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Highest honors given to AVG Free Antivirus

To help consumers better navigate the crowded antivirus software market, AV-Comparatives periodically conducts independent tests on leading brands and publishes the findings on its website. They performed two such tests recently: one on performance impact, the other on effective protection against malware.

Performance test

It’s a fact—every brand of antivirus software affects computer performance in one way or another. The worst of them can slow performance down to maddeningly sluggish rates, while the best of them keep the security humming along in the background with nary a blip to processing speeds.

AVG Free Antivirus earned AV-Comparatives’ coveted three-star award for its performance test results. With AVG running, the computer performed common tasks, including;

  • File copying
  • Archiving/unarchiving
  • Installing/uninstalling apps
  • Launching apps
  • Downloading files
  • Browsing websites

Testers measured the speed of each task, and marked them as one of the following: slow, mediocre, fast, and very fast. AVG scored “fast” for installing/uninstalling applications, and “very fast” for all the other categories.

Malware protection test

Now we get to the meat-and-potatoes of an AV software’s job. Just how well does it detect and protect against malware? AV-Comparatives looked at twenty different home-user security products and launched 20,011 strains of malware at them. AVG finished strong with the following results:

  • Detection rate (offline) – 97.5%
  • Detection rate (online) – 99.3%
  • Protection rate (online) – 99.99%

The study focused on the ability of each brand’s software “to protect a system against infection by malicious files before, during, or after execution,” reports the official test results. Observing the security systems at each of these stages gave a more holistic approach to the test, helping the testers better gauge the overall effectiveness of the security.  AVG is one of the very few brands to submit its “Free” version of its Antivirus for testing, meaning it gets these high scores even while competing against and beating products that users pay for.

Be informed when choosing your antivirus. You want minimal performance impact and super-strong malware defense. See for yourself why AVG Free Antivirus scored so highly in both those categories by downloading and installing it today.

Cisco Live Cancún 2017: Las Últimas Tecnologías de Data Center

Éste blog te ayudará a organizar tu visita a Cisco Live Cancún 2017. Revisa la lista de presentaciones y demos del data center, luego márcalas en tu calendario o guarda las imágenes para que no te pierdas ninguna sesión que te interese. Sesiones ¿Cómo poder aprender toda la información de este show en tiempo limitado? […]

Announcing Architecture Components 1.0 Stable

Posted by Lukas Bergstrom, Product Manager, Android Developer Frameworks Team

Android runs on billions of devices, from high-end phones to airplane seatbacks. The Android OS manages resources aggressively to perform well on this huge range of devices, and sometimes that can make building robust apps complicated. To make it easier, we launched a preview of Architecture Components at Google I/O to provide guidance on app architecture, with libraries for common tasks like lifecycle management and data persistence. Together, these foundational components make it possible to write modular apps with less boilerplate code, so developers can focus on innovating instead of reinventing the wheel - and we hope to keep building on this foundation in the future.

Today we're happy to announce that the Room and Lifecycle Architecture Components libraries have reached 1.0 stable. These APIs are ready for production apps and libraries, and are our recommendation for developers looking for help with app architecture and local storage (although they're only recommended, not required.) Lifecycles are now also integrated with the Support Library, so you can use them with standard classes like AppCompatActivity.

Although we're declaring them stable today, the beta components are already used in apps that together, have billions of installs. Top developers, like Zappos, have been able to spend more time on what's important thanks to Architecture Components:

Prior to the release of Android Architecture Components we had our own ViewModel implementation. We used Loaders and Dependency Injection to persist our ViewModel through config changes. We recently switched to the Architecture Components ViewModel implementation and all that boilerplate went away. We found that we were able to spend more time on design, business logic and testing, and less on writing boilerplate or worrying about Android lifecycle issues.

We've also started to use LiveData which hooks directly into the Activity lifecycle. We use it to retrieve and display network data and no longer have to concern ourselves with ​network call subscription management.

- David Henry, Android Software Engineer, Zappos

Architecture Components provide a simple, flexible and practical approach that frees developers from some common problems so they can focus on building great experiences. This is based on core building blocks tied together by guidance on app architecture.

Lifecycles

Every Android developer has to deal with the operating system starting, stopping and destroying their Activities. That means managing the state of components - such as observables used to update UI - as you move through the lifecycle. Lifecycles enables the creation of lifecycle-aware components that manage their own lifecycles, reducing the possibility of leaks or crashes. The Lifecycle library is the foundation for other Architecture Components like LiveData.

LiveData

LiveData is a lifecycle-aware observable that holds data and provides updates. Your UI code subscribes to changes and provides LiveData a reference to its Lifecycle. Because LiveData is lifecycle-aware, it provides updates when its Lifecycle is started or resumed, but stops providing updates when the LifecycleOwner is destroyed. LiveData is a simple way to build reactive UIs that are safer and more performant.

ViewModel

ViewModel separates ownership of view data and logic from lifecycle-bound entities like Activities and Fragments. A ViewModel is retained until its associated Activity or Fragment is disposed of forever - that means view data survives events like a Fragment being recreated due to rotation. ViewModels not only eliminate common lifecycle issues, they help build UIs that are more modular and easier to test.

Room

Nearly all apps need to store data locally. While Android has bundled SQLite with the platform since version 1, using it directly can be painful. Room is a simple object-mapping layer that provides the full power of SQlite with less boilerplate. Features like compile-time query verification and built-in migration make it easier to build a robust persistence layer, while integration with LiveData lets Room provide database-backed, lifecycle-aware observables. Room blends of simplicity, power and robustness for managing local storage, and we hope you give it a try.

Guide to App Architecture and more

Last but not least, we created a Guide to App Architecture that provides core principles applicable to all developers, and specific guidance on using Architecture Components together. Because we've heard from you that clear and consistent guidance is important, today we're updating developer documentation to point to Architecture Components where appropriate. We also have a rich set of videos, codelabs and sample apps available at the Architecture Components site, with more to come.

Watch this space

Although the first set of Architecture Components is now stable, we know there's more work to do. Over the last few months, we've listened to your feedback and made improvements. We also recently launched a new Architecture Component, PagedList, to alpha, in response to your feedback that handling large datasets with RecyclerView is too difficult. This is just the beginning - we have more major components under development that we're looking to announce in the upcoming months.

Our hope with Architecture Components is to free developers to focus on providing unique new experiences for mobile devices. We're glad we can finally announce them as stable for production use. We'd like to thank the community, which has given such great feedback along the way, and we look forward to continuing the discussion in the comments of this post. Finally, for those of you who've been waiting for this stable launch, get started today.

A strategic partnership with Salesforce to bring the power of cloud to businesses globally

Our partners are incredibly important in helping our customers maximize the value of their cloud investments. Today, we’re announcing a first-of-its-kind strategic partnership with Salesforce that spans Google Cloud and Google Analytics to enable smarter, more collaborative experiences for our customers. As cloud-native companies, our partnership offers a unique opportunity to turn marketing, service and sales data into actionable insights and better business outcomes.

