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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!

Realtime human pose recognition through computer vision

Using TensorFlow and PoseNet on a video feed

Dec. 1, 2019
For an exciting new project I have been experimenting with TensorFlow, enabling realtime pose detection using PoseNet.

For an exciting new project I have been experimenting with computer vision using TensorFlow. I wanted to achieve realtime human pose detection to drive interactive video projections and games. Time to dive into the world of machine learning, tensors and computer vision!

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.

Repairing a Nintendo Gameboy Advance SP

Chip surgery to play classic Zelda

Mar. 26, 2017
Reparing an old Nintendo Gameboy Advance to play classic Zelda again.

This month Nintendo released the Switch with Zelda "Breath of the Wild". The new console received positive reviews. The new Zelda game is amazing and can be played on-the-go, thanks to the portability of the Nintendo Switch. But it its hardly the first Nintendo device that features the mythical kingdom of Hyrule with Link and princess Zelda. I found an old Gameboy Advance, perfect for playing classic Zelda games... but it was in need for repair!

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Programming the new game engine and testing it on an HMD Nokia 2 running Android
Programming the new game engine and testing it on an HMD Nokia 2 running Android
Me and mini-me being recognised by the PoseNet model
Me and mini-me being recognised by the PoseNet model
iPhone 4 - ahhh sweet developer memories when one (small) size did fit all...
iPhone 4 - ahhh sweet developer memories when one (small) size did fit all...
This is what the cloud looks like, dear boys and girls.
This is what the cloud looks like, dear boys and girls.
This old Gameboy was broken: it stops working if you
This old Gameboy was broken: it stops working if you "squeeze" it... an indication of some electrical failure.
The buttons can be removed easily to be cleaned
The buttons can be removed easily to be cleaned
Analysing gameplay speed differences using slow motion video
Analysing gameplay speed differences using slow motion video
Clever hardware design: each button fits exactly on one position and orientation only!
Clever hardware design: each button fits exactly on one position and orientation only!
A trick the original Snake couldn't: controlling the game using a Bluetooth DualShock PlayStation controller with an analog thumbstick
A trick the original Snake couldn't: controlling the game using a Bluetooth DualShock PlayStation controller with an analog thumbstick
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?)
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
Navigation structures that rely on hovering are NOT going to work on touch screens
Navigation structures that rely on hovering are NOT going to work on touch screens
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
Spot the differences: the original faulty logic board above and the replacement on the bottom
Spot the differences: the original faulty logic board above and the replacement on the bottom
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
Thank you Ebay: an original replacement logic board for about €15
Thank you Ebay: an original replacement logic board for about €15
On the left: an original screenshot from
On the left: an original screenshot from "Link's Awakening" (1993). On to the right: how fans perceive the magic. (Fan art created by "einen" from http://einen.deviantart.com)
Snake '97 - It's fun, but it's UI design is arguably bad
Snake '97 - It's fun, but it's UI design is arguably bad

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