How are you today?
So, I’m receiving a lot of tweets, emails and messages with the same questions and I decided to take the time to answer them right here and give you some updates about me, my upcoming projects, my visit with Microsoft and what is happening.
Q: Where can I download your version of Windows 8 or your version of Steam?
A: Sigh… I love your enthusiasm about my redesigns, but the fact is that if you ask me this you just jumped on my website, looked at the pictures and searched for a Download button somewhere without actually reading anything or even understanding the objective of my work. What I do in these design projects is research, not the actual code. There’s a disclaimer on top of the article to make sure that readers understand that this is only research, analysis and design prototypes even if they are built to look like an actual finished product.
Q: What about the videos and the pictures?
A: All fake. Compared to a lot of other designers who creates mockups, with respect to them, I do UX/UI research; my objective is not to come up with the most spectacular design and push it like crazy. I create the natural evolution based on the enterprise and consumer need/demand. Think of something that makes sense and would look and feel like the real thing. This is why I take pictures of the interface running on the device and I create mockup prototypes with a simulation in After Effects; I don’t actually use an interface and navigate go through it. Nothing that you see is real other than the looped, timed video prototype footage and carefully taken picture with the screen really showing the Fireworks mockups in full screen and not photoshopping it on top.
Q: Do you plan to build a skin or an add-on? What about a Kickstarter?
A: Not really unfortunately! I mean, it would be awesome, but that would go beyond the research. It would require a lot of time and would step on my actual work. A Kickstarter would be a fun idea, but we’re not getting better since it’s actually more work. If anyone wants to build something based on my research though feel free to get in touch with me and I’ll see what I can do to help you out!
Q: Ok, so what’s happening with Microsoft?
A: Technically nothing as of now is happening with Microsoft. I got approached by Albert Shum, the Design Director for Windows, Xbox and Windows Phone and got invited to the Microsoft HQ in Redmond WA. Microsoft is clearly aware of the “Fixing Windows 8” project… all of them. So don’t worry, they’re not doing like if my project does not exist.
Q: Will you work for Microsoft?
A: I’d love to, but I can’t. I have a startup, investors, people who have their money and their trust in me and of course they expect to have a return someday; I can’t just leave like that and go work for Microsoft and they know it. Even with that important note, they still invited me to Redmond to visit them.
Q: How did your trip to Microsoft go?
A: Amazing! It’s actually nice to put a face on whose behind all the great product you use every day and rely on. Lots of very talented and passionate people, it’s simply amazing. I went to Microsoft’s Studio H where I met with the recruiter in charge of me and a whole bunch of directors and managers for Windows and Windows Phone. We talked, I showed a couple of things and we had fun. I also went to lunch with one of them and Albert. I don’t know to which point I am allowed to give information, so I’m not taking any chance with names here. Then a great tour of the studio and I left. A nice and simple trip!
Q: So we won’t see you or your design at Microsoft?
A: As of now there is no plan (that I know of) for me to join the Microsoft team. I may wake up one day attached to a metal chair in the Microsoft parking being forced to design for them, who knows. As for my designs, there are rumors that Microsoft is planning to bring those changes in the next version of Windows (Codenamed Threshold) and actually show a preview of it at Build 2014 in April, so who knows.
Q: Did you get any money out of this or your Xbox One?
A: Nope! Still waiting for a giant check delivered by helicopter from Steve Ballmer or my free Xbox One with a custom 24k gold controller. (Why the fuck is Word saying I should write the “your” in my question as “you’re”…)
Q: So… what’s next now?
A: There’s a lot next! First, we’ll see where the relation with Microsoft will go as it is still open and I have no idea what they have in mind right now. Second, I will be releasing pretty soon the first part of my next piece called “Pushing iOS” where I analyze iOS as it is right now and try to push the platform forward without affecting all the users who likes the way it is right now (compared to a lot of other people who makes a concept that changes everything about it because THEY do not like it). Third, I’m working on some amazing things through independent contracts: If you got anything in mind where I can help you, your project or your company, give me a sign! And of course my company and my project kolab which the new version is still under the wraps right now with only some glimpses of the older version available on the web.
Q: How did you get into UX/UI design?
A: I actually left school to focus on that. Why read useless books and do crappy homework on useless unrelated subjects when you can jump in the world and do stuff. That’s my point of view though and you should not necessarily base your future plans on this. If you are to do this though I’ll tell you the secret: You need to fail… a LOT. Failure is the best if you want to get in design, especially UX. UX or User Experience is about human psychology and behavior. Usually you will have a precise objective or goal and you will blend the human with tech where you will usually build a UI or User Interface to accomplish the objective/goal/task in the most efficient and natural way possible. Failure is amazing because that’s the way you know what works and what doesn’t, especially in a discipline where there isn’t a perfect objective line to follow. Do things, find a problem, try to fix it, fail, fix it again, fail, fix maybe a new one, etc. That’s how I did.