The new collaboration leverages the full value of Google Cloud. Salesforce has named G Suite as its preferred email and productivity provider. In addition, Salesforce plans to use Google Cloud Platform (GCP) for its core services as part of the company’s international infrastructure expansion.

Our teams are working very closely to develop new integrations that will connect Salesforce CRM with G Suite to offer the only cloud-native collaboration platform of its kind. These integrations will enable companies to surface powerful intelligence about your customers from Salesforce directly within Gmail, Sheets, Calendar, Drive, Docs and Hangouts Meet. Here’s some more on what you’ll be able to do:


  • Salesforce Lightning for Gmail: Surface relevant Salesforce CRM data in Gmail, as well as customer interactions from Gmail directly within Salesforce, to service your customers faster. Identify high priority emails and suggest next steps based on the email content to work with customers faster than before.

  • Salesforce Lightning for Google Sheets: Embed Sheets anywhere in Salesforce, and with a single click push content from Salesforce Records or Reports to a new Sheet. Data will automatically update bi-directionally to ensure everyone has the most recent information.

  • Quip Live Apps for Google Drive and Google Calendar: Quip Live Apps will integrate with Google Drive and Calendar, allowing you to access information in a more collaborative, open cloud environment, and embed any list of Drive files, including Google Docs, Slides and Sheets, or your Google Calendar inside Quip. This new combination of Quip and G Suite will create a modern alternative to legacy intranet content services.

  • Salesforce for Hangouts Meet: Access relevant customer and account details, service case histories and more from Salesforce CRM directly within the Hangouts Meet interface. This gives you powerful insights directly in the communications platform to conduct better sales conversations or efficiently resolve customer service issues.

To help take advantage of the combined Google and Salesforce experience, qualified Salesforce customers can receive G Suite for up to one year at no additional cost—restrictions apply, and more details can be found on our site.

We hope this partnership enables more companies to take advantage of the cloud and that the combined solutions will provide an unmatched experience for customers. In fact, our team at Google Cloud uses Salesforce as our preferred CRM provider to engage with our customers in meaningful ways.

As for availability, several integrations between G Suite and Salesforce are already in market, including Lightning for Gmail and integrations with Calendar and Google Drive. The deeper integrations we’ve announced are expected to start rolling out in 2018.

The Life and Work of Clark Little

Anyone who’s a fan of the amazing waves on Hawaii’s North Shore has likely heard of Clark Little. A lifelong surfing enthusiast, at the age of 37 Little left his steady job, bought a camera, and started exposing the inside of the North Shore’s massive waves. His unique images struck a nerve, and 10 years later he’s widely acclaimed for his remarkable wave photography, as well as his work shooting surfing and sea life.

For years, Little’s good friend and action sports filmmaker Peter King traveled to Hawaii in the winter to capture video of the Triple Crown of Surfing. He also shot small segments of Little photographing the shorebreak and eventually proposed that they work together on a documentary focusing on Little’s action wave photography. The two teamed up and King later brought Editor Darren Doane on board to help finish the film SHOREBREAK: The Clark Little Story. The team is now working on a television series of the same name.

Adobe: Tell us about how the film was made.

Little: Peter came out to Hawaii often and followed me around the island as I worked to capture the perfect arc in wave or an under over picture of sharks and turtles. It was very natural, focusing on what I do and how I trigger my passion. I trust Peter and he’s very talented when it comes to film. Nothing was staged, which made it a lot more fun.

Doane: I joined the project after Peter had shot everything. He called me and asked if I could jump on board to help finish it. He had some sequences already cut, so I was able to take those and continue cutting, editing, and shaping the story. Over the course of three weeks we were able to put a narrative together. Because I knew the story and structure based on cutting down and aligning sequences I knew what I needed from the interviews. I flew to Hawaii, interviewed Clark, and then threaded the interview through the film.

Adobe: Darren, what was your experience with Adobe Premiere Pro CC going into this project?

Doane: I began working in filmmaking in 1990 and transitioned to non-linear editing in 2002. I was already using Adobe Premiere Pro CC before this film, but this was the first project where it hit me that I didn’t have to leave Premiere Pro to do all of the things I love to do. Every time I sit down at my computer and open Premiere Pro I still get a thrill that I can do anything, it’s all right there. The online/offline world doesn’t exist anymore. You basically live in post, which is this constantly evolving process.

Peter worked for a year creating sequences and laying in temp music. I took it all in and there was one sequence that I knew would be the beginning of the film. Once I know the opening sequence, I work on building the credit sequence that leads into it. I learned how to use titles in Premiere Pro and it was really fun.

I also like to do color correction and sound mixing on the fly as I go. It’s all part of the process, which makes finishing that much easier. When I turned in an edit for Peter and Clark, I didn’t have to ask them to imagine the sound and color, it was pretty complete.

Adobe: Clark, do you also work Adobe Creative Cloud apps?

Little: Someone taught me Adobe Photoshop when I first started out in 2007. I have a very simple process. I open raw files, adjust shadows, highlights, and exposure, add a little saturation, and reduce some of the noise. I like to keep things as natural as possible. Shooting in Hawaii, I already have vibrant beautiful sunsets, white sandy beaches, palm trees, abundant sea life and water clarity so there’s not much that needs to be pushed.

Adobe: How has the film been received?

Doane: Peter and Clark wanted to make the film and thought they would just finish it and put it on iTunes. I was able to take it to my distribution company, which helped get the film into some festivals where it won some awards. We also did a small theatrical tour and sold out events across the country. SHOREBREAK debuted on STARZ and was also number one in its category on iTunes.

Little: Peter is very good at putting together projects and I’m very stoked with how it came out. We didn’t have much of a plan, but we do have a great fan base on social media and through our newsletters. I didn’t know how it would go, but I’m happy with its success and how people were inspired.

Adobe: Tell us about the television series.

Little: I was a late bloomer when it came to finding out I would be a wave photographer. If you find your passion you forget what day it is. The television series let us take that idea further. We filmed some really cool segments that reinforce the message that it’s never too late to find your calling.

Doane: We created 10 20-minute episodes that we’re hoping to launch in the fall. The episodes are smaller stories of Clark’s day-to-day life highlighting his artistic process and lifestyle. They are also a celebration of Hawaii, which is a really unique place.

What was great about the television episodes is that we kept everything in Premiere Pro the entire time, right down to the final mix. Once we had the first 10 minutes done, that served as a template for the rest of the episodes in terms of look, audio level, color, and more. Every time I looked something up to see if Premiere Pro could do it, sure enough, it was there. Both the film and the television series prove that you can do everything in Premiere Pro.

