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Thinking Out of the Box

DeepGrip – Hands on Virtual Reality

Ronja Scherz

In the last few years, more and more people have started talking about “Virtual Reality”. The possibility of completely immersing in a virtual world via new technologies like e.g. the Oculus Rift fascinates gamers, developers and UX-Designers alike. Looking around a virtual environment by just turning your head, or moving virtual objects with your own hands, offers a completely new and extremely direct way of interacting. In consequence, many users of VR applications really feel like being inside of the virtual environment. It is exactly this feeling, called “immersion”, which makes users expect to be able to really interact with the virtual objects, just as naturally as they would with real ones. But unfortunately, this is not possible with the contemporary setups. VR-glasses just offer visual access to the virtual world. Hence, a user touching a virtual object will not feel any haptic feedback.

To discover how the integration of the tactile sense into a virtual reality application affects the immersion of their users, we at Centigrade developed the prototype “DeepGrip” – an application combining visual and haptic feedback in a virtual reality.

read more…

Coffee for your ears: How Death Metal can make you more productive

Robin Meyer
July 14th, 2015

Bored during the train ride? Rolling Stones. Angry in a traffic jam? Slayer. Party with friends? Daft Punk. Sitting in a wing chair with a brandy in your hand? Chopin. Gang warfare? 2Pac. In the age of streaming services like Spotify, music is probably more ubiquitous than ever. Equipped with a smartphone everybody has the possibility to use an enormous database of songs. Our favorite interprets accompany us to almost every place in almost every situation. But what about the working environment? When is it acceptable to listen to music and can it help you do your job? Or is it more of an unnecessary distraction? read more…

Contextual User Interface Design Engineering with the Universal Windows Platform

David Würfel

Recently I gave a talk at the dotnet Cologne and also at the DWX  Developer Week titled “4K and other challenges – Next Generation Desktop UIs for Windows 10”. The session discussed the term Universal App Platform in Windows 10 and showed what a developer can make out of it in order to create future oriented user interfaces. This blog article is not only supposed to target those who attended my session, but also those who were not present to hear it. Moreover the article will provide further information to the topic. As in the session there will be a coding part at the end where some new Universal App features are shown. read more…

How Morticians and Industrial Engineers play – A Gamification User Type Study

Sebastian Korbas
May 26th, 2015

Tutorial

Part of my Master’s thesis, which I wrote here at Centigrade as a student trainee was to design a mobile application for more sustainability in daily life. Due to the focus on personal energy consumption, the main goal of the application was to create more transparency and generate awareness of the background story of energy transition. The intended effect was to hopefully initiate a possible behavioural change of the potential users, inspired by works of serious games (for change). Essential for this project obviously was – next to a proper usability and an appealing look – to create a motivational design, which tries to engage the user on the long-term. Due to those goals, it was an easy decision to take a look at gamification and its specific possibilities regarding user motivation. But my main challenge in the generation of a concept could be summed up in the question: How to design for an unknown user?

Where to search for common ground, when you are working with a wide range of different users?

Where to search for common ground, when you are working with a wide range of different users? Photo: Jay’s Brick Blog read more…

What consistency means for a cat and what it means for your interface

Jonas Stallmeister

In interface design, the term consistency is part of the professional jargon. It is used for everyday feedback and in long term concepts. It is also common ground with developers and clients. Consistency is an important evaluation criterium. Enough reasons to get a good handle on the term. read more…

Hands off of mouse and keyboard – the advantages of pen and paper scribbles in the digital age

I am sitting in front of my new computer – a marvel of modern technology. It is stuffed full with every imaginable designers’ software, and I ask myself: Why should I ever use pen and paper again? Is it not a lot easier to create everything digitally?
Have you had similar thoughts in the past? Or do you start creating things straight at the computer without considering anything else? read more…

You are a Developer? So, you are a UX Designer.

