Front-End Principles for Designers
Designers that code is becoming increasing common in the web community; and while not a requirement, this skill can have an substantial effect on the quality of the designer’s work. Is that to say that a designer must know how to code to create great digital experiences? This mind set is dogmatic and fails to ask the right question, which is what principles do designers need to understand to create better designs?
design  fed 
3 hours ago
Preventing User Errors: Avoiding Unconscious Slips
Users are often distracted from the task at hand, so prevent unconscious errors by offering suggestions, utilizing constraints, and being flexible.
3 hours ago
How to write a great error message — Medium
Imagine being in an office. In your cubicle. You’ve worked long hours this week for an upcoming product introduction. Yo…
8 hours ago
Fluid Coupling | Asymco
Mobility was disruptive to enterprise because the new computing paradigm was both too fast and too cheap to be implementable.

This implies that the problem with enterprises is not the stupidity of its buyers. They are no less smart than the average person–in fact, they are as smart with their personal choices for computing as anybody. The problem is that enterprises have a capital use and allocation model which is obsolete. This capital decision process assumes that capital goods are expensive, needing depreciation, and therefore should be regulated, governed and carefully chosen. The processes built for capital goods are extended to ephemera like devices, software and networking.
8 hours ago
That week I tried to unplug from Slack | The Verge
I quickly discovered not being available on Slack gives the impression you're not actually at work and getting things done. During my experiment, it took way too long not to feel self-conscious during the hours I spent with Slack closed — like this time didn't count, or I might as well have been at the bar — even though it was some of my most productive in months. None of my co-workers noticed my decreased availability or said anything, of course, but it didn't stop me from feeling like I needed to make my presence more known during off-Slack hours. This meant I made more of an effort to leave my desk in our DC office to chat with people in meatspace — a positive side effect of the experiment which seems very obvious in retrospect, but I hadn't anticipated. Being able to do this was a luxury that over 20 percent of our company who work remotely can't benefit from, and I wonder what added pressures they feel by relying almost solely on Slack to interact.
productivity  slack 
Wired Style: A Linguist Explains Vintage Internet Slang
But sometimes my personal style guide isn’t political. Sometimes it’s completely arbitrary. I got an email from a grammar-angry website a few months ago asking me to weigh in on the Oxford comma “controversy.” I figured they were just courting publicity and didn’t deign to reply, but I would have told them that there is no controversy. Oxford comma is a style guide issue: if you write for somewhere that has a policy on it, you follow the policy; if you write for yourself, you do whatever you darn well please. Flip a coin! Sure, you can aim for consistency in formal documents, but there’s no such thing as real comma logic: for every “to my parents, Ayn Rand and God” that you avoid, you risk a “to my mother, Ayn Rand, and God.” Thing is, in real life most examples aren’t that confusing, and if they are, you can deal with the confusion itself rather than throwing the comma out with the bathwater. “To God, Ayn Rand(,) and my parents/mother” is unambiguous regardless of comma.
grammar  language 
6 days ago
Management & Power
Management isn’t about accruing power, it’s not additive in that way. Management is about letting go of your old power (the power to write great code or design an awesome feature yourself) and putting that into the hands of your team. It’s about enabling the people on your team and supporting them to do their very best work. And yeah, sometimes that will mean giving someone some feedback on their work or helping them think their way out of a jam, but those moments are in service of empowering them, not you. Your new power is hiring great people and removing roadblocks, not becoming one yourself.
6 days ago
A Product Person’s Perspective on Enterprise Selling
There’s really only one key factor that distinguishes enterprise selling from everything a product person knows, and that is enterprise selling ends with the product and starts with the enterprise. Of course that is the complete opposite of what one might normally think where everything starts with a product. Even with the most amazing and inventive product ever conceived, selling at the enterprise level and enterprise scale requires inverting your perspective. There’s an analogy many often understand. Most product people know you don’t build a product by starting with a specific technology just because it is new, cool, or novel. Rather one starts by solving a problem of some sorts where apply such a technology creates an amazing new experience that addresses a need or solves an articulated problem. Enterprise sales is similar in that you don’t start with a solution (your product) and then get to the problem (customer need, articulated or not).

