Because because!

Linking to this article about the evolution obecause because fascinating.

It's a usage, in other words, that is exceptionally bloggy and aggressively casual and implicitly ironic. And also highly adaptable.

What the article doesn't mention is the evolutionary pressure that Twitter (handily taking over from SMS) provides, implicitly promoting language mutations that result in more succinct expressions.

Notes on Keynote 6.0

Linked page elements can be interacted with whilst other animations are taking place!

This is a big deal, and the change I like most, of all those that arrived with the newly aligned and updated iOS 7 and Mavericks versions of Keynote.

Despite the feature cull from Numbers and Pages, Keynote seems mostly to have been improved. I suspect this is at least partly because it's the marquee component of the iWork suite. Where Numbers and Pages might be considered lightweights compared to Word and Excel, Keynote is a fully featured presentation package that's mostly superior to PowerPoint.

My primary use for Keynote is creating app prototypes and in that context, these are the changes I like best:

  • Linked page elements can be interacted with whilst other animations are taking place. Currently this only seems to work on iOS. I hope this isn't a bug and is reflected in OS X soon. It means users can interact with your prototypes, even whilst something else is happening (e.g. a progress indicator is moving). This makes it easier to make certain types of app prototype feel much more alive.
  • Slides are no longer locked to the top left of the workspace. This is a huge improvement, especially when animating and positioning elements to move in and out from these sides. It also feels better to have the slide centred on a big screen whilst working on it.
  • A slightly improved animation order management pane. This is probably the area that still needs the most improvement. A proper timeline view would be vastly better.
  • Context sensitive docked tool palette. An obvious change and a long time coming. Also recently arrived in Omnigraffle. Docked tool palettes make going full screen actually work reasonably well.

And least: 

  • No more interactive QuickTime export. This never worked well enough for me to use it much but I'd LOVE a way to export an interactive presentation for someone without access to Keynote to use easily. The new iCloud sharing features go some way to addressing this but they also don't work that well with complex presentations and only allow you to share presentations in an editable state.
  • No customisable toolbar. Apparently this is coming back soon... I want Copy Style and Paste Style available to put back there too please.
  • Huge linked item indicator icons. I love that you can interact with them directly but they're visually obstructive. There should be a way to hide them. 

A link for your non-gamer friends

Great piece by Keith Stewart at The Guardian, hitting the points I always cover when talking to friends about dismissing an entire medium: 

I don't think people go to the books section of the Guardian and write "why not go outside? Do adults really read books?" under every review. It's OK to stay in, curled up with a good novel, but not a game. Why?


On iOS 7 redesigns

Two nice list blogs keeping track of apps being updated for iOS 7:

Presumably these will only be able to keep up with the forthcoming avalanche of updates for a short time, but scrolling through them immediately reveals some interesting issues.

They make clear that the wholesale and unmeasured adoption of the aesthetic tropes of iOS 7 isn't enough on its own to suddenly make your app look fresh and great. If it didn't look good beforehand, throwing in some translucency and line art icons will more than likely make it look busier and more muddled than it did before.


This app was easier to understand before it was iOS 7'd

Equally, even if your app did look great before, swapping skeumorphic affordances out for flat colours and replacing icons with words might make it both less appealing to look at and harder to use.

Embracing Apple's new iOS 7 interface guidelines at the time of your visual refresh is your best hope to avoid these problems and ensure the experience your users encounter matches the new coat of paint you've applied.