SHOREBREAK: The Clark Little Story is available in the US to download and stream on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, Hoopla, Flux Fling, Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Cable, Brighthouse, and Charter. The television series will premiere on Charter Cable OC16 on October 2, 2017. In fall 2017, the show will also be released on Outside TV.

Learn more about Adobe Creative Cloud pro video tools

Watch MAX 2017 Sessions Online

Maybe you couldn’t make it in person to MAX 2017, or maybe you want to review an inspiring session or keynote. In either case, we’ve got you covered — many of our keynotes and sessions are now available to watch online.

So much happened at MAX this year — the amount of amazing content was overwhelming. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting different sessions to share with our audience, in hopes that these help to inspire you to take your own work to the next level.

And don’t forget to sign up to lock in the best price on a pass to MAX 2018 in Los Angeles.  Don’t miss a minute!

 

Stock Content Wanted: ’Tis the Season

The holidays are just around the corner and the months leading up to the peak of the season are critical for brands and marketers to produce timely content. Here are some of the content that Adobe Stock customer are looking for. If you have any photographs, vectors, illustrations or videos that address any of these content needs, submit them to Adobe Stock today!

Holidays around the world

When we think about the holiday season, we often imagine a winter wonderland with snow covered trees and warm fireplaces. But in half of the world, the holidays arrive in the peak of the summer. If you happen to live in the Southern Hemisphere, or have spent the holidays there, we want to see realistic representation of what the season looks like for you.

SYDA PRODUCTIONS / ADOBE STOCK

Seasonal snapshots

Authentic and natural moments of the holiday season caught on camera – think families baking and decorating cookies, going tree shopping, gathering around the table and the home for celebratory meals and reunions.

SARAH CARLSON / ADOBE STOCK

Global village

People of all cultures, backgrounds, and faiths celebrating the holidays, including but not limited to Christmas, Ramadan, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and more.

Holiday icons and gift tags

Customizable signs, gift tags and icon vectors for end-of-year holidays around the world.

Decorated homes

Beautifully and elegantly decorated homes and other dwellings that evoke a sense of coziness.

ALENA OZEROVA / ADOBE STOCK

Remember that if you are photographing recognizable people properties, you will need to get a signed property release. Now with the Adobe Sign integration in the Contributor portal, you can easily and quickly send and receive model and property releases. For more information on releases and other legal guidelines, visit our Contributor HelpX page.

If you’re a first time contributor, watch our tutorial for pointers on how to get started.

Header image by click_and_photo.

Frame this: 10 tips for getting great portraits on Pixel 2

With portrait mode on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, you can take pictures of people, pets and even objects like flowers that keep what’s important sharp and in focus, but softly blur out the background. Portrait mode is powered by computational photography and machine learning, which identifies what to keep in focus and what to blur out. We’ve put together some tips to help you make the most of the new feature. Check it out—you’ll be a master portraitist in no time!

Get closer. This is the most important tip for getting great portraits. The less distance between you and your subject, the more likely your photos will have beautiful blur. Compare the photos on the right, below, with those on the left which are taken from farther away.

Increase distance between your subject and the background. The farther your subject is from the background, as on the image on the right below, the more the background will be blurred. In the left image, the background isn't far enough away.

PortraitMode_Distance.jpg

Tap that. For the best results, tap to focus the Pixel 2 on your subject, whether a person’s face or an object. Tapping also tells the Pixel 2 what’s most important to you in the photo and adjusts the exposure to prioritize your subject. This is especially useful when your subject has strong light (the sun or windows) behind them. Remember—you can always adjust the exposure by tapping on the screen and dragging your finger up or down.

Put the subject in the front. Seems obvious, right? But you’ll get more blur and beautiful bokeh if your main subject stands out, is prominent, and is clearly located in the foreground, like the image on the right below, not the middleground, as on the left.

PortraitMode_SubjectatFront.jpg

Change your perspective. A unique angle adds visual interest to your photos, as in the examples below. Get low to match the eye level of a child or an animal, or shoot from above to emphasize shapes and graphic components in an object. 

PortraitMode_Change Perspective.jpg

Remember the rule of thirds. Pixel 2 makes it easy to follow this classic photography recommendation. Tap the grid icon in the camera app to activate the 3x3 grid on your Pixel 2’s screen. Placing the subject along one of the lines or where the lines intersect can improve your composition.

PortraitMode_RulesThirds.png

Keep it simple. A photo’s success can be compromised if too many details compete for attention with your subject. You can avoid this fate by filling the frame and shooting in front of clean backgrounds. And don’t forget to check the outside edges of your photo before you press the shutter button to prevent clutter from protruding into the sides of your picture.

Get in line! This is one of our favorite tips. Look for lines, like bricks or tiles, staircases, or a building’s grid. Lines can enhance the sense of depth in photos and emphasize your subject.

PortraitMode_FollowLines.jpg

Lighting is everything. You can’t always control lighting conditions, but you can find better light. Outdoors, find better light by changing your location or the camera’s orientation, repositioning subjects, or taking photos in the shade (especially at midday). Clouds are your friend, creating a more soft, diffuse light. At night, try lighting up your subject from the side with a friend’s phone in flashlight mode.

Ditch the crowds. Portrait mode works best when all your subjects are the same distance from the camera. This is easier with small groups of people.

PortraitMode_Group.jpg

We’d love to see how you put these tips to work. Share your Pixel 2 portraits on social media with #teampixel—we may feature them in one of our upcoming posts!

¡Hola! We are the IT Roaming Reporters of Cancún

Get ready everyone, Cisco IT is heading to Cancun, Mexico to host the IT Management Program! Cisco Live Cancun is just around the corner and it’s never felt so real! More than 5,000 attendees and 70 sponsors will be joining the Cisco family in enjoying some of the coolest technical talks and inspiring keynote presentations […]

12 Common UX Design Myths That Need to Go in 2018

UX design myths can be confusing. On the one hand, when you’re just starting out, you want to believe and test every single piece of advice that you receive. But on the other, you don’t yet have the experience to distinguish between rock-solid ideas and things that are just half-truths.

UX design can be a great line of career — one that’s very rewarding and brings actual value to the people who ultimately end up using the things that you designed. However, if it just wasn’t for those pesky UX design myths… And, as we all know, if a myth gets repeated multiple times, it starts to sound believable.

Let’s look into a number of popular UX design myths today, and try to dispel them:

1. You need to make your UI minimal.

Minimalism is trendy — in all design, not just UI-related works. I get that. However, crafting a minimal UI shouldn’t be a designer’s main goal.

Not everything works with a minimal user interface. For instance, a Boeing 737 doesn’t seem like a machine that could benefit from a more minimal cockpit, does it? (Who needs that altitude gauge anyway?!) I know an example like this sounds silly at first, but it really illustrates how maniacally addicted some people are to the idea of minimalism.

