Tags: interface

CSS only scroll indicator

This is witchcraft. I’ve been deconstructing the CSS to figure out how this works and it’s really clever.

(Hint: try commenting out some of the CSS and see what happens.)

You Know What? Fuck Dropdowns

An entertaining presentation from South By Southwest on the UI element of last resort.

It’s funny because it’s true.

Stop the overuse of overflow menus — Medium

The trouble with overflow menus is that you didn’t actually take anything away, you just obnoxiously obfuscated it.

Words of warning and advice from Daniel.

Instead of prioritizing, we just sweep complexity under the rug and pretend that it doesn’t exist.

Adapting to Input · An A List Apart Article

Jason breaks down the myths of inputs being tied to device form factors. Instead, given the inherent uncertainty around input, the only sensible approach is progressive enhancement.

Now is the time to experiment with new forms of web input. The key is to build a baseline input experience that works everywhere and then progressively enhance to take advantage of new capabilities of devices if they are available.

Accessibility Matters: Meet Our New Book, “Inclusive Design Patterns” (Pre-Release) – Smashing Magazine

I think it’s a safe bet that this new book by Heydon will be absolutely brilliant.

It’s a handbook with valuable, time-saving techniques that will help you avoid hacky workarounds and solve common issues effectively.

Typography for User Interfaces | Viljami Salminen

The history and physiology of text on screen. You can also see the slides from the talk that prompted this article.

Designing Modular UI Systems Via Style Guide-Driven Development – Smashing Magazine

Striking that balance between the reusability of modular components and maintaining a big-picture vision of the overall design:

We should always strive to use patterns in an application. For example, consistent use of colors and font sizes can quickly indicate to the user elements in the UI that can be interacted with. However, avoid using a pattern just because it has been implemented before; rather, use it because it really solves the problem at hand.

City Objects

A catalogue of objects and observations from cities around the world.

Dev.Opera — Making progressive web apps even better: ambient badging and “pop into browser”

Andreas demoed these ideas yesterday. Proper ambient badging and a way of getting at URLs even if a progressive web app is running in fullscreen or standalone mode. Great stuff!

Introducing Multirange: A tiny polyfill for HTML5.1 two-handle sliders | Lea Verou

You’re supposed to be able to create two-handled sliders with input type="range" but the browser support isn’t there yet. In the meantime, Lea has created a nice lightweight polyfill.

Not The Post I Wanted To Be Writing… – Infrequently Noted

Phew! Alex seems to have calmed down. He’s responding to my concerns about exposing URLs in progressive web apps, but thankfully without the absolutist rhetoric or insults. Progress!

Beyond Progressive Web Apps • cssence.com

Matthias Beitl takes a stab at trying to tackle the tricky UI problem of exposing the URLs of Progressive Web Apps. This stuff is hard.

Responsive Product Comparison Table

Here’s a nice little pattern from Dave—showing data tables one column at a time on smaller screens.

When Websites Won’t Take No for an Answer - The New York Times

Our Harry’s in the New York Times! Well, an article on dark patterns is in the New York Times, and Harry is Mr. Dark Patterns.

Flexbox Patterns

Here’s a well put-together collection of common patterns that are now much easier thanks to flexbox.

Interactive Form

I quite like this step-by-step interface for a form, all cleverly handled with the :focus pseudo-class. I’d want to refine some of the usability issues before using it in production, but the progressive disclosure is nice.

Design Patterns on CodePen

Well, this is rather wonderful! A one-stop-shop for exploring UI patterns on CodePen …this is going to be time sink.

Infinite Scrolling, Pagination Or “Load More” Buttons? Usability Findings In eCommerce – Smashing Magazine

A good side-by-side comparison of loading techniques, with some clear advice. But pay attention to this note:

While the debate over “Load more” versus infinite scrolling versus pagination has been debated for years, the product loading method shouldn’t be the first thing that most e-commerce vendors spend their development resources on.

What happens next with Conversational UIs — Cennydd Bowles

Cennydd speaks his brains on conversational interfaces—a refreshing counterpoint to Chris’s cheerleading.

A simple HTML5 Progress bar | Charlotte Jackson, Front-end developer

I love this little markup pattern: simple, accessible and elegant …with some quirky CSS gotchas around styling non-standard prefixed pseudo-elements. They came from the Shadow DOM …dun dun DUN!

