Mobile UX – Practice, tips and tools of the trade

User Experience (UX) has gained a solid foothold in the design, development and building of online applications.  Thinking a project through in a high-level visual form is a necessary step towards helping a project become more successful.  The practice is more predominant in the web site space.  As mobile applications continue to grow at an exponential rate, the specialization of mobile User Experience is becoming more important.  This session will be divided into roughly two parts.  The first part is a quick overview and presentation.  The second part is where we get our hands a little dirty as I demonstrate a few tools and techniques.

A lot to cover in a short amount of time.

Other participants who are in the same field, please feel free to share other tools/techniques.

Part I – The Practice of Mobile UX (0:20 min)

  • Introduction
  • Differences between web sites and mobile sites
  • Differences between mobile Apps and mobile sites
  • Different platforms and considerations
  • Current trends (HTML apps)

Part II – Tips and Tools of the Trade (1:00)

  • Wireframing with Omnigraffle
  • Prototyping mobile sites and apps with Axure
  • Prototyping mobile Apps with xCode and PhoneGap
  • Presentation techniques and technologies

Q&A (0:10)


The tools I’ll be primarily be demonstrating are Omnigraffle, Axure.  You can download free trial licenses from the following sites.  These are paid applications, but I will also talk about other solutions (free/open source).

NOTE: You do not have to download these programs to follow along.  This is more of a demo of the landscape of tools available to help present and realize the vision of the project.


I’ll briefly demonstrate how to prototype and deploy an HTML App using PhoneGap (free/open source), xCode ($4.99) and Dreamweaver (v5.5).

Hello Google App Inventor

Within minutes of firing up Google’s App Inventor, a totally
programming newbie (like me) can create a simple app for their Android phone. One of my apps – a simple sight word app – was featured in the Google research blog.

This session will provide an introduction to Google’s App Inventor
and those with an Android phone will hopefully be able to leave with a
program or two of their own.

App Inventor is a blocks-based programming platform meant to help new
programmers learn the basics of programming, but it also has a fair amount of
complex and somewhat deep functionality.

For more complicated programming questions, I will defer to the App
Inventor forums (and people who know more about me), but I can certainly get you started.


Unity3D Workshop

Unity3D is an application that allows you to create (with incredible ease) both 2D and 3D environments. Although Unity is primarily used as a game development tool, there is a growing community of people who are starting to use this platform for purposes outside the realm of gaming – primarily due to the program’s ability to create highly immersive environments with little to no programming experience . Personally, as a former ITP student, learning about this program has been invaluable to my work at ITP, and I’ve grown to see this program as an incredibly useful tool in creating highly immersive pieces.

ITP Camp games night

Rescheduled games night, as a hands-on followup to the session The Games People Play. See original description here.

Hacking the Dinner Party: An Introduction to Sous Vide & Meat Glue

The dinner party is the original burning platform for social interaction. For the host/cook, it is a chance to not only create a social hub but to express oneself through the food that is prepared and served to guests. Sous Vide and Acvita (Meat Glue) are force multipliers that can dramatically amplify the size, scope, and level of creativity behind the dinner parties that you throw. This session will introduce both techniques and explain how you can use them to throw kick ass dinners for your friends.

Sous vide cooking means cooking under vacuum, typically with the help of an immersion circulator, which is a high precision water temperature regulator. Learn the basics of how to use a vacuum sealer and an immersion circulator to create an incredibly wide range of foods. I will introduce the basic methods to cook with sous vide, display a few examples of sous vide recipes, discuss safety, and how you can create/hack your own sous vide setup at home.

Also up for discussion is an introduction to Activa, affectionately known in culinary circles as “meat glue.” Activa is an enzyme that binds proteins together and can be used to make novel gastronomic delights. It also plays a synergistic role with sous vide techniques and its usage will be integrated into the sous vide tutorial.

Bio: Mike Lee is the founder and chef of Studiofeast, an invitation only dining collective based in NYC. Studiofeast plans and executes pop-up style dinners and was recently a part of the supperclub group that cooked and served a 6 course lunch on the L Train. He is an ITP Camp 2010 alum.


Thanks to all those who attended. Here’s a link to a recap that includes the slides, some photos, and a video. EMail me at if you have any questions about what was covered. Thanks!