I argue that there’s a better approach:

Make the UI as simple as it can be, but not simpler. Simplicity is never the goal in itself. It only serves as one of the vehicles that make the purpose of what you’re building more clear.

2. UX design is a fad.

Quite simply, UX design has been around for years. We just didn’t bother to name it before.

At its core, UX design is about making sure that what you’re building serves its purpose and solves the user’s problem effectively. This, as you can probably already tell, is never going away.

No matter what products we’re going to be building in the future, we will still need to find effective ways of solving user problems, and will, therefore, need good UX design.

The name itself might evolve at some point if we come up with something even better than “UX design,” but the scope of what’s to be done is here to stay.

3. UX and UI design are the same thing.

We talked about this before, but I feel this is still an issue that seems confusing to many clients, and also newcomers to the field of UX design.

The simple graphic that we shared with you a while back does a good job of explaining the differences between UX and UI design:

In other words, having a well-designed UI is a vital part of providing good experiences for your users. However, apart from the UI, there are also many other elements that are just as important, all of which, when put together, make for good UX design.

4. Good UX needs to take the user by the hand from start to finish.

It’s a common trend nowadays to try making all the decisions for the user. “Hey, here’s our 20-step process to getting you onboard. We need to show all of this to you because you certainly won’t figure it out on your own.”

Granted, in some cases, certain decisions do need to be made for the user. Especially in the first stages of their interaction with your product. But making it a 20-step tour is overkill.

Instead, show only the bare minimum of how to interact with the product, or show them just one thing that you think they will enjoy. Don’t try to show them all the things. Leave the fine details for users to explore on their own.

Here’s an example from Adobe’s own Spark Post app. The small box in the center gives the user the option to watch a tutorial video on how to remix existing designs. Apart from that, all the other features of the app are also there, and an advanced user isn’t interrupted on their way to any specific feature.

Let users make their own decisions. After spending a while interacting with your product, they will probably know what they actually want from it better than you do.

So, don’t hide things — features, options, menus, characteristics of the product, etc. Instead, try grouping them together based on their purpose, and making everything easily discoverable for the curious user.

5. UX design is a one-off thing.

This is something pointed out to me by John Stevens, founder of Hosting Facts. When asked, “What common UX design myth would you like to be gone in 2018?” Stevens said:

“I’m tired of dealing with people who only think about UX design in terms of ‘something you do at the beginning and then forget about later on.’ It’s really not how it’s done! Good UX design is about constantly discovering what the users need, constantly revaluing the goals, acknowledging the early feedback, and integrating it on the way to the final product. It’s a continuous effort all throughout.”

There’s a lot of sense to that. Even though UX design absolutely is something that you should aim to get right on your first try — that is, the first public edition of the product — you can’t disregard it later on when the product is released, simply labeling it “done.”

Even after the final version is ready to be shipped, UX design work doesn’t stop there. You — or your client — are always going to continue to receive feedback from users. You should always pay attention to that feedback and take it into account when working on updates or upgrades.

Simply speaking, UX is never a one-off task. Good UX design happens over multiple iterations, not one “genius-moment” session of work.

6. People are distracted on mobile.

This is a very common belief. But it’s not entirely true.

I mean, it depends on how you define “distracted.” If what you mean is that people are unreceptive to your ads, newsletter popups, or whatever else you’d prefer they focus on, then yes, they’re distracted.

However, they’re also highly focused on their own task. Because of that, they are much less forgiving, and much more impatient about what you are trying to push them towards if it doesn’t align with what they already want.

Just think about it, when checking the bus schedule on your phone, you want to get reliable information as quickly as possible, with as few hurdles as possible, and you won’t tolerate any unnecessary steps that don’t supplement the task that you want to accomplish.

Ads? Forget it! Profile registration? No, thanks! Auto-correcting the name of the street that you carefully put in? Off limits!

Good UX design shouldn’t ignore mobile users, and you certainly shouldn’t accept your product’s inferior mobile performance. It’s only inferior because the mobile UX is bad.

7. Mobile users are on the go.

Another misconception is that people that are using mobile devices must be on the go. Otherwise, they’d just use their desktop, right?

Seems reasonable, but it’s not true in this day and age. That may have been the case in 2008, but not now. These days, what we call a “mobile phone” has evolved a lot, and it turns out, as data says, most of mobile use happens not on the go, but at home.

Why? Well, a smartphone is just much more handy to hold while laying on the sofa.

What does this mean for good UX design? You need not make assumptions about where your mobile users actually are.

8. People don’t scroll.

First of all, they do. There are multiple sets of data that confirm this.

Second of all, you’re not going to like the reason why they sometimes decide not to scroll — in simple terms, it’s not them, it’s you.

Basically, a user will stop scrolling the second they either get all the information they need, or they realize that the material you’re providing is either unfitting or boring.

In other words, people have no bias towards scrolling, as long as what they’re seeing continues to be on point.

Also, “scrolling” in its more traditional form has been with us for ages. Think books. The Harry Potter series seems like a lot of pages one needs to scroll through. Yet people do it, and they love it.

What does this mean in terms of UX design? Simple, don’t use the excuse that people won’t scroll anyway when designing interfaces. If what you want to show them brings value, they will scroll to see it.

9. Good UX design can be ugly.

Well, kind of — or, rather, to an extent. The most important aspect of whatever you’re working on is its problem-solution fit. In other words, it needs to solve the problem it was built to solve. If it fails at that, no amount of beauty will save it.

Think about command line interfaces in many server environments, operating systems, industry devices. These things:

In itself — even though I’m sure some of you will disagree — this is not a pretty interface. But it works. In fact, it’s the best kind of interface for the vast amount of actions that can be performed through it.

At the same time, though, consciously disregarding the visual aspect of the product should never be accepted. It always needs to look good enough to drag users in and convince them that the product is worth their time.

And it’s not just me saying this. The scientists from the Stanford University seem to agree. According to their study, nearly half of users associate a website’s credibility with its appearance. In fact, users are much more likely to believe a website is worth their time if it looks good. There’s no reason not to expect that the same goes for other tech products like software or mobile apps.

10. UX is something you can spray on.

This one may sound funny, but it actually describes a common problem that you can come across when dealing with clients or project managers who don’t have sufficient background.

The boss or client may say something like, “Okay, so the product is 90 percent ready at this point, we just need you to sprinkle some UX on top of it to make users like it.”

As you can imagine, this won’t work. Good UX design can only be done if it’s an integral element from the very beginning of the project.

11. Your homepage is THE most important page.

I dare say — and please bear with me — that apart from a handful of specific cases, a homepage is just a vanity page.

What I mean is that even though you want people to see your homepage, there’s a high probability that they actually won’t. Instead, they’ll go straight to specific content pages and stay there.

These days, due to things like social media and Google’s search ranking algorithms, people are much more likely to arrive at individual content pages within your website than on the homepage itself.