Using System Fonts in the Browser

We have some new font keywords that are basically shortcuts to using the system fonts on a device. This article explains the details.

Photo upload and progressive enhancement for FixMyStreet / mySociety

Matthew describes a very nice bit of progressive enhancement for drag’n’drop file uploads (similar to the CSS Tricks article I linked to recently).

It uses the Dropzone JS which looks like it aligns nicely with the progressive enhancement approach.

Why Implementing Swipe Gestures Causes A Mobile Accessibility Issue

Jennison Asuncion outlines the problem with relying on a swipe gesture for interactions.

I would say that this could be expanded to just about any interaction: it’s always dangerous to rely on one specific gesture. It’s always better to either provide multiple ways of accomplishing a task, or to simply take a declarative approach, get out of the way, and let the user agent handle it.

Drag and Drop File Uploading | CSS-Tricks

This is a terrific example of progressive enhancement in action: going from a simple file input to a lovely interactive drag’n’drop interface.

The code uses jQuery but it could be easily adapted to vanilla JavaScript, and anyway, it’s not so much the code that matters, it’s the approach.

A Semiotic Approach to Designing Interfaces // Speaker Deck

This looks like a terrific presentation from Alla on iconography, semiotics, and communication.

18F — Introducing the U.S. Web Design Standards

The story behind the newly-released pattern library for the US government.

GOV.UK elements

I really like the clear styling of checkboxes and radio buttons in the GDS pattern library. Fitts’s law in action.

CSS element() function - Vincent De Oliveira

Fire up Firefox and try out these demos: the CSS element value is pretty impressive (although there are currently some serious performance issues).

To put it simply, this function renders any part of a website as a live image. A. Live. Image!

How to fix a bad user interface - Scott Hurff

A lesson on the importance of handling each state of an interface:

  • the blank state,
  • the loading state,
  • the partial state,
  • the error state,
  • and the ideal state

…instead of just focusing on that last one.

The Hamburger Menu Doesn’t Work - Deep Design

Building on Luke’s research, James outlines the problems with hiding navigation behind a hamburger icon. So, to be clear, the problem isn’t with the icon, so much as the way it is used as a cupboard to shovel all our messy navigation issues into.

Spatial Interfaces — Elepath Exports — Medium

A detailed and humorous deep dive into motion design and spatial depth in digital interfaces.

Nicole Fenton | Interface Writing: Code for Humans

The text of Nicole’s excellent talk on writing helpful, human microcopy.

Interface Experience Maps, From the Notebook of Aaron Gustafson

This sounds like it could be a very useful tool to introduce early in projects to get a shared understanding of progressive enhancement.

Hamburger icon: How these three lines mystify most people - BBC News

The controversial hamburger icon goes mainstream with this story on the BBC News site.

It still amazes me that, despite clear data, many designers cling to the belief that the icon by itself is understandable (or that users will “figure it out eventually”). Why the aversion to having a label for the icon?

Dev.Opera — UX accessibility with aria-label

A great run-down by Heydon of just one ARIA property: aria-label.

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.

Purple: A UI kit for Heroku’s web interfaces

Hot on the heels of Github’s pattern library, here’s Heroku’s.

Home · Primer

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).

Productivity Future Vision

Any sufficiently advanced vision piece is indistinguishable from Black Mirror.

Futures of text by Jonathan Libov

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.)

Password Masking

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.

LukeW | Showing Passwords on Log-In Screens

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.

Thoughts on Pagination

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.

The New Yandex.Browser. Alpha version

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.

Alien | Typeset In The Future

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.

Cursors

A self-describing list of cursors available through CSS.

Breach - A browser for the HTML5 era

A new browser on the block (though not a new rendering engine), this one is written is written entirely in JavaScript. It’s worth taking it for a spin to see some of the interesting interface ideas around tabs and loading indicators.

Personally, I’m all for more browsers. The more, the merrier.

Smart Fixed Navigation

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.

Navigating the Guardian | Help | The Guardian

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

Things we learnt designing ‘Register to vote’ | GDS design notes

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.

Practical ARIA Examples

Heydon Pickering put together a great collection of accessible self-contained interface patterns that demonstrate smart use of ARIA.

A no-javascript toggle content feature

A clever way of doing progressive disclosure with CSS.

rel=search on Flickr

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.

rel=search

ntlk’s blog: Chrome obfuscates the URLs, Google benefits

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.

