An interview series about hands-on career tracks in design
“A series about hands-on career paths in the design industry.”
It takes some getting to know this tool, but it’s one of the very few that really helps create full, coherent and usable color palettes.
“I’ve lived in the Netherlands for a year and a half and I realized that I haven’t seen a car crash into a building yet. You would think that cars regularly crashing into buildings would signal a problem to most people, but a lot of Americans and Canadians just accept it as normal.”
Not entirely sure what to use this tool for animated vector drawings for. But it’s fun to play with!
“Dialup is a voice-chat app that connects you to people in surprising ways. Get recurring calls with people you want to meet.”
“When the term Design Thinking first emerged on the scene, I found it completely puzzling. People were treating it as if it was a revolutionary new methodology to produce better products and services.”
With dishonest cookie banners (‘We respect your privacy’) disrespectful design has become common. Which is odd, because traditionally design was about showing off how much a client could spend on making their visitors or customers feel comfortable.
“What can you do, as a builder, if your job seems to require to employ disrespectful design patterns? First, it’s worth rehashing what Disrespectful Design is.”
I disagree with several parts of the article, but it’s nice to see a different take on moral philosophy that’s not nihilism. Or is it?
“Interfaces are merely the thoughtful composition of components. This leaves an often glaring hole for users on “the unhappy path” — The places where users may, intentionally or not, stray from your idealized flow.”
Not really about states of a design, but a useful checklist for making sure all important component states are covered.
I can stop tweeting—this is the definitive collection of bad design!
“Let’s get into why we use them and how we can do better than the traditional disabled attribute in HTML (e.g.
<button disabled>) to mark a button as disabled.”
In almost every project I argue against adding disabled states to buttons, but end up including them nonetheless. This is a helpful guide for doing that the right way.
“If you’re like me, you’ve followed a bajillion accounts over your years on Twitter dot com.”
It takes a bit of time, but it’s a fun way to improve your Twitter feed.
“Europe’s communication needs are currently almost exclusively delivered by Chinese hardware that connects us to US-based platforms. For a variety of reasons, this is not a good idea.”
I agree with a lot of the criticism of the book. Still, we need more books like this: serious, ambitious explorations of what it means to be on collision course with nature. To me, the badly outlined solutions that the book explores only make it more obvious what a great challenge we’re facing.
“Then it was shut down, for no discernible reason other than a global partnership that went awry. […] I asked Stanley what on earth had happened there. I might have imagined a flicker of pain on his face, but his answer was that you have to make peace that you will leave a trail of destruction as you make change happen in a large organisation.”
“Burnout is not just overwork, or the ensuing exhaustion. Some of you will already know this.”
“Not everyone knows that there’s more to a link than just a clickable word or image.”
“It’s almost impossible to predict the future. But it’s also unnecessary, because most people are living in the past. All you have to do is see the present before everyone else does.”
“It all started with Goofy blowing lewd kisses at my mom. I was a five-year-old at Disney World, happily exploring with my parents. Happily, that is, until I entered what seemed like an adulterous nightmare.”
Worrying is stupid and can you can stop doing it.
“Free online photo editor supporting PSD, XCF, Sketch, XD and CDR formats.”
Boring avatars generates custom, SVG-based avatars from any username and color palette.
“Vertical navigation is a good fit for broad or growing IAs, but takes up more space than horizontal navigation. Ensure that it is left-aligned, keyword front-loaded, and visible. Many teams will try to shoehorn a broad navigation hierarchy into a horizontal navigation bar on desktop sites.”
A weird skateboarding video.
“Spice up your virtual meetings by inviting along a Goat!”
Was pretty surreal to have a goat in the meeting, unannounced.
If there’s a YouTube for comics, it’s Webtoon.
“Too many nonprofits, he says, are rewarded for how little they spend—not for what they get done. Instead of equating frugality with morality, he asks us to start rewarding charities for their big goals and big accomplishments (even if that comes with big expenses).”
Dan Palotta explains how crazy it is that people find we shouldn’t pay managers of charity big bucks. I agree with his analysis, but my conclusion they get paid fine and we should just tax the other people’s millions and billions.
“A few years ago, we built a segmented control component for the Lyft Product Language (LPL) design system. You may have read our guide to designing and using selection controls.”
“It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of big-company HR practices. I’m more of the First Break all the Rules type. Despite my general skepticism of many standard practices, we still do annual performance reviews at my company, though I’m thinking seriously of dropping them.”
A few days after reading about this alternative way of thinking, I managed to apply it felt like a genius!
“I still remember my excitement when I learned how to build a hover-triggered submenu with just CSS. (It was probably after reading this 2003 article from A List Apart.) At the time, it was a true CSS trick. Seriously. Wild times.”
Since touch screens, I avoid using mouse hover and right click to disclose essential UI elements.
“I am considered a pessimist—the ‘Daria’ of design—whose standards are too high and too critical. Designers, I would argue, are afraid to embrace dissent because it disrupts the positivity bubble.”
“Lapa Ninja is a gallery featuring the best 2949 landing page design from around the web. Buy Lapa Ninja a Coffee ☕️”
“How did our apps get so boring? It’s time we put play, aesthetics, and quality-of-life over efficiencies.”
I don’t care for his styling. Still I find Andy’s venture interesting, because it’s the first time I see a designer sell digital products directly to consumers using an influencer type of marketing and a subscription model where one pays for supporting the creator rather than products updates.
I tend to agree with the article. But instead of ‘personal branding’ can we say ‘ethics and professional presence’ or something?
I expect this case to show up in thousands of slide decks of UX teams showing IT departments why they’re underfunded and understaffed.
