Category Archives: Apps

Facebook chooses friends over publishers: Changes that will affect News Publishers and other Media

Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Facebook announced Thursday that it will begin to prioritize posts in the News Feed from friends and family over public content and posts from publishers. It will also move away from using “time spent” on the platform as a metric of success and will instead focus on “engagement” with content, such as comments.

Why it matters: Facebook is the most widely-used news and information platform in the world; almost half of Americans rely on it for news. These changes will significantly impact the way people around the world receive and distribute information, possibly limiting the spread of fake news.

  • Moving forward, Facebook will prioritize “posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions” between people.
  • Pages will still remain in the News Feed, but they will likely see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease.
  • Facebook Head of Product Adam Mosseri‏ says the move is more about valuing stories that facilitate meaningful interactions between people.
  • The change will completely shift the publishing landscape, to the disadvantage of publishers that rely on the tech giant for traffic.
  • But, but, but: Facebook Journalism Project lead Campbell Brown told publishers in an email that the change will not affect links to publisher content shared by friends.

What this means for brands

  • In the short term, this will cause a tsunami of changes for everyone: Facebook, publishers, advertisers, investors, etc.
  • In the long term, it will force the entire digital ecosystem to focus on building meaningful relationships with consumers instead of click-bait. Audiences vs. traffic, as The Verge’s Casey Newton puts it.
  • “My initial reaction is it appears organic reach is finally moving toward zero,” says Rich Greenfield, Media Analyst at BTIG. “Zuckerberg is basically telling brands you either need to spark a meaningful, engaging conversation with your content — or spend ad dollars to reach consumers in the News Feed.
  • “It puts tremendous pressure/focus on great storytelling.”

Zuck’s mission: Bring back meaning

Data: American Press Institute; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Most Americans admit to using Facebook for news, yet many say it’s the platform that they trust the least as a source for news.

  • As BuzzFeed’s Craig Silverman points out, the platform is not being used in the way its founder had envisioned, which Zuckerberg made clear to investors in his opening statement on his last earnings call.
  • The move to shift away from “time spent” as a metric for success is likely a response to that revelation, as it will force users to spend less time “passively scrolling” and more time facilitating conversations.
  • “When people are engaging with people they’re close to, it’s more meaningful, more fulfilling,” David Ginsberg, director of research at Facebook told The New York Times. “It’s good for your well-being.”

The timing

Data: Parse.ly referrer dashboard; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Traffic patterns show that Facebook has been planning a pivot to “meaningful engagement” for months.

  • The tech giant created the “Facebook Journalism Project” to mend its broken relationships with publishers a year ago, in anticipation of strategy changes.
  • It has been trying to convert premium publishers to its separate “Watch” video content tab since last year.
  • Executives have repeatedly told investors that News Feed inventory was becoming saturated, leading to slower ad load, and that they would focus on shifting publishers to video-based partnerships instead.

The publisher dilemma

Publishers, specifically those that rely on Facebook for the majority of their traffic, will probably be hit hardest by these changes in the short term.

  • However, most premium publishers have a healthy balance of traffic referrals across the ecosystem, according to a study from Parse.ly that measures referral traffic for medium to large-sized vetted publishers.
  • This is especially true for some of the larger, most established players that have diversified revenue models and traffic referral strategies.
  • Upstart publishers that have leaned on Facebook for audience in the past few years might be uniquely affected by the change, according to Parse.ly CTO Andrew Montalenti.

The bottom line

Meaningful engagement with the platform is not just a moral decision for Zuckerberg:

  • Facebook has seen younger audiences flock to Snapchatand other apps because they don’t feel a sense of intimacy with close connections and they don’t feel empowered to participate in meaningful conversations.
  • Until now, Facebook tried to acquire or copy competitorsthat innovated towards meaning.
  • Now, it’s taking a step to ensure users don’t abandon a platform that unintentionally got away from its mission.

This is the first meaningful response by a technology CEO to the looming “Techlash” against the giant technology companies controlling our lives:

What to watch

  1. This will create a new wave of publishers and technology focused on direct-to-consumer interactions.
  2. Expect artificial intelligence and chatbots to gain more traction as brands and publishers try to figure out the best ways to facilitate meaningful conversation and engagement.
  3. Publishers will pivot away from meaningless short-form video, because the update will weed out publisher video from the News Feed if it doesn’t drive meaningful conversations. Expect instead for publishers to invest in quality, on-demand video on Facebook Watch.

Vía Axios.com

Usability Testing Of Mobile Applications: A Step-By-Step Guide

The mobile market is huge and growing at a very fast rate. With an estimated 4.5 billion subscribers worldwide, it is forecasted that the number of mobile phones will surpass the world population.

Before Begin … A Couple of Words About This Guide

As the title of this article says, this is a step-by-step guide. The reason why I went for such a structure is to provide completeness. Very often one comes across articles that describe in detail a particular phase of mobile application usability testing. While great (so great that I have cited several of these articles in this guide), it may become confusing for someone who is new in the area of mobile usability testing to be able to figure out what is needed, how it is done and how each step is linked. This is where this article comes in.

Question no.1 – Do you need to read each step? No. If you feel confident about any section, feel free to skip it. Here is an index of the main sections of this guide:

Key sections of this guide (TL;DR)

  1. What is mobile application usability testing?
  2. Setting the objectives of the usability test
  3. Creating the tasks that will be performed
  4. Creating the test documents
  5. Finding and recruiting test participants
  6. Implementing the usability testing method
  7. Reporting usability test findings

Question no.2 – Can this guide be followed for testing the usability of mobile websites? Yes. The testing methodology is for mobile testing. It can be used for both mobile website testing and mobile application testing. I focused on mobile application usability testing because mobile applications are extremely popular (as will be explained in the next section) and also because it seems that the majority of articles, or at least those that I came across tend to focus more on mobile website testing.

Mobile Application Usability

So let me kick off this guide with a question. What do phone users spend most of their time on? Interacting with mobile applications (or apps as most of us refer to them). Yes, you read that correctly. A recent study shows that phone users in the US spend 86% of their mobile usage time solely on apps. Another study actually calculated this figure to be as high as 89%. And taking this further, it has also been found that mobile users spend 80% of their mobile app usage time using just five apps (out of the total of 24 apps they typically use in a month).

Thus it comes as no surprise that there has been an explosive increase in the number of phone applications especially those for games and social media. Forbes actually estimates that by next year, there will be almost 270 billion apps downloaded.

That being said, mobile phone applications are still restrained by the relatively small screen size and limited performance capabilities of the devices on which they run. It is true that phones have come a long way with larger screen sizes and increased processing capabilities. It is also true that mobile app design has evolvedconsiderably. However, they lack the screen sizes and processing capabilities of larger devices such as laptops or desktop computers.

Research shows that usability is key for the success of mobile apps. In fact, a common trend among successful mobile phone applications is that they are perceive by users as being easy to learn, user-friendly and less time-consuming when completing tasks. Other researchers have actually identified a direct link between mobile application usability and user acceptance.

Despite the importance of mobile application usability, there is a lack of an agreed-upon list of guidelines. In this regard, the best way to evaluate the usability of mobile applications is through usability testing.

Mobile Application Usability Testing

Way before you start thinking about what you will test and how, you need to devise a usability test plan. This serves as a blueprint for the actual test and although there is no specifically-set structure, it typically contains the following sections (Rubin et al. 2008):

  1. Purpose, goals and objectives of the test
  2. Research questions
  3. Participant characteristics
  4. Method (test design)
  5. Task list
  6. Test environment, equipment and logistics
  7. Test facilitator role
  8. Data to be collected and evaluation measures
  9. Report content and presentation

An interesting variant that can be very handy when testing mobile applications (due to the smaller teams involved) is the 1-page usability test plan proposed by David Travis from UserFocus.

The 1-Page Usability Test Plan by David Travis (Image Source: UserFocus)

Based on the usability test plan, it can be stated that in order to test the usability of a mobile application, (apart from the application itself) you need the:

  1. Objectives of the test
  2. Tasks that will be performed
  3. Test Documents (content form, orientation script, pre & post-test questionnaires)
  4. Test Participants
  5. Test Method

1. The Objectives of the Usability Test

The first step of any usability testing session is to set the goals straight. What questions do you want to answer with the usability test? What hypothesis do you want to test with the usability test?

So how does one set the goals? There are various ways one can do this. One handy technique that I use is a variaton of the methodology outlined by Michael Margolis from Google Ventures. This basically involves asking a number of questions (interviewing) to the app’s stakeholders (and that includes the development team behind it) to explore important areas:

  • The app’s roadmap
  • Users and markets for whom the app is targeted
  • The app’s competitors
  • Research that has already been done and other that the team requires
  • The potential impact of the above research
  • Timing and scope

The answers obtained from these interviews will give you two very important things:

  1. What the stakeholders already know
  2. What they would like to know

Based on the answers given to the above questions, it is now easier to start identifying the goals and what usability metrics one should use to measure them.

It is also very important that the identified goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Prioritized

2. The Tasks that will be Performed

Once the objectives have been set, it is time to move to the next step – setting tasks. Tasks are typically just one sentence long and should consist of the interactions that need to be performed by the test users, example:

  • Register an account
  • Sign into your account
  • Upload a photo
  • Accept a friend request

Instead of asking the test user to perform a task and hence make them feel that they are being tested, tasks should be converted to task scenarios. These provide more context for why the participant is doing the task and hence look more like natural interations that a typical user will perform with your application. In this regard, the task scenarios that are set should be:

  • Realistic, actionable and without any clues on how to perform the steps (Source)
  • Ordered in a sequence that ensures a smooth flow of the test session
  • Tied to one or more objectives (Source)

As with any form of testing, it is very important to perform a dry run of the usability test to ensure that the performance of the tasks will ultimately achieve the objectives that have been set.

3. The Usability Test Documents

There are a number of documents that you would need when conducting usability testing. While the number of documents and their content may vary, you would typically need the following:

For additional usability testing documents that you might find useful, please head over to the Usability.gov site.

4. The Test Participants

The mobile application usability testing method that will be discussed in the next section is a user-oriented testing technique, meaning it involves real users undertaking realistic tasks that the app is intended to achieve. Although testing with real users is more resource-consuming, this realistic scenario tends to yield more accurate results.

Raluca Buidu from the Nielsen Norman Group recommends recruiting test participants who have been using their devices for at least 3 months. This would overcome any difficulties resulting from the usage of the device rather than the app itself. In addition to this, using the test participants’ own devices tends to reveal more issues since they will be using real devices rather than top-of-the-range devices and fast internet connections that are usually available in development environments.