Labelmask | Brad Frost Web

I really like this interface idea from Brad that provides the utility of input masks but without the accessibility problems.

Label Pattern - CodePen

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.

Origins of Common UI Symbols

A lovely little tour of eleven ubiquitous icons.

Scrolling is easier than clicking

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?

Wallop Slider

I hate carousels, but if you’re going to have one, this progressively enhanced approach looks pretty good.

Responsive App Design

Dan Bricklin—co-creator of the original VisiCalc spreadsheet—turns his attention to responsive design, specifically for input-centric tasks.

The slippery slope | 90 Percent Of Everything

The transcript of a terrific talk by Harry on how dark patterns are often driven by a slavish devotion to conversion rates.

Responsive Navigation: Examples of Navigation in Responsive Design

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.

Auto-Forwarding Carousels, Accordions Annoy Users

Carousels are shit. Auto-animating carousels are really shit. Now proven with science!

The State Of Responsive Web Design on Smashing Mobile

A comprehensive look at the current state of things in the world of responsive design, with a look to possible future APIs.

Screenshots of Despair

The existential angst of unfeeling feedback.

A Digital Tomorrow on Vimeo

A design fiction video depicting technology that helps and hinders in equal measure.

List of pseudo-elements to style form controls by TJ VanToll

Want to style those new HTML5 input types? I hope you like vendor prefixes.

Responsive Nav — Responsive Navigation Plugin

This looks like a handy little bit of JavaScript for progressively enhancing navigation lists to show/hide them on smaller screens. And it’s not a jQuery plug-in!

datalist experiment

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 range and date.

So nifty!

Don’t Be Afraid To Teach Interactions by Timoni West

Timoni tackles the tricky topic of teaching taps.

Discoverability can be hard, but that shouldn’t stop us trying out new interactions.

Learning to See on Information Architects

A sweet, beautiful love letter to design, from Oliver.

No to NoUI by Timo Arnall

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.

Sensory Interfaces (SI) on O Danny Boy

Dan isn’t keen on the term “natural user interface.” Here’s why.

Not click. Not tap. Select. : Cennydd Bowles

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.

Knobfeel - Feels good man!

Reviews based entirely on the feel of the knob.

Carousel interaction stats by Eric Runyon

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?

The changing face of computers on screen

A look at the depiction of computer hardware and peripherals in sci-fi movies over time.

» Responsive Design for Apps — Part 1 Cloud Four Blog

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?

Connecting (Full Film) on Vimeo

A short film about interaction design.

LukeW | Mobile Design Details: Hide/Show Passwords

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.

Solita: This is rude

Let’s be polite. Especially when starting relationships.

New Rule: Every Desktop Design Has To Go Finger-Friendly (Global Moxie)

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.

LukeW | Responsive Navigation: Optimizing for Touch Across Devices

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.

The best interface is no interface | Cooper Journal

Interaction dissolving into the environment.

Don’t confuse design testing with device testing — Stuff

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.

These are not device testing issues, they are design questions and there’s a huge difference between how an interface feels to use on a smartphone size display and whether the HTML, CSS and Javascript actually works on any particular make or model.

Make it So | Interface Design Lessons from Sci-Fi

Chris and Nathan’s book is finally out. I’m going to enjoy reading through this.

The Computer for the 21st Century

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.

How to Make Progress Bars Feel Faster to Users - UX Movement

A fascinating insight into the psychological implications of animated progress indicators.

Resizable Displays | Fluid Interfaces

See now, this is why liquid layouts are the way to go.

From Print to iPad: Designing a Reading Experience

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.

Paperfold CSS | Demo Studio | Mozilla Developer Network

In amongst all the shiny demos on this site, this one could actually be useful.

Screenshots of Despair

Existential ennui delivered through interface copy.

We need a standard show navigation icon for responsive web design | Stuff & Nonsense

Andy documents the kinds of symbols being used to represent revealable navigation on mobile.

CSS3 Pseudo-Classes and HTML5 Forms | HTML5 Doctor

A look at the new pseudo-classes in CSS3 that go hand-in-hand with the form enhancements introduced in HTML5.

Thoughts on Responsive Navigation

Prompted by Brad’s recent post, here are some musings on three methods of handling navigation in responsive sites.

Clear for iPhone (Coming Soon!) on Vimeo

Nik demos the neat interactions in Realmac’s latest piece of iOS software in this cute little video.

Web Intents - Design Push

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.