Podrover Diaries is a series about my adventures in building Podrover, a service to track, collect and share your podcast reviews. Subscribe to the RSS feed or join my newsletter to stay up to date with upcoming adventures. “Why there isn’t a built-in component to make this?” I remember this question rolling in my head as I was building this allegedly simple feature in Podrover. You have seen this pattern many times:
A bunch of interesting observations in this post by Oliver Brooks. The pursuit of a platform agnostic UI doesn’t map neatly to a digital landscape filled with a wide array of different devices, screen sizes, users and, most importantly, input methods. As much as we want to apply order and consistency to the world, it’s important to embrace the fact that it is staggeringly complex and filled with inconsistencies.
Rounding up a number. Hiding an option. Omitting a detail. We do it every day, sometimes lightheartedly. But it can have a big impact over the span of a year. Much like when we brew some tea. 97% of households in the UK own an electric tea kettle and 65% of them admit to overfilling their kettles. The extra energy that is wasted on a daily basis for boiling unused water is enough to light all the streetlights in London for a night.
I like the new and shiny, I don’t deny it. Luckily I have learned to finish the chapters I start writing, so after some playing with a new tool/framework/library I ask myself: can I build a whole thing with this? And if the answer is yes Would I ship a product (that I sell to people) based on this? The new and shiny can get past the first but usually doesn’t pass the second test.
Marc Edwards is facing a fascinating problem. In the context of a program that is meant for designers, what happens when I zoom on something? This question goes hand in hand with, what’s the expectation of the user when he/she clicks zoom-in? Given that there might be many elements on screen, deciding which one to enlarge is a non trivial task. Here’s the full post. I look forward to see which solution will be adopted in Skala.
Besides hostile design, there’s also another form of toxic design. I call it ambiguous design. I never met a designer that said “this remote control is perfect”. Even the latest Apple TV remote has some design flaws, mostly due to its shape. But this is a post about something simpler, the remote control of a gate. I recently installed an automatic gate at my house. The remote control is this.
Lighting, benches and paths can be designed to force or prevent a given behavior. This episode of 99pi is a great overview of hostile design. It’s incredible how you can design a bench on which it’s impossible to sleep or rest for more than five minutes. Check out also the videos with people enacting weird poses to show the hostility in the design of these objects. What about software? What about that newsletter that asks you to login when you want to unsubscribe?
We go so far as to define the very word "design" as arranging pixels for display on a screen. Drew Wilson source I am with Drew on this. Every choice in a product contributes to its design. If a DevOps engineer spots that a service is slow and makes it faster, he/she improves the overall experience of the product. Would you call that engineer a designer? Probably not, but still the design has been improved.
A seamless texture. It makes my eyes freely flow over it. It gives me that sense of endless. Whenever I go to a mall I stop by the cutlery section and I love looking for tureens with no welded joints. The Westfield Mall in San Francisco, on the ground floor, has a huge cutlery section. It’s design heaven to me :) I also like to pick up knives to figure out if they feel balanced in my hand.
We usually see the final product. We judge it pretty quickly. We almost never think how the designer got to that result. Here’s the story behind the icon of Podrover. I wanted to design it myself, but the entrepreneur side of me won that argument with a “let’s outsource the design of the icon while you keep on building the app”. I had a few ideas in mind, mostly playing with the concept of rover as a vehicle.
Brilliant post by @designjokes. Some icons are verbs, some are nouns. I have recently written about icons and labels but I skipped the part about the grammar, which is covered in the linked post.
A few days ago I stumbled upon an interesting thread that started with this Tweet: “The Best Icon is a Text Label” http://t.co/eqVi82nAAN pic.twitter.com/cig7ZYVwAg — iA Inc. (@iA) April 10, 2015 I studied semiotics so this discussion resonated quite a bit with my studies. I looked up some of the notes I took at the time and got back to the roots of semiotics, to the founder Charles Sanders Peirce.
Dustin Curtis on Amazon Echo The media strategy that seems to be driving Jeff Bezos to make mobile consumption devices (with Amazon’s media stores and Prime video/music) is flawed. No one makes money selling media for consumption anymore. That market is quickly and brutally dying. @dcurtis source The only explanation I have is that Jeff Bezos wakes up in the morning and says “We have this money to spend, we can’t throw it away so let’s build something”.
We are having a sunny October over here and I enjoy biking to pick up my kid at the kindergarden. There’s a gate with a bell. You ring it, say who you are about to pick up and they let you in. The kindergarden is surrounded by a beautiful garden, so from the gate to the actual building there’s a short path. I got there, rang, waited for the gate to open and biked to the building, oblivious of what I just did.
I like simple, very much so. I usually tend not to publicize kickstarter projects on this blog, but this tool looks very interesting. How many times you had to slightly hear better the audio coming from your iDevice? Countless times I thought I could use something like SpeakerSlide. A video is worth a gazillion words. Key takeaways for designers and product makers: Solve a problem Solve a single problem If your product is simple, marketing is easier.
There are many rumors that Apple is designing a smartwatch, while Motorola has already announced moto 360. I work on a Mac, I have a few iPhones and also an Apple display. I am already hearing you screaming “fanboy”. According to your cliché I should line up as soon as Apple announces the alleged iWatch. Wrong! Even if Apple is really going to ship an Smartwatch I am not gonna buy it.
Last year I wrote about boredom in the Apple land. Essentially I said that we were getting used to the patterns adopted by Apple and that a stretched iPhone was built just to show off. I still think we didn’t need a taller iPhone but I definitely changed my mind about boredom. It looks like Phil Schiller read my post and replied on stage with “Can’t innovate anymore, my ass”. That was just referring to the new Mac Pro, of which we had a preview during the last WWDC.
TLDR; Be wise in choosing what to copy/steal Somehow we are all been fascinated by: Good artists copy, great artists steal. That’s a quote by Pablo Picasso often “stolen” by Steve Jobs to make his point. He put that in practice quite a few times, “copying” the guts of BSD, which became the foundation of Mac OS or “taking inspiration” from the groundbreaking work done at Xerox in the ‘80s.
This article first appeared in issue #5 of App Ville. Thanks Tope for allowing me to repost it here. There has been some heat around walkthroughs in mobile apps. I think it all started with the bold post by Max Rudberg, If you see a UI walkthrough, they blew it. Here is another take on the subject. And by the end of this article, you will understand why you need a walkthrough if you are truly innovative.
Boredom has come. It was inevitable. After a rush of four years we are now not stunned anymore. Those holding that “wow” for one year will have to keep it for future events. “Apple is not innovating anymore”. “Skeuomorphism? I don’t like it”. Twitter is full of this messages. My intention is far from defending Apple. They have a big marketing machine and many lawyers, so they don’t need my defense.
There has been hype about how to design a mobile web site/application. Instead of promptly writing my opinion, which would have been pretty guts-driven, I preferred to wait for things to settle down a bit (in the media and in my mind) and then write down, calmly, what I think. First a bit of history: Nielsen writes a year ago: “I am a screen-size bigot: bigger screens deliver hugely higher user productivity.