zebra barcode printer in vb.net 7: Postage in Objective-C

Printer Denso QR Bar Code in Objective-C 7: Postage

CHAPTER 7: Postage
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with such a variety of choices presented within the confines of an iPhone-sized screen and a touch-based interface.
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Selecting Font Styles
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When designing Postage, we instead decided to be very frugal in the choices and customizations offered to the user in many places. For instance, consider selecting the font for the message; we could have presented an interface that listed every combination of font and style available on the device. Instead, we carefully preselected a list of fonts that gave the user a variety of type styles that also matched our postcard designs well. Figure 7-2 shows how this careful preselection of fonts allowed us to present a variety of choices in a pleasant and compact interface in the application. We did the same for font color and image effects as well, which are covered in the next couple of sections.
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Figure 7-2. Frugal font controls in Postage
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Despite all this apparent limitation of functionality by limiting the choices available to the user, we have never had complaints about the lack customization in our application. In return, we have a streamlined and approachable interface that doesn t overwhelm the user yet still allows plenty of creative expression.
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Selecting Font Colors
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Selection of font color in Postage works in a similar manner to font selection. We could have crafted an intricate new color-picker control to allow the selection from the millions of possible colors the device is capable of displaying. Instead, we chose to present the
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CHAPTER 7: Postage
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user with a choice of around ten hand-selected colors. This design decision also had another beneficial consequence: by limiting the colors that can be used, we could now carefully select colors that we knew would look good for the particular postcard design the user was working with. Each postcard template in Postage comes with a specific list of colors matched to that design, and these are the only choices presented to the user. We made it intentionally difficult for the user to make a choice that resulted in a postcard that would look bad. By limiting the choices, we helped to ensure that the users content looked great and therefore increased their satisfaction with the end result.
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Using Image Effects
Image effects in Postage also work in a similar manner. Users can select from a variety of common image effects to enhance the photo placed on each of their postcards. Photos can be made grayscale or sepia, enhanced for contrast, or stylized with a glow or softening. In each of these cases, the underlying code has a variety of parameters that control the application of the effect to the users photo. It would have been possible to expose each of these parameters in the interface and allow the user complete creative control over the result. Image processing, though, was not the central activity of our application and therefore this level of exposure to controls was not within our stated mission to focus the application. Instead, for each effect, we carefully selected values that made a pleasing result on a variety of images. The user was presented with one choice for each effect. As Figure 7-3 shows, all a user has to do to apply a photo effect is to tap a single button. As before, this allowed the task to be efficient and approachable while still offering a variety of creative options.
Figure 7-3. A single button press applies image effects and fonts.
Setting Preferences and Configuring the Application
Preferences and configuration represent another important opportunity to focus your application. If you study Apple s applications on both the desktop and the iPhone, you will often find a relatively sparse selection of preferences exposed to the user. Conversely, on other mobile or desktop platforms that are not known for their ease of
CHAPTER 7: Postage
use and approachability, you will find applications full of preferences and configuration choices. Presenting the user with many preferences and options for configuration makes your application seem unnecessarily complicated to the typical user. When presented with an interface that forces them to make many choices, most users will feel confused and decide that the application is too difficult to use. Often, poorly designed applications present an abundance of user interface elements for preferences and configuration or create flows through an application that force users to make frequent but relatively unimportant decisions. Often, the problem is that many of these forced decisions are not what the user really cares about when using the application. These unnecessary decisions just get in the way of what the user really wants to accomplish with the software. While many hobbyists and computer professionals crave complete control over their software, most consumers would rather have an application that just works how they expect without the need to make changes to the application behavior. The iPhone OS even obfuscates preference setting by stashing user preferences for an application in a location that few people even realize exists (see Figure 7-4).
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