The following is an excerpt from HTML5 Hacks: Tips and Tools for Creating Interactive Web Applications by frog Senior Software Engineer Jesse Cravens and Jeff Burtoft. Jesse and Jeff will presenting a SXSW session featuring the book on Tuesday March 12, at 11:30 AM.
In order to understand HTML5 in this context, first it is important to understand that HTML5 is not one technology that is applied or added to a web application. There are more than 30 specifications within the HTML5 umbrella, and each is at a different stage of maturity. Furthermore, each specification is also at a different state of adoption and, potentially, implementation, by the major browser manufacturers.
Depending on an application’s business requirements, the app’s developer will pick and choose the HTML5 features to take advantage of. It is entirely possible that only a handful of the available specifications will be used for the final implementation of a modern web application.
A caregiver shows an example of a family medical history document she created after learning about her father’s heart condition. She shares it with other family members and doctors to add important context to the care process
We tell stories to understand and express who we are, aspire to what we want to be, and shape what others think about us. We tell stories to entertain, mythologize, or just share. The many approaches to storytelling are a frequent topic at SXSWi this year, with 100+ panels that reference stories or storytelling. Our own story is being created every day, through conversations with our self, through interactions with other people, social networks, companies, and institutions. These days, we don’t have full control over it–online networks and digital communities are actively shaping, telling, and retelling stories about us and our behaviors that we’re not always aware of
At SXSWi, the popular author John Hagel raised the distinction between stories and narratives. Stories are finite. They have a beginning and end. Stories are also about someone or something else. They are not personal to the individual. Narratives are open ended, with a resolution that is undefined. Narratives are personal and contain an invitation for others to participate in the resolution.
How can the story of our health turn into a narrative with friends, family, physicians and the care community that is coherent, useful, participatory, and evolving? How can narrative put a face on our conditions and enable deeper understandings of ourselves and more meaningful interactions between us, our caregivers, and health providers that help us feel better and lead to wellness?
Whether in our client projects, our recent work on wearables, or even this year’s SXSWi Opening Party, we at frog spend a lot of time these days developing intelligent connected devices. From self-tracking equipment, to wearable computing, to ambient sensing and sensor-embedded environments, the Internet of Things was discussed more than any other subject this year at SXSWi.
Some of the best thinking on this subject was shared at Sunday’s panel entitled How Self-Tracking Geeks are Shaping our Future, featuring Gary Wolf (Founder of the Quantified Self movement), Lisa Kennedy (CMO of GE healthymagination), and Sonny Vu (CEO of Misfit Wearables and creator of the world’s first iPhone connected medical device.) The conversation highlighted emerging consumer wearable technology and health-related devices. As one would expect, the conversation eventually led the personal value of data generated by this equipment, but did not directly address the value of this data to the enterprise.
We all know our data has value. Why else would Google give me products, like search, Gmail, or Google Drive, to use for free? I know they are monetizing my data through advertising, but I don’t care because I get to use great products for free. Value exchange models like this abound in our digital experiences, from Google, to Facebook, to Foursquare (a company that has figured out, albeit indirectly, how to give me something tangible in return, in the form of that free slice of pizza I get from the pizza place where I am the mayor.) To date, the digital experience economy has largely been a one-way economy, with those companies who attract our attention monetizing our digital activity with their ecosystem partners.
But the great equalizer to make this experience economy a true, two-way economy may be the simple sensor embedded in my clothing, car, or public space. Digital value exchanges are beginning to extend far beyond the screen of my phone or laptop. Embedded sensors will allow me to increasingly exchange my activity for currency.
VP of Creative Paul Pugh—responsible for shaping frog’s focus on software and the ever-evolving mobile industry—led a SXSW panel on Sunday, discussing the opportunities and reticence associated with making our content and identities digital.
IT advances have created a mass transformation comparable to the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution. The panel sought to evaluate the impact on our analog realities as we use digital tools to create new connections and experiences. As our lives become increasingly miniaturized and virtualized, and user experience becomes ubiquitous, how can we create meaning?
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Eric Ries’s Lean Startup methodology was one of the hottest discussion topics of 2012 and was back again this year at SXSWi with a whole day of panels on Saturday. Central to this line of thinking is the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which represents a startup’s first test to judge the customer's interest in their offering, with a rough, often flawed version of their product. This strategy helps companies avoid early investment in unproven products or technologies and ensures efficient use of precious capital, all going directly towards iteratively rebuilding the MVP into what will eventually be the company’s core offering.
Our clients are often curious how Lean Startup approaches can be best applied in their companies (largely incumbent players, intent on disrupting theirs or a parallel industry with a breakthrough innovation.) Incumbent companies are faced with a dilemma when considering the MVP approach: they too want to use capital efficiently, but are often afraid to put their brand or customer relationships, often built over years or even decades, at risk with a poorly performing product.