There are several considerations that need to be taken when choosing the participants for a usability test. Participants must:

  • Be representative of the users for whom the app is intended (i.e. the target users)
  • Own a device whose Operating System is the one on which the app is intended to run (including the appropriate version/s)
  • Be considered in terms of the stage at which the application is currently in. This may range from an app that is in its initial phases to one that has been already on the market for some time. In this regard factors such as confidentiality and the expertise that the test participants have with mobile applications could be crucial
  • Be available at the time, place, frequency of the intended usability tests
  • Agree to the compensation terms that you are offering (if any)
  • Be ready to sign a usability test participation consent form

An effective technique to ensure that the right test participants are recruited is to build user personas and then use them to screen potential test participants in order to find the right candidates. This is applicable of course if you already have a pool of potential test participants at hand (e.g. your registered users) or if you want to perform the recruitment process yourself.

If you would like to outsource this process, there are several recruiting agencies that can do that for you. Which one to choose is entirely up to you as both methods are fine and both have their pros and cons. An interesting survey conducted by the Nielsen Norman Group) shows the following interesting findings:

  • Most companies recruit their own test participants
  • Recruiting agencies are quite expensive (approximately $84 per person if recruiting average consumers or students and approximately $161 per participant if recruiting high-end professionals)
  • Companies recruiting their own participants spend an average of 1.15hrs of staff time per participant recruited

For additional detail on how to recruit participants for usability studies, please head over to these articles:

5. The Mobile Application Usability Testing Methodology

There are two main methods for conducting usability testing of mobile applications. Needless to say, each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. These are:

  1. Laboratory-based usability testing
  2. Remote usability testing

In this article, we will be using laboratory-based (or lab-based) usability testing. This testing method enables the testing of mobile applications by involving real users using real devices. In it, the evaluator (whose role will be explained below) has full control over the test and can easily set the tasks – thus enabling him/her to test all usability aspects. It has also been found to yield results that are more accurate and easier to understand. In fact, several usability experts such as Raluca Budiu from the Nielsen Norman Group and Jeff Sauro from MeasuringU recommend it as the preferred usability testing method for mobile.

The ‘Components’ of a Lab-based usability test

Lab-based usability testing involves the observation of test participants performing assigned tasks using a mobile device in a setup similar to the one shown below:

The typical setup for usability testing on mobile (Image Source: Lorraine Patterson (edited))

The above setup can be split into the following ‘components’:

A) Camera

There are two distinct camera setups. Luckily, both will help capture the users’ gestures.

  1. Document / fixed-position cameras: The camera lies on a fixed point. (e.g. IPEVO’s Ziggi HD Plus)
  2. Cradle-based cameras / Mobile testing sleds: The camera is fixed to a cradle on which the mobile device is placed. The user then holds the cradle in his / her hand when performing the assigned tasks. There are a number of cameras that one can choose from such as Mr. Tappy and MOD 1000 to name a few. One can also find a number of DIY setups such as this one from Rik Williams who assembled a testing camera sled in just 15 minutes, using materials that are readily available in any office and Harry Brignull who built a testing sled for less than $8. Although DIY setups are relatively cheap and fast to build, they do have their own limitations that can affect the testing procedure such as unnecessary additional weight and less durability and portability than a professional testing sled. The advantage of using a cradle-based camera is that it allows users to operate their mobile device using natural movement – just like they would be using the app in real-life, unlike the fixed-position camera which confines the device to remain on a flat surface. Conversely, cradle-based testing sleds are sometimes criticised for the additional size and weight that they add to the device being used for testing, although the increased usage of lightweight material has minimized this.

Wireless testing?: In a recent article on Smashing Magazine, Colman Walsh describe an interesting and cost-effective setup that makes use of Apple’s AirPlay technology. The reasoning behind it is that unlike document and cradle-based system, the testing equipment is entirely invisible to the test participant. Although it is not an ‘official’ testing methodology, the article is definitely worth a read.

B) Webcam (Optional)

A webcam can be pointed towards the user’s face so as to provide an alternative view that can assist the interviewer in understanding the user’s interaction by capturing his/her facial expressions.

C) Recording software

The recording software is needed to project the session onto the facilitator’s screen and ideally record it too in the process. Some software also allow the session to be projected in real-time on multiple screens via a network. This can be particularly useful when involving a number of stakeholders. Very often, both document cameras and cradle-based cameras come with their own software. If that is not the case, then there are some very good tools that one can use so it is entirely up to you which one to use. For instance Jeff Sauro from MeasuringU uses GoTo Meeting to save the audio and video as a compressed, shareable .wmv file and Camtasia to save the webcam video. One can also use WebEx or Morae although the price for the license is a bit on the high end.

D) Test venue

Although it has traditionally been carried out in specialized usability testing labs, the availability of sophisticated technology at a reasonable price, means that one can now conduct this type of testing without the need for hiring specialized labs. If you are going to set up your own testing room, it is very important to ensure that there is adequate lighting that is ideally not right above the mobile device being used by the user since it can cause a glare on the screen.

E) Facilitator

As the title implies, the role of the facilitator is to facilitate the testing process, that is, to ensure that the test runs smoothly by addressing any issues that the test participant may have with the task being assigned or device they are using. Other than that, the role of the facilitator, who should ideally be a usability specialist, is to observe the test on their screen and ensure that the test participants perform the assigned tasks.

The Testing Procedure

The testing procedure can be structured into 6 steps as shown below. The time next to each step is based on the typical time that each step takes as recommended by David Travis from UserFocus. If one adheres to these suggested times, then each session would take approximately an hour to conduct.

STEP TIME
1. Welcome / Signing of the consent form 5 min
2. Pre-test interview 5 min
3. Carrying out the test tasks 35 min
4. Post-test questionnaire 5 min
5. Post-test interview 5 min
6. Debriefing 5 min

All of the above steps have been described earlier on. However, little has been said about step 6 – debriefing. Debriefing is a process that is undertaken at the end of each test session and it involves going through and analyzing the actions performed by the participant. Since the debriefing session is conducted with the participant, this provides additional insight on why that participant performed such actions. Thus, while the test session indicates the problems, it is the debriefing session that provides the insight on why those problems occured.

Reporting the Results of the Usability Test

After all the usability test sessions have been completed, you need to go through all the data, compile it, analyze it and present it in a way that it contains actionable recommendations.

First of all, the data needs to be split between quantitative and quantitative data.

  • Quantitative data from the testing session may be used to compute usability metrics such as completion rates, success rates, task times, satisfaction ratings and error rates.
  • Qualitative data can be compiled to provide insights about the paths taken by participants, problems experienced and answers that they provided in the questionnaire, post-test interview and debriefing sessions.

While there is no fixed structure for reporting, it is generally recommended to include the following sections:

  1. Background summary: The application that was tested, where it was tested, what equipment was used, what was tested and who was the testing team.
  2. Methodology: How the test was conducted, task scenarios, metrics that were collected. Also include information about the test participants (brief summaries of demographic data – do not release any confidential data such as participant names).
  3. Test Results: The compiled qualitative and quantitative data together with an analysis of this data.
  4. Findings and Recommendations: Based on the observations from point 3 (i.e. substantiated by data), provide a set of recommendations that one needs to implement in order to fix any usability issues that have been identified. However, do not just report the problems here. Be sure to highlight any findings that showed good usability.

Wrapping it Up

As you can see, there is indeed a structured approach to mobile application usability tesing. Better still, this approach can be tweaked to meet the needs of any application that is being tested and any stakeholder who is interested in the outcome of such tests. Moreover, the importance of usability testing, especially for mobile – with the large array of devices and their respective specs has long-been documeted. This is why there is absolutely no excuse as to why, at this day and age, one should not conduct usability testing.

(Lead image source: Ben Bashford – Creative Commons License)

Vía Usability Geek

25 Magazine or News Style Web Designs for Inspiration

As the media news sites  – and their print-media-related cousins – struggle to find out how to become profitable without dying in their intent, most news sites follows a traditional formula, by putting in first place their websites, second their mobile versions and last all their related social media affairs. The truth is no one has find the all-in-one formula to overcome this massive fight. But since, as, designers, part of our job is to create sites that works for our clients, sometimes we must do more research job to find how to make it a little more succesfull than the ones they replace.

This selection of good samples, updated by the moment, is meant to give you a general picture on this, helping to ironing any issues you might find and helping to orientate yourself on this hard choice.

With more websites and blogs publishing large amounts of content on a daily basis, one of the priorities in designing these types of news sites is to create a layout that allows visitors to find the content that they are looking for. The more content that is published, the bigger the challenge this becomes. Many sites and blogs are turning to magazine or news style layouts to display excerpts, headlines, and links to full content.

Most magazine-style sites include image thumbnails for some or all of the excerpts, and many also category those excerpts to make it easier for visitors to find specific content. If you are working on a magazine or news style layout this showcase of 25 websites should help to provide some inspiration.

This is Fake DIY

Billboard

Conde Nast

The Next Web

W Magazine

Spin

The MMQB

The Daily Beast

Newsweek

The Blaze

Vogue.co.uk

The Fiscal Times

Walker Art Center

This is Awesome

Esquire.co.uk

Melbourne Geek

Time

Quartz

VanityFair.fr

Elephant

Livestrong

.net Magazine

The Boston Globe

Clutch Magazine

Tennis.com

In the examples of content-rich websites that follow, you’ll see many of these best practices applied effectively in order to maintain an enjoyable, friction-free experience.

POLYGON

http://www.polygon.com/

What is it?

Polygon is a videogame review site from the founders of gadget-enthusiast upstart The Verge (also profiled here).

Why we like it

  • Whitespace – Polygon’s articles feature long-scrolling, untraditional layouts that break up the dense bodies of text into digestible chunks with huge, beautiful imagery, akin to custom-designed magazine spreads. Here, the content in each article has been intentionally laid out, instead of simply “pasted & posted” into a one-size-fits-all template.
  • Strong information hierarchy – Dramatic-looking pullquotes highlight the core points of the reviews.
  • Usable search – There’s an impressive realtime search bar that’s sticky at the top of the browser window, enabling quick drilldown on specific games.

THE VERGE

http://www.theverge.com/

What is it?
As the new kid on the block that’s populated by the likes of Gizmodo and Engadget, The Verge is taking a fresh, bold approach to covering the wide world of technology.

Why we like it

  • Story collage – The homepage begins with a big, colorful jigsaw puzzle of leading stories’ headlines, providing a glimpse into the articles they link to, as well as a strong visual draw for the eye.
  • Thumbnail sliders – At certain points, the pages are broken up by a useful carousel of image thumbnails, each allowing the user to drill into a specific story.
  • You Need To Read This Now – By giving its top stories a bit of whitespace and accompanying them with an explicit directive, The Verge is able to focus attention on the hottest news it has to offer.

