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Thoughts Just Before Death – Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs passed away today. What could have been in his mind just moments before passing away? Family? Wife? Daughter? Apple? His lieutenants? Wondering how they would continue the Apple’s legacy? Wish for a bit more life time? Imagining what’s still ahead and possible in the evolution of human computing? His creative mind could have been running wild while his brain was shutting down.

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It just seems too short of a life.

What a story. I don’t know if his legacy will endure the time as much as Einstein’s did, but it certainly will stand up among the very few that are remembered and respected through several decades.

Einstein has left GE? I suppose I will see how Apple will continue its story. Does it have the right management development program, people, and culture to continue its success? I don’t know if Steve Jobs cared so much about Apple’s continued success after his time. Maybe he wanted Apple to be Steve and show the world that it was him that made Apple work. The key question I have is, why he didn’t appoint a designer (such as Ive) as the successor when his approach was so centered around design and strategy. Why did he have an operations guy to take on the top position? Would designers at Apple get frustrated of the boss who sees the world in operational terms?

Whatever his last flashes of thoughts were just before his death, Steve ended it all at the highest point – reminiscent of Jordan’s retirement after his sixth ring. Maybe that’s not too bad. In his soul, that would be the world that he knows. That would be the world he remembers. Maybe, forever.

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iOS 5 UI Design Blooper – Notification Center Gesture

I have been running my iPhone 4 on iOS 5 beta for a few weeks and have found this UI Design blooper which is related to the Notification Center Gesture.

In general, in iOS 5, wherever you are, you can swipe across from the top to the bottom to un-hide the notification center that gives you a list of alerts and notifications. You can swipe from the bottom back up to the top to close the notification center and get back to where you were.

I use my iPhone camera a lot to capture precious moments of my daughter doing something interesting and I constantly switch back and forth between still shot and video modes.

When I happen to be on the landscape video mode and try to switch to still shot mode, the swipe gesture on the switch is mistaken for notification gesture and it pulls down the notification center.

It happened to me often enough that it became an annoyance. Similar problem occurred when I was enjoying a virtual round of golf on Tiger Woods iPhone game.

I could no longer casually swipe from the top to the bottom to make a golf swing. I had to carefully land the tip of my finger to the target area to avoid triggering the notification center.

One possible design iteration Apple could take is to make the top gesture area narrower. Maybe they can change it so that only center top region activates the notification center swipe interaction. In the mean time, iOS 5 app and game developers need to be aware of this new design issue.

If you haven’t watched, please have a look at the video post below where I did a hands-on review of iOS 5 features. If you skip forward to around 1:45 mark, you will see the notification center in action.

http://xdhacker.com/iphone_app_design/quick-review-ios-5-icloud-video

Enjoy!

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Best Checkout Flows (?) – 1800flowers.com & Vistaprint

Today, I took some time to capture couple of checkout flows that are known to be well AB-tested and optimized: 1800flowers.com and Vistaprint.com.

Here is the summary of my review.

1800flowers.com:

  • Flower and vase options are given first
  • The overall checkout flow is reduced to five steps: Product Page -> Shopping Cart -> Sign-in or Continue as Guest -> Shipping -> Billing Info and Credit Card Info
  • It is highly noticeable that the last page has probably two to three pages worth of form fields

Vistaprint.com:

  • There are a lot of ‘free’ product offerings that kick off a checkout flow
  • There are literally thousand paths for it to become a paid offering
  • As you customize your product, you see more and more personalized / customized visual representation of recommended products
  • Users are put through four ‘Add A Vase’ pages where the last one shows ‘Free Offers’. When you read the details, they are 30 day free trials that are actually available to anyone.
  • The final step of order checkout flow has two CTA’s (Call-To-Action’s). The first one that is placed in the middle of the page allows you to check out the original, intended order. The second one that is placed at the bottom right corner of the page is actually for buying one more product that you never added to the cart. (If you don’t pay attention, it is very easy to accidentally add another product on your way out.)
  • When you complete (or abandon) the checkout flow and come back to the home page, it gives you long list of personalized, customized product offerings. They are using something more secretive technical method than browser cookie; I deleted my cookie and went back and it somehow pinpointed me. (It was kind of disturbing, to be honest.) (I did a quick research and as a matter of fact, somebody tracked down the technique: http://tips.webdesign10.com/flash-cookies-privacy)

Screenshots of 1800flowers.com & Vistaprint Checkout Flows:

Other articles on checkout flows:
> Apple Store’s Checkout Form Redesign by LukeW: http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?968