now finding its way into the day-to-day conversations of the community. Some may find it sprayed on websites while cruising through the web or some may come across it in the middle of a conversation and others might find it graphically sprayed on the streets. The underlying moral is that it has not only the potential to define how we live but also the potential to define how we work. Its increasing importance and imminent presence leads us to the question, Is it important for us to understand what the Internet of Things can do? Before we brace that question, let us first delve into this concept.

So what is the IoT?
It is the network of anything and everything on the Internet out there. A web spun around the global medium that connects us, enables our work, eases our lifestyle and therefore, impacts our life. Quadband is on the ascent and with it, the cost of devices is becoming affordable, internet is voyaging through untrodden domains, web services today are broadly availed by the everyman, censors and wireless technology is being installed into every device imaginable, the smartphone penetration has skyrocketed while wearable technology is emerging.
    Keeping all the aforementioned possibilities in mind, it'd be safe to assume that users are more connected and their lives, more comforting. We could think of them as ingredients to prepare a dish named the 'Internet of Things'. For example, controlling the luminosity of a lamp or a ceiling light with our smartphone a metre away just goes to eloquently define the IoT as simple as anything possibly can.

What the IoT can do?
       Moving on to what the IoT can do, there are a bunch of existing technologies which have already begun to deploy it. Calibrating fitness levels on our smartwatch, measuring weight and constantly updating our fitness profiles on the Desktop from our Smartphones or our SmartWatches are a few of the magical possibilities which highlights the power of IoT. It can also go as far as controlling an entire city. Yes you guessed it right, A SmartCity woven together with the needles of the Internet. This image should further your basic understanding of IoT:

          By the year 2020, word has it that anything that can be interconnected will be interconnected. The upside to this revolution is wider inter-connectivity and faster interplay between devices and people alike. However the downside to this movement is the plummeting absence of privacy. What we do and how we let it influence us is entirely upto us. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Project Spartan - Under the hood

Tech titan Microsoft lifted the shroud of speculation which was doing the rounds for weeks, when it unveiled Project Spartan, Microsoft's freshest project right after they decided to throw the obsolete browser, Internet Explorer into the shredder. This newfangled web browser is faster in terms of overhead, cleaner with regards to its user interface, concise
in terms of information.
      Beyond regular browser capabilities, Microsoft has promised its user-base, 3 new features for the desktop and the mobile platform; Spartan has Microsoft's beloved and amiable virtual assistant Cortana imbued into it. This means increased cohesiveness laced with note-taking capabilities and a reader mode. There's a lot of mystery surrounding its array of functionalities for none know what else may be included in their latest endeavor but rest assured, we can be certain that there may be box of surprises for us when Microsoft ships Spartan by the fall of 2015.
        Now Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft announced that since Spartan is in its Pupal stages, it wont be shipped along with the first Insider Build and the scheduled date for their mobile suite has been deferred to the spring of 2016 but he nonetheless attributed the birth of Spartan to the vast emerging family of Windows users. Spartan's engine will be built on the foundations of their old engine, the Trident engine. It has decided against ditching Trident in favor of Webkit for Safari or Blink used for Chrome or Opera. There's a legacy engine that can mimic old browsers as far as Internet Explorer 5.5 and then there's their latest version, a rebranded Edge which strips out all the backward compatibility but Microsoft has decided to proceed with the former.
        Speaking of compatibility, reports suggest that Microsoft would be shipping their latest OS Windows 10 for free across their platforms. Before you spring like a monkey out of a box, let me tell you there is an upside and a downside to it; the upside is that existing users get to upgrade their operating systems for free and the downside is that Spartan is designed to run only on Windows 10 so to all those obdurate users who feel needless to upgrade from Windows 7 would be missing out on this uber cool browser. Here is a first look at Project Spartan

Spartan for the Mobile

Spartan for the Desktop

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Suffering fools

The next generation of young blokes are here now that our generation has ventured into the vast fields of mid-ages. While we nibbled on G.I.JOEs and hot wheels then, the kids of today are nibbling on smartphones and gadgets alike. Sports for them is tiring, Music beyond Honey Singh is a desperate hope while rich literature has passed into obscurity. The beacon of enlightenment once, has now diminished. Of course nestling our lives to technology is never a bad sign but how we use it equally needs to be accentuated.
      Lets do the math, shall we? How many children do you spot inside a mall and how many of those children do you spot taking a stroll inside Crosswords? Our society once built on the roots of good books read by erudite people who inculcated a sense of an elevated morality in their peers, has crumbled into a claptrap of indulgence. Gone are the days when Henry David Thoreau, Ernest Hemingway and R.K Narayan were at the crux of every social conversation while Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and SD Burman were en-queued in everybody's playlist. The world of today as we know it revolves around imbeciles and sensational gossip. Cinematic nincompoops are encouraging sub-optimal cinema. Hordes congregate outside Salman Khan's apartment on the eve of his birthday but the launch of a great book never sees the light
     We have even lost track of whom to glorify and whom to vilify. Is this how we want the next generation of vanguards to grow? These blokes must be guided and goaded into a path which is filled with the true sense of art, music and literature for most of us have forgotten the very definition of these terms and their glorious impact they've had on our society in the past. Films which broaden our outlook must be emphasized rather than the ludicrous display what we today have come to call 'Entertainment'. If we don't endeavor to permeate this treasure, soon before we may realize, it'll all have vanished into thin air.
      To put it in a nutshell, I'd fancy quoting my friend cum companion Mr.Hemingway because he puts it so eloquently; "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for. Well I agree with the second part."

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The grisly trophy

The old man spoke of a forgotten sorcerer;
who preached spite and horror;
Ravaged sea and land;
turning the world to sand.
The old man leaned so close; I felt his breath;
"sometimes I miss it", he said;
and I could smell his stench of death.