Beauty, Creativity, and God

This is the transcript of a talk I gave in a Christian small group on April 28, 2015. I haven’t changed any of the text from its spoken form, so some turns-of-phrase may not make much sense in writing. I have added links where relevant, though. Preface I have gone back and forth a lot about what to […]

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Famous Dentists

Fame is fleeting, and even the designers who speak at every conference are no more recognizable to the outside world than Earth’s mightiest dentists, or the guys from Daft Punk without their helmets on. We should have a healthy and correct view of our own significance, approaching our craft with the humility that comes from having confidence in our work.

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Design Mysticism

Design is no longer an esoteric discipline, but is the domain of everyone who’s ever downloaded an app onto their phone. Everyone and their grandma is an armchair designer — Facebook changes the size of a button, and suddenly everyone is offering design critiques. Our field is entering the mainstream, and if we want to preserve the public’s recognition of its value and legitimacy, we need to gently defend a proper understanding of what it is that we do.

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Design is not Tech

Being an interface designer is no more a “tech” job than being a novelist is a “paper” job. The medium in which we work informs our work, but it doesn’t define it. A person isn’t a “tech worker” just because they use a computer a lot; by that logic, accounting is more of a tech job than design.

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Rapid Prototyping in Meteor

I recently went from app idea to working iOS prototype in an hour and fifteen minutes, thanks to the magic of Meteor and Cordova. hough I’m not a professional developer — design is my job, while coding is just a hobby — I’ve always preferred a code-heavy workflow, and am always looking for better ways to develop working prototypes quickly. Here’s a step-by-step guide, with code samples, of how I’ve been using Meteor for rapid prototyping.

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Statefulness

Secondary state changes should be tethered to the associated primary state, not the behavior that caused it. (It’ll make sense with further reading, I promise.)

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“For the Brave Sky-Travelers”

A rousing quote by Johannes Kepler to Galileo, quoted in an interview with Elon Musk. “Let us create vessels and sails adjusted to the heavenly ether, and there will be plenty of people unafraid of the empty wastes. In the meantime, we shall prepare, for the brave sky-travelers, maps of the celestial bodies.”

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The Robots are Taking Control

A few minutes ago, I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize. Me: Hello? Phone: Hello! I’m calling on behalf of the Republican National Committee to talk about the 2014 elections. I’m glad I caught you today. Me: Um… Phone: I was wondering if you’d be interested in making a donation of subtle […]

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Design and Taxonomies

Design is largely about deciding how to categorize things properly. It doesn’t matter if I design the prettiest screen in the world – if the buttons aren’t arranged logically, the user won’t care how much lipstick I put on that pig.

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The Joys of Refactoring

There are few front-end tasks I like better than refactoring code. CSS in particular is a joy to refactor. There’s something about taking a twelve-line style and cutting it down to ten lines, and then eight, and then six. Sometimes, thanks to inheritance, it can disappear completely.

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