CONDE NAST

http://www.condenast.com/

What is it?
Being the parent company of many of the best-known magazines around (including a couple we’ve featured here), almost makes Conde Nast’s site genetically predisposed to offer a mountain of content that could easily be overwhelming if not approached with caution, forethought and disciplined design.

Why we like it

  • Bold visual hierarchy – Beginning with the absolutely giant, beautiful content slider in the header of this site, there’s literally no way you could miss what Conde Nast believes are the most important things for you to see on this site.
  • Customizable Filters – This site wisely avoids attempting to present all of the available content, and instead puts control in the user’s hands by enabling them to filter down what they see based on their specific interests.

BLIK

http://www.whatisblik.com/

What is it?
Blik is one of the biggest destinations around for art supplies, and with such a diverse range of media and materials to accommodate, it needs to ensure that its creative audience can quickly find the items they need when inspiration strikes.

Why we like it

  • Strong information hierarchy – You’re never in any doubt as to what the most important thing is that you should be looking at, especially while browsing the products which follow many of the best practices for an ecommerce product page.
  • Grid style – With a kaleidoscope of colors, shapes, lines and patterns inherent to their wide range of products, keeping a clean, rigid grid structure helps impose a sense of orderliness upon what could be a chaotic mess of visual elements.
  • Dynamic mouseovers – Blik allows the user to indicate interest in an item by providing more information in a dynamic hover state, instead of unnecessarily cluttering the resting state of the site upfront.

USA TODAY

http://www.usatoday.com/

What is it?
As one of the largest newspapers in the US, USA today knows a thing or two about managing a large amount of content in a limited space.

Why we like it

  • Clean, organized grid – The clean, sharp lines and rigid layout of this design maintains an orderly feel to this site, which keeps it from feeling disorganized or difficult to navigate
  • User-adjustable layout – USAToday offers visitors the choice between a List or Grid view of their top stories. This allows users to control how much they take on at once – allowing them to effectively choose their preferred approach to browsing the content.

THE NEW YORKER

http://www.newyorker.com/

What is it?
The venerable publication famed for its satirical cartoons brings a stately approach to presenting its content online.

Why we like it

  • Masonry – The New Yorker’s homepage echoes the trend of the cascading, tiled content block layout that keeps the user scrolling down, scanning for items of interest.
  • Variety – There are a wide range of image sizes on offer in this layout, which prevents monotony setting in while browsing through.
  • Minimalism – The overall aesthetic here is clean, structured, and minimalist that lets the content speak, while using the New Yorker’s signature font throughout.

AIGA

http://www.aiga.org/

What is it?
The national professional membership organization for the graphic arts, AIGA has its hands in many avenues of outreach for its members, including conferences, perks, publishing and more. In this instance, presenting their overwhelming amount of available content in an effective way meant exploring outside the traditional layouts of similar organizations.

Why we like it

  • Grid style – The grid size of each article is proportional to the amount of information it contains, giving visitors an instant visual representation of importance – and time commitment.
  • Consistency – Despite covering a profusion of different design styles, typography and color schemes in its imagery, the actual site retains a solid consistency in terms of how it displays captions, headlines, article content, etc.
  • Strong information hierarchy – Each article offers the same Title/Subtitle/Excerpt structure. Articles of special importance remain fully saturated, instead of the secondary posts, which are more muted, and only come to life on hover.
  • Buttons – Non-rectangular buttons punctuate this layout, noticeable by virtue of their shape. These calls-to-action are nicely styled and stand out just enough to catch attention.

A LIST APART

http://www.alistapart.com/

What is it?
One of the de-facto bibles of designing for the Web, A List Apart publishes daily, thought-provoking articles on the finer points of our craft. This is deep, thought-provoking stuff, so a usable interface and pleasurable reading experience are paramount.

Why we like it

  • Clean & simple typography – ALA’s design is well-known in the Web design community for microscopic attention to detail when it comes to the typography on the site. Each line, heading and pull quote is fastidiously and consciously adjusted for perfect readability.
  • Disciplined editing – Despite the length of ALA’s articles, you’ll notice that there aren’t any overly-long sections of content. Each post has been carefully broken up into easily-digested paragraphs of 2-3 sentences each.

THE BLACK HARBOR

http://theblackharbor.com/

What is it?
A showcase of art spanning an eclectic variety of styles from the artist collective I Shot Him Because I Loved Him, Damn Him.

Why we like it

  • Rigid grid – Each article is represented on the homepage by a moderately-sized photo, all presented in a clean grid layout, to prevent visual confusion, given the variety of colors, styles and subject matter to be accommodated.
  • Content reveal – Simply displaying the descriptions and captions of each picture underneath them adds content bloat – instead, The Black Harbor only reveals this information as an overlay when the user indicates interest by hovering over an image. In addition, when users hit the bottom of the homepage, they’re given the opportunity to reveal more content.

EBONY

http://www.ebony.com/

What is it?
One of the best-known magazines for Black-American articles, opinion and insight, Ebony covers an incredibly broad number of topics in its mission to share the perspectives of the African-American community.

Why we like it

  • Giant imagery – Much like Polygon’s fine example, Ebony uses striking and large images to not only set the tone, but also give users strong implications as to the most important articles on their homepage. Their homepage slider alone takes up the vast majority of the screen on laptop resolutions and below.
  • Bold typographic hierarchy – Ebony’s signature headline font, Didoni, serves to call out the major articles on the site at the present moment, with secondary stories headlined in “Trade Gothic”.

WIRED

http://www.wired.com/

What is it?
The original home of pan-genre tech and geek journalism, Wired covers a breathtaking variety of detailed content – making accommodating it all comfortably on their website quite the achievement.

Why we like it

  • Readability – Clear sans-serif type, and comfortable column widths keep things simple and easy to read.
  • Consistent typography – All headlines, quotes and other text content elements are cohesive across the sprawl of this site.

BOSTON GLOBE

http://bostonglobe.com

What is it?
This widely-reknowned newspaper caught the attention of the Web last year, when they rolled out a major site redesign – one of the first mainstream sites to embrace responsive design methods.

Why we like it

  • Whitespace – Being a newspaper, by far the most important content is the text, meaning that careful attention has been paid to ensuring a pleasurable reading experience
  • Visual hierarchy – Articles with an image are more attractive – and therefore more important – than those without. This rule is further emphasized by the size of the accompanying image, with the leading story having significantly more space devoted to it.
  • Hidden content – The leading stories in each news category are smartly hidden in the mega-menu, which is revealed on hover

CO.DESIGN

http://www.fastcodesign.com/

What is it?
Fast Company’s design blog showcases all the latest goings-on in the world of product and graphic design. Needless to say, there’s a lot going on in those areas these days…

Why we like it

  • Giant imagery – Each article is accompanied by a truly massive header image that lets the reader know in no uncertain terms just what they’re about to read.
  • Intro sliders – Many of Co.Design’s articles open with an image slider containing key images from the body of the article. They serve as an excellent visual intro for the text that is to follow, and get the reader primed for the overall tone of the article.

THINK QUARTERLY BY GOOGLE

http://www.thinkwithgoogle.co.uk/quarterly/index.html

What is it?
Google’s quarterly publication with their musings on the trends and movements of the Web is a surprisingly refreshing reading experience coming from a company with a reputation for deeply-entrenched engineering background.

Why we like it

  • Whitespace – The whole layout of this site feels crisp, fresh and open. Type is laid out for maximum impact, instead of content density.
  • Overlays & reveals – The index of this online magazine is very nicely done, with thumbnail activating a huge, stylish pull-quote and link to the article upon rollover. Approaching the reveal in this way also allows the reader to continually return to the central theme of the issue.

Wrapping it up

Make no mistake – none of these examples successfully navigated the minefield of creating a content-rich website by accident. It takes a ton of time, strategy and deliberate planning in order to not only execute these designs, but also ensure that future content updates fit flush within the overall user experience. Therefore, it pays to keep the following guidelines in mind:

Prioritize – When everything’s important, nothing is. You should clearly establish what content is required by the user up-front, and what can be hidden. Once you’ve figured that out, make that hidden information easy to find when needed.

Semantic Categorization – Categorize your content in a way that makes sense to your user – not to you, nor your client, nor your colleagues. Be ruthless in identifying and eliminating internal jargon and acronyms that you toss around in a usual day at the office.

Design Consistently – Keeping all your elements, typography and spacing consistent across the whole site takes on a whole new level of importance when taking on a content-rich site, not only for the users’ sakes, but for minimizing future maintenance headaches. For example, keep related image assets all the exact same dimensions, so they can be reused seamlessly across the site.

Make user flowcharts – Chart the journey of different groups of visitors through the site. Challenge yourself as you’re designing to answer common questions, or consider how you would accomplish typical tasks that a new visitor might have within your proposed site structure and page layouts.

Vía Vandelay Design

Cómo saber si has instalado la app falsa de WhatsApp que ha sido descargada un millón de veces

 Una aplicación falsa de WhatsApp se cuela en Google Play y engaña a cientos de miles de usuarios.

La realidad es que Android ha sido siempre una plataforma con pobres practicas de seguridad, siempre expuestas a bugs y virus de todos los tamaños.

Las aplicaciones maliciosas en la tienda de aplicaciones de Android siempre han estado, por desgracia, muy presentes. Con el paso de los años esto ha provocado que los usuarios del sistema operativo de Google hayan caído con frecuencia en el engaño y descargado en sus terminales una aplicación que no hacía lo prometía en su descripción o que, de hacerlo, lo llevaba a cabo con anuncios y malware de por medio.

En los últimos días, sin embargo, una de estas apps falsas ha causado especial revuelo. Se trata de Update WhatsApp Messenger y, a diferencia de otras, ha conseguido un millón de descargas gracias a haber logrado que el nombre del desarrollador se mostrase, efectivamente, como WhatsApp Inc. Esto ha sido posible gracias a un error de Play Store aprovechado por los creadores de la app falsa.

De esta manera, y no siendo tan evidente que se trataba de una modificación de la original, que las descargas comenzasen de forma masiva solo era cuestión de tiempo. La app únicamente mostraba anuncios sin proporcionar ningún servicio de ningún tipo y ya ha sido retirada de la tienda, pero es posible que todavía la tengas instalada en un terminal si, como tantas otras personas, caíste en el engaño.

Saber si esto es así es tan sencillo como acudir a este enlace y comprobar si tienes descargada la versión de WhatsApp que aparece, que es la oficial. Si es el caso, pero además descargaste en algún momento Update WhatsApp Messenger, debes eliminarla cuanto antes, así como buscar entre tus aplicaciones si se ha añadido alguna nueva que no recuerdas haber instalado, que puede encontrarse como consecuencia de los anuncios de la primera.

