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Impact - A Blog by INM

Archive for 'May 2010'

    Building Our New Website

    INM.com Homepage

    If you’ve been to our website recently, you’ll notice a big change. We’ve recently completed a full site revamp, including new visuals, new content and a whole new back-end content management system (CMS).

    It’s been over three years since our last site and the world of website design has changed vastly since then. Years ago building a site meant investing heavily in the bits and bytes, focusing a lot of time, money and energy on the technology behind the site. However, today, the opposite is the case. The real value in a web project lies in the site architecture, the content and the branding. This is where the largest bulk of the efforts behind a site should be invested.

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    INM President Part of Canadian Delegation at World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT)

    As we get ready to celebrate the Victoria Day long weekend here in Canada, our president Vahe Kassardjian is packing up to join the delegation representing Canada at the 2010 World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) in Amsterdam. This event gathers business leaders, public officials, and opinion leaders from across the globe to discuss and build a vision of a connected planet with access for all. Vahe is one of 30 selected leaders chosen to join the Canadian delegation, led by the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry.

    The next WCIT event in 2012 will be hosted in by Canada and will take place in Montreal, May 21-24, 2012.

    I’m sure we will have some interesting insights from Vahe after he returns from this event.

    Lessons Learned from Windows 1.0

    Back in the 1980’s IBM believed that the real technology value was in strategic hardware manufacturing. They stepped back and let Microsoft build the operating system, a mere component of the hardware that IBM viewed as insignificant. However, as we all know, the software wound up being the differentiating product that made Microsoft one of the largest companies in the world, while the hardware became a commodity. This lesson comes to mind again recently with Apple’s new Gianduia technology announcement, a client-side, standards based framework for Rich Internet Applications (RIAs).

    With Gianduia, Apple is once again moving toward the user and the valuable interaction that breeds loyalty and connection with a technology. Gianduia also helps to explain why Apple has been so adamant with freezing Adobe out, first technically and now legally. With Adobe’s Open Screen Project, Adobe was on its way toward becoming the bridge that enabled a unified rich experience across all hardware. This would put Adobe in the value position and relegate Apple into the role IBM played all those decades ago. Instead with Guiaduia, Apple provides developers with an alternative to native Objective C development and delivers a viable alternative for RIAs on its hardware, increasing its value and further entrenching its value with consumers.

    Gianduia and the Open Screen Project ultimately both reinforce the importance of rich engagements that RIAs deliver. The fact that two 800lb gorillas are fighting over who gets to provide the platform for delivering a rich experience just further proves that this is where the real value lies.

    An Interactive Patient Kiosk for a Montreal Hospital

    MUHC Patient Kiosk

    It’s been a busy few weeks for project releases here at INM. On April 16, 2010 we unveiled a new touch screen kiosk that we built for the McGill University Health Center (MUHC). The kiosks are deployed in the emergency rooms of two of their centers to provide patients with an easy way to find clinics and pharmacies in their area. Patients simply enter their postal code and are shown an interactive map with marked locations for nearby resources. The map displays the local transit routes and provides details about the locations, including contact info and hours of operation.

    While this was a pretty simple project for us technically, it was an interesting one for us from a user experience design perspective. Creating a kiosk that will be used by people of all ages and skill levels, particularly when they are not feeling their best, is a challenge. We focused on creating a simple, clean interface with targeted functionality. The user’s interactions with the screen are clearly identified and the application uses movement and transitions to help orient the user. The kiosks are powered by a custom-built rich internet application that uses Adobe AIR. The application also leverages Adobe Flex and Adobe Flash for animation and effects. The kiosks are designed to be completely self-contained to adhere to the hospital’s security policy that prohibits the use of an internet connection or network access. To see a French demo video of the kiosk in action, visit the Cyberpresse.ca website.