Because of this, you should spend much more time making sure that those pages indeed provide good UX, instead of spending hours upon hours perfecting the homepage.

Just think about it, when was the last time you saw Facebook’s or Twitter’s homepages? Do you even know what they look like?

In the end, think about which areas and sections of what you’re building are likely to deliver more value to users than the initial screen or homepage. Focus your efforts on these areas.

12. Good UX design is universal and easy to use for everyone.

Not really. All we actually need, and all that’s required to make the product valuable, is to make it understandable and friendly towards a specific user persona.

Let’s go back to the previous command line example. Those things are black magic to your average computer user even though they’re part of every popular operating system out there — Windows and Mac included. Yet, for those who are in the know, the command line is their ultimate tool.

Had someone tried making the command line more universally user friendly, they would have probably alienated the actual intended user, and likely made it a lot less functional.

In UX design, much like in many other areas of life, trying to please everyone leads to pleasing no one — so don’t go for ease of use for all. Instead, focus on good experience for those who will actually end up using the product.

This sums up my list of 12 UX design myths that need to go in 2018. At the end of the day, most of them can be avoided if we try putting ourselves in our users’ shoes more, and don’t make too many assumptions about their behaviors or motivations. However, this is also much easier said than done, I know. Sorry about that.

Resonance Audio: Multi-platform spatial audio at scale

As humans, we rely on sound to guide us through our environment, help us communicate with others and connect us with what’s happening around us. Whether walking along a busy city street or attending a packed music concert, we’re able to hear hundreds of sounds coming from different directions. So when it comes to AR, VR, games and 360 video, you need rich sound to create an engaging immersive experience that makes you feel like you’re really there. Today, we’re releasing a new spatial audio software development kit (SDK) called Resonance Audio. It’s based on technology from Google’s VR Audio SDK, and it works at scale across mobile and desktop platforms.

Resonance Audio

Experience spatial audio in our Audio Factory VR app for Daydream and SteamVR

Performance that scales on mobile and desktop

Bringing rich, dynamic audio environments into your VR, AR, gaming, or video experiences without affecting performance can be challenging. There are often few CPU resources allocated for audio, especially on mobile, which can limit the number of simultaneous high-fidelity 3D sound sources for complex environments. The SDK uses highly optimized digital signal processing algorithms based on higher order Ambisonics to spatialize hundreds of simultaneous 3D sound sources, without compromising audio quality, even on mobile. We’re also introducing a new feature in Unity for precomputing highly realistic reverb effects that accurately match the acoustic properties of the environment, reducing CPU usage significantly during playback.

Geometric Reverb
Using geometry-based reverb by assigning acoustic materials to a cathedral in Unity

Multi-platform support for developers and sound designers

We know how important it is that audio solutions integrate seamlessly with your preferred audio middleware and sound design tools. With Resonance Audio, we’ve released cross-platform SDKs for the most popular game engines, audio engines, and digital audio workstations (DAW) to streamline workflows, so you can focus on creating more immersive audio. The SDKs run on Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS and Linux platforms and provide integrations for Unity, Unreal Engine, FMOD, Wwise and DAWs. We also provide native APIs for C/C++, Java, Objective-C and the web. This multi-platform support enables developers to implement sound designs once, and easily deploy their project with consistent sounding results across the top mobile and desktop platforms. Sound designers can save time by using our new DAW plugin for accurately monitoring spatial audio that’s destined for YouTube videos or apps developed with Resonance Audio SDKs. Web developers get the open source Resonance Audio Web SDK that works in the top web browsers by using the Web Audio API.
DAW Plugin
DAW plugin for sound designers to monitor audio destined for YouTube 360 videos or apps developed with the SDK

Model complex sound environments

By providing powerful tools for accurately modeling complex sound environments, Resonance Audio goes beyond basic 3D spatialization. The SDK enables developers to control the direction acoustic waves propagate from sound sources. For example, when standing behind a guitar player, it can sound quieter than when standing in front. And when facing the direction of the guitar, it can sound louder than when your back is turned.

AcousticGif
Controlling sound wave directivity for an acoustic guitar using the SDK

Another SDK feature is automatically rendering near-field effects when sound sources get close to a listener’s head, providing an accurate perception of distance, even when sources are close to the ear. The SDK also enables sound source spread, by specifying the width of the source, allowing sound to be simulated from a tiny point in space up to a wall of sound. We’ve also released an Ambisonic recording tool to spatially capture your sound design directly within Unity, save it to a file, and use it anywhere Ambisionic soundfield playback is supported, from game engines to YouTube videos.

If you’re interested in creating rich, immersive soundscapes using cutting-edge spatial audio technology, check out the Resonance Audio documentation on our developer site. You can also experience spatial audio in our Audio Factory VR app for Daydream and SteamVR. Let us know what you think through GitHub, and show us what you build with #ResonanceAudio on social media; we’ll be resharing our favorites. 

Instant Articles Introduces “Monetization Tab”, With Simpler, One-Click Control for Turning on Recirculation Ads

By Hossam Tewfik, Product Manager

Given the positive feedback and increased monetization seen from our testing of recirculation ads launched in June, we are now enabling publishers who currently use Facebook’s Audience Network to easily turn these ads on or off in the new monetization tab.

Previously, recirculation ads could only be turned on by inserting HTML code into each article’s markup. Publishers shared feedback with us that they wanted easier ways to control monetization in Instant Articles, which prompted us to build and launch the monetization tab. The first feature we are rolling out in this tab is a ‘one-click’ switch that will automatically turn on recirculation ads across a publisher’s articles. To locate the monetization tab, publishers can navigate to the “Instant Articles” section of “Publishing Tools” (see image below).

Publishers will be able to change this setting by clicking the box in the monetization tab. For any publisher that would like to opt certain articles out of recirculation ads, they can do so in the markup of those specific articles. More information on the technical details can be found here.

The Atlantic has been an early testing partner of recirculation ad units, and has seen promising results in terms of number of ad impressions and average CPMs. Read more about The Atlantic’s experience with Instant Articles here.

As always, our goal with ads in Instant Articles is to maintain the best reading experience for people, that drives revenue for publishers and performance for advertisers. Since the beginning of the year, publisher RPM (average revenue per 1,000 page views) has grown by over 50%, and is equal to or better than mobile web monetization for many publishers — even before accounting for the traffic lift generated from Instant Articles’ faster reading experience.

Today’s public rollout of recirculation ads and the launch of the monetization tab are direct responses to the feedback we have heard from publishers asking for additional opportunities and more control over how they monetize their content in Instant Articles. We are encouraged by the growth we’ve seen and will continue to be devoted to creating the tools needed to make the best decisions for publishers’ businesses.

If you are not currently using Instant Articles, you can get started here.

