More Axure Fun

So I have been using repeaters in a couple of prototypes in Axure. Repeaters allow creating a single element that then is linked to a data table and will repeat content based on how many rows are in the data table. This can make it much easier to automatically simulate a list/grid of search results with real content. You can also then add controls to filter and sort and paginate the list. There is also the ability to dynamically load images from an external source. All of this awesome functionality was making it fun to build out some prototypes that I had intended to do some remote/unmoderated usability testing.

Unfortunately, complex repeaters (6+ columns, external images, links/refernce pages, etc) with more than around 12 rows can substantially slow down the loading of a prototype in a browser. It gets even worse from the axshare server. Also, having more than 1 repeater widget on a page can also slow down a prototype to make it basically unusable. So I fell back to using dynamic panels with states to represent more limited simulation of filtering.

There are some ways to optimize repeaters including using the pagination functionality to load a smaller set of content. However, even after this optimization I still found my prototype pages with repeaters taking upwards of 8-10 seconds to load locally. Viewing pages from the axshare server which can be slow on its own, was often pushing 20+ seconds to load a page. For all the power they offer it was a big dissappointment to not be able to use repeaters in the prototypes for the usability testing. I am still looking further in to how to optimize things. I think it would be helpful if we could make a repeater load asynchronously and perhaps have a place holder image or group of elements.

Axure Interactions on Grouped Elements Reminder

This is a note to remind myself that interactions applied to a group folder do not work if any of the enclosed elements have an interaction. Also AxureEx is an incredibly useful set of methods for including javascript in an Axure file:

AxureEx can be found here:
http://www.dejongh.dk/wiki/doku.php?id=interaction:axure.ex_api

And the downloadable file is here:
https://github.com/Sam-Hepworth/Axure.Ex/releases

Credit to Sam Hepworth

iPhone X: Face ID

Well after having the iPhone X for over a few months now I have completely adapted to using faceID for access. In many ways I like it better than touchID. It is a simpler and seemingly more direct interaction to just swipe up and the phone opens. Overall, I really like the smaller form factor, but decent sized screen which is only slightly more narrow than the 8plus.

I am still wanting to get something to cover the camera when I am not using it, but need it to be flexible enough to not make unlocking more complicated. I’ve tried a few different customized tape configurations with a tab, but they just do not work well. It was awkward bending the tape over and then it would eventually not stay back in place. Ultimately with all the privacy violations of sites like Facebook I don’t feel I am being too paranoid to want the camera covered. So, I’ll keep working on this until I can design something that just works without looking like a kludge.

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iPhone X

So I was able to pick up an iPhone X on the launch day Nov 3rd. I had been vacillating between getting the 8+ or the X for over a month now. Despite all the talk of how expensive the X is, the 8+ is nearly just as expensive at $949 for the top end version with 256GB of storage. The thing that was really putting me off of the X was the lack of touch ID. I had a 6+ and really love the touch ID. The new Face-ID is not a substitute in my eyes as I usually put a tape flap over the camera for privacy reasons. Using face-ID would make that a pain to deal with multiple times a day to unlock.

However, I am now coming around to this and I am thinking I will start using the face-ID. I just have to find something that will allow me to have the camera covered and easily uncover to unlock. The tape worked well enough for the rare occasion I wanted to take a selfie, but it will not work for everyday unlocking. I otherwise really like the smaller sized device with a large screen.

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The Loss of Serendipity

Increasingly systems are personalizing how and what they display to people. In many cases this is great as it makes the experience much more relevant. However I find that there are many times where this is not so great. For example, google search has been for quite a while now returning results that are based on your geolocation determined from your IP address. If I am looking for a restaurant, then this may be good. But if I am searching for news or some other information then this is not that good at all. No longer are you able to accidentally find something interesting which even though it may not be located near you is still very relevant to your interests. The digital world of all places should not always be bound by our physical location.

This gets worse when your IP address may actually be wrong. I worked for a company where we had a global network. I could change my network proxy to appear as if I was in the UK, when I was really sitting in Chicago. This at times could be amusing, but more often it made us aware that searching for the exact same term provided differently ranked results depending on where google thought we were located. I am not sure there is a solution here as the benefits of location relevancy seem to outweigh the benefit of serendipity. But I do have a sense of loss or nostalgia at times for days when I would find interesting articles from people in other parts of the world.

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Call me Uncle

Well, I am now an uncle. My younger sister had her first baby just after noon today. It was a long labor (24+ hours) as that little guy just did not want to come out.

My kids are older now, so it’s been a while since I’ve been around a baby. Babies are amazing to watch how they learn about the world around them. And it will be fun to watch my sister and my brother-in-law learn how to be parents.

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4th on the 3rd

Every year the town I live in has the 4th of July celebratory fireworks on the 3rd. I’ve heard part of the reason explained is so that as other towns have theirs on the 4th there is not a massive number of people crossing paths. Another reason is so that more people can attend multiple fireworks shows. This all makes sense, but it just seems odd to me to celebrate a holiday that is specifically about a date on a day other than that date.

It’s understandable that people celebrate holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving on different days. Especially for large families where you need to visit multiple locations. However, doing the 4th on the 3rd is similar to having a New Years eve party on December 30th or Jan 2nd. Sure you can get together with family, but it kind of seems lame to have the countdown any other time than when the year actually changes.

The fireworks displays have also been getting boring over the years and expectations for this year looked to be the same. There was some excitement this year with a drone flying overhead and around the firework display as they were going off. I really need to get a drone.

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