The underground story of Cobra, the 1980s’ illicit handmade computer

What happen if you mix a very creative individual, with some electronic skills and imagination, a technological revolution happening in the world and the right tools, and lest the hacking begins. Launch a revolution in a country where the right things are in place is hard, but not as hard as doing the same when you face all odds against you and even in that conditions you can survive. Maybe nobody will ever call you a genious or the Tech Guru that changes the world, but your footprint will prevail in the minds you change. Mihai Moldovanu against all ods became the true hacker of Rumania by changing the world where it need the most.

In their poor, Communist country, Romania’s computer curious built an underground industry, even tough the police and authorities can send him to jail.

Mihai Moldovanu grabs the cardboard box with the enthusiasm of a man from the future who’s opening a time capsule.

“Maybe it could still work,” he tells me.

He dusts it off with his hands. Inside the box rests the computer he built for himself in high school. He hasn’t switched it on in 10, maybe 20 years. This summer, when moving from one apartment to another, he stumbled upon the box. “I need to find a charger and an old TV set. It’s going to be tricky to revive it.”

An athletic geek now in his mid-40s, Moldovanu has always been crafting DIY projects. In the local open-source community, he is better known as one of the creators of the first Romanian Linux distribution, TFM, that’s still used by local companies. His 9-to-5 job is that of a System Administrator for a fin-tech company in Bucharest.

What Moldovanu’s holding isn’t some hobbyist kit potentially familiar to tech tinkerers back in the states. In the mid-1980s, Romania was a poverty-stricken, Communist country. So like a handful of his fellow students with a similar undeniable passion for computing, Moldovanu soon became one of only a few dozen underground computer builders in the country. They illegally manufactured computers using parts smuggled from factories and heaps of manually soldered wires. But armed with very few resources and plenty of creativity, people like Moldovanu soon fueled an underground hardware industry that would birth some of the country’s best future tech professionals.

Illegally connecting Romania

To a young Moldovanu, computers were magic. The country he grew up in barely had access to landline telephones and black-and-white TV sets, and he rarely came across Western goods. Romania had its borders closed tightly. For the average citizen, there were no opportunities to travel or to receive accurate news regarding what was the state of technology in the West.

Instead, during the last years under dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu in the late 1980s, people would wake up at 5am to stand in line in front of stores for their modest food rations. Electricity was often cut to save money; heating was, too. This was the environment when the underground tech industry started: around 1985, four years before the bloody Romanian revolution that knocked down Communism.

Back then, Romania’s hardware industry mainly cloned the British Sinclair ZX Spectrum, a machine released in the UK in 1982. This device was copied all across Central and Eastern Europe. The ZX Spectrum was an 8-bit personal computer built around a Zilog Z80 A CPU running a BASIC interpreter, an easy-to-use programming language widespread on microcomputers at that time. It used a TV set as a display and audio cassettes for storage.

Among the clones manufactured by the Communists was the Cobra or CoBra. The name stands for COmputere BRAsov, with Brasov being the town in central Romania where these machines were assembled to be used by enterprises. Of course, ordinary people couldn’t buy them—which is what first led several students at the Politehnica University of Bucharest deciding to build them themselves.

“It was a highly illegal operation. And we knew this very well,” Moldovanu tells me. “But to us, it didn’t matter. We were super excited to turn a pile of parts into a cool project.”

If militia officers caught Moldovanu and colleagues while they were selling computes, however, it’d matter. The authorities could seize the students’ electronics, make them pay fines, and could expel them from the university for starters.

Given how dire daily life was for Romanians at the time, something as little as a pack of Western cigarettes would buy anything that could be smuggled from a factory. So the Politehnica students leveraged their resources to obtain some Cobra motherboards and independently started to build computers on top of those. Soon, an entire supply chain was formed. Electronics dealers came to the campus with computer parts, LEDs, and resistors, which they sold in bulk. The students became fond of Cobras, as they featured not only BASIC but also CP/M, an operating system created for Intel 8080/85-based microcomputers.

The builders used whatever was available on the black market; no two computers ever seemed to come out alike. Lucky owners fit their Cobras into cases from another Romanian ZX Spectrum clone, the HC. Others used manufactured metal or wooden boxes.

“I didn’t care about the case,” Moldovanu says. “Most of the time, my computer worked with its parts spread on my desk. If I broke it, I would fix it myself.”

In this closed Communist country with choice regulated by the state, Cobras gave their owners some feeling of independence and rebellion. “The fact that you could play the game you wanted, when you wanted, gave you the illusion of choosing for yourself,” Moldovanu says. Three decades later, he still knows by heart Highway Encounter, Chuckie Egg, and Nether Earth, which featured Isometric 3D Graphics, meaning that it was 2D, but looked 3D-ish. Moldovanu was amazed at the graphics, and so he began studying the algorithm to learn how it was possible to achieve them.

Listing image by Adi Dabu

Vía Ars Technica

#PiratasdeCorazón Un trabajador de la NSA revela en que trabaja por culpa de su Office Word Pirata

#PorEsoNoUsoWindows

La verdad, si eres un desarrollador de malware al servicio del gobierno, deberías tener un mínimo de precauciones para desarrollar tu trabajo, y por dios, con un salario de empleado de gobierno de USA por lo menos se espera que tengas la decencia de pagar por el word. Pero para un empleado de la NSA parece que eso era pagar demasiado y miren lo que le costó su chistecito. Y si trabajas en software espia para alguna agencia de los Estados Unidos, al menos tomate el tiempo para proteger tu trabajo y tu equipo para evitar ventilar secretos a agencias en Rusia.

Sin embargo, a veces ser un experto en informatica te hace descuidado y al menos en el caso de un trabajador anónimo de la NSA, el desastre vino por un descuido. Como el buen trabajador de la NSA -en algunos reportes se le lista como empleado de la NSA y en otros como contratista de la agencia – gustaba de trabajar en casa, se llevó algunos de los programas que desarrollaba para trabajarlos en su equipo personal, que después de un tiempo fue infectado por un software de backdoor que permite a externos acceder a su equipo, según reportó la empresa de antivirus Kaspersky Labs.

Según la compañía Rusa, el trabajador de la NSA instaló un paquete de software pirata justo antes de que Kapersky detectó una variante desconocida de malware. Según el reporte, el usuario tuvo que deshabilitar el antivirus antes de poder instalar su software pirata, Después de instalarlo y habilitar de nuevo la protección del antivirus, éste detectó el malware y envío una copia a los laboratorios de Kaspersky para análisis.

El trabajador de la NSA tenía habilitada en su computadora la opción del antivirus llamada Kapersky Security Network que al detectar amenazas desconocidas, de manera automática las envía al servidor de la compañía para análisis más detallado. Estos y otros detalles están publicados en un documento que la compañía hizo público hace poco, y está disponible acá.

Este reporte, según la empresa rusa, se hizo público para combatir algunos alegatos de varios medios norteamericanos como The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times y The Washington Post donde se afirmó que hackers trabajando para el gobierno ruso, usaron Kaspersky AV para obtener materiales clasificados de la NSA de la computadora del trabajador.

Kaspersky, para combatir estos rumores, llevó una investigación liderada por un tercero para validar que detrás de la compañía no existían otros intereses que los de hacer su chamba. La investigación sólo consiguió probar que el software simplemente hizo su trabajo, y detectó una variante desconocida de un malware ya conocido y lo envío como estaba programado para ser analizado en los laboratorios de Kaspersky.En este caso, el CEO de la compañía fue informado y se decidió eliminar lo que se hallo, sin ser entregado a terceros.

Este incidente ya llevó a consecuencias severas para la compañía y hace poco sus productos de software fueron prohibidos del Gobierno de Estados Unidos, lo cual a este punto ya les ha costado bastante y no podrían perder ya más. Lo que se pueda ganar a partir de este punto es ya ganancia.

Vía ArsTechnica

#innovationMatters el Huawei Mate 10 se convierte en PC sin necesidad de un Dock

Después de que microsoft anunciara de manera no oficial – a través de un tuit de una de las mentes detrás de Windows Phone – y por ende, una de las más fuertes apuestas que pretendían hacer de los smartphones equipos PC completos si se adquiría un Dock para añadir teclado y mouse, Huawei derrota a todos ellos creando una opción altamente efectiva en su Huawei Mate 10 para tener una PC completa en nuestro bolsillo y sin necesidad de invertir un clavo.

Lo mejor de su apuesta, es que con solo conectar nuestro Huawei 10 a un monitor a través de un cable especial y el mismo smartphone servirá de touch pad y de teclado, practico pero simple y efectivo.

Un simple cable USB-C a HDMI nos permite entrar en este PC mode de modos que con la oferta de Microsoft con Continuum y de Samsung DeX implicaría una inversión de algunos duros más y que con Huawei se obtiene sin costo – sólo el del propio cable – y cuyo costo anda en unos 10 dólares o su equivalente en moneda nacional.

Durante años se ha hablado de esta convergencia y la verdad es que sería una maravilla tener un PC competente en nuestros bolsillos – la verdad el modo PC en muchos dispositivos aún es más creativo que útil – y poder usar el poder de terminales móviles como el iPhone X como una PC completa y poder usar sus maravillosas apps en una pantalla más cómoda para el trabajo – y soñando un poco, con un teclado y ratón bluetooth que haría las cosas más cómodas y lo pondría al nivel de una MacBook Pro – lo cual es evidente aún es lejano pero una empresa que innove en esa dirección apuesto que daria un enorme impacto en el modo cómo usamos nuestros smartphones – y justificaría invertir 26,000 pesos mexicanos en un iPhone X o equivalente – para que podamos usarlo como una máquina de desempeño y un smartphone en el mismo paquete. Maravillosa idea, ¿no lo creen?.

Vía Xataka

Microsoft es víctima de hackeo a una de sus bases de datos internas y decide callar al respecto #HackTheOverlords

En estos días de hackeos masivos, de cuentas de usuario liberadas al ether de la red y vendidas como mercancía al mejor postor uno esperaría que las compañías que son víctimas de tales males fueran responsables y le informaran a sus usuarios que esto ha ocurrido. Sin embargo muchas compañías no lo hacen hasta que se les obliga a hacerlo y ello se vuelve un peligro si en el proceso están involucrados los datos personales de personas.

Algunos hackeos sin embargo son más bien anónimos y uno de ellos, tiene que ver con una base de datos que la compañía usa para rastrear los bugs de sus aplicaciones y cuyo uso es más bien interno. Lo triste de este caso, es que su propio software fue víctima de un sofisticado grupo de hackers según lo han revelado algunos antiguos empleados de la compañía.

La compañía sufrió este hackeo allá por 2013 pero jamás informar al público o a sus empleados, a pesar de que esta base de datos contenía entre otras cosas, vulnerabilidad y bugs de algunos de los programas más usados en el mundo, como Windows, Office y otros exponiendo a millones de usuarios a ataques de miles de hackers, lo cual, evidentemente pudo haber afectado a cientos de miles a lo largo de los años.