EMEAR Partners, OWN THE DIGITAL JOURNEY

Last week saw Cisco’s Partner Summit taking place in Dallas, Texas – a fantastic opportunity to spend time with partners, analysts, press and Cisco employees and collectively discover how we can all ‘OWN IT’ – the theme of the conference. ‘The Big D’ is a city famous for many things – it’s where the frozen […]

How Collaboration Tools and Apps Can Drive Student Success

Craig Tranter is a former educator, and now serves as a technology presenter for Cisco. This blog is the fifth in his series on advancements and opportunities in education. All views are his own.  There are many different ways that we like to communicate and there are trends in communication preferences. For example, the “Silent […]

Owning It Together with our APJ Partners

Last week at Partner Summit, Cisco hosted a total of 1,090 companies from 85 countries who collectively account for $35.7 billion in bookings for us. And when all these companies come together at Partner Summit, they want to hear about the innovation and Programs coming out of Cisco and how our Partner Ecosystem can take […]

Prototyping the Lids Custom Zone

When fans want to represent their favorite teams or sports they often visit Lids, a specialty retailer with more than 1,000 stores. Many are delighted to find out that they can customize a hat on site in many retail locations. Now, fans can enjoy that same personalization when they purchase hats online. The Lids Custom Zone enables a shopper to order a hat online, customize it with a player signature, mascot, or other item embroidered on the side, and have it sent straight to their home.

Lids challenged the creative digital agency Perficient Digital to bring the experience to life in time for the 2017 holidays. Using Adobe XD CC in Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, the Perficient Digital user experience (UX) team successfully created wireframes and a working prototype within four weeks.

“We focused on mobile first because there are more constraints with mobile,” says Brian Flanagan, Director of Experience Design at Perficient Digital. “Adobe XD CC let us take a leaner, guerilla-style approach, validate ideas quickly, and move on.”

The Adobe XD prototype enabled users to select text and graphics, apply them to a hat, and view their selections from any mobile device or web browser. Perficient Digital shared the prototype in Lids stores for actual customers to use and give feedback. It featured more than 60 screen variations, which gave Lids valuable insights into customer behaviors and preferences.

“With Adobe XD CC, we were able to quickly prototype and test the solution with actual customers, which allowed us to better understand their behavior and fine tune the experience to meet their expectations,” says Steve Wentzell, Senior Director, E-commerce at Lids Sports Group.

Read more about how Lids created an online Custom Zone with Adobe XD.

5 Things to Know Now about the New directive from Department of Homeland Security about DMARC

  October is cybersecurity awareness month, which was perfect timing for the Department of Homeland Security to formal announce a policy to protect federal agencies against cyberthreats coming from email solutions. Mid-month, the Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications, Jeanette Manfra, announced that federal agencies have 90 days to implement Domain-based […]

Miercom Agrees: Huawei is no Match for Feature-Rich Cisco

A modern-day enterprise Wi-Fi infrastructure has to be multi-faceted. It should be optimized, not only for high performance, but also in order for other areas to maintain a smooth flow of Wireless LAN operations. Enterprise Wi-Fi vendors offer various features to furnish the business requirements of the customers. However, not all products are the same, […]

The High Five: searches for New York, and other trending topics of the week

Here are a few of the week’s top search trends, with data from the Google News Lab.

Attack in New York

This week people turned to Google for more information about the New York terrorist attack—carried out by a man from Uzbekistan—that claimed the lives of eight victims. Top questions from people around the U.S. were, “What happened in New York?” “Where was the New York terrorist from?” And “Who died in the NYC attack?” Two of the top questions from New Yorkers themselves were: “How to mark yourself as safe on Facebook” and “Where is Uzbekistan located?”

What’s old is new

Approximately 4,500 years after the Pyramid of Giza was built, scientists have discovered a hidden 100-foot space within the Great Pyramid. People in South Dakota, New Mexico and Montana searched the most about the discovery, with top questions like, “Can you go inside the Great Pyramid?” “Which Pharaoh was the Great Pyramid built for?” and “How did the Egyptians build the pyramids?”

Be Prepared

In the circle of life, classic movies get remade. This week, Disney announced the cast of the new live-action “Lion King” movie, and search interest in “The Lion King” rose 1,700 percent. The most searched “Lion King” cast members were Beyoncé, Donald Glover, John Oliver, Keegan-Michael Key and Seth Rogen, while Simba and Pumbaa were the most searched characters.

Having a cow over emoji

A Twitter debate this week proved that some people have beef with Android’s cheeseburger emoji. People grilled Search with these top questions: “What is wrong with the cheeseburger emoji?” “Why is there a cheeseburger emoji?” and “What is the controversy over the cheeseburger emoji?” For those communicating in non-food emoji, the top searched emoji this week were  and .

A little birdie told us …

“The Lion King” isn’t the only comeback in the news this week. Tiger Woods announced he’s returning to golf following his back fusion surgery later this year. People are more interested in his resurgence than his surgery: search interest in “Tiger Woods return” swung 420 percent higher than “Tiger Woods surgery,” with top questions like “When was Tiger Woods’ last tour victory?” and “How many major championships has Tiger Woods won?”


 


The She Word: Tory Voight’s climb through her career

Editor’s note: Last week we hosted a Women who VRock panel at the Google Pop Up space in Los Angeles, bringing together women across the VR industry. Tory Voight, an engineering program manager on the Google AR/VR team (and oil painter and rock climber on the side), moderated the discussion. Today shares her own perspective for the She Word, our Keyword series focused on amazing women at Google.

Panel2.png
Women who VRock

How do you explain your job at a dinner party?

Blog_HeadShot_ToryVoight.jpg

I work closely with engineers and creators to dream up new ideas and ways to use VR. I spend most of my time building the Artist in Residency (AiR) program, which engages creators to use our products in new ways and provide valuable product feedback to push VR forward.  

What advice would you give to women starting out in their careers?

If you’re interested in something, don’t hesitate to reach out. Many great relationships, lessons, and even job positions have resulted from doing just that. Back in 2015, I contacted the VR team and offered to lend 20 percent of my time to help out with Cardboard. I did that for a few months, and eventually got a full time job on the team. If I had never sent that first email, I wouldn’t have ended up where I am now. Offering to help with projects helps you understand the field you want to be in—and what to expect.

Who has been a strong female influence in your life?

From an early age, it was my mother, a single parent of five children who worked two or even three jobs to support our family. I learned the value of perseverance through the adversity we faced together, and through all the wonderful women I met in our various jobs—from cleaning houses, to working in a truck stop Wendy’s. They inspire me to give back in my career as a purpose-driven individual, and to work for a company like Google that builds tools to democratize experiences and opportunities, regardless of one’s background. That’s why I’m so excited about VR products we’re building—they give people access to experiences.

You've mentioned that giving back is important. How do you give back to the community?

IMG_2567.JPG
Tory and Sookie at the top. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, NV.

