Microsoft’s impressive IllumiRoom project

I hardly play video games on consoles. I never owned a game consoles and still prefer my computer for gaming. But I am very impressed by an idea from Microsoft called IllumiRoom. It looks like a really cool improvement of Ambilight, a technique for TVs developed by Philips. Microsoft says IllumiRoom is “designed to push the boundary of living room immersive entertainment by blending our virtual and physical worlds with projected visualizations”. I definitely would be interested in buying a console if this feature is part of it.

“The effects in the video are rendered in real time and are captured live — not special effects added in post processing.”

Christmas Giveaway: Velocity by Ajaz Ahmed & Stefan Olander

It has been a pretty great and interesting year here at FRONTAND. I will provide you with some stats and insights next week. Today I want to say thank you. In order to do so I will give away one copy of the Velocity. The book is a dialog between Ajaz Ahmed (founder of AKQA) and Stefan Olander (Vice President of Digital Sport for Nike). I read this book in summer and had the chance to hear Ajaz in London during my time at AKQA. If you are interested in the future of brands and advertising in these digital times I would definitely recommend this book.

To get the copy you just have to click the “Like” button under this post and write a short comment (with a valid email adress). I would like to hear what you like/dislike the most about this blog or what do you want to see on FRONTAND next year.

I will identify the winner on December 24th at 1pm.

Good luck!

UPDATE: Congratulations Vincent!

Recommendations of the week #6

Recommendations of the week #5

  • A long interview with Cameron Moll on
  • Valve’s co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell talked about the future of games and he said some very interesting things. Even though I don’t agree with everything Valve is doing a very good job and I’m excited about the future.

    ” I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space. I think we’ll lose some of the top-tier PC/OEMs, who will exit the market. “

    “The big problem that is holding back Linux is games. People don’t realize how critical games are in driving consumer purchasing behavior.”

    “We think touch is short-term. The mouse and keyboard were stable for 25 years, but I think touch will be stable for 10 years. Post-touch will be stable for a really long time, longer than 25 years.”

  • Peter Molyneux, creator of games like Theme Park, Dungeon Keeper and Black & White, started a new project on Kickstarter to collect money for a remake of his game Populous. Sounds interesting.
  • Get 5 inspiring design links every day: is a nice newsletter project by Sacha Greif.
  • Mark Boulton about the challenge of Responsive Advertising in times of responsive webdesign fixed, standardised sizes.
  • Just do something.

Let’s Talk About Soil

Let’s Talk About Soil is a video explaining the issue “of soil resources around the world, covering the issues of degradation, urbanization, land grabbing and overexploitation; the film offers options to make the way we manage our soils more sustainable”. The 3D low polygon style and the great attention to detail impressed me a lot. Awesome work.

Recommendations of the week #4

Another week has passed. Time for my weekly recommendations:

Follow me on QUOTEfm to see all my article recommendations.


I’m a big fan of these short documentaries about crafting and people talking about their passion. I could watch them all day long so I decided to collect some nice examples and recommend some good channels. Enjoy!

Watch more videos and see the list of channels

Why Infinite Scrolling sucks about Infinite Scrolling

Infinite Scrolling (or Endless Scrolling) isn’t a new trend anymore, it’s a common interface technique. Since the triumph of AJAX we see several websites loading new content automatically as soon as the user reaches the bottom. It’s meant to create a better user experience. But does it serve its purpose?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t question the infinite scrolling technique in general. The problem is, in most cases the implementation of the alternative to paginations is really bad. So bad that I left websites (with excellent content) several times because of a terrible scrolling experience.

What’s wrong about Infinite Scrolling?

  • Performance issues: A website that uses Infinite Scrolling gobbles up a lot of browser memory (especially websites which make use of heavy image/video content, like many blogs and magazines). For most of the users it’s hardly a smooth experience.
  • Positioning: Maybe this is the biggest issue. The missing possibility to reference the position of a user within the list of content is quite a big challenge. Clicking on links could destroy the whole navigation flow and getting the user back to his last position is really hard.
  • Useless scrollbar: Every time additional content is loaded the scrollbar is changing its size and could become really small. The position of the scrollbar and the position of content does not correspond anymore when the amount of content is growing. The Infinite Scrolling breaks scrollbar expectations.
  • Hidden top elements: Menus and buttons are likely to be at the top of a website. With Infinite Scrolling these navigation elements are far away from the user.
  • SEO: This is not about usability but it is still very important. Most crawlers can’t handle JavaScript. If a website relies on Infinite Scrolling only, search engines won’t see all the content.

How to enhance the Endless Scrolling experience?

  • Trigger manually: Use a button to load more content. It’s still a pretty neat experience and the user is in control of the content. Additionally, a button allows you to use a normal footer.
  • Use the URL: By adding parameters (ids or classes) to the URL it’s possible to bring people back to their last position.
  • Fixed elements: For elements at the top (like the menu), use a fixed position to make them persistently visible and usable.
  • Use indicators: This rule applies for every AJAX element: Show what’s going on and let the user know when something is loading.
  • Accessibility*: Make sure all your content is accessible without JavaScript. Build an archive page with a list of all entries, for example.


Be careful. Even though it’s a common way of replacing paginations, we still see a lot of broken and bad implementations of Infinite Scrolling. It’s definitely possible to use it in a good and practical way. But it depends strongly on the context it is used in. With the rise of mobile internet we have to differentiate. It might be useful in some applications and it could enhance the user experience on devices. Think carefully about the value it adds. Don’t implement it just because it sounds fancy.
I would recommend Infinite Scrolling for pages/services with a lot of small content elements (like Pinterest) and not for text/image heavy content. Best Practices: Google Reader/Mail/Images, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram.

About eReader

Another interesting discussion popped up in the last days because Apple added Infinite Scrolling to the latest version of iBook. It’s a bit different because I think we can’t compare books and websites but if you want to read more about this topic I would recommend these articles:

*Google: “Therefore, to improve the user experience, when we detect that a content series (e.g. page-1.html, page-2.html, etc.) also contains a single-page version (e.g. page-all.html), we’re now making a larger effort to return the single-page version in search results. If your site has a view-all option, there’s nothing you need to do; we’ll work to do it on your behalf. Also, indexing properties, like links, will be consolidated from the component pages in the series to the view-all page.”

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