Algún tiempo después de saber de este ataque, Microsoft comenzó a analizar miles de hackeos a otras compañías para buscar evidencia de si estas fallas habían sido explotadas para montar tales ataque sin hallar mayor evidencia de que en efecto eso hubiera ocurrido. Es un hecho que, la compañía hizo mucho más segura esta base de datos después del ataque e implementó un método de autenticación de dos pasos para prevenir más problemas.

 

Mozilla sufrió un ataque similar hace un par de años, en 2015, pero la diferencia radicó en que informó a sus usuarios de la falla que estaba siendo explotada por los hackers y se dio a la tarea de orientar a sus usuarios en cómo remediarlo, una actitud responsable cuando tu software está en las computadoras de miles de personas.

El grupo detrás de este sofisticado hackeo ha recibido varios nombres como Morpho, Butterfly y Wild Neutron por los investigadores de seguridad de varias firmas, exploto una falla del lenguaje de programación Java para acceder a las computadoras Apple Macintosh de algunos empleados para después esparcir su malware a otras computadoras de la compañía. Los expertos no se ponen de acuerdo si son un grupo independiente o están respaldados por un gobierno, pero la capacidad de sus ataques es increíble y son una amenaza a tomar en cuenta.

En 2013, durante la fiebre masiva de hackeos a grandes compañías, Microsoft publico un pequeño comunicado donde reconoció que también había sido víctima de un hackeo pero sin dar mayores detalles al respecto.

Aquí el problema más severo radica en la infinita cantidad de personas en este mundo que usan los productos de Microsoft, y aunque la realidad, es que desde aquellos años, los bugs reportados en esa base de datos debiero

 

n ser parchados o reparados hace tiempo, el hecho de que la compañía eligiera no informar a los potenciales afectados es terrible y pudo ser la causa de muchos hackeos que después se revelaron a lo largo de los años. El elegir no informar, al final nos muestra que aun las grandes compañías guardan secretos que afectan a sus usuarios de maneras que son inimaginables, por ello elegir herramientas alternativas y no depender enteramente de software propietario sería una buena opcion.

Como compañía Microsoft debido ser responsable e informar, y no ser obligada a hacerlo como finalmente ocurrió.

Vía Ars Tecnica

WPA2, el protocolo para encriptación de contraseñas Wifi fue hackeado y el mundo tiembla – Los usuarios de WifiSlax los celebramos –

Durante años, los usuarios de WifiSlax nos hemos divertido descodificando paquetes por días para sacar las contraseñas wifi de nuestros vecinos y de paso, divertirnos viendo el porno que se descargan en la madrugada. Hace tan sólo unos días el United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team lanzó el siguiente comunicado:

US-CERT has become aware of several key management vulnerabilities in the 4-way handshake of the Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) security protocol. The impact of exploiting these vulnerabilities includes decryption, packet replay, TCP connection hijacking, HTTP content injection, and others. Note that as protocol-level issues, most or all correct implementations of the standard will be affected. The CERT/CC and the reporting researcher KU Leuven, will be publicly disclosing these vulnerabilities on 16 October 2017.

El rumor que se liberó este domingo 15 de octubre se esparció por las redes y básicamente decía, que el protocolo WP2 había sido por fin quebrado, al descubrirse una vulnerabilidad severa que afecta este método de encriptación de contraseñas – a que bellos tiempos donde se podía usar la vulnerabilidad de algunas implementaciones del WPS de algunos routers y mágicamente teníamos internet gratis – y aunque la noticia era más sensacionalista que otra cosa, la realidad es que si es un asunto de gravedad.

 

 

No es posible vulnerar la red de manera remota, el hacker debe estar a una distancia cercana y al alcance del radio Wifi para poder montar un ataque. El tema es de mucha importancia porque la mayoría de las conexiones caseras son por esta vía, ello hace que la lista de dispositivos conectados sea enorme y a veces imposible de rastrear. Para aquellos servidores que aún no usen un certificado SSL (HTTPS) estas serán las contraseñas más simples de obtener, además de que podrán conocer todo el tráfico de nuestras red sin mayor empacho – sabrán su lista de videos favoritos en youporn y sus contraseñas de facebook – lo cual no es la onda.

Debido a que se trata de un protocolo completo, aún no existe una solución completa este problema aunque al menos Windows – al menos para sus versiones Windows 7, 8.1 y 10 – y Apple – aunque ellos aún no han mencionado si sus productos son vulnerables – ya ha lanzando actualizaciones de sus sistema operativos para paliar los efectos del hack, aunque la realidad es que se requieren conocimientos técnicos un poco avanzados para que realmente se puedan aprovechar de estas fallas, algo que la media de los usuarios no tiene, por lo que los ataques usando esta falla – Key Reinstallation Attack (KRACK) en el argot de los especialistas – y solo aquellos usuarios jugosos – o con muy atractivos para los hackers – deberán cuidarse un poco más.

Google ha lanzado un comunicado afirmando que está trabajando en una solución para Android, aunque la verdad, debido a la fragmentación de dispositivos será algo complejo que todos ellos se protegen contra esta falla.
Si son aquellos usuarios desesperados como vendedor de CDs en el Metro, o simplemente no quieren arriesgarse a sufrir un hackeo, la solución al alcance de todos es conectar sus equipos de cómputo al router vía el cable de ethernet – pobres de los usuarios de MacBook Air que deberán gastar unos 1000 pesos mexicanos o mas para comprar el adaptador de ethernet – si su equipo tiene un puerto de ethernet. Otra alternativa, seria re rutear todo el tráfico de nuestra red a través de una VPN aunque la mayoría de los servicios son costosos y lentos.

Otro método es cambiar la encriptación de su router de WPA2 a WPA-AES -algo que yo mismo hice hace años porque amo las contraseñas complejas – lo cual reducirá los daños del ataque aunque no lo evitara del todo. Es importante notar que KRACK no pretende obtener nuestra contraseña – para ello, existen muchos métodos desde hace años – sino solo espiar el tráfico de nuestra red y saber que estamos viendo en la madrugada mientras vegetamos en el sofá y stalkeamos a nuestras ex-parejas.

Quienes deseen leer un poco más a detalle sobre este tema, pueden leer los artículos al respecto que The Verge y Ars Technica han publicado en sus portales y las ayudarán a ahondar en el tema.

Vía Geekcast en Español, The Verge y Xataka

Nota: Imágenes sólo ilustrativas

https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/16/16481136/wpa2-wi-fi-krack-vulnerability
http://feeds.weblogssl.com/~r/xatakamx/~3/7b-ANqnm0wg/el-protocolo-wpa2-fue-atacado-provocando-que-la-mayoria-de-conexiones-inalambricas-no-sean-seguras
https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/10/severe-flaw-in-wpa2-protocol-leaves-wi-fi-traffic-open-to-eavesdropping/

Vulnerabilidades en el Word del Microsoft Office afectan a usuarios de Windows y Macintosh

FreakyShelly es un nombre que deberías tener en cuenta, y no olvidar, si eres un usuario asiduo del procesador de textos Microsoft Word, en cualquiera de sus versiones, más si tu labor cotidiana depende en gran parte de él, y encima si lo tienes activado mediante algún crack y desactualizado.


La firma de ciberseguridad Kaspersky Lab advirtió, en uno de sus comunicados más recientes, de la rápida expansión y peligrosidad de este sofisticado malware que compromete tanto la privacidad de sus usuarios como su data, tanto en entorno Windows como en Mac, al hacer a equipos vulnerables, tras un previo hack, partícipes de ciberataques que lo transforman en un nodo zombie de una botnet (red clandestina automatizada de ordenadores o servidores y dispositivos infectados), ya sea para minar criptomonedas o dirigir ataques coordinados de DDOS (denegación de servicios) hacia organizaciones y empresas además de propagar la infección.


El modus operandi de esta aplicación maliciosa es el siguiente: basta con abrir un documento sencillo o en blanco, convenientemente intervenido, el cual nos puede llegar vía correo o descarga, sea local mediante una memoria USB o directamente de un enlace externo de internet, para que se active y comience a operar, enviando en el acto a los ciberatacantes los datos técnicos necesarios del dispositivo intervenido, tales como versión del sistema operativo, programas instalados, entre otros; para aprovechar los recursos de software y hardware disponibles y así canalizar al nuevo integrante a un tipo de ciberataque y objetivo específico dentro de la botnet.


Esta vulnerabilidad no es exclusiva de las versiones de escritorio, han sido detectados casos de smartphones Android e iOS infectados, los cuales van en aumento dada la popularidad y disponibilidad de las plataformas móviles. Si bien Microsoft ya ha sido informado por la firma rusa, el problema persiste y no parecer tener una solución efectiva a corto plazo.


Ante la lenta respuesta de parte del gigante de Redmond. Alexander Liskin, gerente del grupo de detección heurística de Kaspersky Lab, recomienda usar el sentido común y ser cauteloso al abrir algún documento .doc /.docx pese a proceder de fuentes confiables además de someter al documento en cuestión a una revisión por parte de un antivirus o complemento anti-malware actualizado, con su base de firmas al día y con los filtros heurísticos activados.

 

Fuentes: El Candelero Tecnológico, Intereconomía y La Vanguardia.

http://www.lavanguardia.com/vida/20171011/431983219114/una-aplicacion-maliciosa-utiliza-microsoft-word-para-seleccionar-victimas-vulnerables-a-ciberataques.html

https://elcandelerotecnologico.com/tag/freakyshelly/

Los errores de seguridad críticos que cometen con más frecuencia los usuarios de computadoras personales

La realidad es que la mayoría de los usuarios en todas las plataformas son muy descuidados, asumen prácticas poco seguras para usar sus equipos y ello a la larga les genera dificultades que a veces se vuelven hasta peligrosas para su seguridad.

Una contraseña es tan segura como el equipo donde la ingresamos, tan segura como esté protegida de keyloggers, spyware y adware, además sin importar su complejidad, si nuestra máquina está llena de virus y spyware porque no podemos dejar de bajar música gratis a través de aplicaciones piratas – hasta los torrents son peligrosos si no sabemos cómo protegernos – en cuanto la ingresamos, ya está en manos de spammers en Rusia y China que seguramente la usaran para mandar mas spam – y si tenemos algo interesante en nuestras cuentas, hasta en youporn se podrán ver en breve – lo cual es consecuencia de que nuestros equipos se usen hasta para ataques de DDoS.

Si esto les da terror saberse en manos de los hackers, y para evitarles más sustos innecesarios les compilamos este pequeño análisis de las prácticas más inseguras que hacemos todos los días.

