Tag Archives: design patterns

unity not just as principle but as practice

When Rebekah Cox first described the product design process at Quora, one of the biggest surprises was the absence of Photoshop. She said that every part of Quora.com was designed in code from Day 1. I asked a few incredulous questions, nodded politely, and figured that once I started work I would surely continue my love affair with the Creative Suite.

6 months later, I’m a convert. Almost every feature I’ve worked on at Quora has been designed exclusively in code, from concept to iteration to launch. As my copy of Photoshop accumulates dust, I’ve come to see the myriad benefits of this system…

via (/1) Life Without Photoshop by Joel Lewenstein – Quora.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

user interface and fingerprints

…Because the primary input method of the iPad is a single piece of multitouch glass, developers have incredible flexibility to design unique user interfaces. It’s hard to appreciate the variety of UIs though, since turning the screen off removes virtually all evidence of them. To spotlight these differences, I looked at the only fragments that remain from using an app: fingerprints.

My method involved cleaning the iPad’s surface with a microfiber cloth, using an app for a short amount of time, then turning the screen off. Next, I photographed the iPad, positioning a light source and some black matte board to limit distracting reflections. I then brought the photographs into Adobe Illustrator, and created vectors of the iPad and the fingerprints to emphasize the data.

via Design Language News.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Patternry; for shared visual grammar

This looks like an interesting experiment. I will be interested to follow the arc of this offering, and to see how tools used by a community of practice will encourage progress, or will encourage the ‘lock down’ of certain memes without reason. 

Patternry is a resource for everyone who needs to design or develop user interfaces. It is a collection of Web design patterns which helps people solve common design problems when designing interfaces. Soon it will also be a community where everyone can share, create, and collaborate on design patterns.

via About Us | Patternry.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

a two way street

Wirify helps interaction designers to make the return trip from rendered form to wireframe – of the design pattern. 

Interaction designers spend a fair bit of time creating and revising wireframes in the early phases of our online projects. Whatever your take on wireframes is, they are a mainstay in the user experience professional’s toolkit. Although typical wireframes are essentially dead documents, they’re extremely helpful as thinking and communication tools during a project. We even have several great websites dedicated to sharing your wireframes and wireframing techniques with other designers.

Still, wireframes are essentially a one-way street, a journey from the website concept and high-level information architecture to visual comps and ultimately real HTML, CSS and interactive behaviour. Once the site is live, you never go back to the wireframes. Until now.

Wirify lets you turn any web page into a wireframe

Wirify is a bookmarklet that lets you turn any web page into a wireframe in one click. It’s lightweight and works in many modern browsers. To use Wirify drag the link below to your Bookmarks toolbar (or right-click > Add to Favorites in IE):

via Volkside | Introducing Wirify: The web as wireframes.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

mental model

Aza Raskin artfully unpacks some assumptions regarding the concepts  of home and back for a mobile device. 

If you sit and watch people use an iPhone there’s a mistake made often and reliably: They hit the home button when they mean to just go back to the app’s main screen. Going home has heavy consequences—to recover you’ve got to find that app again, sit through its splash screen, and fiddle the app to where it was before. The home button is the grunt-and-touch control of physical affordances. While iconically simple, the one bit of information it lets you indicate is too little.

Android and Palm’s WebOS have a different but related problem. Instead of providing a home button, they provide a “back” gesture/button in addition to a home button. At first this appears to be better with its strong allusion to the ubiquitous browsing metaphor. But back on the phone is unpredictable: it might mean return to the last screen, the last area, or even the home screen. You never know where back will take you. Worse, there is no undo to “back”; without “forward” back becomes a minefield of maybes and didn’t means.

Another subtle problem of “back” is that it adds cognitive overload: you have to choose which to use, back or home. Because the functionality of home and back overlap this adds a non-insignificant Hick’s law penalty. It makes it hard to form a lasting habit, and lasting habits are the hallmark of a good interface.

Solving Simplicity

The home button is too simple, and the back button’s mental model is too complex. What’s a better solution? We need a solution which is as simple and iconic as the iPhone’s home button, but provides a richer range of expression without the complexity of the Android/Palm back mechanism.

via The Problem With Home « Aza on Design.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

where do dreams and competence mate?

Filed under what were they thinking… The seemingly incredible chasm between concept design, product design, and the out-of-box-experience.

…After dinner tonight, you flop on the couch for a little TV. But you don’t actually care what’s on right now. Instead, you pull out your phone. You scroll through a list of every TV show broadcast in the last month. You tap the one you want, put the phone back in your pocket, and happily swing your feet up onto the coffee table as the show plays on your TV.

Suddenly, the Internet is your personal TiVo — the world’s biggest. Every show available anywhere on the Web is listed on your phone, ready for transmitting to your TV with one tap. And, it’s all free.

This, believe it or not, is the promise of the Orb TV ($100), a tiny plastic hockey puck that connects to your television. You don’t really have to understand how it works, but in essence, it uses your computer (to which it connects over your wireless network) to fetch Web TV shows — and then it blasts them to your TV.

What a concept! No longer must you pay for TV shows by the episode, as you must on the Apple TV box. No longer are you blocked from Hulu and the major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox), as you are with Google TV and Boxee. In the never-ending quest to bring Web television shows to your big-screen set, the Orb TV would seem to be the best approach yet.

Any show from any Web source, listed on my phone, ready to play on my TV? I didn’t just want to love the Orb TV. I wanted to sweep it off its feet and marry it.

Unfortunately, the Orb’s concept is a lot better than its execution.

First, you open the box and discover — no manual. There’s a wiring diagram, but that’s it. Not a word of instruction…

via Behold, Another Erratic Web-to-TV Gadget – NYTimes.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

the idea of the ‘mind opening moment’

We shape our tools and in turn they shape us. Until of course the familiar suddenly looks less familiar. Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures shapes technology in two significant ways. 1) by writing about 2) by investing in it. Here is his own account of a personal  awakening  – on the road to Damascus. At first the smartphone + app paradigm he accepts seemingly against his better judgement. (but for how long). But after the awakening he senses all manner of possibilities that he might as easily have ruled out, as recently as yesterday. 

I saw two HTML5 apps yesterday. One running in my Android browser. The other running in the iPad browser. They looked and worked exactly like their mobile app counterparts. It was a mind opening moment.

There still are issues. When I went to show one of the HTML5 mobile apps later, my mobile data connection wasn’t there and I couldn’t load it in my Android browser. But a friend told me you could cache all the elements, including the database, on the phone and deliver an offline experience in HTML5 in the browser.

I’ve always disliked the idea that we have to download apps on our phones when the apps we use on the web are loaded in the browser on demand. But I’ve accepted the mobile app paradigm as something we will be living with for the next five years.

I’m not sure it’s five years anymore.

via A VC: HTML5 Mobile Apps.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized