Champions of Quality
I have a Ryan home that I had built in 2003. Overall, it’s a nice house, but when you have a contractor erect a cookie-cutter building, they are going to find ways to cut costs. Last weekend, the counter weight spring on my garage door, well, sprung. My wife called a local garage door installation specialist, and he informed us that they see this problem quite often. When the house was built, the...
Design Sin: Short Sliders
If you provide a slider as the mechanism to adjust a setting, make sure that: a. It is long enough to have at least one pixel per possible value, or b. There is another method of entering a specific value. There have been several instances in which I was trying to specify a certain percentage or amount of time, but had the slider skipping over the number I was trying to enter due to a lack of...
Designer’s Toolbelt: CSS3 Extenders
David Malouf, Professor of Interaction Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design, recently published an article on Johnny Holland titled Motion and the Clay of Interaction Design, in which he hesitantly proposes motion as a fourth foundation of Interaction Design. The first three, described in an earlier publication, are time, metaphor, and abstraction. The article is very well reasoned, I...
Helen Walters published a very good article about design thinking on Fast Company today: “Design Thinking” Isn’t a Miracle Cure, but Here’s How It Helps. It’s a written version of a talk she gave recently titled Design Thinking Won’t Save You. She explains what design thinking is not, hopefully correcting the misconceptions of uninformed executives. I found most of what she had to say to be spot...
Invention vs. Design
This past weekend I purchased a cajon, a Peruvian drum, basically a wooden box that you sit on and play by slapping the front with your hands. The instrument was invented by African slaves when the Spaniards outlawed music. They were afraid that the slaves were using rhythms to communicate, and they likely were. The “talking drums” of Ghana were used for long distance communication. It’s a similar...
Potential Conference Topics
In 2009, I submitted a topic for Interaction 09, but wasn’t selected. In 2010, I again submitted and still wasn’t selected. In 2011, I was on the conference planning committee, so I couldn’t submit. I’ve been rather unimpressed with a number of speakers I’ve seen recently, and I think I can do better, but the last time I spoke at a conference was at the International Symposium on Wearable...
I’m Not Sure
So yesterday morning, I was playing the drums in our worship service like I do every Sunday. We were singing Mighty to Save, a popular contemporary Christian tune that we’ve played many, many times. I know it by heart, but had the chart in front of me just in case. I was really getting into it, and at one point, rather than going back into a low-key repeat of the chorus, I skipped to the final...
Eric Raymond’s Rule of Generation encourages programmers to “Avoid hand-hacking; write programs to write programs when you can.” Of all the Unix design rules, this one may be the hardest for me to reconcile with interaction design. Ever since I was in graduate school, I’ve had major reservations about toolkits. Everything I’ve seen that was designed to make a coder’s job easier does so at the...
The term “gamification” was bandied about quite a bit at Interaction 11, and was generally frowned upon. For one, the word itself is not a very good one—rather awful really—and many software development shops have embraced the fad by throwing badges into their applications for seemingly no good reason. One application that I think has benefitted tremendously from a very limited amount of...
Designer’s Toolbelt: Explorations in Typography
Carolina de Bartolo and Erik Spiekermann have a new book out titled Explorations in Typography / Mastering the Art of Fine Typesetting. It appears to be a very good book, and given the authors, that’s not surprising. But, I haven’t read the book yet, so I can’t review it. What I want to tell you about is the website for the book, which was designed and developed by Gregory Cadars. The site is an...
I remember tax time when I was a kid. My father would set up the card table in the basement and spread papers out all over it. He’d have stacks of folders on it. It would be set up for what seemed like weeks, and he would spend hours sitting at it. I dreaded having to do that when I got older. By the time I had to file a serious tax return, there was TurboTax. Thank goodness. Out of all of the...
Yes, this is the one thousandth post I’ve made on DesignAday. In my first post, I stated, “It is my hope that this will percolate my thoughts and feelings about design issues, becoming a new source of inspiration.” After a thousand posts, perhaps it’s time to evaluate my success. I can say without a doubt that writing about design on a daily basis has been beneficial. The need to have a new topic...
MacRabbit vs. Panic
I’ve been using MacRabbit’s CSSEdit now for quite some time, and I love it. I’ve reviewed it on DesignAday before. I was so happy with it, I started using Espresso (which I also reviewed). However, they’re getting a little long in the tooth, and we all know about rabbits with nasty, big, pointy teeth. According to their forums, they are working on a big overhaul of Espresso, which will be version...
It’s Hip to be Square
Rosenfeld Media was having a great discount on their books at Interaction 11, which they were selling from a little, wheeled cart deemed the Bookmobile. I decided to take advantage of the offer and pick up Nathan Shedroff’s Design is the Problem, a book I’ve been wanting to read for some time. I asked if they were accepting credit cards, and Lou showed me his iPad. He selected the book I was...
Friends don’t let friends use Internet Explorer 6. And neither should acquaintances. Educate others about moving off of Internet Explorer 6. This statement was pulled directly from a Microsoft website: The Internet Explorer 6 Countdown. You know it’s bad when the company that sold the software is working this hard to get people to stop using it. I applaud them for doing so, as it has been a...