Usar la misma contraseña para todas sus cuentas

Muchas personas que conozco, creen erróneamente que tener contraseñas muy complejas y usarlas en todas sus cuentas es un método muy seguro para mantener su información privada a resguardo, la realidad es que usar la misma contraseña, aunque sea muy compleja en todas nuestras cuentas hace el trabajo de los hackers y spammers muy simple: solo deben quebrar una cuenta y las demás caen como piezas de dominó.

Lo ideal es tener una contraseña segura distinta para cada cuenta, y en si se les complica recordarlas todas, pueden probar una app para almacenar contraseñas – Google Chrome puede ayudarles en esta tarea, así solo deben recordar la contraseña de su cuenta de Google y de preferencia, activar la autenticación de dos pasos, o pueden usar una app muy buena, la 1Password que cuentas solo 5 dólares – y en este caso, mantener sus accesos en un lugar seguro, que no sea su smartphone Android.

Y por último, recuerdo a un usuario amigo mío que defendía a Yahoo, con el argumento de que en caso de hackeo, este le avisaba de que su cuenta estaba intervenida.

La verdad es que las compañías últimamente han sido víctimas de hackeos muy extremos y esto ha causado que en muchos casos, cuentas de miles de usuarios anden en foros de hackers en toda la internet, y muy pocas han tenido los pantalones para reconocerlo en público – y en muchos casos, se les ha obligado a que lo hagan, por si alguien recuerda a equifax – y esto es un riesgo muy alto para los usuarios, sobre todo aquellos que confíen en que el proveedor de servicios será lo bastante honesto para avisarles – a taringa le tomó 6 meses reconocer un hackeo a sus servidores – algo que raramente ocurre.

Según Darren Succione, director ejecutivo de Keeper Security, “la tecnología para hackear contraseñas ha avanzado mediante estando y error” y tras décadas de estar en el oficio, no podría ser menor el avance. “Los criminales ahora hacen seguimiento de sus víctimas a través de redes sociales para encontrar palabras claves que introducen a software malicioso que crea de golpe, miles de posibles combinaciones de palabras y caracteres, hasta que logran hacerse con el control de la cuenta de la víctima”, “las contraseñas que te funcionaron hace 5 años, ahora son inútiles”.

La nula protección a tu smartphone o el uso de patrones de bloqueo

A muchas personas que conozco, amigos muy cercanos incluidos, le apuestan su vida a los patrones de bloqueo. La verdad se que muchos de ellos me ven con ojos molestos cuando trato de hacerles entender lo erróneo de su práctica pues un patrón de desbloqueo es más fácil de aprender aunque se esté a una distancia más o menos lejana que un pin de cuatro dígitos. El tiempo, sin embargo, me dio la razón y un estudio reciente de la academia de la armada de los Estados Unidos y la Universidad de Maryland Baltimore County encontraron que, de acuerdo al reporte, al menos dos tercios de las personas en el estudio, pudieron recrear el patrón después de haberlo visto, aun lejanamente. Esto es grave pues muchos usuarios le apuestan su seguridad en internet a los patrones de movimiento porque les asumen más seguros.

Y esto, es el menor de los casos, en un 15% los usuarios no protegen su smartphone ni siquiera con un patrón de bloqueo, lo cual es todavía peor. Y si estamos hablando de sus PCs, existen lectores biométricos que no son demasiado costosos y les pueden ayudar a asegurar sus equipos de computo.

No usar autenticación de dos pasos

Para aquellos usuarios de los servicios en línea de Google, hace ya un tiempo está disponible la famosa autenticación de dos pasos – Facebook también tiene una implementación similar – que permite, que al momento de ingresar la contraseña de nuestra cuenta en un navegador o dispositivo que no hayamos usado antes, nos pida hacer uso de la App de Google o el Google Autenticator, y un simple SMS en el caso de Facebook para poder acceder a los servicios.

Esto le brinda una capa de seguridad extra a los intentos de acceso no autorizados a nuestra cuenta, esto, siempre y cuando, nuestro teléfono no esté intervenido o tenga algún spyware que guarde todo lo que ingresamos en el. La autenticación de dos pasos, ha hecho, que tras los hackeos a instagram, yahoo y otros servicios, aunque la contraseña sea obtenida por terceros, el acceso a la cuenta es imposible a menos que se tenga acceso al smartphone del usuario, lo cual hace de esto algo más complejo e impráctico. Y los hackers, que gustan de los objetivos fáciles, se descontarán de ustedes rápidamente.

Usar el wifi de la vecina sin tener cuidado

El tema del wifi en aeropuertos y cafeterías se ha vuelto un problema de seguridad enorme para los usuarios que viajan mucho o requieren conexión en algún punto fuera de casa u oficina y no quieren gastarse los costosos datos que nos vende a precio de marfil las compañías telefónicas. Un modo simple de hackear datos de usuarios, es crear un hotspost wifi con el nombre idéntico al de la red libre que se desee suplantar, y de ahí, se obtienen datos interesantes a través de los paquetes que envían los usuarios, este es uno de los métodos más usados para robar información y por desgracia, con tanto punto de acceso gratuito en todo el mundo, es una forma muy simple de minar datos.

Si son paranoicos como yo, y desean navegar de manera más segura, están los VPN, que a través de servicios de terceros, nos pueden ayudar a proteger nuestras vidas digitales sin exponernos demasiado. Un VPN es un servidor que nos permite rutear todo el tráfico de nuestra red a través de ellos y acceder en otro punto, la ventaja es que el trayecto se pueden comprimir y codificar los datos, por lo que intentar accederlos se vuelve impráctico. Las VPN están desde gratuitas hasta de pago, pero en todo caso les permitirán conectarse donde sea sin peligrar.

Instalar Software Pirata

Esta última, es con especial atención a nuestros usuarios que activan su Microsoft Office con crack para no pagarle al buen Bill Gates su respectiva licencia. Entiendo, como usuario, que a veces los costos del software son prohibitivos, y aunque compañías como Adobe, han tratado de bajar los costos a través de esquemas de renta, en muchos casos el precio del software es alto y genera dificultades para obtenerlo de manera legal.
Para mis amigos piratas, les recuerdo que en muchos casos, este software desactiva funciones que efectivamente notifica a las compañías donde opera el software y quien lo usa, además de proporcionarle al usuario información de actualizaciones y servicios. Sin las actualizaciones de seguridad, su software se vuelve vulnerable a los hackers, y con los cracks ustedes le dan acceso a quien sabe quien a sus equipos y a sus datos.

La realidad es que nada en este mundo es gratis, y el crack, además de permitir operar su software pirata, en muchos casos crea una puerta de acceso a sus equipos que les permite obtener, directamente de ustedes, contraseñas, cuentas de correo electrónico y mucha más información que ustedes amablemente almacenan en sus equipos.

Así que, sin importar que su contraseña sea la más segura del mundo, si su equipo está abierto a algun hacker, de nada servirá – Cuando hackearon a Sony hace un par de años, el acceso a los servidores se obtuvo directamente de un equipo inseguro en la red de Sony, que de hecho era de un administrador y por ello, la compañía tuvo un incidente de medios que le costó muy caro, y obvio, el empleo al administrador que seguramente instalo una aplicación no registrada o colocar en su equipo una USB infectada – por ello, si no pueden vivir sin el Microsoft Office, pueden probar alternativas gratuitas como Open Office que además son muy buena opción si necesitan muchas licencias en varios equipos.

Con información de GeekCast en Español, Wired y Gizmodo en Español

 

Feral Interactive lanza su magnífico GRID Autosport, un racer de calidad de consola solo para iOS #iOSGamers #RacingFans

Como fan de la saga Gran Turismo, encontrar un juego de carreras de calidad en iOS ha resultado complejo, si bien existen buenos juegos como la saga Real Racing, con la salida del iOS 11 y el iPhone X, Feral Interactive nos presenta un impresionante racer para iOS que lleva por nombre GRID Autosport.

El primer trailer oficial de este juego, nos muestra una magnífica selección de autos, los que no pueden faltar en cualquier juego de carreras de autos que se precie de ser bueno y pistas muy detalladas, efectos de luz muy interesantes y en general un juego que raya en la excelencia y luce muy cercano a lo que podríamos esperar de un juego triple A de cualquiera de las grandes consolas como PS4 y Xbox One – al menos en le preview de iPhone X.

Aunque la realidad es que existen muy buenos juegos de carreras en iOS, como el Rush Rally 2 – en el App Store por 0.99 dólares – y el afamado Real Racing 3, que aunque de altísima calidad y jugabilidad, la verdad es que su esquema de monetización despedaza la experiencia de juego de maneras brutales – prácticamente todo está a la venta, y para obtener muchas mejoras virtuales, se debe invertir mucho dinero real – por lo que GRID es una buena añadidura a una cada vez más sólida selección de juegos en la plataforma iOS.

Vía Touch Arcade

Mobile UI Interactions

When presenting an app concept, storyboards and screenshots alone cannot fully drive the message home. If you want to capture your potential clients’ attention, showcasing your mobile app concept in GIF animation will make it more realistic, dynamic, and engaging
 This article is all about UI mobile app animations!

Below is our list of a few animated examples of UI mobile app animations that will surely inspire you to do the same next time you present your app concept to your client.

Speedcam App Animation by Jakub Antalík for Sygic.com

This speedcam app in GIF is simply impressive

Undeniably, Jakub Antalik has successfully presented his speedcam app in action in this GIF. Its nice colors and smooth animation simply make it impressive. Jakub Antalik created it in After Effect, imported it in Photoshop, and exported it as a GIF.

Weather Rebound by Chris Slowik

How you view weather will never be the same with this app

What an impressive weather app, without question. Kudos to Chris Slowik for this awesome work! Chris Slowik removed its current weather icon from the ‘window’, hence, you can’t see an icon when you look at it.

Curl by Nicolas Girard

If this app won’t get you to exercise, what would?

Health buffs out there may say that the model in the app’s GIF displays a wrong form for bicep curls. But, hey, there is no questioning that this app concept is simply awesome! Nicolas used 3DSMax for the armband module and did everything else using After Effects.

GIF – Workflow Payment by Barthelemy Chalvet for AgenceMe

Welcome to content that moves!

If you are not a fan of content that moves when the screen is rolled, then you may think that this app is not cool at all. However, if you have no problem with such, you’ll surely agree that this work of Barthelemy Chalvet is awesome. Its animations are really nice, appearing undeniably fluid and fast. The GIF focuses on a payment procedure that does not only look neat but handy, too.

FaceScan App by George Frigo

Get the latest information about your favorite celebrity just by scanning their photo

This animation only lasts for 12 seconds. Nonetheless, it is already pretty obvious what it is all about. This concept formed from George Frigo’s desire to establish a similar application that makes it possible for Internet users to obtain information by using a photo of a person, whether he’s a celebrity or just an ordinary citizen.

