Thomas Byttebier - The best icon is a text label
A look at the risks of relying on a purely graphical icon for interface actions. When in doubt, label it.
A look at the risks of relying on a purely graphical icon for interface actions. When in doubt, label it.
Hot on the heels of Github’s pattern library, here’s Heroku’s.
Github’s pattern library.
As always, it’s great to see how other organisations are tackling modular reusable front-end code (though I can’t imagine why anyone other than Github would ever want to use it in production).
Any sufficiently advanced vision piece is indistinguishable from Black Mirror.
This would be better titled “Futures of texting” but it’s an interesting grab-bag of observations. I’ve always felt that SMS has been overlooked as an input mechanism.
(Conversely, I’ve always felt that voice is really over-rated as input mechanism, but under-rated for output.)
A great investigation into the usability benefits of allowing users to fill in their passwords in plain text.
Major caveat: make sure you still offer the ability to mask passwords too.
Luke continues to tilt against the windmills of the security theatre inertia that still has us hiding passwords by default. As ever, he’s got the data to back up his findings.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately; alternate ways of paginating through the past e.g. by day instead of by arbitrary amount.
A concept browser from Yandex that takes an interesting approach to URLs: on the one hand, hiding them …but then putting them front and centre.
But the main focus of this concept browser is to blur the line between browser chrome and the website it’s displaying.
Typeset In The Future is back with another cracking analysis. This time—following on from 2001 and Moon—we’ve got Alien.
In her final recorded message before hypersleep, Ripley notes that she is the sole survivor of the Nostromo. What she forgets to mention is that she has not once in the past two hours encountered any Eurostile Bold Extended.
A self-describing list of cursors available through CSS.
Personally, I’m all for more browsers. The more, the merrier.
Here’s an intriguing approach to offering a navigation control that adapts as the user scrolls.
I’m not too keen on the way it duplicates the navigation in the markup though. I might have a play to see if I can find a way to progressively enhance up from a link-to-footer pattern to achieve this.
A peek behind the scenes of an interesting new navigation pattern on the Guardian’s still-in-beta responsive site.
You can try it out here
A concise case study from gov.uk:
Designing for the constraints of mobile is useful – if we get the fundamentals of the service working on small screens and slow network speeds, it can work on more capable devices.
Heydon Pickering put together a great collection of accessible self-contained interface patterns that demonstrate smart use of ARIA.
A clever way of doing progressive disclosure with CSS.
Here’s a nice little UI addition to Chrome. When you focus on the URL bar, if the current site has site-specific search discoverable via rel=”search”, then you get a greyed-out hint to press tab so you can start searching the site.
Nat’s take on Chrome’s proposal to bury URLs:
The URLs are the cornerstone of the interconnected, decentralised web. Removing the URLs from the browser is an attempt to expand and consolidate centralised power.
I really like this interface idea from Brad that provides the utility of input masks but without the accessibility problems.
This looks like a nifty take on the ol’ using-labels-like-placeholders pattern for forms. I still prefer to have a label visible at all times, but this seems like a nice compromise.
A lovely little tour of eleven ubiquitous icons.
This observation by Josh seems obvious in hindsight (all the best insights do), but there’s a powerful idea there:
So here is the real difference: scrolling is a continuation; clicking is a decision. Scrolling is simply continuing to do what you’re currently doing, which is typically reading. Clicking, however, is asking the user to consider something new…is this new thing the same as what I’m already doing, or something new?
I hate carousels, but if you’re going to have one, this progressively enhanced approach looks pretty good.
Dan Bricklin—co-creator of the original VisiCalc spreadsheet—turns his attention to responsive design, specifically for input-centric tasks.
The transcript of a terrific talk by Harry on how dark patterns are often driven by a slavish devotion to conversion rates.
A nice collection of navigation patterns for responsive designs. The demos aren’t using a mobile-first approach, and they’re reliant on jQuery, but they could be easily adapted.
Carousels are shit. Auto-animating carousels are really shit. Now proven with science!
A comprehensive look at the current state of things in the world of responsive design, with a look to possible future APIs.
The existential angst of unfeeling feedback.
A design fiction video depicting technology that helps and hinders in equal measure.
Want to style those new HTML5 input types? I hope you like vendor prefixes.
Yes, yes, yes!
This is wonderful stuff! I’m a big fan of the
datalist element but I hadn’t realised how it could be combined with
input types like
Timoni tackles the tricky topic of teaching taps.
Discoverability can be hard, but that shouldn’t stop us trying out new interactions.
A sweet, beautiful love letter to design, from Oliver.
A well-reasoned and excellently hyperlinked piece from Timo pushing back against the calls for “invisible” design.
To be fair, I’ve only ever heard the “no UI” argument in the context of “sometimes the best UI is no UI at all.”
Still, this is a great explanation of why “seamlessness” in design is by no means a desirable attribute.
Dan isn’t keen on the term “natural user interface.” Here’s why.
Cennydd uses the word “select” as an input-neutral term for what we might be tempted to call clicks or taps. Personally, I like the term “choose”, although that word might have too much intent bundled with it.
Reviews based entirely on the feel of the knob.
I’ve never been a fan of carousels on websites, to put it mildy. It seems I am not alone. And if you doubt the data, ask yourself this: when was the last time you, as a user, interacted with a carousel on any website?