The very last step in the partnership with an enterprise customer is replacing an existing system. I purposely put this last because most every product person thinks that when you have a new product the first line of sales is to explain what the customer can replace or decommission if they buy the new product. Every IT person knows that this is exactly the very last thing you do and that the long tail on usage for any implemented system before actual replacement, no matter how inevitable. This is important to internalize in terms of building a partnership because every running system has a champion or advocate who bought and deployed the system so a poor selling technique is to challenge that person too early. If you play everything correctly, someday you will be the system that keeps running long after it should—that’s something to keep in mind!
enterprise  sales 
7 days ago
BBC - Travel - Why you should never drink whisky on the rocks
Second, unless you want to be the subject of ridicule, don’t order your malt on the rocks. Ice numbs the tongue and melts too fast. You either drink it neat or with a drop of water to open the flavours. Drinking it on the rocks is only acceptable if you’re drinking a blended whisky or if it’s scorching outside.
8 days ago
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly About Design in Health Care
Design has not traditionally been viewed as an essential part of health care. To change that, we need to show health systems that good design is worth the investment.
8 days ago
Vitamin Mind | Lucky Peach
One story goes like this: One evening, an Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi went looking for his goats when they didn’t return home. He found them in the forest, where they were dancing on their hind legs, bleating, butting each other, and eating the leaves and fruit of a small understory tree. When the same thing happened the next day, Kaldi decided to try the leaves and fruit himself. Before long he was dancing and singing. When he brought some of this fruit to the abbot of a nearby monastery, the abbot was convinced that it must come from hell, and he threw the fruit into the fire. The aroma of the roasting coffee was so delicious, however, that he decided to revise his opinion. Soon the monks were using coffee to help them stay awake during their evening prayers, which is how the fifteenth-century Sufis used it too, at least some of the time.
8 days ago
Getting Consumers to Switch to Your Solution — Jobs To Be Done — Medium
The general inertia is to do nothing and stay at the current solution plateau, the reference point from which switching is evaluated. Losses (falling) are more terrifying than gains (hiking) when initially thinking about moving off the current solution plateau. Switching to the new solution takes time and a series of events to help weight gains more than losses.
9 days ago
Move over Shakespeare, teen girls are the real language disruptors - Quartz
While young people have long driven innovation, it’s not just an age thing—it’s also a gender thing. During the decades that sociolinguists have been researching the question, they’ve continually found evidence that women lead linguistic change.
gender  language 
11 days ago
Amazon and the Realities of the “New Economy” - The New Yorker
Amazon provides a good example of how the New Economy really works. To most of its customers, myself included, it is a wonderfully convenient Web site. But behind the New Economy front end lies a huge old-economy network of warehouses, trucks, and modestly paid workers. Amazon now employs about a hundred and fifty thousand people around the world, many of whom are temporary employees who don’t receive medical benefits or paid leave, according to media reports and the A.F.L.-C.I.O. (Full-time employees do receive benefits.) Amazon’s nickel-and-diming is hardly surprising. Its real competitor isn’t Apple or Google, or any Silicon Valley company: it is Walmart and other retailers that compete on price, have small profit margins, and pay low wages.
amazon  worklifebalance 
12 days ago
We are sacrificing the right to walk
For decades, Americans have been losing their ability, even their right, to walk. There are places in the United States – New York City, for example – where people walk as a matter of habit and lifestyle, commuting in ways familiar to residents of London or Paris. But there are vast blankets and folds of the country where the ability to walk – to open a door and step outside and go somewhere or nowhere without getting behind the wheel of a car – is a struggle, a fight. A risk.

The resistance to sidewalks, and to walking, often splits along generational lines. People who have come of age and grown old in a car-centric culture have trouble seeing why they should pay to enable walkers. One neighbourhood in suburban Chicago fought sidewalks so bitterly, with long-time residents speaking against sidewalk calls from younger families, that it ended up with a walkway stopping pointlessly halfway down a block. ‘Cement companies . . . are the only ones who truly benefit,’ another long-time resident and opponent of proposed sidewalks on Long Island is quoted as saying in the Wall Street Journal. ‘Nobody walks on King Road. Everybody drives.’
urbandesign  traffic  walking 
12 days ago
Why the time is right to re-examine the L.A. freeway
Freeways still enable mobility — at certain times of the day. At many other times, they actively seem to frustrate it. They don’t stitch together the region, if they ever did, as much as divide it. The idea that they help us make sense of Los Angeles — that they operate as existential way-finding devices — now seems quaint, at best.

Increasingly the fundamental task Los Angeles faces is one of re-urbanization — of infill development, of reanimating or repairing the public realm. At the heart of that task is an understanding that the most successful kinds of spaces in the city are the ones where a broad range of activities has a chance to play out.
urbandesign  traffic 
12 days ago
Avoid the Feature — 500ish Words — Medium
All of this leads to my seemingly counter-intuitive advice: avoid being featured by Apple in the App Store when you first launch your app at all costs. Apple may hate me being honest in this regard, but they shouldn’t: it behooves neither the app makers nor Apple to have a bunch of apps featured that aren’t going to provide long-term value to users. It’s the short-term gain for long-term pain trade-off. Big picture: it won’t be worth it.