WIP Discover Music app by Alexander van Ravestyn

Discover music in an interactive way with WIP Discover

As its name suggests, it is pretty obvious what Alexander van Ravestyn wants to direct users’ attention towards the process of navigating: a slickly designed screen with a music player. This IOS app focuses on discovering music in a rather interactive way. There is no denying that it is simply awesome.

Walkthrough Animation by Devin Ruppert

Walkthrough has a series of dynamic slides and buttons

The GIF of Walkthrough by Devin Ruppert highlights a welcome screen featuring a slider with numerous dynamic slides and a panel featuring login buttons. Everything about this app is brought to life so that what you can expect from this app can be effectively showcased. Great work!

 Interaction Overview by Mihnea Zamfir

An app that is designed to make life simple

Despite being concise, there is no denying that this animation is effective in showing a client a simple procedure of adding and deleting entries from a card directory. Now, talk about simplicity, beauty, and efficacy all rolled into one!

Delete Task and Assign Task to Your Teammate in Action by Tobs

Never miss a task with this app

The GIF is targeted at demonstrating swipe technique in action that is not only common but effective, too. The whole thing simply looks alive, conventional, and engaging! What a great way, indeed, to delete and assign a task to a teammate in action. The animation was done in After Effect as well.

Menu Interaction GIF by Ben Dunn

A stylish app with a stylish design

This work by Ben Dunn, without question, is an impressive tool for showcasing the appeal of a standard menu in action, sliding out from the left side elegantly as it presents the important links. Don’t you just love the way how icons pop up from the left side?

Showtime App by Luft

Want to know where the hottest place in town is? Showtime will lead you

This app by Luft is the most ideal for the weekend nocturnal creatures who are constantly in the lookout for a nice place to paint the town red. The only problem about this app is its right button color which makes it less readable. With this app, it’s show time, indeed!

iOS 7 Animation by Fabio Basile

A fun and fancy app for iOS 7

This app is, obviously, a result of the freedom of Fabio Basile to have fun with animations and fancy interactions. Without question, this is way better than those horrid settings trays that people use.

Life Minimal App by Budi Tanrim

Hard work resulted in an impressive app

This app by Budi Tanrim is one great example of an app with impressive transitions and visualization. With the help of PSD, After Effect, and 12 grueling hours of hard work, this animation came into existence.

Weather by BeardChicken

Weather lives up to its name and the animation makes it even more interesting

Is the weather outside frightful? Well, just imagine how fun and easy and checking the weather will be with this weather app by BeardChicken. This work is simply elegant!

Account by Barthelemy Chalvet for AgenceMe

Awesome transitions – that is how you describe this app

You can’t help but admire the transitions of this app, although some people think that it gives them motion sickness. Others observed, though, that the text is too small. Whatever your take on this is, there is no denying that it simply looks awesome!

Covert Inbox by Creativedash

This app puts Photoshop CS6 to good use

This app clearly demonstrates what happens when you are tapping on something and you get a new message. Its animations and details are simply incredible.The GIF was created with the use of Photoshop CS6.

Soccer Analytics by Monterosa

Keeping up with the latest news in soccer is much more fun with this app

This app by Monterosa is a must-have for every soccer aficionado. The graphics are awesome and the animation is simply amazing.

Tour by Mark Geyer for Salesforce UX D

Discover your pace without an y pressure with this app

This is an onboarding tour concept for Salesforce1. The users would be able to swipe through the tour at the pace of their choice before diving into the app. The animations are just as impressive with the other apps listed on this list.

Loading Animation by Nicolas Girard

This is an Iron Man-ispired app

Mind blowing animations that simply awe. Nicolas created it for Commongood.TV. Iron man-inspired? Hmmm…

Photo Navigation Concept by Chapps

Save, retrieve, and access images easily with this app

This app is based on the concept that, in just a few clicks, the user can already get the necessary images that have been added and tagged earlier. With just one touch, you can choose the category that you want or need. The whole process is reminiscent of an image search on a desktop, only it is done in a mobile device.

Fiche Workflow Payment by Barthelemy Chalvet for AgenceMe

A great concept fo a payment card

This is definitely a gorgeous app. A great concept for a payment card, indeed!

Map Pin Bubble by Ben Cline for RALLY

A map app with a refreshing design and concept

Oh, the secondary bubble simply look slick. Commenters refer to it as ‘design with life’, thanks to its riveting animation. This app makes use of Map Box API. Without question, it is a refreshingly unique approach to iOS map callouts.

Menu (Animation) by Nest

Neat and simple – that is what this app is all about

You’ll surely love the neatness and simplicity of this app. Its transitions are simply awesome. Everything about this app is done in AE.

First Shot by Plady

The design and color palette used in this app shout simplicity and fun

Another app that oozes not only with an impressive concept but great animation, too. Now, can you imagine how exciting Dribbble can even become if it adapted this concept? Plady used Photoshop for this great work.

Exercise Screen by Vitaly Rubtsov for Yalantis

Workout tracking becomes easy with this app concept

Are you a health buff? Then, this app concept will surely be in your good graces. This GIF showcases a little of its set interaction. Hopefully, this concept can be fully actualized as it can surely make workout tracking a piece of cake. Just be careful, though: you might end up spending more time playing with it than exercising!

Animated Sliding Tab Bar by Virgil Pana

There’s no denying that the 3D fold effect of this app is simply awesome

This concept is simply smart as it can be of help on devices that have small screen size. Its drag handler is close to the edge of the screen for the bounding box because the action is limited. Nonetheless, the 3D fold effect is just cool, isn’t it?

Conclusion

Both UI and UX developers have recognized the importance of animated pictures in presenting their ideas that are a result of their painstaking work and inherent artistry. With GIF animations, the usually irritating and time-consuming procedure of explaining to clients can be averted.No matter how wonderful the screenshots of app concepts are, only short and fully animated GIFs can convey and demonstrate the interaction between all of the vital components in a more alive manner.

Vía 1stWebDesigner

60% de los millenials consumen noticias en smartphones

Cerca del 60% de millennials lee noticias en smartphones

Los más jóvenes sí están interesados en las noticias. Y prueba de ello es un reciente informe de Global Web Index sobre el consumo de información noticiosa desde smartphones.
Lo importante es conocer que los millennials sí consumen noticias, pero no como todos, sino principalmente desde dispositivos móviles. Se trata de al menos el 60% de los usuarios jóvenes.
¿Qué otras actividades realizan? Según el informe, cerca del 80% visita una red social, y una cantidad similar visita buscadores.
El 70% usa chats o mensajería instantánea, y el 60% busca productos o servicios para contratarlos desde la red.
Esa misma cifra mira un video clip o visita una web que comparte videos, así como sube una fotografía o la difunde en sus espacios sociales.
Más del 50% usa apps o servicios de ubicación como mapas para hallar locaciones.

 

  • Para casi 4 de cada 10 Millennials resulta muy (28%) o muy (10%) importante mantenerse al día con las noticias, mientras que aproximadamente 1 de cada 7 lo encuentran poco (11%) o nada (3%) importante.
  • Los Millennials consumen noticias e información principalmente para mantenerse informados y ser mejores ciudadanos (57%).
  • Los encuestados fueron más propensos a decir que “se encuentran con las noticias y la información” (60%) a que la buscan activamente (39%).
  • Aproximadamente tres cuartas partes de las noticias y la información que consumen los Millennials proviene de fuentes Online en lugar de fuentes Offline.
  • Facebook se ubica como la fuente más frecuente para los Millennials en la búsqueda de noticias sobre una variedad de temas, entre ellos: Celebridades o cultura pop; arte y cultura; deportes; música, televisión cine; restaurantes o entretenimiento local; estilo, belleza y moda; alimentación y cocina.
  • Los Millennials son más propensos a seguir regularmente la información relacionada con sus intereses o aficiones (61%) que el tráfico o el clima (51%) o la información relacionada con su trabajo, industria o profesión (44%).
  • Para los Millenialls, Facebook supera a los motores de búsqueda y los canales de televisión locales cuando se trata de obtener información sobre su ciudad, pueblo o barrio.
  • Entre los temas de información y noticias de actualidad, Facebook es la principal fuente de información sobre: la política nacional o el gobierno; la religión y la fe; temas sociales como el aborto, la raza y los derechos humanos; el medio ambiente y los desastres naturales; el delito y la seguridad pública.
  • Cuando se busca “información profunda y detallada sobre un tema, (no sólo buscando casualmente) los motores de búsqueda son la primera fuente de información para los Millennials.

 

 

Una encuesta a más de mil jóvenes adultos -conocidos como millennials por tener entre 18 y 34 años- revela que no todos están interesados por las noticias.

El estudio de Insight Media Project precisa que los mayores son los que principalmente quieren estar informados. El informe concluye que hay 4 tipos de jóvenes en cuanto al consumo de noticias:

De los aspectos a tomar en cuenta, es que de acuerdo a la Consultoría Nieman Lab, los consumidores de noticias millenials tienen estos perfiles:

Los Libres y poco fieles
– Tienen entre 18 y 24 años. “Consigue sus noticias e información sobre todo cuando se toman con esta”
– Menos de un tercio (31 por ciento) paga por una suscripción de noticias y un 17 por ciento usa una suscripción de noticias pagada por otra persona.
– Ellos “están en línea principalmente para actividades de entretenimiento como juegos o streaming de música y películas.”

Los Exploradores
– También tienen ese grupo de edad, pero “buscan activamente noticias e información”.
– 44% por ciento paga por una suscripción de noticias.
– Ellos “están interesados en las noticias y son más activos en la búsqueda en línea.”

El Distraído
– Ellos son mayores (entre 25-34 años) y “han comenzado a tener familias y son parte de la clase media.”
– El cuarenta por ciento paga por una suscripción de noticias.
– Casi nunca “buscan activamente” las noticias y la información en línea, pero ellos “siguen una variedad de estilos de vida y las noticias muestran una relación directa a sus trabajos, sus familias, o resolviendo problemas en su vida personal “.

Los activistas
– También son mayores, pero cuentan con más probabilidades que “El Distraído” para “buscar activamente noticias e información.”
– El cincuenta y uno por ciento paga por una suscripción de noticias.

Youtube’s design revamp and takeaway for designers

YouTube gets a new logo, a fresh new look and it is built for future

YouTube gets a new look. The video streaming website and mobile app has had a significant makeover with a brand new logo and a refreshed user interface. The latest design looks slicker and in sync with the new-age design approach. Let’s have a quick look at

New version:

Old version:

So what’s the change? But before that let’s discuss why the change?

