Pursuing Excellence in Design and Technology - Raj Lal

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My article at MSDN magazine on Camera Apps for Lumia 1020

Here is my presentation at Silicon Valley Code Conference which gave me the idea of this article.

Build an Advanced Camera App for Nokia Lumia Phones

Rajesh Lal

Excerpt from the article... http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/dn630649.aspx

In this article, I’m going to teach you how to develop an app for the 41-megapixel (MP) Nokia Lumia 1020 and 20MP Nokia Lumia 1520 smartphones. I’ll focus primarily on the Nokia Lumia 1020, but the information applies to all Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices with PureView technology. First, I’ll discuss PureView, the technology behind the powerful camera included in the phones, and then I’ll explain the advanced features available to access and enhance your photographs. I’ll provide an overview of the Nokia Imaging SDK (it has tons of ready-to-use graphic filters) and a walk-through of how to use it. I’ll also cover the typical workflow needed to build a camera app and show you how to create a tilt-shift photo filter to simulate shallow depth of field. Let’s get started.

Understanding the PureView Technology in a 41MP Camera Phone
PureView technology consists of advanced camera hardware and related software. Together, they allow the capturing and saving of high-quality, high-resolution images. The three main aspects of PureView technology are a high-resolution camera lens, oversampling and lossless zoom. I’ll briefly explain each one.

The core of PureView technology is a high-resolution sensor, 7,728 pixels wide and 5,368 pixels high, totaling more than 41MP. This enables the camera phone to capture big photographs, six times larger than a normal 5MP photograph.

Figure 1 compares a 41MP resolution picture with a 5MP resolution picture. Because of this 41MP resolution, you can take high-quality 34MP 16:9 photographs (7,728 x 4,354) as well as 38MP 4:3 photographs (7,152 x 5,368), as shown in the lens view of the camera in Figure 2.

A 41MP Picture Compared with a 5MP Picture

Figure 1 A 41MP Picture Compared with a 5MP Picture

Lossless Zoom Is Still Part of the Photograph Figure 2 Lossless Zoom Is Still Part of the Photograph

Pixel oversampling is when the camera takes a 41MP photograph and creates a high-quality 5MP image. This is the picture you see on the phone’s screen. Furthermore, the oversampling process keeps all the rich detail in the image but filters away any visual noise.

The third aspect of PureView technology is lossless zoom, which simply means you don’t lose image quality when you zoom. This is possible because—at any point in time—you have available the original 41MP picture, which is oversampled to show a 5MP photo. When you zoom, you’re really zooming into a part of the original 41MP photo. At up to a 3x zoom, you’re still dealing with parts of the original 41MP photo. And even at maximum zoom, your photo quality is still the quality of a regular 5MP photo. Due to oversampling, the picture quality only gets better as you zoom. Figure 2 shows how the lossless zoom is still part of the original photograph.

The Nokia Imaging SDK When building a camera app, a high-resolution photograph is the raw material, but you’ll need an advanced software stack that can use the huge images and let you access and manipulate them. This is where the Nokia Imaging SDK comes into the picture (bit.ly/1hJkmpl). It provides a set of advanced features to access a high-resolution photograph taken by the camera.

The Nokia Imaging SDK includes partial JPEG decoding, called Random Access JPEG (RAJPEG) technology. RAJPEG allows for random access of JPEG data, fast downscaling of images and instant partial decoding. These aspects of RAJPEG enable real-time image manipulation. The Nokia Imaging SDK contains more than 50 filters, effects and enhancements. It even contains a set of the most common image operations, such as crop, resize, rotate and undo, just to name a few. These out-of-the-box features help you create advanced camera/photo-centric applications without worrying about the most common functionalities. To use the Nokia Imaging SDK in your project, follow the instructions on the Nokia Lumia Developer Library page (bit.ly/KzDPNG).

Checkout the complete article here http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/dn630649.aspx

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

CHOICE Reviews Digital Design Essentials as Recommended -- A. R. Hutchinson, Will Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Digital Design Essentials book reviewed by CHOICE magazine, a premier source for reviews of academic books, electronic media, and Internet resources of interest'


"This reference work illustrates 100 usability design tips for websites and other applications across devices, not only for aesthetics but also for functionality and ease of use. Lal, a digital product designer, addresses advanced website functions, including the creation of a shopping cart, reviews and ratings, mobile commerce, touch screen interfaces, infographics, APIs, and other current technologies. Each topic features a short instructional page with bullet-point recommendations and tips on what to include. A facing page shows real-world examples and/or case studies. Some of the text instructions refer readers to other entries with related design concepts. The content, organized into sections titled "Desktop," "Web," "Mobile," and "Miscellaneous," is well indexed. Rather than being a technical manual on how to create websites, widgets, or other applications, this volume presents best practices from an ease-of-use perspective. The examples undoubtedly will become outdated soon, but they represent some of the best illustrations of contemporary usability design. The rapid evolution of technology means that few books are available to compare with this one. It will be useful to those interested and/or active in web development or mobile app development.

Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates, general readers, professionals/practitioners.

--A. R. Hutchinson, Will Smithsonian Institution Libraries Copyright 2013 American Library The Association

Choice Review for Digital Design Essentials - http://www.cro3.org/content/51/03/51-1238.full

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Evolution of User Interface: My Session at Digital Web & Design Innovation Summit SFO 20 Sept 2013 @iRajLal

Do you know about WIMP? The Natural or Organic Interface? Zooming Interface? And what the heck is the Intelligent UI? Where are all these interfaces coming from. What about the Gesture, Haptics, Pen based and touch and even multi touch interfaces?

