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This is a move very similar to Microsoft did with Windows Phone 7: they told the OEM’s to get out of the way of design and made it an imperative to design from the bottom of the OS all the way up to the user. The result? A beautiful, consistent experience across disparate devices – a.k.a. the Apple Method.

Google, Not Device Makers, Will Control Android Wear, Auto and TV UI

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“If Google Now became more integrated into Android, the OS might function more like one of those contextual homescreen/launchers, like Aviate (acquired by Yahoo) or Cover, which place relevant apps on Android’s lockscreen.

The difference is that Google Now would not be just a layer on top of the OS, but a deeper part of the OS that’s capable of gathering data from the apps that run upon it and using that data to provide users with relevant, timely information and intelligent suggestions.”

“A Sneak Peak into the future of Android” via TechCrunch

Interesting news about the direction of the Android platform. The deep integration of Google Now is both exciting and scary.

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Differentiate your startup because the odds are already stacked against you. Don’t spread yourself thin by building too many products or too many features. Stay focused and be exceptional.

“Why entrepreneurs should focus on building just one product” via TheNextWeb

Excellent advice that can’t be overstated (IMO). We’ve worked hard at Contactive to build a powerful platform; the temptation is to build almost every cool scenario possible on top of it. The important thing is to stay focused and build a few things super well.

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According to psychologist Barbara L. Fredrickson, it takes three positive emotions to outweigh every negative one. Based on this, the Google design team set up two jars of marble to examine the costs and benefits. For every positive emotion that the design makes, they put a marble in the good emotion jar. However, if the design causes a negative emotion, they’ll put 3 marbles in the bad emotion jar. Their goal is to get an empty negative jar and a full positive jar.

Google Android’s 3 UX Design Principles and 2 Jars of Marbles” via Keira Bui on Medium

Very cool of Google to share these. I like the approach of thinking about positive/negative experiences as it can be a simple but powerful way to create emotionally engaging experiences. This is definitely true for apps like Contactive as we focus on improving productivity for our users.

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In a place where engineers have reigned supreme, the new tech talent war is for designers. Tech companies are focusing not just on the behind-the-scenes technology that makes a site or app run, but also how it looks to users and how attractive and intuitive it is — analyzing things like shadow, color and font.

Silicon Valley’s New Obsession With Beauty” via the New York Times

Having worked on enterprise productivity software almost my whole career, I’ve seen firsthand the shift from basically ignoring design – “just make it grey!”, they said – to bringing design, interaction, and visual disciplines into the core product team.