Ries positions his methods as useful to both entrepreneurs and those looking to innovate from within established organizations. And, while an entrepreneurial attitude and management-style can bring a lot of value to an incumbent company, the considerations for the launch of an innovative enterprise differ depending on the context. This year at SXSWi, the Lean Startup stage welcomed a number of successful entrepreneurial test cases that exemplified a number of overlaps and differences for innovation at startups vs. established brands.
As digital sales increase, experience is becoming the new differentiator for brick and mortar retailers. They are facing huge pressures to innovative which requires risk. This is evident in the latest JC Penny transformation, where sales are now down 25 percent to $13 billion, meaning $4.3 billion in revenue is just gone. One has to ask if CEO Ron Johnson would have been better off spending more time trying to figure out what customers wanted from a "new" JC Penny's.
frog always takes a people-centric approach to design and what Gap Inc.'s Annika Dubrall spoke about in today's SXSW panel, Pop(up) Culture large retailers using pop-up stores to innovate by prototyping ideas and experiences outside the boundaries of the mothership. It is often very difficult to innovate within large retailers because the scale, potential impacts to the brand, and extremely tight operational and distribution models don't allow any room to be wrong.
A pop-up design strategy for large retailers has many benefits. What if I want to experiment with new products and engage a new demographic outside the core market? Pop ups are great because they are limited in long term investment, commitment, and stock, allowing for larger retailers to experiment without taking a hit. Development of new digital engagement tools to test new experiences can be quickly prototyped without being constrained by large IT systems. Experimenting with new ways to engage customers across multiple digital and physical channels can be explored and measured more accurately when the plan is factored in from the beginning. Lastly, Pop ups could be mobile, allowing for very easy regional distribution and testing. I bet Mr. Johnson is wishing he would have tried a few more pop-up prototypes, because perhaps the biggest benefit is there is no pressure to be right.
Mitch Murphy is a creative director in frog's Austin studio.
Granted, I am not a fashion designer—but I do love fashion. I admit it. I'm a sneakerhead and have an unhealthy fetish with vintage watches. This interest led me to stop by the 3D Fashion: Nonstop Innovation in Production and Fit panel to see what they had to say. I’d like to start out by saying the panel approach to SXSW can be either really good or really bad. Unfortunately, the dynamic of this panel wasn’t the best. But, as I sat listening to this bumpy discussion about something so seemingly insignificant as how couture fashion is now accessible to everyone through 3D printing technology, I had to think they might be missing the point. I know the maker community and most of them have no idea who Jean-Paul Gaultier is.
What we really should be talking about is user-centered fashion design and its impact on retailers and the marketplace. Believe me, I am a firm believer that if you give people a chance to be creative they will surpass your expectations. Still, I'm not sold that everyone being their own fashion designer is a good thing (or the fashion police might actually exist.) Instead, will there be a time when each of us has a ‘style signature'? A rich picture of what I like, my own style, palettes, fits, and exact measurements, combined with hyper-local data like extended forecasts and specific events that I may be attending. Could I take all this data, tap an upcoming date on my iCal, and order a custom fit suit with a tie inspired by a picture of the fall foliage in my front yard? Are we entering an age where our clothing is code?
Led by Sarah Stein Greenberg, Justin Ferrell, and Susie Wise from Stanford's d.school, the Yes and…Design Thinking Bootcamp took 80 participants through a half-day workshop—from consumer research on the street, to synthesis, then sense making, and, finally, creating concepts. I was privileged to help facilitate the session as a team coach, along with other facilitators from IDEO, National Graphic, and Sesame Street. It was amazing to see participants, with little to no experience, fully give themselves over to the d.school process. The teams were asked to redesign the SXSW experience, not for visiting guests, but for Austinites. After hours of data-gathering and brainstorming, the concepts ranged from the hilarious to the inspirational, from jetpack sharing to avoid the unruly traffic to a social kickstarter-like competition that pairs Austin community activists with visiting rockstar entrepreneurs.
Graeme Waitzkin is a senior strategist in frog's Austin studio.
The SXSW Interactive whirlwind is descending upon Austin this week. In anticipation, we have spent hours planning and optimizing our schedules to make sure we do not miss the next big thing that will be unveiled at this year’s conference.
The implications of connected devices and the data they create will be dominating this year’s event. While interaction design, product innovation, Big Data, gaming, and start-up culture still remain hot topics of conversation, it is the Internet of Things that is clearly top of mind.
From smart infrastructure and sensor-embedded environments, to wearables capable of helping us to live healthier lives, we are excited to share our 2013 SXSWi Panel Picks.
In December 2012 I traveled to Afghanistan with fellow frogs Jan Chipchase and Cara Silver to study the intersection of mobile technology and consumer banking. We were there to study financial services and access in a country where only 9 percent of people use financial institutions but 65 percent own a mobile phone. Today we're releasing the full report of our findings, entitled "In the Hands of God: A Study of Risk and Savings in Afghanistan." Download the PDF here.