As a rock climber, I love volunteering for the Yosemite Climbers Association’s “Facelift” program. I help pick up trash around Yosemite Valley (volunteers have collected more than 10 tons of trash over the past 14 years!), and I feel like this small contribution makes the park more enjoyable for everyone.


I also spend time mentoring young women in high school and college. When I was their age, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up—higher education and a career seemed like an unobtainable, abstract idea for a kid from my background. Now I want to take my experience and help them understand what to expect and encourage them, despite any perceived odds or barriers. I give back in honor of all the individuals who pushed me think I could do anything, even if it seemed insurmountable at the time.

What’s an experience you’ve had in VR that really had an impact on you?

This is Bears Ears National Park” opened my eyes to how VR can be used to inform and build empathy over an issue. The park is stunningly beautiful, but continues to face a lot of political and environmental threats. And because I love being outdoors, this content had a particularly strong impact on me. I’m proud that we’re lending a hand to Bears Ears through our Jump Start program, which pairs filmmakers with the resources to create their own stories in VR.

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The She Word: Tea Uglow, a "pebble in the landslide"

We’re talking with dynamic female Googlers about who they are, what they do and why they inspire us.

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What do you find most challenging about working in VR? 

The exciting and the challenging thing about VR is that it’s still in its technical infancy. We're in a new field where there aren’t necessarily answers. We have to find them and validate them, and we're learning all the time. That’s why programs like AiR, and taking user feedback to heart while we play with concepts, are important.

Why is it important to have a wide variety of people and artists explore VR as a medium?

For the past year, I’ve worked closely with artists from different disciplines and mediums—graffiti artists, painters, illustrators, graphic designers, and cartoonists—in the AiR program. When building products, a diverse set of voices is essential to ensuring that those products are delightful and useful for everyone—a successful product simply can’t be achieved from a homogeneous atmosphere.

Get a new perspective on the world with Discovery TRVLR

One of the richest ways to explore and learn about a place is to get to know it from someone who calls that place home. What if you could experience the subtle mysticism of standing in a pagoda in Vietnam watching warrior monks train, or hear the echoes of ancient Aztec gods in the rhythmic stomping of feet during a traditional Mexican cleansing ritual?

Virtual reality makes this possible, so you can go on adventures that transcend the mundane—all without booking a single airplane ticket. That’s the idea behind a new series we created in partnership with Discovery, called Discovery TRVLR.

Discovery TRVLR

Discovery has been showing you new parts of the world for over 35 years, and with Discovery TRVLR, you’ll get to explore it in vivid VR video filmed on Jump cameras. Discovery TRVLR takes you on voyages to all seven continents, and by focusing on locals, you’ll uncover the hidden stories of these places and learn things you’d never see in a travel guidebook.

Available today, the first chapter takes you to Auckland, New Zealand—hold on tight as you descend into the depths of a seemingly bottomless cave. New chapters will follow every week. In Hanoi, keep your eyes peeled for slumbering demons as you explore a ghostly forest. In Mexico City, venture south of the capital to the haunting Isla de las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls). In Yerevan, walk a tightrope with the last member of a generation of Armenian acrobats. In Cape Town, explore the underside of the city with a charming, though not strictly licensed, cab operator. And in La Paz, meet female wrestlers giving hope to domestic violence victims. Then cap it all off riding alongside a polar explorer through ice caves and the frozen tundra of Antarctica. 

Find all episodes of Discovery TRVLR on YouTube or the Discovery VR app on Daydream, and watch them with your Cardboard or Daydream View. Here’s hoping you catch your own glimpse of something truly special.

10 UX Design Predictions For 2018

We’re living in a time when design and user experience have never mattered more. The past decade of change shows us that design must constantly adapt as a discipline in order to meet user needs.While it’s impossible to see the future, we can still make some educated guesses about it. In this article, I go through some of the trends that will shape UX design in 2018 and, possibly, for several more years to come.

1. Content-Focused Experiences

Recent trends like minimalism and flat design focus on one thing. They remove the distraction from what’s really important: content. Content-focused experiences are experiences in which content shapes design (or design emphasizes content). A designer’s mission is to make sure that nothing impedes a viewer’s experience of the content. In an attempt to follow this trend, designers focus on the following visual aspects of design:

  • Distinct visual hierarchy. Good hierarchy in design eases the task of content comprehension.
  • Functional minimalism. By removing unnecessary elements it’s possible to provide a cleaner, more focused experience.
  • Whitespace. Giving content more room to breathe greatly improves a user’s experience.

Medium is a prime example of the trend for content-focused experiences

A content-focused experience isn’t limited to the visual part of design; the content itself has to be more helpful and engaging. That’s why, in 2018, we’ll see a growing importance of content strategy. Well-curated content will be a huge part of a brand’s success in digital products.

2. Time Saving Design

Today’s most successful websites and apps provide much more than relevant information in an easy-to-consume format. They create an intuitive experience that reduces friction and saves user’s time.Time is of the essence for success in both mobile and desktop environments. Users want the products that help them reach their goal as fast as possible and time-saving designs are key in helping them with that. Time-saving design allows users to take a limited number of steps from the moment they install an app/visit a site until the moment they take an action.This design has following characteristics:

  • Clear Navigation. It’s possible to create clear navigation by using the most popular navigation patterns along with good information architecture.
  • Context-specific information and features.To deliver excellent experiences it’s important to design for context–providing only the most relevant information and features on each step of the user journey.
  • Guidance. Guidance can be found in many different forms, starting from direct suggestions to delightful nudges (small rewards that alter a user’s behavior in a desirable way).
  • Linear user journey.Linear design is a journey that has a fixed beginning-middle-end structure and allows users to do just one specific action at each step of that journey.
  • Anticipatory design.Anticipatory design tries to anticipate a user’s needs and serve them the best possible experience.

These elements represent only a portion of possible design features that can save a user time.

Time-saving design is all about designing in the interest of saving time. Airbnb is a great example of such straight-to-the-point design.

3. Smarter Personalization

While personalization is related to time-saving design, it deserves its own part of the list. We’re moving from one-size-fits-all experiences towards individually tailored experiences where technology is adapted to people. With the power of personalized data and significant progress in AI and machine learning, we’re leaning towards systems that are capable of changing user experiences based on users themselves.In an attempt to get to know users on a deeper level, businesses will continue to search for new ways to offer a more personalized brand experience. This will move personalization to a whole new level.

One of the most common examples of personalization in modern apps/websites is personalized suggestions based on user actions. They increase the likelihood that a consumer will take action during any given site visit.

