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Creativity on Willem's Blog

Some thoughts on touch screen user interface design

Creating intuitive natural interfaces

June 24, 2020
I am working on a new app involving personal health that requires a natural intuitive interface that works well on touch screens. It's good to check out some best practices for touch UI design

Past weeks I have been working on a new app involving personal health. The main challenge is to come up with an intuitive, natural interface that works well on small touch screen devices. But what is it that makes an touch screen interface any good? Read along for some best practices.

Different ways to visualise health

Looking at games and fitness apps

May 25, 2020
To better understand how to visualise health I looked at different health/fitness apps and games.

This month I did some research into how health is visualised in fitness apps and games. For a new app involving personal health I am looking for an intuitive way to visualise how healthy one person is. There are many colourful approaches out there!

Outside the comfort zone: amateur acting

Wearing an heart rate monitor during my debut performance

Apr. 18, 2018
This month I strapped myself with sensors during a little experiment outside my comfort zone: I debuted as amateur actor!

This month I made my debut as amateur actor. I am no Hollywood star, nor do I envy to become one. But I do like crazy experiments and operating outside of my comfort zone often leads to new and refreshing insights. I took part in an amateur drama play and - in the name of science and fun - strapped myself with sensors to measure what happened to my body.

Tablet as main computer

Comparing the Microsoft Surface Pro to iPad Pro

Mar. 7, 2018
I have been using a tablet as my main computer for quite some time now. In this blog post I share you my experience on using Surface Pro and iPad Pro to get my work done.

For the past few weeks I have been using the Microsoft Surface Pro as my main computer. It's a modern tablet computer that can be used as laptop with the type cover. With the Surface Pen, it's a versatile PC that works in a lot of different ways. Time to find out if it's any good and how it compares to my other tablet computer, iPad Pro.

Updating Snake '97

About the challenges of developing a wildly popular game

Feb. 21, 2018
This month I bit the bullet big time: I redesigned the game engine of the wildly popular Snake '97 game. Read about the design challenges in this blog post.

Few years ago my brother threw a beer on my iPhone in an Amsterdam bar. The poor thing didn't like the Dutch brew as much as I do: it died. While waiting for a new phone to arrive, I used an old one that couldn't do anything but texting, calling and... Snake! The idea for Snake '97 was born and this month it was time to update the wildly popular game.

From tree to table

Designing and creating a night stand

Oct. 23, 2017
Creating a night stand from a raw slab of chestnut wood.

Right next to the house were I was born there was this chestnut tree, sadly it died one and a half year ago. When it was taken down, my brother saved me a slab of wood. I intended to create something from it, a nice "do it yourself" adventure, worthy of a blog post!

Programming on Apple Watch

Serious about crazy experiments

Feb. 16, 2017
Programming with VIM over SSH on Apple Watch using a bluetooth keyboard

Over the past years I have been no stranger to crazy experiments, but this time I really wanted to push it into the extreme: programming on an Apple Watch. Would it be possible to actually write code on such a tiny device? Why even bother? This post is about the case for crazy experiments, and why you should try too!

iPad Pro next to my primary machine

Using it with Apple Pencil as a creative powerhouse

Jan. 30, 2017
Using iPad Pro with Apple Pencil next to my computer to form a create powerhouse

I wanted see if I can find something better than my old fashioned pencil and paper that I use for designing software as professional developer. I knew iPad Pro from my test last summer, figuring out if it could replace my primary development machine. While it may not be able to completely replace my thrustworthy ThinkPad, it turned out to be a totally different story when it comes to paper.

Harvesting boredom to let creativity flourish

using the Punkt MP01 dumb phone

Oct. 1, 2016
What does it mean for my state of mind and creativity if I am no longer be constantly connected to the Internet using a smartphone.

Smartphones are everywhere in the modern society we live in today. Through our 4G and WiFi connections the internet is just one tap away. In fact, it is so close that it feels like a natural extension. But is this wealth of information all good or does it have a downside too? It seems like an interesting experiment to go app-less for a while and solely use a dumb phone.

iPad Pro as primary computer

testing iOS as primairy development platform

Aug. 15, 2016
Is the time right to use an iPad as primary development platform to get some real work done?

The lack of physical clutter, distracting branding, or blinking LED's makes the iPad Pro a textbook example of minimal design. My despiction of distraction explains my interest in using the iPad Pro as only computer to test if it is up to the task. Is Apple's latest effort on iOS enough to enable it to do serious development work?

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Initial scribble to see how pencil response
Initial scribble to see how pencil response
Autodesk Graphic is an amazing app for iOS - I use it to design icons and graphics, with layers and alignment tools
Autodesk Graphic is an amazing app for iOS - I use it to design icons and graphics, with layers and alignment tools
Directly manipulating the on screen elements feels natural - a mouse in this use case would be redundant
Directly manipulating the on screen elements feels natural - a mouse in this use case would be redundant
Surface Pro, type cover and pen - al sold seperately - because, why just one package if you can have three times as much fun!?
Surface Pro, type cover and pen - al sold seperately - because, why just one package if you can have three times as much fun!?
Wheel with ring
Wheel with ring
Updating... updating... updating... updating...
Updating... updating... updating... updating...
The Back / Hide / Save buttons are near the thumb: they are within range and reaching for them does not cover the contents of the screen
The Back / Hide / Save buttons are near the thumb: they are within range and reaching for them does not cover the contents of the screen
Testing the design concept
Testing the design concept
White on blue
White on blue
Working with Surface Pen and Apple Pencil
Working with Surface Pen and Apple Pencil
Sunset
Sunset
Contextual keyboards provide a better way to enable textual input. It makes no sense to show a full QWERTY-keyboard if you only ask for a numeric value.
Contextual keyboards provide a better way to enable textual input. It makes no sense to show a full QWERTY-keyboard if you only ask for a numeric value.
Microsoft Surface family
Microsoft Surface family
Snake '97 available as free download for iOS, Android, macOS, Windows and ChromeOS
Snake '97 available as free download for iOS, Android, macOS, Windows and ChromeOS
Prototype of Snake '97 running on various devices
Prototype of Snake '97 running on various devices
Rolex GMT Master
Rolex GMT Master
The Biostrap app shows data collected by the Biostrap sensor
The Biostrap app shows data collected by the Biostrap sensor
Recreating old UI patterns on a modern touch screen device is not going to win you any usability awards... (although, who doesn't miss Clippy?)
Recreating old UI patterns on a modern touch screen device is not going to win you any usability awards... (although, who doesn't miss Clippy?)

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