Thoughts

Better UI/UX Design for Instagram’s Activity Page
          Instagram has persuaded millions of users to join photography’s new social movement. Mobile device users have searched for an app that is able to seamlessly post their experience through pictures and videos. Insta has initiated a trend by allowing the use of #hashtags to rapidly connect different users with similar interests. The company’s fast growth has created an opportunity for photographers, artists and business owners to creatively reach new clients. It has in return helped unknowns become stars.
          This new digital artistic tool urged me as an artist to create a personal account and begin to learn the in’s and out’s of the app. Navigating between screens I was able learn new tricks. These tricks helped with quality and speed of posts. I eagerly welcomed new changes, for they improved the UX/User Experience. Being the geek that I am, I began following popular pages. Exploring the ways they are able to reach such a large number of followers. Similarities came into focus. Almost all of them, choose a specific subject. Then started sharing creative new pics and videos that had a relation to that theme. Posts used #hashtags to describe the material. Timely consistency of posts assured followers continuous fresh projects.             This concept urged and invited users to follow the stream. This gave birth to a strategy experienced users applied to build a popular page.
Equipped with this new knowledge of UI/UX, motivated me to begin @IGDraws. Short for Instagram Draws. A page dedicated to sharing drawings of Instagram users. With the purpose of promoting fellow artists and spreading artistic inspiration. I found many amazing ordinary artists that deserved better exposure. Especially ones who relied heavily on hand drawn artwork. There was plenty of popular pages displaying paintings and digital works. But none with strictly drawings. This seemed unfair to me. If an artist is brilliant but poor. Lacking proper material or tools to create his master piece, proved the idea unjust. It allowed me to find a larger pool of artworks. Everyone has access to a pencil, the ultimate translator of imaginative thoughts on paper.
          I wanted to create respect through my posts. So I created guidelines to follow. To assure fairness, I made sure artwork was original. Asked for permission before sharing work. Made sure I tagged and gave them credit. Never use the artist twice, to allow equal exposure for more artists. Try and post one drawing a day. This builds the page into a community of fellow artists properly supporting each other.  Helps artists get ideas for their next piece. So long as the work is new, rare and creative. The account will gain followers.
          To reach mass viewers. I began using search terms also known as #hashtags. This allowed millions of users to find the posts, navigate the page, like the material then make the obvious decision to follow. I also asked fellow artists to tag #IGDraws on works they wish to be featured. This automatically creates a buzz and allows others to share posts with friends. This rapidly expanded the number of followers on IGDraws. With in months I was able to reach a 1000 followers and continued the fast growth there after. Until Instagram no longer allowed me to use hashtags. ’Till this day I have no reasoning behind the move. Multiple tries at contacting the company in need of an explanation for disabling my #hashtags resulted in no response. I refused to use robotic software that jailbreaks the app. To allow a computer to send a hundred simultaneous likes was cheating and hinted at having my page possibly deleted for not following app rules. So I stopped using #hashtags all together. This slowed the accounts growth. I started concentrating mostly on posting amazing unique pieces of art. Was able to steadily built the page’s audience to 4000+ followers using these techniques.
          Being an artist and a tech geek. I began studying tweaks that may improve the UX. An alternate UI/User Interface that can be of much help to moderators of popular pages with a 1000 followers and up. Specifically the  “Activity” screen. Currently likes, comments and friend add notifications are mixed into one thread. Which can prove challenging for mega page owners to comb through. Can you imagine an owner of an account with 50,000 followers try and separate these three categories of notifications? Impossible. An individual post on these mega accounts can generate up to a 1000 likes, hundreds of comments and followers. The history list of activity is limited to 84 notifications. That means the moderator is unable to read and monitor all activity. For they will be pushed past the activity list and forever lost. I noticed this when I began asking permission to use works of art on these mega pages. It explained the reasoning behind the artist not replying with the go ahead approval to share. It is because my comment on a post praising their work, asking for permission to use it was lost among the thousand other notifications the owner never got the chance to read nor reply to.
          In my attempt at solving this issue. I created an alternate design to the Activity portion of the app. I divided and organized the Activity screen into three sections. One that listed a continuous history of Likes, Comments and Followers. Allowing each category to have its own thread of notifications. This allows the owner to read all comments based on time of post. And see a list of new followers based on the time they began following page.
What do you think of this article? Of introduced new design? Comments are welcomed.
A + IDEA

The smartest minds in the world today should get together and work  on subjects of their interest. Together these experts will be passionate about the work.  Having the aid of genius men and woman as colleagues will help their projects advance. If this group is arranged? I foresee a Nobel Prize awarded on their behalf regularly. Thus benefitting all human kind.