In this session learn the intriguing story of the Digital Interface. How the digital Interface started from Command line to WIMP Interface to GUI and now became the most debated topic in the design industry, Skeumorphic Design or Modern UI. See how, with the revolution of devices digital interface took turn to Natural, Touch and Organic User Interfaces. See how User Interface has evolved in last twenty years. See how the current trends in touch screens, text to speech and AI are molding the mere fabric of the User Interface and how the user adoption still is the key to a successful User Interface Design. http://theinnovationenterprise.com/summits/digital-design-sanfran-2013#overview

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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Evolution of User Interface - an Interview with Emily Potts

Evolution of User Interface - an Interview with Emily Potts, Editor of Rockport PaperInc online magazine.


What is a User Interface? How did it all begin?

A User Interface (UI) is the virtual point of contact between a user and a digital product. When a user interacts with a device there are five main actors: the user, the physical point of contact, the virtual point of contact, the software itself, and the hardware device where the software is running. The earliest type of interface was called Command Line Interface, where a keyboard was used to access a program in a computer using a set of commands. In this case, the keyboard is the physical point of contact, the set of commands is the virtual point of contact, the program itself is the software that reacts to the set of commands, and the computer is the hardware device as shown in Figure 1.

Complete interview at rockpaperink website

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Interview at Stanford News by Brooke Donald

Excerpts from our Interview at Stanford News Check the last Problem Solvers section.


Problem solvers 

Ignite alumnus Raj Lal, a Silicon Valley software engineer, said the program changed his perspective about starting a business. "There's a lot more to it than having a great idea, making an app, selling it and getting rich," he said.

"Sure, that works for some people, obviously, and it becomes a big story and everyone thinks that's the formula for success. But it's not reality for most people, not for 99 percent of the people."

 Lal said the program taught him the importance of teamwork and about filling a void. "You start with a problem that you're trying to solve," he said. "Basically, you find out what the customer wants, then build according to that. Don't build something, then try to find customers."

 Soon said she entered the program wanting business skills but not necessarily to start her own venture. "I thought if I had ideas, someone else would eventually make the product. I'm not capable of doing that," she said. "But the course gave me encouragement and motivation." She said the program also gave her the resources and confidence she needed to try entrepreneurship, and provided connections to like-minded people.

She, Lal and Lee continue to meet with Ignite alumni at monthly networking event. "The program was really inspiring," said Lee, who received a master's degree in electrical engineering from Stanford. "I learned so much I can't believe it was only nine weeks. It felt like nine months." - Read the complete interview at: Stanford News

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Interview with Raj Lal on Designing User Friendly Interfaces at HOW Interactive Design by Erin Prus

Interview at HOW Interactive Design making User-Interface design more user-friendly


How does a good User Interface translate into a great user experience?

A User Interface is when a user interacts with an application. It can be used both to consume information, and to interact with the application. It can be both visual and non-visual. The role of a good User Interface (UI) is to get the information and interaction to the user first. Steve Jobs once said that good design is not how it looks, but how it works. A good UI adheres to this same principle. It has a basic purpose to help the user.

What is the architecture of an application in terms of user interface?

We have used an Architecture view for each User Interface. The architecture, in terms of User Interface, is the key elements of the application. You’ll need to know these in order to create multiple versions of the application. Once you know the main elements, then the final application can be of any shape and size, but still function the same. It also gives a top view of the User Interface, how the application fits in the bigger picture, and interacts in the real world. For example, a checkout application is a key aspect of online commerce, but it is still only one part. The other parts of e-commerce also need to be understood in order to create a great ecommerce experience.

Check the complete interview

Raj Lal Digital Design Essentials

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Book Signing at Digital Web and Design Innovation Hotel Nikko SFO (9/19-9/20)

Meet me at Digital Web & Design Innovation Summit

Exploring the future of web design, content creation & user experience on the web.

- See more at: http://theinnovationenterprise.com/summits/digital-design-sanfran-2013

Know the "Evolution of User Interface" in my session on 20th of September at the conference Book Signing at Digital Web and Design Conference

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Digital Design Essentials: An Ultimate guide to Human Comuter Interaction

Finally my two years of hard work, one interface design per week for 100 weeks, magically turned into a hardcover book by rockport publishers. The overwhelming experience when you see your own book for the first time. Oh my! Tears of Joy is not just a statement, it actually happens. ok, before I get carried away, here is the picture, not of the tears, of the book.

Digital Design Essentials: 100 ways to design better desktop, web, and mobile interfaces?

An ultimate guide to human computer interaction.

Check out the digital design essentials book at amazon.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Designing Killer Apps for Mobile devices

I am giving a session on mobile App design, so meet me at MoDevUX at Mclean, VA MAY 9-11, 2013 8 AM - 5 PM

Update - Video is Here

Update: here are my slides from todays session


My session
Designing Killer Apps for Mobile devices!

What makes a mobile app standout from the crowd? When we look at a successful App it seems like a "no brainer" but still so many developers struggle to to get the mobile design right. What's the secret ingredient to get the Mobile App design right. In this session go behind the scene of 10 successful Windows Phone app and see why Design is not how it looks but how it works. Learn ten essential tips for designing Mobile Apps, the Right Way.


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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Vorkspace Teaser Trailer Video

We created this video to showcase Vorkspace at Igniters Meetup Check it out.

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Yours Truly

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