Archive for March, 2014

Design is how it works. A lecture at

Steve Jobs said that and it’s repeated by the people who recognize how much important is building apps as much nice as user-friendly.

And it was the theme of my presentation as “visiting lecturer” at the Augmented Reality & Mobile Experience course held by Prof. Spallazzo at the Design Department of the Polytechnic University of Milan.

Generally speaking, designer and developer are two very different kinds of people, both in terms of education and personal tastes.
These differences often cause communication obstacles when they have to work together, for example to make an app for mobile devices.

So, in the first part of the lecture I talked about the best practices the two figures should follow, since knowing some details of how one works helps communicating better with the other.

In the second part I briefly showed the tools used by developers to make apps for the three main platforms: Apple iOS, Google Android and Microsoft Windows Phone.

No, I’m not a fan of any of the three operative systems! 😉
As I told the students, “I just can’t, as a professional”, but I started from iOS because in my experience it’s the ecosystem in which design and code are aspects historically treated with the same importance.

Being a class with a focus on technology applied to cultural heritage, I closed the lecture talking about the project Rationalism in the Province of Como.
Who better than rationalist architects did know how to use the rule of the golden mean, nowadays evident in the user interface design of iOS 7 and Windows Phone?

Thanks to Prof. Spallazzo for the invitation. Given the interest in this matter, together we hope to organize a course about app design and development.
Meanwhile, the presentation (italian only) I made for the lecture is available on SlideShare.

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Museums and the Web Florence 2014

Palazzo Vecchio in Florence has been the ideal setting to host for the first time in Italy the international conference Museums and the Web, organized yearly in the USA and dedicated to the relationship between technology and cultural places.

For me it was the chance to reconnect with “old” colleagues and meet new ones.

These are the three key points on which I’d like to focus, among the numerous matters discussed by the speakers during the three days-conference:

  • metrics: Robert Stein, Director of the Dallas Museum of Art (500.000 visitors per year), shared some very interesting metrics he used to measure and evaluate the initiatives of his institution. That’s a good practice we Italians aren’t quite used to: measuring the results of a project and planning the next steps according to that data.
  • live-tweeting: it was surprisingly useful during the presentations, since it helped me focus on the key-points, especially if the speaker didn’t have an effective presentation style. You have to be trained to be able to listen, synthetize and tweet properly, so thanks to BAM! Strategie Culturali, #svegliamuseo, flod republic and other bloggers.
  • gamification: it’s a hot topic, trendy I’d say, but it has to be treated carefully in my opinion. As a provocation, I’d like to recommend speakers to not talk about gamification in conferences about digital storytelling if they haven’t a line like “I play videogames from the beginning to the end” on their CV! 😛
    Taking “just a peek” at an storytelling-based game it’s like listening to the beginning of a story and never knowing how it will end, if you know what I mean.

I also showed the work we did for the project Rationalism in the Province of Como in the demonstration area inside Palazzo Vecchio.
Someone told me that he liked it because the app looked more “emotional” compared to other solutions, since it generated empathy and involvement.
And if an french expert in the field tells you that, in english, I think it’s a quite valuable appreciation! 😉

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