While it’s a lot less sexy, what you should do is quietly launch your app/service and rely on some distribution that isn’t Apple’s firehose of mainstream users. Ideally, this would be natural, word-of-mouth growth. But, let’s be realistic, there will undoubtedly be a chicken-and-egg problem, so get creative. The tech press remains a popular route, but increasingly suffers from some of the same issues as the App Store just at a much smaller scale. Something like Product Hunt seems much more finely-tuned for testers these days given the highly targeted audience of early adopters.
13 days ago
Is the sound of silence the end of the self? – Tim Parks – Aeon
Our desire for silence often has more to do with an inner silence than an outer. Or a combination of the two. Noise provokes our anger, or at least an engagement, and prevents inner silence. But absence of noise exposes us to the loud voice in our heads. This voice is constitutive of what we call self. If we want it to fall silent, aren’t we yearning for the end of self? For death, perhaps. So talk about silence becomes talk about consciousness, the nature of selfhood, and the modern dilemma in general: the desire to invest in the self and the desire for the end of the self.
14 days ago
Design Thinking Comes of Age
To build empathy with users, a design-centric organization empowers employees to observe behavior and draw conclusions about what people want and need. Those conclusions are tremendously hard to express in quantitative language. Instead, organizations that “get” design use emotional language (words that concern desires, aspirations, engagement, and experience) to describe products and users. Team members discuss the emotional resonance of a value proposition as much as they discuss utility and product requirements.
enterprise  designthinking 
15 days ago
Sharing Our Work: Testing and Feedback in Design · An A List Apart Article
To help choose our path, we create low-fidelity mockups and do concept testing with Etsy users who fit the target audience for the project. Rather than invest a lot of engineering time up front on building something we might not use, we often test clickable prototypes, which, while clunky, are cheap to create and involve zero engineering time. They’re mockups of an unbuilt interface, which also means we’re able to throw in blue sky features. Focusing on the best-case scenario of the feature lets us test whether sellers grasp the concept—realism and constraints can come later.
design  feedback  research 
18 days ago
Periscope, by the Numbers
Optimizing for DAU/MAU doesn’t properly motivate our team to create a product that people love. Here’s why: if we were motivated to grow DAU, we’d be incentivized to invest in a host of conventional growth hacks, viral mechanics, and marketing to drive up downloads. This direction doesn’t necessarily lead to a better product, or lead to success for Periscopers. We hold ourselves accountable to Time Watched as an organizational measure because it reflects the kernel of our product, and our core values.
metrics  DAU 
18 days ago
The New York Times built a Slack bot to help decide which stories to post to social media » Nieman Journalism Lab
Blossom, an intelligent bot within the messaging app Slack, predicts how articles or blogposts will do on social and also suggests which stories editors should promote by drawing from enormous stores of data, including information on story content and performance metrics such as Facebook post engagement. Blossom can also show the basics of where posts have already appeared and how they are currently performing.
automation  slack 
18 days ago
Kelly Clancy on the Logic Behind the Myth That We Only Use 10 Percent of Our Brains
But, like many legends, the 10 percent myth also carries a grain of truth. In the last 20 years, scientists have discovered that our cortex follows a strangely familiar pattern: A small minority of neurons output the vast majority of activity. It’s not that we don’t use 90 percent of our brain, but that many neurons remain eerily quiet even during use. The story behind this silence is more profound than the boosted IQs and temporary clairvoyance from the movies. It speaks to the basic principles of how our minds represent reality in the first place.
knowledge  science 
19 days ago
How yuppies hacked the hacker ethos – Brett Scott – Aeon
The hacker ethos is wild and anarchic, indifferent to the trappings of success. Or it was, until the gentrifiers moved in
20 days ago
Designers, Morality and the AK-47 | Scott Berkun
Modern design is dominated by consumerism and while consumerism has been great for the U.S. economy it has also been bad for the planet and for the human psyche. If design were primarily a noble profession centered on the progress of humanity designers would worship Victor Papanek and Buckminster Fuller instead of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. But we don’t. Most design students today don’t know either of that first pair, which makes me very sad. Most designers today, especially in the tech world, aren’t making the world any better at all. They are paid very well to make shiny things that attempt to solve largely superficial first world problems of extreme convenience.
ethics  design 
21 days ago
What Selfie Sticks Really Tell Us About Ourselves - The New York Times
The insecurities of those addicted to getting “likes” on their selfies can only rise as facial recognition technologies improve.
22 days ago
Five app prototyping tools compared: Proto.io, Pixate, Origami, Framer & Form — Design + Sketch App — Medium
The IF by IFTTT user onboarding recreated in five different high-fidelity prototyping tools
23 days ago
The Long Play - The Morning News
With most of what I do during the day—read, write, or work—music plays in the background on my phone or computer from a digital library. I don’t know half of what’s in that vast library. It’s not in my hands; I never hold it and I don’t have a visual connection to it. If I really want to read about the recording or artist, I could read a digital booklet, but I don’t. Records obligate a different kind of attention. There’s nothing random about them. They wear out. They’re too fragile to be played without listeners.
vinyl  music 
26 days ago
The student experience and the future of libraries
The library no longer has a monopoly on the discovery, access and use of information. In order to continue developing services that will be of use and make sense to students, the library will need to study and understand how and what students are doing on and offline.

