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Adobe releases first Experience Design preview for Mac, its ‘Project Comet’ UX design tool

Adobe XD

Adobe has released the first preview version of its new Experience Design CC app for creating and testing interactive design prototypes. The latest Creative Cloud tool was first announced last October at Adobe’s Max Creative Conference under the name Project Comet. As Experience Design is currently in preview, Adobe is letting anyone with a free Adobe ID try the new tool and provide feedback ahead of its commercial release.


Opinion: After getting assimilated by the Apple Watch, I want a Digital Crown on my iPhone


As regular readers will know, it took a little while for the Apple Watch to really grow on me. But even back when I wasn’t convinced I needed a smartwatch, I still had to admire the design. And the Digital Crown was a large part of how Apple got the smartwatch right when others hadn’t yet cracked it. A fundamental problem with a small touchscreen is that touching it covers up much of the content. The Digital Crown overcomes that, allowing us to scroll content without our thumb getting in the way.

But while today’s iPhone screens may be larger than they used to be, they are still pretty small in the scheme of things. Scrolling with a thumb still covers up a chunk of the content. Worse, it’s easy to accidentally tap on targets accidentally including ads. There have been numerous occasions since using Apple Watch when my thumb started absent-mindedly reaching for the non-existent Digital Crown on my iPhone … 


Opinion: Apple Watch + Music show intuitive software should be top priority for Apple’s new VP of UI Design


Like many other people, I signed up for Apple Music yesterday because it was intriguing and free. Having skipped earlier subscription music services, I didn’t have Spotify playlists to worry about losing or importing, and I hadn’t experienced truly unlimited access to a giant music selection before. Apple Music’s sign-up process turned out to be great: attractive, simple, and just personal enough to learn my tastes without feeling creepy. It’s also likely to win long-term customers: sign up your family, and after 3 months, someone’s going to insist on keeping Apple Music (or just forget to cancel it).

But once the sign-up process is over, Apple Music repeats a mistake that Apple made earlier this year with the Apple Watch: throwing users into the deep end of a big new pool without adequate guidance. Despite all the talk of importantly human-curated content, Apple Music is oddly and robotically silent when it should be actively guiding new customers through a brand new service. In prior years, Apple held back products until they were polished enough that anyone could use them immediately. These days, Apple releases major products with enough rough software edges that customers and reviewers are (rightfully) complaining about learning curves and unintuitive interfaces.

As of today, Apple has a new VP of User Interface Design, Alan Dye, who is taking over software-side responsibilities from Apple’s vaunted design chief Jony Ive. In light of the Apple Watch and Apple Music launches, both of which were criticized for unnecessarily complex user interfaces, I’d respectfully suggest to Mr. Dye that fixing this problem should be a top priority…


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Skype iOS apps updated with UI enhancements and fixes

Update:  Skype’s Director of product security Adrian Asher issued a statement to 9to5Mac regarding the “User IP-address Disclosure” method of obtaining a Skype user’s IP address as detailed below:

We are investigating reports of a new tool that captures a Skype user’s last known IP address. This is an ongoing, industry-wide issue faced by all peer-to-peer software companies. We are committed to the safety and security of our customers and we are takings measures to help protect them.”

The Skype iOS apps were both been updated today bringing one new feature: “The ability to move own video preview.” The update also includes a redesigned user-interface for contacts and messages, and a number of performance, stability, and UI fixes listed below. Skype for iPad received the same update except for the redesigned contacts and messages.

In other Skype news, the Skype Open Source blog pointed us to a “User IP-address Disclosure” method that will allow you to obtain the city, country, ISP, and IP address of a user on your contact list. This is perhaps something Skype will be addressing in a future update. All of the steps are here.

What’s New in Version 4.0

-New feature: ability to move own video preview

-App auto restarts if unexpectedly shut down

-Improved accessibility

-Improved stability

-Updated design for contacts and messages

-New sign in screen

-Other minor UI improvements

-Bug fixes