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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Interface Design for Non-Interface Designers

Interface design requires a different mode of thinking than traditional design. To help ease the transition between them, I’ve compiled a list of principles that differ between the disciplines. These are meant to be used as a quick-and-dirty guide for getting traditional designers up-to-speed on the tenets of interaction design, but may be helpful to anyone who does UX/UI work.

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Leaving ValioCon

ValioCon didn’t leave me wanting to be Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, or Frank Chimero — it made me excited about being me. It renewed my enthusiasm to do great work. To build things and make things, both to better the world and for the sheer joy and exhilaration of it. To remember that we can change the world incrementally, even and especially through the little things.

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Anatomy of a Redesign

I just redesigned and rebuilt this website from scratch in under a week. Here’s an explanation of the goals, thinking, process, and pitfalls.

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The Newsroom and The West Wing

I’ve been watching the first season of Aaron Sorkin’s television show The Newsroom lately. I’m a huge West Wing fan (“huge” as in “I love the show,” not “huge” as in “I’m a large person who enjoys The West Wing). The Newsroom, while entertaining, is vastly inferior. The first season comes across as smug and superior, and leans too heavily on Sorkin’s trademark monologuing. Used subtly, it’s effective. On The Newsroom, it’s sermonizing.

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Another Reason I’m Sticking with PHP

This is a follow-up to my recent post about why I still use PHP. At the end of that post, I mentioned the Laravel framework as one of the reasons why PHP remains a tolerable language, particularly for casual usage. (I’m a designer who does back-end coding as a hobby, not a full-fledged backend developer.) Since then, I’ve been spending more time with Laravel, facilitated in part by the lessons over at Laracasts. I have to say, it makes PHP more then tolerable – it’s actually a pleasure to use.

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One Month

It’s now been one month since I started publishing 100 words a day. Here are some observations. In summary: I recommend trying your own frequent-posting experiment. It’s a valuable exercise and creates value. Always produce more than you consume.

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Lines on the Road

Great design is often invisible – ideally, we never even notice it. Consequently, we rarely think about many of the designed things we encounter every day. Consider the road system. Street lights, stop signs, and the ubiquitous yellow lines fade into the background of our consciousness while we drive, yet they prevent innumerable accidents and create order out of chaos.

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