YouTube is 12 years old now. What started with a single website that supported a single video format, 320×240 at 4:3 aspect ratio, today is a hub of entertainment in itself. The world has also changed a lot in this period with the introduction of new devices- mobile, Tablets, wearables and SmartTVs etc., and new technologies that has unleashed new ways to discover and consume content.

In the last decade, we’ve also seen a significant change in the ways a user interacts with the device, majorly with the touch replacing the tab and the press button. Also, new video viewing platforms like Vimeo, Netflix etc., have brought in a range of features like multi format video support, new ways to search content and the screen interfaces to fit into a multiscreen world and accentuate the user experience. So, it was about time, YouTube also transform itself in sync with the new-age user needs and modern UI/UX design philosophy.

Now, what’s new in the latest YouTube design version?

Most of the design changes have been on the mobile app with couple of significant changes for the desktop version. Let’s discuss the significant design changes in the YouTube new version and share our thoughts on it-

  • Logo

YouTube gets a refreshed YouTube Logo and YouTube Icon. However, there isn’t much of a transformative change in the logo but just as Christopher Bettig, the head of YouTube’s art department says, “It’s an evolution, not a revolution.” The company’s wordmark and play icon have been retained, split up and modernized to give the logo a cleaner look. The red play icon is out of the wordmark ‘Tube’ and is placed at the beginning of the logo. The original typeface of the logo is replaced with a freshly designed typeface that has smoothened the blunt shapes of the old wordmark and a new red (#FF0000) color has been selected for the play icon.

In the company’s own words, “the updated Logo combines a cleaned up version of the YouTube wordmark and Icon, creating a more flexible design that works better across a variety of devices, even on the tiniest screens”.

The Old YouTube Logo

The New YouTube Logo

  • Theme

A lot of YouTube lovers were waiting for it and finally you have dark theme which turns the background dark to give a more cinematic look. The theme not only lets out the content play more vividly but is also easy on eyes as it reduces screen glare. A huge plus for binge watchers!

  • Gestures-

YouTube is endeavoring to bring some new gestures in its mobile to keep it in sync with the way users interact in an app. Earlier this year, YouTube introduced a gesture that allows you to double tap on the left or right side of a video to fast forward or rewind 10 seconds. In the coming months, YouTube wishes to experiment with a feature that lets you jump between videos with a simple swipe of your hand i.e. you just have to swipe left to watch a previous video or swipe right to watch the next one.

Source: androidpolice.com
  • Typography

The typography of the website has been updated to give it a new cleaner look. There is much better spacing in texts as well as in menu to make it more touch friendly. The new typeface looks modern with the blunt shapes in letters being smoothened out. While the typography change is imperceptible in smaller sizes but looks distinct in bigger sizes. The color of the video titles have been changed from blue to black whereas links in the video description have been changed from black to blue.

Source: underconsideration.com
  • Browse & Discover

In its mobile app, YouTube has added a feature that lets you view a row of suggested videos while you’re watching in fullscreen. You just need to move your fingers upwards on the screen and a row of suggested videos appear on the screen.

A welcome break from the previous version where video discovery on full screen was not possible and users had to move to smaller screen to see the list of suggested videos. As per the company, “We’re also working on transforming the area below the player so you can browse videos in totally new ways.”

Source: guidingtech.com
  • Microinteractions-

Surprisingly, there isn’t much on microinteractions on the new design except for when you click on the like button. Previously a click on like button was simple with no effect but in the new design, there is a nice little circled explosion when you click on the like button.

What does it tell us about the future of design?

The world is going multiscreen from mobile to Smart TVs and design has to adapt to providing omnichannel experience. While YouTube’s new design changes are not revolutionary but it says a lot about the way the world of design is moving- towards a simpler, uncluttered and consistent look across devices. Here are some of the key takeaways from YouTube’s design change for the future-

  • Multiscreen world: We’re living in a multiscreen world with screen as tiny as a smartwatch display to giant digital signages. And therefore it is essential for design to adapt to multiple screen sizes without compromising on the consistency. Take the example of YouTube’s logo, in smaller screens the play icon can work as abbreviated logo whereas the full logo will fit perfectly on larger screens.
  • Simple yet beautiful: The fast paced world abhors complexity. So interfaces need to be simple, minimal yet appealing. The focus, as has been for many years, is moving towards design that boosts experience and helps people achieve their goals.
  • User control: Users want control over the websites and apps they use. They wish to own a part of it. YouTube’s new features like double tap to rewind and fast forward in addition to the dark theme gives them a sense of ownership and affinity with the product.
  • Use of whitespace: YouTube’s box-heavy card design in the older version has been replaced with a simple white background, a grid of thumbnails, and a lot of white space. We’re witnessing some creative use of whitespace in the design- be it as a divider or as a way to make your core content shine more vividly.
  • Gesture driven UI: Gestures are the new clicks! A lot is already happening in this space and we will see more of it. In a touch driven world, we will see designs that are not only optimising their UI based on user’s behaviour, but also designing a more comfortable user experience right from the beginning.
  • Faster rollout: Not exactly a design feature but with the design becoming an integral part of product development, it is important to build a tech infrastructure that is capable of rolling out new features fast, get user feedback and improve it. Facebook and Google are good examples of rolling out new features.

Final words

What are your thoughts on the new YouTube design? Have you tried the new features yet? What are your views on the impact of YouTube design changes for the future of design. Share your experiences and thoughts in our comments section. And if you liked this article, then please share it on your social media channels.

Via uxplanet.org

Prototyping mobile UI animations: 5 inspiring examples

How to create mobile UI animations that boost usability and bring app interfaces to life

Animated transitions can make the difference between a great mobile app and one that’s just meh. Transitions — those little animations that make UI elements visible or invisible — often go unnoticed, but when executed right they contribute to a seamless user experience. So what makes a good animated transition and how can prototyping help?

What are mobile UI animations for?

Animated transitions signal a change of state to the user. That can mean signalling a movement in the navigation flow, task completion, introduction or subtraction of on-screen UI elements, and changing position in the interface hierarchy. Designer Davey Heuser helpfully explains animated transitions in terms of movie sound-effects: “It’s not peculiar to use animations and sound effects in movies when someone goes through a time machine, so it’s only natural to use this in your interface as well.” And that’s where animated transitions come in handy.

“It’s not peculiar to use animations and sound effects in movies when someone goes through a time machine, so it’s only natural to use this in your interface as well.”

What makes a good mobile UI animation?

Software developer and UX influencer Nick Babich succinctly defines what separates a good animated transition from a bad one in his post Animation in Mobile UX Design:

Effective animated transitions:

  • Have a clear purpose
  • Reduce cognitive load
  • Establish spatial relationships
  • Prevent change blindness
  • Bring an interface to life

Badly designed animated transitions, on the other hand:

  • Confuse the user
  • Complicate the interface unnecessarily
  • Are random and without purpose

Animated transitions can make mobile UIs more dynamic, engaging and user-friendly. But use them incorrectly and they will have a detrimental impact on both user experience and conversions.

Our list of 5 inspiring mobile UI animated transitions provides top examples of mobile animation, plus we’ve thrown in some expert prototyping tips to help you test out animations in UI prototypes. Enjoy!

1 — iOS camera app focus animation

Predictably, Apple’s iOS Camera app includes a stunning example of well-executed mobile UI animation. As users attempt to focus the camera, a crosshair appears — with a fade-in effect — and shrinks as it finds focus. Once focused, the crosshair blinks in and out of visibility and then fades out.

Check out the video to see the animation in action.

Create something similar in a mobile UI prototype using Justinmind’s animated effects. Effects are triggered when a UI elements is shown or hidden — you can choose the style in which to reveal the element from fade-in or out to bounce, fold and puff.

2 — Template gallery menu animation

Sergey Valiukh from Tubik Studio has come up with an animation that converts a standard contact list into an interactive, engaging experience. Users scroll through their contact cards with a vertical swipe gesture that causes each contact to move forwards, then drop out of sight when dismissed. The animation effectively focuses user attention and uses information hierarchy to good effect.

You can build a similar effect in Justinmind mobile prototypes by using dynamic panels to create transition effects. Link the transition effects to gestures and then test on the prototype on your mobile using the Justinmind app.

3 — Weather Rebound app

This mobile app prototype from Chris Slowik incorporates sophisticated mobile animation that both delights and informs. Not only has Chris incorporated a transparent animated skin that matches the current weather conditions (which we love!), but he’s also built animated his UI elements simply and beautifully. On command, hourly weather icons slide up onto the screen; a lateral slide-bar menu allows users to select the day they need the weather report for. It’s simple but beautifully executed, and allows users to see weather throughout the day at a glance.

Chris has used his own brand assets as the icons for the weather app, but if you’re short on time you can take advantage of the pre-made UI libraries in Justinmind: there are UI elements for all main operating systems and devices, which you can organize into groups and reuse across projects. Or import your own brand assets as SVG files and make them interactive with Hotspots.

Check out some examples of mobile UIs made with our Android Lollipop UI elements.

4 — Elastic progress bar

Mobile users have very., very little patience for slow loading times. According to Kissmetrics, a 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. Mobile animation is a great way to make the wait seem shorter and lower user abandonment rates. UI designer XJW nailed a download loading progress bar and shared it on Dribbble. The animation starts out as a download icon, which transforms into a button moving along an elastic tightrope wire and marking the percentage completion of the download. If the download fails, the progress button fails off the wire. A cute, personality-filled way to convey progress through mobile animation.

5 — Fitness Tracker — Pull Down to Refresh

One of the most common mobile animations is the so-called Pull Down to Refresh, where users refresh screen content by swiping vertically downwards. It’s become an intuitive feature for mobile users, so conveying that the gesture is recognized and being executed is crucial to seamless user experience.

That doesn’t mean that UI designers and prototypers can’t have fun animating the gesture, though. Take Fitness Tracker’s prototype, in which they use the Pull Down to Refresh feature as an opportunity to strengthen the brand while conveying functionality. Instead of introducing any old loading wheel, they add an animation of a character power walking across the top of the interface. It’s simple, good-looking and reinforces the ‘why’ of Fitness Tracker in the user’s mind.

The actual refresh button backs this up with its own great animation. The yellow gradient thumb spot fades in, sweeps down and then explodes out of sight, supporting the dynamism of the UI as a whole.

You can use rich interactions to create this Pull to Refresh button in Justinmind, and add conditions to your event to make it even more advanced. Add animated effects to the event to make the animation richer.

Prototyping mobile UI animations: 5 inspiring examples — the takeaway

Animated mobile transitions can be charming, useful and user-centric. They guide users through a mobile app experience and ensure that both user goals and conversion goals are catered to. But mobile UI designers have to resist the temptation to animate for mobile animation’s sake. Animations should always be relevant, targeted and with a purpose. That way, your UI will be as effective as these inspiring examples of animated mobile transitions.

Vía Justinmind blog