A look at the depiction of computer hardware and peripherals in sci-fi movies over time.
A great piece by Jason analysing the ever-blurring lines between device classes.
Mind you, there is one question he doesn’t answer which would help clear up his framing of the situation. That question is:
What’s a web app?
Beautiful thoughtful work from the BERGians.
A short film about interaction design.
I concur completely with Luke’s assessment here. Most password-masking on the web is just security theatre. Displaying password inputs by default (but with an option to hide) should be the norm.
Let’s be polite. Especially when starting relationships.
Josh takes an-depth look at the navigation design implications of touch/keyboard hybrid devices, coming to a similar conclusion as Luke and Jason:
Unfortunately, the top-of-screen navigation and menus of traditional desktop layouts are outright hostile to hybrid ergonomics. Tried-and-true desktop conventions have to change to make room for fingers and thumbs.
Want to test for a hybrid device? Tough luck. Instead, argues Josh, the best you can do is assume that any device visiting your site could be touch-enabled.
Luke and Jason have done some excellent research (and put together some demos) into how the placement of navigation could be optimised for touch screens of all sizes. Turns out that the “standard” convention of having navigation along the top is far from ideal on a touch-enabled device.
Interaction dissolving into the environment.
Andy makes a good point here, point out the difference between device testing and design testing:
When I’m designing, it’s incredibly important for me to quickly gain an affinity with how my design feels when I hold it in my hands.
Chris and Nathan’s book is finally out. I’m going to enjoy reading through this.
A classic piece of design fiction written by Mark Weiser 21 years ago.
The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.
A fascinating insight into the psychological implications of animated progress indicators.
See now, this is why liquid layouts are the way to go.
Harry’s 15 minute case-study presentation at UX London was excellent. He says the lesson is that we shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes, but there’s another lesson here too: testing with users will save your ass.
In amongst all the shiny demos on this site, this one could actually be useful.
Existential ennui delivered through interface copy.
Andy documents the kinds of symbols being used to represent revealable navigation on mobile.
A look at the new pseudo-classes in CSS3 that go hand-in-hand with the form enhancements introduced in HTML5.
Prompted by Brad’s recent post, here are some musings on three methods of handling navigation in responsive sites.
Nik demos the neat interactions in Realmac’s latest piece of iOS software in this cute little video.
This looks like it’s going to be a great event on February 25th right here in Brighton: a gathering of minds to brainstorm around web intents. Get there if you can.
This looks like a nice progressive enhancement pattern: convert a select element into an auto-completing input element (a country selector in this case).
The next time you make a sandwich, pay attention to your hands. Seriously! Notice the myriad little tricks your fingers have for manipulating the ingredients and the utensils and all the other objects involved in this enterprise. Then compare your experience to sliding around Pictures Under Glass.
Possibly the least imaginative concept video ever made, this piece commissioned by Blackberry shows a dystopian near-future ruled by security departments run by people with very, very tired arms.
This vision thing commissioned by Microsoft shows a future-friendly networked world where content flows like water from screen to screen.
A cute glanceable interface onto Foursquare that turns it into your own private railway station.
A nice Huffduffer-style mad libs form gives this registration form a friendly quality.
Tantek’s braindump of research he and Erin have been doing on web actions—verbs for the web, specifically interactions across sites: sharing, liking, and so on. I agree with him that this terminology feels better than “web intents.”
Erin documents the next step after web intents.
I agree with this. I like it. I plus one it. So to speak.
This looks like a beautiful way to present information, although it seems a real shame that the information is locked to just one class of device.
Ben documents the improvements in Twitter’s OAuth flow. Maybe this will help to stop people blindly giving permission to dodgy third-party sites to update their Twitter stream.
Well, there goes my afternoon: here’s an endless supply of computer interfaces from films.
There are two things I’d like to see after watching this video:
An argument against skeuomorphic design. The Windows Mobile 7 design vocabulary is rightly praised for its no-nonsense beauty.
One potential nightmare vision of the future …that looks kind of cool.
A heated discussion around the decision in Firefox 4 to remove the RSS icon from the address bar.
I firmly believe that this is very relevant to visual design on the web.
An interesting way of using scrolling to tell a story.
Watch this space. Glenn has a really interesting idea (and implementation) for exchanging structured data between browser windows using drag'n'drop.
Aza Raskin on the UI failings of kitchens.
I like this idea: stencils for common interface elements to be used with good ol' pen and paper.
An excellent little rant by Cennydd that I agree with 100%: hovering does not demonstrate user intent.
An emotionally affecting endorsement of the accessibility features on the iPhone.
Personality in software. Pieces of technology are people too.
A timely reminder: don't hide information behind mouseover events.
A rip-o...— I mean, another form inspired by Huffduffer.
Adam Greenfield is spot-on here, dismantling Apple's "imitate real world objects" design guideline for iPhone and iPad apps.
An interesting proposal for a Huffduffer-style mad-libs ad-posting form for Craigslist.
Another Huffduffer-style sign-up form, this time from the good folks at Automattic. Very cute.
A very nice colour picker from the brilliant Dmitry Baranovskiy.
Finding the sweet spot between realism and abstraction in interface elements.
Balancing complexity and control.
A portfolio of imaginary interfaces as seen in the movies.