April 8th, 2013
More and more governments are starting to think more about app data privacy and protection. For a great overview of the issues, take a look at Appthority’s news page that lists many recent articles.
Meanwhile, there’s recent European Commission Article 29 Working Party report (pdf) on apps on smart devices. The working party has "advisory status and acts independently. They do not reflect the position of the European Commission." I think the idea is that it provides advice to be used by the Data Protection authorities in the various European countries.
Looking at the working party recommendations for app developers, I can’t help but think that too much of this is qualitative rather than quantitative and hence open to too much interpretation. I can’t see much of it being implemented unless there are clearer goal posts. As with much of Europe’s politics, it’s bogged down in a quagmire of well meaning yet unworkable propositions. I believe it will take some large, high profile data mis-uses before more pragmatic guidelines become prevalent.
March 26th, 2013
Today I was speaking at MEX 2013. It turned out to be the most controversial session of the day.
My session was on the relationship between designers and developers. I spoke of how the ‘designer’ tends to be a combination of one or more of the product owner, graphics designer, web designer, another developer or in some cases a design agency. I expressed the opinion that none of these people are able to accurately assess full feasibility, platform specific idioms, underlying functionality (not just wireframes), variation of UX by form factor, knowledge of graphics families and formats and graphics creation. There’s no ‘perfect designer’ and instead we need to look at the process of design and development and make it more iterative. We need to involve the developer earlier and re-involve the designer throughout the product development.
During questions, the validity of my experience was questioned by one delegate and there ensued some very active discussions in the following breakout sessions. Although it wasn’t my intention, I seemed to open a wound between designers and developers that I wasn’t even aware existed. More than one designer subsequently told be they were tired of developers telling them things weren’t possible. However, several people approached me afterwards and said they had personally experienced what I was saying and I was brave to broach the subject. Aside from all of this, there was a thought provoking question from one delegate on whether designers should remain naive so as to not restrict creativity.
With hindsight, my presentation was probably a bit too black and white and not sympathetic to the expected audience. There are bound to be some designers who are able to consider the majority of the issues. However, I haven’t come across any and if the people objecting are anything to go by, they are in the domain of extremely well funded large companies. The people I tend to work for don’t have the budget for a full time UX expert. I often get given designs over which I have had no input. One designer I spoke to suggested I choose my clients better.
During the networking session a delegate gave me a thought-provoking observation that it’s interesting that developers seek to engage with designers but this often isn’t reciprocated. Another delegate reflected that it’s the same in the architecture design/build industries. I wonder why this might be?
March 22nd, 2013
Following on from my post on the recent Mobile Monday, John Spinder’s slides are now up on SlideShare. It’s effectively a crash course on mobile investment, especially suited to those in the UK/London.
March 15th, 2013
I have an informal list of UK mobile (iOS and Android) contractors that I send direct work to, free of charge. This tends to be work I can’t do for either timing, technical or reasons of conflict of interest with past work. I also sometimes get random enquires from companies looking for iOS and/or Android developers. I currently have two such enquiries.
If you are a UK mobile contractor please get it touch to be added to my list. This is for direct working with companies, not via agencies and you will have the opportunity to negotiate your own ways of working, contracts and rates.