New developments like web based teaching and learning demonstrate the potential disconnect between the types of services universities, colleges and libraries think students want. If libraries, and increasingly institutions themselves, are going to be able to meet student expectations and enhance the student experience, then they will need to be in a position to develop green buttons of their own.
learning  libraries  servicedesign 
4 weeks ago
Spatial Interfaces
I think spatially, and so do you. Can you scratch your left ear without looking? Pick a booger out of your nose, without…
4 weeks ago
The Case for Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO
The stock tanked, but that’s because it was too high to begin with: it’s not that Dorsey and Noto presented poorly, it’s that they presented honestly, and while that hurts now, it’s the only way to rebuild the credibility that Twitter has lost through too many quarters of insisting things were strong, good-looking, and always, always, above-average.
4 weeks ago
Our world is full of bad UX, and it’s costing us dearly
That’s the crux of it all. Design is the interface between people and technology. Without good design, the technology is turned from a help to a harm. It can cause physical harm, like in the case of Jenny. It can cause emotional harm, like when a social app facilitates bullying. It can cause exclusion, like when a seeing-impaired person doesn’t get to participate on a popular website because simple accessibility items have not been attended to. Lastly, it can cause injustice — yes injustice — which all of these can be categorized under, but direct injustices like nullifying someone’s vote or someone in need who isn’t able to access help to get back on their feet.
ethics  design 
4 weeks ago
Uber’s algorithm and the mirage of the marketplace.
In June, the California Labor Commission ruled in favor of classifying Uber driver Barbara Ann Berwick as an employee and not as an independent contractor. But the battle over ride-hailing apps continues to rage as companies, governments, activists, and incumbent businesses all seek to shape how a new generation of...
4 weeks ago
Escaping a Strategic Cul de Sac: Using Ethnographic Insights to Challenge Organizational Bias
They no longer saw homeowners simply as property owners who were protecting their investments – they were also people whose homes were reflections of their changing selves.

They no longer saw painting contractors simply as skilled applicators who would always choose the best paint for the job – they were also businesspeople facing market pressures from all sides, and who needed a helping hand.

And they no longer saw designers simply as indoctrinated advocates for Benjamin Moore – they were also project managers who still wanted mentorship.

Equipped with their newfound intuition, Benjamin Moore set out to reconnect authentically with their customers at all levels. We provided a road out of their strategic cul de sac – a human heartbeat in all of the hard data, and a way to truly internalize the emotions motivating stakeholder behavior.
5 weeks ago
The Intention Behind Think Kit — The Open Studio: A Blog by FiftyThree
In building Think Kit we gained key insights in several areas, from mathematics, to interaction design, to graphics. There are many ways to bring structure to this continuum of inputs, and we now understand much more about where the resulting ambiguities lie, and which are best resolved with science, engineering, or interaction design. Think Kit uses these insights to create a digital whiteboard marker, but the understanding and techniques we evolved along the way have much broader applications.
ixd  prototyping  fiftythree 
5 weeks ago
Does every design project need research?
If you feel uncertain about whether you need research or how much you need here is a broad rule of thumb you can use. How much hypothesis and assumption comes up in the design conversation? For example if you are designing a list of possible options the user has to choose from, when you decide what information to put in that list do you really know what the user needs to make that decision or are you all standing around a whiteboard imagining what they might do? If you have a list of house rentals do you show area, number of rooms, rental price? Do you really know what your user is looking for when they scan down the list or are you just going by what you are look for and assuming that this is universal?

