Category Archives: design

Mechanical Pomodoro featured in Holland Herald

Mechanical Pomodoro was featured in November’s issue of Holland Herald – the Inflight Magazine of KLM.

Everyone at Think Orange is thrilled and honored to appear in such awesome magazine.

Catch the full photo on Flickr.

Mechanical Pomodoro is an easy iPhone App developed by Think Orange that helps you implement the Pomodoro Technique (TM) for increasing productivity and improving your focus.

COWORKLISBOA has a new website

Working habits have changed in the past decade. The internet, the miniaturization of computers, and a shift in mobility made us more independent.
One example of that is the appearance of coworking spaces that enables independent professionals, companies and individuals to rent desks and work spaces in a common work place shared by all.
Some advantages include a working space with a fraction of price from a full office, possibility of synergies with coworkers from other areas and better working conditions compared with working at home.
There are many around the world and Lisbon has some great ones with fantastic conditions and people.

Liberdade229 is one of those examples, located on Avenida de Liberdade (one very central avenue of Lisbon), it’s home of several outstanding startups and features some very good conditions to work.

COWORKLISBOA is another one, located on the LX Factory - a creative think-tank space – with dozens of amazing artistic companies, ateliers, design agencies and tech startups.
If the location isn’t good reason enough, the space has fantastic working environment and features several types of desks available to rent.

I’ve moved my company to this amazing space 6 months ago and it was one of the best decisions i’ve ever made.
I was very excited when asked to design the new website for COWORKLISBOA and I’m very proud of the end result. The site is online and I think it clearly states the mood and fantastic environment.

If you’re around Lisbon be sure to drop a visit.

The Amazing Mechanical Pomodoro

The Amazing Mechanical Pomodoro is now available at the iTunes App store.

The app for the iPhone/iPod Touch helps you implement the Pomodoro Technique for increasing productivity and focusing at the tasks at hand.

The technique consists in breaking down work in  25 minutes chunks of time (called Pomodoro) and focusing only on the task at hand (use your favorite task manager).
After each Pomodoro you take a 5 minute short break and after the 3rd Pomodoro you can take a 15 minute long break. The Pomodoro Technique was invented by Francesco Cirillo.

This is the first app for the iPhone made at Think Orange. We asked Bauke Schildt to colaborate with us on this project thanks to his amazing design skills.

Design vs Functionality

There were 2 main pillars for the development of this application:

a) KISS – Keep it simple stupid. We wanted to be easy to use so no complicated options, buttons or bloated functionalities. For example, most people already have a favorite task handling system (GTD, Things, Tada List, pen and paper, etc) so we didn’t waste time building another one on top of Mechanical Pomodoro.

b) Design is everything. The app had to be gorgeous. After building the prototype, we sat down with Bauke to come up with a theme (steampunk style) and create a beautiful design that supported all the functionality but still being usable.

Technical Notes

We used Appcelerator’s Titanium Mobile to build the Mechanical Pomodoro, their support is fantastic and being able to use one code base for both Android an iPhone versions is a great win for us. Development time was also much faster in comparison with XCode but the documentation for Titanium needs to be deeply improved.

We took 3 days to create a complete functional prototype of the application and then it took 1 month (part time) to finish development with the new design, tests, performance tweaks and real iPhone tests and finishing touches. The animations were particulary hard to achieve and took the most time to “get it right”.

The app was done with 1 coder (me) and 1 designer (Bauke Schildt).

Notes on Apple App Store

If I recall, it took us 3 weeks to get our company registered at Apple. But the process to get the app approved was much quicker. It took 1 week for the app to be reviewed and only 2 days for approval.

My advice is test your app very well before submitting, break everything and fix it again. Distribute the app to 2 or 3 friends and let them test it. Listen to their advice. :)

Summary

It was trilling building something for the iPhone and seeing it on a real machine for the first time. It’s hard to describe the feeling. I hope people enjoy the app as much as I had fun building it with Bauke. Expect more apps soon.

The app is available at the app store and costs $1.99 (or 1.57 eur). Android version will be available as soon as Google Checkout is available in Portugal. :|

I have 4 promo codes for the app (US Store only), make a comment with a valid email and I’ll give it away.

Gallery

And finally, some images from early prototype to finished product. Sketches coming soon.

Update 04/08/2010:

Just submitted an update to iTunes Connect that fixes the bug when returning from sleep or other tabs. Also added some small tweaks and improved artwork.

We’re preparing another one with some suggested features and requests. thanks for all the feedback.

Se eu fosse… Nacionalidades iPad app previewed

Yesterday was the launch of a new children’s book written by Francisco José Viegas and illustrations by Rui Penedo called “Se eu fosse… Nacionalidades”.

Se Eu fosse... Nacionalidades

Think Orange was invited to create an iPad version which would be truthful to the original content and adapted to this new medium.

The opening ceremony went very well, the book is very well made and the drawings are imaginative and creative, so we were very happy to be able to create an app for the book.

We decided to not go with the current over-the-top crazy animations pattern that some apps feature and in some cases just distract you from the original writing and magic of the book.

iPad app demonstration We had 2 computers on the book launch running the iPad app on the simulator (no iPads for sale in Portugal yet, ouch!) and people could interact freely and play with the book.

It was also a good opportunity to observe some behaviours from grownups and children when dealing with the interactive elements on the app.

A very good experience overall, the app should be available very soon. In the meantime I’ve created a Flickr image gallery with preview screens of the application and some photos of the event. Enjoy!

I can handle it (really!)

Am I the only one tired with websites and videos asking me my age in order to show content?  It’s a game trailer, how bad can it be?

I mean, I understand the need for it but maybe it’s time to make the process more easy and fun.

My suggestion:

PS: I know there’s laws involved for this. Handle with humour.

First week at COWORK Lisboa

What a good way to start the year.

I’ve been very busy since the start of the new year with all the work happening at Think Orange and participating in the SHiFT organization (more on that later).

Last week the Think Orange website received some very good buzz and appreciation, which is very nice. I love sites that follow a minimal style and I’m happy it served as inspiration and got recognized. I wish some clients would realize cramming more stuff into a site doesn’t necessarily make it better.

Also, we’ve got our projects planned for the upcoming months, setup goals for this year and moved to a new working space.

The COWORK Lisboa, located inside the LX Factory will be our home for the next season and is a cool place to work. Lisbon needed more coworking offers and this is one solid one. The location is very good with a public transportation interface nearby and lot’s of local commerce around.

Best of all, we’re in a room full of interesting, creative and entrepreneur people. I hope in the coming weeks we get to know them better and share some interesting stories/knowledge over some coffee. If you’re in the area feel free to visit us and have a chat. :)

On the subject of SHiFT, if you didn’t already know, it’s an international conference happening on the 16-17th of April in Lisbon on the subject this year of  Do It Yourself.

SHiFT 2010 will bring together the leaders and newbies of the communities which have serviced in the past 2 editions, with a single purpose: to empower you, so that you can empower others.
It’s a fantastic event where leaders and participants from all walks of life discuss on how technology impacts and changes our life, this year there’s already these great speakers enrolled:

So go check it out. Here’s an interview with Pedro Custódio from last year about the subject. ;)

Upcoming project: Roadie

In the last weeks, we’ve been working on a little experiment at Think Orange. We love music and we’re pretty busy fellows, so we wanted a solution to keep us informed on new album releases from our favorite bands.

Thus with a little time on our hands and the help of Bruno Afonso with his incredible design skills, we created Roadie.

roadie_small

Roadie is a free service where you pick the artists or band that interest you and we’ll generate a customized RSS Feed or iCal with their recently released or brand new albuns which you can subscribe.
That way, you’ll always know when a new album is coming.

roadie

We’re putting the finishing touches and gathering feedback from friends and testers. It should be out very soon.

New Think Orange Moo Cards on the way

survs_logo_color_largeLast week, I asked for some help on choosing our new cards from Moo. I presented several designs and used Survs to create a quick survey where the crowd could vote on their favourite card and leave a comment if it was rubbish. I also offered 20 Survs licences for the basic 6 month account. So cheers to everyone who contributed.

Thankfully, Survs also has a powerful analysis tool, so we read all your suggestions, looked at the statistics and ordered the following cards. Don’t forget to ask me one when you see me on the next conference/geek event/pub/whatever. ;)

Vote on the new Think Orange MOO cards

At Think Orange we’re preparing new business cards but we can’t decide which design is the best one. So why not let the crowd decide?

picture-1

We’ve put together 10 diferent designs for the cards we’re going to order from MOO and we want you to be part of the decision process. Take the survey and help us decide which designs are cool or just plain ugly.

To make it more interesting we’re giving away 20 Survs licenses (6 month on the Basic Plan) to the first 20 people who submit the survey.

survs_logo_color_largeDon’t know what Survs is?

Survs is a collaborative tool that allows you to build, deploy and analyze online surveys. We’ve used it to build our survey in just 5 minutes and it’s a great product.

survs_surveys

So, help us choose the best designs for the cards and we’ll post the results and winners soon. Who knows, if we meet in the next conference or social event, you can say “hey, I chose that card!”.

Update: all licences gone. But you can still vote if you like. :)

Ux London

UX London is a three-day event aimed at user experience designers, information architects, web producers or anyone interested in the topic.

The aim of UX London is to galvanise the UX community in Europe and with big name speakers like Don Norman, Jared Spool, Jeff Veen, Dan Saffer, Peter Merholtz on board it’s shaping up to be a fantastic event.

UX London combines a day of inspirational conference with four half days of practical, in-depth, hands-on workshops and the registrations are already open with the Early Bird price going for £895.

The event will take place on the 15th17th June 2009 , Cumberland Hotel, London. Don’t miss.