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Disrespectful Design, Part II

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.”

The Nine States of Design

“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.

Making Disabled Buttons More Inclusive

“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.

Europe's Software Problem

“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.”

How to survive a design career and avoid burnout

“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.”


“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.”

The way we think about charity is dead wrong

“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.

    In Praise of the Unambiguous Click Menu

    “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.

    No more boring apps

    “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.

    Citibank just got a $500 million lesson in the importance of UI design

    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 typefaces for interface design

    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.”

    Spirulina Algae (Bio)

    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!


    “Httpster is an inspiration resource showcasing totally rocking websites made by people from all over the world.”

    MJD 59,143

    “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.

    Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule

    “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. ”

    What do executives do, anyway?

    “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.”

    Running an All-hands

    “ 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. ”

    Make me think!

    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.”

    Winamp Skin Museum

    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.”

    Ethics for designers

    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.