Q: What don’t you like about Mac OS X or Linux?
A: Mac OS X is a nice operating system and I think my problem with it is that the OS is actually too nice. I don’t feel comfortable using it. I like all the little quirks about Windows that makes it so complete, versatile and productive. Simple things like in an “Open” dialog windows being able to CTRL+Wheel to make the images bigger or clicking with the middle mouse button on the File Explorer icon to open a new one and all those little things all around Windows that I can’t find on the Mac. The computers are expensive for the performance you’re getting, games selection sucks, a device like a Surface or Yoga is actually an amazing laptop but that can transform into a freaking tablet easily with touch and pen input and Finder sucks compared to the mighty Windows File Explorer. There’s too much comprise on the Apple camp in my opinion. Like the iPhone, getting in and out of every single app just to get some basic information where doing some basic tasks is so counter-intuitive especially on a big device like the iPad where you pay more than a Surface and you can’t even do two things at once. Constantly switching back and forth between web browsing and Facebook to chat and surf on a tablet that costs more and need a big ugly case to hold itself together is kind of stupid. Linux on the other hand is really amazing and the amount of customization and flexibility is simply out of this world. But, I use Adobe CC for… well everything and too many things in my experience with Linux required to use the command line and figure out what kind of package works with my distro. I will have to admit that my Linux experience is a bit dated and if you have any recommendation for me to try out Linux today without installing too many things, please give me more information. Linux would be perfect if I was a coder who would switch to Windows just to play games… but I’m a designer and it would fuck up my whole workflow.
Q: Do you really use an HP/Palm Pre 3 as your main phone?
A: Yeah! Actually I would be using my Veer if I could (SIM card slot is not friendly with SIM adaptors) since it is literally my favorite phone. I simply love WebOS and the vertical slider format in general. The keyboard on both the Veer and Pre 3 is simply fantastic and the gestures to control the phone with the light bar is so smooth. On top of that, the build quality is simply stellar and the phones simply feels so good in your hand like a perfect little pebble. The Pre 3 is a little beautiful phone, but the Veer is a tiny perfection. I don’t know why, but there’s something so great in having a little tiny phone especially with my oversized hands and fingers. WebOS in its current abandoned and doomed state (although revived for Smart TVs) is somewhat unstable and simply forget the idea of having any kind of app. But that’s not a problem for me. With the amazing still active WebOS enthusiast community and Preware I managed to make the phone pretty snappy and add a lot of feature including some awesome ones like closing the slider to end the call. As for the apps… I’m not a very apps person. Usually I use a Windows Phone, but since all of my friends keeps buying them from me, I always fall back on my little WebOS gems. Apps are stupid if the experience of the phone/platform itself isn’t stellar. In the case of the Windows Phone, tiles are simply magic. iOS is such a pain with all the constant back and forth, battery drain and fear of breaking it unless you cover it with an ugly bulky case. So I use and love WebOS. These phones are my little gems even though I will be changing pretty soon to a Google/LG Nexus 5 since I need to get to know Android (Stock) a little more to get updated about the platform and the amazing evolution it has taken. Android is growing so fast and is open to so many possibilities while getting a LOT polished –thanks to the main WebOS Architect Matias Duarte getting on the Android team- since the first release, so I have to play with it more. That is until Microsoft gets the next batch of Windows Phones out where I will leave my Android try out, get my new WP8.1 device that connects to all my services and devices and fall back again to WebOS since a friend will throw money at me to get my Windows Phone, again.
Q: What does your workstation look like?
A: My main workstation is an Alienware Aurora R3 with Windows 8 (that fucking Dell did not want to support (yeah, on a January 2011 4,000$ high end machine) where I had to force and break my head for the installation) with 3 monitors. The picture above is actually while I was writing this with my Facebook open, Word 2014 and Xbox Music on my side monitor (still miss the flying polygons of Zune though). My mobile workstation is a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 256GB with the Surface Touch Mouse. It's a mess, I know.
Q: Anything special these days?
A: Yeah, got a new camera (Sony RX1R) and so far I am really impressed. Also I started playing with the Microsoft Kin One that the Studio Manager gave me as a gift. That will go in my collection of dead amazing phones like my WebOS smartphones or my Nokia N9. It is truly an amazing little phone filled with so many ideas, I may write something about it soon. Too bad it is a CDMA phone, I would actually put my SIM card in and use it.
Thanks everyone! You can stay updated on the site or through my numerous social links!