4. Omnichannel UX

The trend of focusing exclusively on the mobile audience should be re-evaluated. The growing number of connected devices will push the industry to create more dynamic and continuous digital experiences. With the rise of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, we’re moving from mobile-first experiences towards omnichannel experiences.The root of this trend lies in the nature of user interaction. To a user, it doesn’t matter where or how an interaction occurs. In fact, the interaction itself is largely invisible because a user has a goal she or he wants to achieve using the most relevant medium. That’s why a true user experience is device-agnostic. Users need experiences that match a context, defined by a user’s current device. Omnichannel UX brings consistency to a multi-device world. A designer who wants to create an omnichannel UX should create a seamless flow for the user’s journey by making it possible for the users to transition smoothly between devices when they use the product.We already have a few good examples of omnichannel UX among today’s apps. Uber is one of them. Requesting a ride from Uber can start on an Amazon Echo and end on an iPhone. That’s a good example of an experience that crosses two platforms, from two different vendors, with two different interfaces, yet is seamless to the user.

Uber’s omnichannel UX. Image credits: Businessinsider

In 2018 we won’t necessarily be designing whole ecosystems, but we’ll pay more attention to the ways people transition from one touchpoint to the other. As users, we’ll see more digital experiences that are both dynamic and continuous.

5. Humanizing Digital Experience

People expect to interact with digital products the way they normally would with each other, and designers should prepare digital products to deliver on those expectations.

The trend of humanizing digital experiences is directly related to user emotions. The way a user feels about an interaction with a product has a great impact on whether or not they’ll use the product on a long-term basis.

Designers can focus on humanizing digital interactions by focusing on satisfying fundamental human needs (such as trust, transparency, and security):

The checkout flow in the Stripe app. The app uses animation to reassure the user: when the user clicks “Pay,” a spinner briefly appears before a user sees the success state. The checkmark animation encourages the user to feel like they easily completed the purchase. Image credits: Michaël Villar

As well as delighting users:

Humanizing mobile experiences with microinteractions. Image credits: Apple

The trend of humanizing digital experiences will result in more demand for psychologists, UX researchers, and other specialists who will help create more human experiences.

6. Voice User Interfaces

In 2018 we’ll continue moving away from designing for clicks and taps towards the domain of screenless experiences–a domain of Voice User Interfaces (VUIs). VUIs are already being deployed in a range of technologies: Apple has Siri, Google has OK Google, Microsoft has Cortana, and Amazon has Alexa. The rapid development of voice interaction capabilities in our daily lives makes it clear this technology will soon become either an alternative or even a full replacement to traditional graphical user interfaces (GUIs). According to Gartner, by 2018, 30 percent of our interactions with technology will happen through conversations with voice-based systems. At the same time, VUIs will likely to continue living alongside GUIs in 2018. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, it’s not always appropriate to use voice input (e.g. giving voice commands to devices in crowded place is socially unacceptable). Secondly, there is still a lot of improvement to be done in the conversational systems itself: VUIs require a better understanding of human’s conversation flow–not only the topics people talk about but how they talk about them.

Image credit: Samsung

7. Biometric Authentication

2018 will be the year we see how biometrics help make tasks like authentication and identity management easier for both businesses and end-users. Many progressive apps and services won’t require users to create and remember passwords, but will instead use biometric authentication methods for this purpose. As effortless authentication becomes a user expectation, other companies will overhaul the UI design of the authentication process.

With the facial recognition in Apple’s Face ID, your face becomes a password

8. Augmented Reality

AR will break through into mainstream culture. At the recent Facebook F8 conference for developers, Mark Zuckerberg claimed that soon all screens will be replaced by lenses for the ultimate AR experience. Considering the efforts of Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft in this field, it sounds like a realistic possibility in the next few years. While the dominance of mobile phones won’t change anytime soon, we’ll see dramatic growth in augmented reality apps for mobile devices. There are three elements in mobile technology which will have a significant impact on mobile AR, and these are faster processors, higher quality displays, and better cameras.In the upcoming year, we’ll start to see more useful applications in augmented reality, like ones that aid translation between cultures and languages:

Google Translate app

Or ones that provide helpful details during complex procedures:

AR solution for the health industry. Image credits: oneyoungworld

Of course, there will be also a lot of apps for pure entertainment:

Image credits: Apple

9. One More Step Closer To Virtual Reality

One of the most significant changes in the future in the way we use our apps will be the emergence of virtual reality technology. However, there are a lot of challenges that must be addressed before VR becomes a standard way of interaction.2018 won’t be a year of VR, yet; while some of us will work on VR products, VR itself won’t’ be a mass-market effect. In 2018 we will see more progress in defining ‘best design’ practices for VR. Gestures will be in focus–natural gestures with similar meanings in the real world will help with translating actions in the virtual space.

VR gesture control by Leap Motion. Image credits: Techcrunch

10. Broader Role of UX Designer

UX has always been a broad category but, in 2018, a designer’s specialization will trend towards new technologies (like augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality). The role of a UX designer is about to expand again.At the same time, being a UX designer in 2018 will be less about ‘doing all of the stuff yourself,’ and more about ‘connecting people together.’ This will put the focus on collaboration, fast prototyping, and automation in some steps of the UX process that previously were manual (such as the design handoff).

An emerging set of new tools like Adobe XD will significantly improve the workflow for designers.

Conclusion

As with trends of any nature, some come and go, whereas others stay the course and become fundamentals. But even though tools and ideas change and our understanding of design transforms, the mission of a designer stays the same: design exists to make people’s lives better.

#ColorFontWeek – Playbox

Download Playbox here.

For Matt, new font designs start off as a sketch, drawing, or doodle. His secret is stopping his creative brainstorming when he starts noticing that he’s repeating himself. That’s when he looks back at all of his sketches and starts translating them into the bezier curves in Illustrator.

With Playbox, Matt wanted to create a font that reflected many of the shapes and motifs familiar to his other work. He wanted it to be playful and spontaneous with letter shapes of all sizes. Playbox is whimsical and playful in every form, from the color, to the shapes, to the varied spacing. It is the ultimate exploration of the creative boundaries of the OpenType-SVG color font.

Early renderings of Playbox

Despite the font’s whimsical designs, Matt was thoughtful about maintaining readability. The variation in size, coloring, and shape elements across the whole alphabet required that Matt make each letter super legible. You’ll notice that he deliberately used ample kerning to give room between letters. He also uses complementary color pairings like blue and orange or purple and green to make the punchouts of the the letters.

The Playbox OpenType-SVG Font was designed with Fontself Maker in Illustrator CC and made available at no charge to you for this week thanks to the generosity of Matt Lyon. This font can be used on the latest release of Illustrator CC and Photoshop CC. Free download expires 11/5.

This font is available as part of 5 free color font series released during #ColorFontWeek.

Cloud Unfiltered Podcast, Episode 25: What is Cisco CloudCenter?

You already know that Cisco CloudCenter is CliQr, right? Right? OK, maybe not. If you follow technology news, you probably heard a lot about CliQr a few years ago. It was a hot cloud management startup. You also probably heard that Cisco acquired it back in April of 2016. But you probably didn’t hear much […]
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