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iOS Design Double Feature at AOL in Palo Alto

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Thanks to Julie Wilson and David Robinson of AOL, we'll be back in Palo Alto in January. We'll be in the same room where Disney Mobile hosted our October game design panel. But this month, our focus will be on design with two top-tier talks and a bonus from AOL's mobile team.

Part 1

Anne Halsall of Quora will be presenting an updated version of a talk that she gave last year at SecondConf:

Flexible Content, Deliberate Design

With the iPad, we’ve seen an emergence of apps designed for the purpose of consuming content of various types. How can we address the tension behind the need for automation, scalability, and flexibility of content while still ensuring a good, deliberate design that feels handcrafted? Anne will give examples of interesting solutions to the problem, and explore how common patterns in programming can be used on the design side to build something that is both effective and beautiful.

Part 2

Local experts Chia Hwu and Evan Kirchhoff, partners at Qubop, Inc., will be expanding on a talk that I first saw them present at the Sprint Open Solutions Conference in November:

Sensational iOS App Design: First Principles and New Trends for 2012

Developing good mobile interfaces is hard, but there are key factors in UX/UI design that are common across today's top iOS apps. At the same time, prominent design patterns from early or mid-2011 have already evolved and tranformed. We'll give you a quick design checklist to think about as you're planning this year's iPhone or iPad apps.

Bonus: Digital Design for a Physical World

David Blundell of AOL will give a short presentation on the design philosophy of using the physical world as a touchstone for design, down to the smallest details. Quoting David, "This philosophy should generally keep you on the right track regardless of the specific design concepts you use in your app. I expect to use 3-4 apps as examples, including Notes by Apple (done very well), Reminders by Apple (has some issues), and our app Editions. For the latter I'll highlight some tweaks we've made along these lines."


Anne Halsall is a Product Designer at Quora with responsibilities that include Quora's mobile apps. Previously she was User Experience Lead at Inkling, a startup creating interactive textbooks for iPad. Anne has also consulted independently and worked as a webmaster at Google, where she was responsible for web site for many of Google's consumer-facing products, including iGoogle, Chrome, and Desktop.

Anne has also worked as a design consultant at Lymba Corp and has been responsible for web development at The University of Texas at Dallas and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has a B.A. in East Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Evan Kirchhoff is the CTO of Qubop Inc. and has developed for multiple mobile platforms since 2002, and for the web for over a decade. Prior to Qubop, Evan was employee #1 at Ansca Mobile and Lead Architect on their cross-platform toolkit for iOS and Android, where he designed and implemented key product features including the core game physics API.

Evan previously worked for Adobe as a Senior Developer on the Verizon Wireless "FlashCast" project. In addition, Evan was the cofounder of Comrade Software, a mobile and web production company that created games for the carrier decks of both Verizon Wireless and Softbank Japan. Other Comrade clients included Sun Microsystems, Benchmark Capital, Nielsen Online, Seattle Sound Transit, the Dallas Federal Reserve, Blue Shield of California, and Evan holds a BSc in Physics from the University of Manitoba, and reached ABD status in his PhD program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Chia Hwu is CEO of Qubop Inc. Her background spans product design, marketing, and both hard sciences and the visual arts. Before Qubop, she was Director of Marketing at Ansca Mobile, where she was responsible for leading brand strategy, public relations, and product marketing.

Chia previously worked at 23andMe, where she built the company's user communities, using a network of enthusiastic users to successfully launch a new product. In addition, she created a new business line with niche customers of the service, and managed some of the earliest efforts in marketing genetics to consumers. Chia has worked in biotech as a medicinal chemist, completed all coursework for a PhD in Chemistry, received her MS from UCSD, and earned her bachelor's degree from Williams College. She is a coauthor of Teach Yourself the Twitter API in 24 Hours (Sams) and an expert at the integration of game mechanics and social features into apps.

David Blundell began as an independent iPhone developer in his free time in March 2009. Over that summer he went on a cross-country motorcycle trip during which he completed and submitted his first two apps to the App Store. One of these is TapTunes, an advanced music player which presents a more visual way of browsing and playing back your music along with some other bells and whistles over the stock Music app. Since then he has been iterating on TapTunes on nights and weekends (his day job was web development), which led to a call from Sol Lipman at Aol early last year. He's been working on the MobileFirst team there since last May and couldn't be happier. His current project is Editions for iPad.

395 Page Mill Road · Palo Alto, CA
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