Tag Archives: design

Educational Typography Ebooks

I’ve only recently taken a look at font retailer FontShop‘s collection of educational typography ebooks despite having the site bookmarked for months. It’s a wonderful (yet small) collection, currently consisting of these five books:

The online Typographer’s Glossary will no doubt come in handy for many, too. In fact, just click on everything they have under the heading ‘Type Resources’–it’s all great.

via @jasonfry

The Role of Good Progress Bars

For the increasingly complex applications that we deal with on a daily basis, progress bars are an important feature in order to provide users with a constant experience of progression, efficiency and engagement.

After explaining the benefits of progress bars (see above!), Gavin Davies then delves deeper into the topic, looking specifically at the role of progress bars on the Internet.

Providing good (WGet) and bad (Mac OS8) examples of progress bars and describing the technical problems behind certain types, Gavin defines the four criteria of a good progress bar:

  • Accurate – watching a bar fill up gradually only to chug to a halt at around 90% can infuriate all but the most Zen. Worse still on the hair ripping scale are bars that fill up, only to empty and begin anew!
  • Responsive and smooth – the bar should be updated regularly to show that things are still working. […] Research shows that a linear, consistent progress increase is better than the bar jerking around like a malfunctioning robot dancer.
  • Precise – the bar should show an estimate of time remaining, and perhaps other data such as percent or file size remaining so the user knows if he or she should start any long books in the interim.
  • Appropriate – before using a progress bar, consider carefully whether it is appropriate, both in terms of User Experience and technical feasibility.

HTML5 Forms: A Fun Guide

It’s been a while since I’ve read a technical(ish) article that is as accessible and fun as Mark Pilgrim’s guide to using new HTML5 markup in web forms.

I’m not sure if it’s the doing of ‘Professor Markup’ or this slightly nerdy quip, but I fell in love with Pilgrim’s style:

Asking for a number is trickier than asking for an email address or web address. First of all, numbers are more complicated than you might think. Quick: pick a number. -1? No, I meant a number between 1 and 10. 7½? No no, not a fraction, silly. π? Now you’re just being irrational.

Mark Pilgrim–developer advocate for Google, “specialising in open source and open standards”–has recently released a book on the subject, HTML5: Up & Running. I hope it’s as entertaining as this.

via @rands, who is asking the same question as me: “How the hell does Pilgrim make web forms entertaining?”

Note: Mark Pilgrim no longer maintains the Dive Into HTML5 project. The old site has been removed.

Steve Jobs’ View on the Web and Creativity (1996)

In 1996, while he was still the CEO of NeXT, Steve Jobs was interviewed by Wired writer Gary Wolf. The result was a sometimes quaint, occasionally prophetic and often pessimistic exchange.

In this far-reaching (and somewhat lengthy) discussion with Steve Jobs, the two discuss the forthcoming ubiquity of “the web dial tone”, how technology doesn’t change the world and this on the true meaning of design and creativity:

Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works. The design of the Mac wasn’t what it looked like, although that was part of it. Primarily, it was how it worked. To design something really well, you have to get it. You have to really grok what it’s all about. It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something, chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don’t take the time to do that.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.

via @tcarmody

User Experience Design Tips

Inspired by Matthew Frederick’s enlightening book 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School, Shane Morris and Matt Morphett started 101 Things I Learned in Interaction Design School.

After a promising start the site halted prematurely with a measly nineteen entries to it’s name. Those that do exist are not all fantastic, but there are some gems that are worth a browse, including:

I wait in hope of a revival.

via @zambonini