Martin Hesseler

The term UX design is used very often nowadays. In most cases it’s either used as synonym for interaction design, usability professional or a similar denotation or as conglomerate of all of these disciplines. It is recalled that UX design is not only a phase, but that it should be applied throughout all phases of a project. For me, the boundaries of the term are still set too narrowly. Everybody involved in the development of a product has significant impact on the resulting UX. Usability engineers, interaction designers, visual designers, design engineers, project owners and developers.

read more…

The truth is black on white.

Jonas Stallmeister

Black text on a white background is trustworthy. Even more so: black on white is a fact. It is printed and displayed on screen. The truth is said to be “black on white”. Except when it is not. In programming, the truth oftentimes is white on black. And the truth was white on a blackboard back in school. There are reasons for these exceptions and there are reasons for the rule. I’ve collected some of the reasons that might be interesting for interface designers.

read more…

Developer Open Space 2014 in Leipzig

Jörg Preiß
Jörg Preiß
December 4th, 2014

Sessionplanung

On Friday, 17 October, it was that time of the year again. I had skipped the event for the last two years, this year I wanted to spend three exciting and inspiring days in Leipzig at the Developer Open Space 2014. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend Friday’s workshops. After nearly six hours travelling by car combined with a busy workday before, I fell into my hotel bed pretty much immediately and pretty much exhausted. But the following Saturday, I was up early as a bird and ready to attend the session planning.

Torsten Weber, co-organizer of the Open Space, pointed out in advance that there would be many newcomers this year. I was hoping this might bring new ideas and a breeze of fresh air. Others feared that old topics might come up again. Although that did not seem to be an issue, the session planning was a bit chewy this year.

Altogether, mainly subjects from the field of development were presented. Creative techniques, Docker as well as rights and obligations of freelancers where some of the topics. Technical issues such as wearables and smarthome, sensors for autonomous robots and kinect 2.0 were also represented. Development itself was a subject in the introduction of Angular JS, Haskell or the Rails Disco. I myself held a session presenting XamlBoard – Centigrade’s tool for managing Xaml resources. A complete overview of all topics can be found here.

Since my last visit the .NET Open Space war renamed Developer Open Space to take into account the variety of topics besides .NET. The aim of a technology-independent “Unconference” was definitely achieved this year: A little shy and aware of the crowd, a guy came forward and revealed himself as a Java developer. He was accepted into the family – unlike Frank, who asked for help with WCF performance problems and raised a big laugh. Nevertheless, Frank’s problem was discussed in an own session. The following sections show my impressions of the sessions I visited.

read more…

Saving the world by writing a gamification thesis at Centigrade

‚We always seek dedicated students looking for an interesting thesis or internship project.‘ – this call can be found when browsing the Centigrade website for job and career opportunities. A call that is hard to resist if you are an upcoming graduate student. Especially when you – like in my case – consider the many given connections between Centigrade’s north-western branch in Muelheim a. d. Ruhr and the many different universities, academies and colleges of the Ruhr area.

As you can easily see, this opportunity led me here… and now I am working on my master thesis based on a cooperation between Centigrade and the ‘Interactive Systems’ chair of University Duisburg-Essen that combines both areas of expertise and professions:

‘Development of a Gamification Design in Consideration of different Play-Personas’

Starting point of my thesis will be running a quantitive survey based on Bartle’s ‘Player Types’ to identify relevant users and their motivators for playful environments. In combination with additional demographic data like age, gender and profession this should result in one or more hypothetical user types (so called ‘personas’) for our use-case. In the following step, these gamification personas could be addressed by a specific designed gamification concept. The use-case of the project will be a mobile app prototype in the context of Energy Transition that should ideally lead to more sustainability in the user’s everyday life. That sounds like an exciting project with actual matter to me!

To those of you, who are also interested in working on their thesis in collaboration with a Centigrade project or who have gathered own ideas that could fit into the wide field of user interface architecture: Feel free to contact Centigrade via e-mail at jobs@centigrade.de .

By the way: A deeper look into my thesis’ survey, the following gamification design process and the prototype development will be soon available and regularly updated on my Instagram account (#appshamrock).

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