Projects, Talks, and Process Work

Because Camp is meant as a spring board, this is an opportunity to collectively consider What Happens Next. An great way to get that conversation going is to share What’s Happened So Far. Here are some ways you can share:

  • PROJECTS: Did you create a project at camp? This is a good opportunity to install your work and share it with the group. The large screens in the front hallway are available as well as many spaces in the lounge and classrooms.
  • IGNITE TALKS: 20 slide. 15 seconds each. 5 minutes of auto-advancing fun! Topics can include projects, areas of expertise, emerging ideas, and reflections on things you learned at camp. Please sign up by Tuesday evening and the schedule will be determined accordingly!
  • PROCESS WORK: Most often Camp is about starting rather than finishing so process work can be extremely valuable to share. Got a basic demo? A mock up? A wireframe? A first draft? Think about how you might share that with the group in some form.
  • SESSION RESULTS: What happened in there? Unless you did really really well in Amanda’s cloning workshop, you likely didn’t get a chance to attend every session. Which sessions had results that are worth reviewing? Should the Microbial Fuel Cells be hooked up in parallel to achieve a yet-to-be-known amperage? Should the 1-in-1 projects be collectively showcased so we can consider what really can be done in a day? What else?
  • BEYOND: If there’s anything else you think should be shared before parting ways now is the time! The suggestion box is open.

If you are planning to show a project, give a talk, or seize any other opportunities please leave a comment below!

Introduction to openFrameworks

openFrameworks is an open source toolkit for creative computing and is very similar to Processing. The major differences are that it uses C++, not Java, as the programming language and it does not have its own software called an IDE (integrated development environment). For a very technical description of the differences between Processing and OF, see the OF wiki.

Before the session, go through the setup instructions.


  • 2:30-3:00 I will be available to help anyone who had problems with installation.
  • 3:00-4:30 We will go over how OF works and have a very basic introduction to essential concepts in C++. We will try to spend most of the time programming and learning by doing, because no one wants to listen to a lecture on a Saturday afternoon.
  • 4:30-5:00 I will quickly go over some more advanced topics in OF such as addons and debugging just to demonstrate the possibilities of what can be done OF

Who should attend this session? If you have programmed in C/C++/C#/Java, feel comfortable with Processing and/or have used an IDE besides Arduino or Processing (perhaps attend the Proclipsing session) then this session may be beneficial. If you’ve only recently started programming and are still getting familiar with Processing, then this might move a little fast. Of course everyone is welcome! Those that don’t want to code but are curious about OF, the last half hour may be of interest.

There are some instructional videos on how to setup and use openFrameworks here.

Here are the slides:

Wanna be a VJ? Intro to Realtime Visual Performance

VJ’ing is the art of realtime visual performance, performing alongside DJ’s or live musicians to create a multimedia experience. This session will introduce you to the basics to help get you started. We’ll start with a brief history, then cover software (both commercial and open source), hardware (from projectors to mixers), and finally discuss gig preparation, setup, and other real life concerns for visual performance artists in the field.

No extra software or hardware needed, but coming to the session with Max/MSP + Jitter installed would help, as I’ll be using it for part of the demo and sharing example code. You can find a free 30 day trial here:

RESCHEDULED Get Your Hands Dirty! Intro to Casting and Mold Making – Part 2

RESCHEDULED Get Your Hands Dirty! Session 2

Introduction to Casting and Mold Making in two hands – on sessions
During  Session One (Saturday June 25  2:00-4:30 pm) we started with the basics, with a description of tools
and techniques, how to design a mold, and how to choose the
appropriate casting material. We worked with clay, plaster, and
alginate, and made a plaster cast of a hand. If you missed the first session come anyway, and we’ll start with a brief review.

Session Two (Sunday June 26  12:00-2:30 pm) will build on session one and introduce the latest
two-part rubber and plastic compounds as well as fiberglass-reinforced
plaster. We’ll make a silicone rubber mold and cast with polyurethane
plastic and foam. Meet in the shop area at the big tables.

Get Your Hands Dirty! Intro to Casting and Mold Making – Part 1

Get Your Hands Dirty! Session 1

Introduction to Casting and Mold Making in two hands – on sessions
Session One (Saturday June 25  2:00-4:30 pm) will introduce the basics, with a description of tools
and techniques, how to design a mold, and how to choose the
appropriate casting material. We’ll work with clay, plaster, and
alginate, and make a plaster cast of a hand. Meet in the shop area at the big tables.

Session Two (Tuesday June 28  6:00-8:30 pm) will build on session one and introduce the latest
two-part rubber and plastic compounds as well as fiberglass reinforced
plaster. We’ll make a silicone rubber mold and cast with polyurethane
plastic and foam.