Thursday, 30 May 2013

Top iOS Apps (Weather Channel #2 iPad 'free' app)

(Morning Rain drops on Day Lilies)

If you haven't seen is already Apple has released it's list of top iPad and iPhone apps (both free and paid). Here is a link to TUAW version:

I love stats.  For Design Thinking we often get our best "Insights" from User Interviews at at a person-by-person/micro-level but sometimes I just like looking at macro-level info like download statistics.

So what stands out? The Weather Channel is #2 on iPad (free) and #7 on the iPhone (free). It's only behind Skype on the iPad. There are 10 million downloads for the iPad App since 2010!

I was a little shocked at first. However afterwards I realized how many times when I wake up I check the weather (especially when I need to know how to dress my 2.5 year-old for daycare). Checking the weather forecast (regardless of how accurate) is so natural, it's like checking the calendar or the time/clock. People *need* weather info.

Amazingly if you search weather on iTunes you will get tons of apps. It seems that this *particular* app is heads and shoulders above the rest in downloads. When compared to other apps in general, it's surprisingly even more popular than Netflix and YouTube, which I thoughts were mainstays for Mobile Devices. (However I have this eerie feeling that Google Maps, when it comes out on iPad might eclipse them all shortly... see Google Shows Off Upcoming Map Changes, Announces iPad App)

Here is a screen-shot off the iPad and it's honestly not that complex. It's fairly "plain-Jane" simple with what seems like a download bar for % chance of rain. (FYI - I keep expecting the blue bars to finishing download something... but it *never* does...that would be my first feedback to Weather Channel if they mind has a totally different expectation for this control). It is technically free *but*  it does come with built-in ads (which I initially thought would drive users to other apps...). The ads are fairly large @ the bottom of the app. Honestly it's not that different from The Weather Network's app or others I've seen or used.


Bottom Line: Mix a Maslow's like need with decent execution you get a great success story! Maybe that's the "Insight". Primal need trumps slick design, neat-UX and eye-candy every time.

p.s. If you haven't seen this already, when talking about weather sites/apps, I thought his was very novel from a UX point-of-view:

It's like original Google site for weather. It doesn't have barometric pressure or wind speed, etc. It's just displays YES or NO answer. If you are asking: "for the record" as novel as the idea behind Umbrella Today is... unfortunately isn't my go-to site.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Why I love my Levis (Quality Never Goes Out of Style)

I think I have always loved wearing jeans. One of my current pairs of jeans are Red Tab 'Levis' 514. The other day I had a peek at the inside label and it caught my attention with a great slogan:

"Quality Never Goes Out of Style"

I'm not in marketing, but I thought was a great slogan. Yet even better than the slogan was the small print below that said:

"Please Donate When No Longer Needed"

This is a company that is after my own heart. That..

  1. They know they've created a durable produce that will most likely outlast the initial user
  2. In a more "green" thinking mentality is asking the original owner to pass them along (at potentially no gain to Levis' themselves). 

I did some more digging and it turns out that on their website, they have a image of environmental "care tag" they thought about putting on all of their jeans that actually said "Donate to Goodwill":


I was equally impressed to see that on their vales page, "Empathy" was the #1 company value (Full list is Empathy, Originality, Integrity and Courage). I've been doing a lot of Design Thinking work @ SAP lately and Empathy is at the core of this new way of thinking. Also been in discussions with people like UX expert Steve Krug ( and he talked about thinking about "UX-as-empathy". 

I'm currently working at the software giant SAP right now and I was thinking, could we not approach Software the same way? I do know that SAP has software that has been running for decades. I'd love for the software I'm working on be built to last as long as a good pair of jeans. Hopefully just as comfy and dependable too!

(For the record, Levis along with *a lot* of other clothing companies are an SAP shop, but that's a totally different discussion!)



p.s. as a timely update, turns out the Levis is now showing off PET jeans:

Sunday, 26 May 2013

New Beginnings...


After some prodding by good friends and some people I respect a lot, I've decided to try to put together a semi-regular blog to jot down some of the things I've picked-up over the years and pass those along to others. If you've stumbled here by accident, hopefully you'll find something enlightening and if not at least entertaining. 

If you feel compelled, feel free to drop me a comment. I'm definitely open to some lively discussions!