As a more specific approach can you quantify the amount of effort (read: money) you will spend on research in the context of the amount of money you will lose or save if your design fails or succeeds? Working from speculation is riskier in some areas than others. If the consequence of getting part of the design wrong is relatively minor then research is less important. But if failing is going to cost you or if a lot of design decisions are hanging on a couple of unproven assumptions then you are taking a big risk not finding out about who you are designing for.
5 weeks ago
A response to Naomi Wolf | language: a feminist guide
But with language, people have a bad habit of presenting what are actually personal preferences as if they were objective facts. They don’t say ‘I find X annoying’, they say ‘X is bad and wrong’. I’m sure you, and many others of your generation (and mine), really do hear uptalk as annoyingly tentative and vocal fry as a witless affectation, but you shouldn’t assume that your reaction is natural and that everyone will naturally share it. To the young people who’ve grown up with these speech patterns, they aren’t annoying mannerisms, they are perfectly normal and unremarkable.
language  feminism  critique 
5 weeks ago
Web Design - The First 100 Years
The idea that something might work fine the way it is has no place in tech culture.
design  culture  history  web 
5 weeks ago
How To Use The System Usability Scale (SUS) To Evaluate The Usability Of Your Website - Usability Geek
The System Usability Scale (SUS) is a 10-Question questionnaire that offers a quick, cost-effective yet accurate way to evaluate the usability of a website
research  usability 
5 weeks ago
Explaining graphic design to four-year-olds — Medium
50 minutes to explain graphic design to a reception class at a primary school. How do I do that?
vizd  theory 
5 weeks ago
Why telling kids to dream big is a big con
The problem arises when we counter the world’s feedback with platitudes such as ‘you can be anything you want’ or ‘don’t give up.’ Tracey Cleantis, a psychotherapist in California and the author of The Next Happy (2015), says that behind such bromides ‘is a kind of wish of parents or ourselves that we’re not bound by our talents, by our genetics, by our temperament, by our character. I think it really creates shame and guilt and feelings of failure.’

‘What it essentially says to our children,’ adds Penelope Trunk, author of Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success (2007), ‘is that, if they don’t achieve their dreams, they have no one to blame but themselves.’ Indeed, the transition to adulthood is already overwrought, and it’s made only more difficult when you think you can do anything and then feel completely incompetent when you can’t.
children  parenting 
5 weeks ago
How to Handle Design Feedback on Tight Timelines
There are two kinds of designers: those who’ll admit they’ve had trouble handling feedback, and liars. That’s why the ne…
5 weeks ago
Inside Spotify's Hunt for the Perfect Playlist | WIRED
Spotify is launching a new playlist service called Discover Weekly that uses your data to serve you songs you might like.
spotify  music 
5 weeks ago
The Tyranny of 'Good Enough'
It seems counterintuitive, but (for all the reasons I’ve mentioned above) you need to consider the ‘good enough’ competitive solutions which offer a limited, inadequate experience as well as the market leaders.
prodmgmt  jtbd 
5 weeks ago
What My Landlord Learned About Me From Twitter - The New York Times
Sleeping in someone else’s bed, even when they’re miles and miles away, is its own form of intimacy; sharing your words and your images online is another. I realize now we were making an exchange with all the emotional tenor of stashing your clothes in someone else’s dresser, a tweet the perfect digital representation of smelly socks.
6 weeks ago
Designing Usable Web Forms
In terms of inside help, it can be handy to look for searches related to designing web forms for usability too.
6 weeks ago
Blame Society, Not the Screen Time
This is the Catch-22 that we’ve trapped today’s youth in. We’ve locked them indoors because we see the physical world as more dangerous than ever before, even though by almost every measure, we live in the safest society to date. We put unprecedented demands on our kids, maxing them out with structured activities, homework and heavy expectations. And then we’re surprised when they’re frazzled and strung out.

For many teenagers, technology is a relief valve. (And that goes for the strung-out, overworked parents and adults playing Candy Crush, too.) It’s not the inherently addictive substance that fretting parents like to imagine. It simply provides an outlet.
technology  teens 
6 weeks ago
iOS Design Rules to Break
Reconsider using iOS recemmended: Page control (dots), Submit at top, the Plus (+) and Move icons. These ause usability problems in testing.
mobile  ios  patterns 
6 weeks ago
I tried all the apps that are supposed to mend a broken heart | Fusion
Technology was making my heartache worse, but that's not how these things are supposed to work. So I sought out tech fixes for a broken heart.
sociology  technology 
6 weeks ago
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