Light Projection in Mobile Devices

There is a huge electronic niche that seems yet to be tapped. Light projection for mobile phones and tablets. This much needed feature can be a huge selling point if implemented in a new device effectively. The benefits of having the new hardware are endless. So how come the idea has yet to take off?

For one thing, only a few companies have tried to include the feature in their phones. Nokia and Samsung have both meddled with the concept. But Samsung seemed to have a bit of a better success. I say “a bit”, because they didn’t promote the Galaxy Beam smartphone properly. Which gives the sense that they were not fully fond of it. Nor had full confidence that it will properly function without glitches. Battery life might play an issue in this dilemma as well. I know that battery life seems to be running low as is for most current smartphones and adding a light projector to the handheld device will further diminish its daily life span. It doesn’t take a hardware guru to figure that battery is an issue. But I still argue that its an addition that can prove massively appealing to consumers. If its not ready for mobile phones, it must be ready to implement into tablets. Only Apple has a proven successful record of perfecting such new features. For example, Microsoft was the first to meddle with handheld digital audio devices. And one of the first to try its hand with tablets. But failed to perfect them and failed to prove to the consumers that there is a huge need for their existence. But look what Apple was able to do with the iPod and iPad. Apple fine tuned these concepts, developed a beautiful user friendly software and designed a beautiful hardware that captured the salivating eyes of its users. With that said, I believe only Apple has the vision and creative history to accomplish such a task.

Hand held light projection devices are essential, beneficial and can be of great use in our daily lives. People of all ages will be in need of this feature. Artists will use light to project their artwork on walls and canvases to easily trace and expand the size without losing much quality and time. Teachers can go to class with only their phone or tablet in hand and are able to present slides and lectures on any flat surface with ease and clarity. Families can watch any video they wish outdoors with their loved ones for an intimate and memorable experience. Individuals can finally have many devices in one. They will no longer need to pay an extra $2000 dollars for a tv set. Movies can be projected up to 70 inches wide with high clarity. They can even watch video as they lay flat on their bed with the phone or tablet projecting video to the ceiling. Photographers can use it to give their models depth, set a scene or manipulate the background. These are only a few of the tasks light projection can provide. The possibilities are endless.

Every year Apple comes out with a unique feature to help sell its new iPhone or iPad. Whether its a new A7 chip with 64-bit architecture, Siri – a voice based command software, Touch ID – a fingerprint identity sensor, iSight camera or retina display to improve the picture quality. Light projection can be the next big thing. It will create a huge demand for its up and coming devices. But battery life, video clarity and consistency issues do need to be ironed out before releasing such a massive addition. I don’t know about you but I will be the first one in line to buy a handheld device that offers light projection as a part of its hardware.

Majd Nazo

United Human Gravity

If we gather all humans on this planet and place them near each other in one city or one country, will their weight and targeted gravity shift the Earth’s axis? Imagine Earth as a bowling ball that is spinning on a smooth surface. If weight is evenly distributed? It will spin in its place due to its balanced radius. Now if you attach a heavy piece of metal to one of its three finger holes and spin again? It will spin erratically and change position due to the newly added mass. Same principal applies to our planet. Our combined human weight will add pressure to one specific location and pierce through to the inner most core with the aid of gravity. Now you might say what about the mass of the mountains and natural forming continents? Well that can play a role as well. But I believe the human soul and human gravity is sure to play a bigger role. This concept may shift the current Earth location with respect to the universe and it may also speed up the day cycle of 24 hrs. I am curious to research and see if today’s current spinning axis is trailing the heaviest mass combination of land and ocean? Whether it has an effect or not, the mere activity and participation of all humans will be a monumental triumph in itself. It will bring us together and force us to communicate and thus expand our understanding of one another as a specie.

– Majd Nazo

Dreams

When we sleep our brains take over and try to sort through all the images experienced during that day. If there are connections or similarities between todays images or the past’s, the brain automatically combines them. Once a setting or a scene is set and we are not fully awake to control it. Pulses of intuition take over based on past decisions. Which are engraved in our memory. And does its best using those default tools available to it to explore the scene and build on the imagery. Senses can also act as trigger tool. A scent, smell, sound or touch while asleep can also make the connection subconsciously and recall that experience. This sudden recognizable sense is intertwined with the current visual image floating in our dream, thus continuing to build on those surreal stories and scenes that seem to take shape mostly during REM(Rapid Eye Movement). Also known as deep sleep.

– Majd Nazo

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Multimedia Artist