Icons save space. Icons look crisp. Icons give quick answers to hard questions: How do we make it nicer? How can we brand it? How do we make it more fun? We ♥ icons. Until they start messing with our minds.
Will information technology affect our minds the same way the environment was affected by our analogue technology? Designers hold a key position in dealing with ever increasing data pollution. We are mostly focused on speeding things up, on making sharing easier, faster, more accessible. But speed, usability, accessibility are not the main issue anymore.
Putting Thought Into Things
To get a good perspective, we start our projects with research. We go mobile first for prioritization, and we want all the content first so we can design in the browser… Unfortunately, the reality of web design follows a different stereotype.
Learning to See
Learning to design is learning to
, an adventure that gets more and more captivating the further you go.
A love letter to my profession.
Bringing Responsiveness to Apps
iA Writer for Mac is the first native text editor that uses a responsive design. Why did it take so long?
Mountain Lion’s New File System
Apple has been working on its file system and with iOS it had almost killed the concept of folders—before reintroducing them with a peculiar restriction: only one level! With Mountain Lion it brings its one folder level logic to OSX. What could be the reason for such a restrictive measure?
“400,000 downloads with a super simple app” (Business Insider)
The following Interview on iA Writer and the secret of its success has appeared in Business Insider, who reached out to us, “to get the story on where his app came from, where it's heading, and what's wrong with contemporary text editors.”
How do you deal with erroneous tweets? Not
erroneous tweets. The tweets that you misspelled or, worse, that contain information you later discover is false, or a late night knee-jerk response you regret in the morning.
NZZ Relaunch: An iA Checkup
The Swiss newspaper NZZ just launched its much anticipated redesign. The design was made by the German agency Meiré and Meiré that has also done the print design. Commenting on work from people in your own field is a delicate matter.
Responsive Typography: The Basics
When we built websites we usually started by defining the body text. The body text definition dictates how wide your main column is, the rest used to follow almost by itself.
. Until recently, screen resolution was more or less homogeneous. Today we deal with a variety of screen sizes and resolutions. This makes things much more complicated.
“Why Simplicity Creates Great User Experiences” (DRT)
Interview with William Channer for DRT, focusing on “the importance of keeping interfaces simple, why current websites are complicated and the pitfalls of research and why it's a good starting point to understand user expectations.” This is the unedited transcript of the interview.
Business Class: Freemium for News?
I had a perspective-changing talk on the subject of pay walls with the chief executive of a big publishing company (no, I can't tell you who). He asked me what I think about pay walls.
What’s Next in Web Design?
I’ve been asked by the Italian magazine
to write an article on The Future of Web Design. Here is the (longer) English text.
Can Experience be Designed?
First, think of a number between one and ten. Then take a step back and look at the words “User Experience Design” as if you had never seen them.
Kenya Hara On Japanese Aesthetics
What makes Japanese design so special? Basically, it's a matter of simplicity; a particular notion of simplicity, different from what simplicity means in the West. So are things in general better designed in Japan? Well, actually, it's not that simple…
The Spectrum of User Experience
Designers are narcissists, programmers are nerds, and whoever wears a tie must be a jerk. Designers, programmers and business people love to hate each other. That's why we keep them separated…
Webapp Death Match: Google vs. Apple
With websites turning more and more into web applications, functionally as well as aesthetically, it'd be interesting to look at what makes a Web app work in terms of skinning. We start off by comparing two different approaches: HTML-skin vs. desktop-application-skin. In other words, Google versus Apple.
Branding Crimes: 4. The Start-Button
We have hated this thing for over 12 years now—the button that launches a pull-up menu. Only the twisted minds over at Redmond could come up with this. Yeah, I know it's not a real "Start" button anymore, with Vista it's become more of a clickable logo like the Macintosh one. But, after all this time, it is still a push-up menu. And that is another major branding crime. Why?
The Future of News: How to Survive the New Media Shift
News organizations cannot continue to ignore the global shift from institutionally-controlled media to user-controlled media. They have to redefine their processes and face the obvious question: Do we still need old media for news?
The Electronic Gentleman
If you have a website that is not user friendly, you have an unfriendly website which basically means that you lack manners. The specialists use that word (“user friendly”) so often that they forget that “friendly” actually is an ethical term.
The 100% Easy-2-Read Standard
Using 10 pixel Verdana made sense in a time when screens were 640 pixels wide. Today it is a mistake.
When people ask me about my background, they're confused. I studied philosophy. How come I do web design? In short: The old Greeks brought me here. What can Internet workers learn from the old Greeks?
Jakob Nielsen, Time Machine?
In 2001, usability guru Jakob Nielsen—according to USA Today “the next best thing to a true time machine”—was convinced that by 2007 books would be gone and “fully replaced with online information”. Was he being serious?
The Interface of a Cheeseburger
All things have an interface. Shaping interfaces is shaping the character of things. The brand is what transports the character of things. When looking at McDonald’s, iPod, or Nintendo DS it becomes quite obvious that the interface *is* the brand.
Design is How it Works
“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. That's not what we think design is. It's not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
Why is Simplicity Difficult?
Simple websites are easy to use, easy to understand, nice to look at. In practice, websites are either unusable or ugly and filled with too many words. Why do designers have a hard time to keep it simple?
Usability News: The F-Pattern
Since I’ve started developing websites I’ve been looking for the ideal layout. Today I got another hint on the direction to take. Jacob Nielsen calls it the “F-Pattern”.
Internet Users Visit Only 6 Websites
We now have over 75 million websites we can go to, but still we only visit six of them regularly, as we just learned from a study recently made public by Directgov. Their findings make us think of a new phase of the Internet.
Usability and Branding
Your website is more important for your company and its brand portfolio than your business card, your brochures, the products you sell, your packaging, the address and the building your company resides in.
The Right-Side Column: Just Noise?
If it is your side column on your website you want it. But does your user read—or even: see—it? You might argue that the side column is standard. So we do need it. Do we?
Do We Really Need a Site Navigation?
Whoever performed any usability tests knows that users look at the content straight away. Users first look the pictures, then at the titles, then at the text. Navigation often gets completely ignored. In my seven years of conceiving websites and monitoring usability tests I am tempted to say that navigation is useless.
How Important is Design on the Web?
Internet users can give websites a thumbs up or thumbs down in less than the blink of an eye, according to recently published study report. Nature.com and Wired recently reported on the fact that we pass judgement on a website in less than a second. This sounds like good news for web designers. Is it?