“A federal judge has ruled that Citibank isn’t entitled to the return of $500 million it sent to various creditors last August. Kludgey software and a poorly designed user interface contributed to the massive screwup.”
Uniwidth ≠ monospaced!
“As a web/interface/visual designer I work a lot with label states. Selected, unselected, active, inactive, available, out of stock. Considering that you should never use color as the only visual cue (always remember accessibility dear designer), text weight is often my go-to solution.”
Carbon dioxide removal is what we need to avoid climate disasters. There’s a lot more possible than planting trees. It’s not a light read, but I find it very uplifting!
“Pika is an easy to use, open-source, native colour picker for macOS.”
Important points about the relevance and ethics of design.
“We’re headed into a dangerous time, when our society is run on digital platforms, and UX isn’t leading the way to ensure that those tools are usable.”
I’m all for modernism, but this shop’s design is more interesting than everything else I’ve seen in the last months. Just add a product to the cart to see why. And yes: I’m ordering algae as food, because they’re super healthy and a sustainable source of protein. Algae are going to save the world!
“To be truly countercultural in a time of tech hegemony, one has to, above all, betray the platform which may come in the form of betraying or divesting from your public online self.”
Running a personal website is both counterculture and totally mainstream personal branding.
“Hundreds of people had their homes foreclosed on after software used by Wells Fargo incorrectly denied them mortgage modifications.”
This video shows clearly that the avoiding climate disasters is not about who’s to blame, but who’s taking responsibility.
“In the beginning, there was no CSS.
This was very bad.”
“And Microsoft feared Firefox greatly, and Internet Explorer returned, and called itself Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.0) and it rendered good code, but only if webmasters commanded it to do so.”
“Httpster is an inspiration resource showcasing totally rocking websites made by people from all over the world.”
“As creative professionals, we work with tools that are not “in the medium”. We think in pages while the thing we’re actually working on is far more complex and specific in its final form. So wouldn’t it be more reasonable to find a way to better reach the medium in our design work?”
“It’s not too late to ditch the ad-based business model and build a better web.”
“The hypothesis was that the quality of a manager doesn’t matter and that managers are at best a necessary evil, and at worst a useless layer of bureaucracy. The early work of Project Oxygen, in 2002, included a radical experiment – a move to a flat organization without any managers.”
“The best example we’ve experienced is when brand new people join the company. They naturally look towards more experienced and skilled people that are already part of the team, to help them figure out the best first steps.”
“Finally, there’s the cost of tyranny. The problem isn’t the occasional control freak; it’s the hierarchical structure that systematically disempowers lower-level employees.”
A playful color picking tool
Of all the automatic color tools I’ve tried, this one seems working the best: a lot of control and no unexpected color combinations.
“You’ll be pivoting towards either greater engagement or greater detachment. You’ll either help invent the future, or retreat with the declining age and turn into a producer of nostalgia.”
If enough people say big change is coming, it becomes a self-fullfilling prophecy.
“Essentials for cool websites (in 1999)”
“If no one cares about performance work today, then shouting and screaming and being a jerk about it won’t help at all.
Trust me, I have been that jerk.”
“One reason programmers dislike meetings so much is that they’re on a different type of schedule from other people. Meetings cost them more. There are two types of schedule, which I’ll call the manager’s schedule and the maker’s schedule. ”
“Ideally you are constantly marketing yourself, but it’s understandable that you don’t want it to take over your whole life. ”
“*May also apply to senior ICs”
“An executive with 8,000 indirect reports and 2000 hours of work in a year can afford to spend, at most, 15 minutes per year per person in their reporting hierarchy… even if they work on nothing else. That job seems impossible.”
“While we can acknowledge that luck plays a role, we often use that as a crutch to avoid doing what we can do to intelligently prepare for opportunities.”
“Doing what you love is complicated. The very idea is foreign to what most of us learn as kids.”
Lovely short comic strip
Cabin looks like a good alternative to dealing with Google Analytics’ bloated UI and privacy situation.
“ I attended an event that took me through the gamut of emotions. I was educated, inspired, amused, moved and energized. There were moments where I could literally feel chills down my spine. ”
Some perspectives on whether technology is inherently good or not.
My only problem with this article is that I feel seen.
If there’s one thing that I find hard to explain to other designers, it’s that breakpoints are silly. Meanwhile, CSS is getting better and better at making responsive design easy!
Instant classic referring to the (also excellent) book ‘Don’t Make Me Think’. Have a look, if only for the animated illustrations!
“Simplification is a powerful design strategy. Naturally the button to make an emergency call should be as simple as possible. And yet, we also need further design strategies that help us accept, understand, and interact with complex situations in our lives.”
I’d never thought I’d get excited about color spaces, but this is big! Designs finally get to have highly saturated colors, consistently across browsers!
“We actually get access to about 50% more colors.”
Very much a ‘personal website’, but in a good way. His blog has well-researched and smart articles. Signaling As A Service is one of my favorites.
Sidewalk Talk: “Where technologists and urbanists discuss the future of cities.”
I consider designing cities is one of the highest forms of design. I think it’s crazy complicated. This particular post is about why Nijmegen is “home to the world’s first successful neighborhood freight hub. Why has it worked out where others failed?”
This gives me a proper museum visit feel, because of nostalgia and because all the controls work. It really whips the llama’s ass!
“The Winamp Skin Museum is an attempt to build a fast, searchable, and shareable, interface for the collection of Winamp Skins amassed on the Internet Archive.”
Matthew Strom managed to create a readable series of articles applying ethics philosophy to design. It’s the kind of series I’ve had in mind to create, but never managed to complete, because I was too much focused on finding solutions instead of asking questions and gathering what philosophy has created already.