Jun 25, 2015

Why Care About Design?

Even as a professional designer, I ask myself that sometimes. There are days when my work feels inconsequential. After I've spent an hour agonizing over a button's pixel alignment, or vacillating between two indistinguishable shades of gray, I find myself wondering if anyone will even notice. On those days, I have to remind myself that the smallest details can have the biggest consequences.
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Jun 22, 2015

Virgil the Perfectionist

The Roman poet Virgil died before completing his magnum opus, the Aeneid. Since it hadn’t yet been edited, he asked his friends to burn the manuscript.

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Jun 19, 2015

Why Care About Code?

Last week, Bloomberg published a 38,000-word behemoth entitled What is Code? It took up an entire issue of their print edition, though to really appreciate the piece in all its glory, it needs to be experienced digitally.

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Jun 18, 2015

Revisiting :visited

Joel Califa, a product designer at Digital Ocean, makes a compelling case for bringing back :visited styles on links.

Links used to be beautiful, I recalled, perhaps not aesthetically pleasing, but those bright blue underlines were so clear, so succinct. I always knew where I was going and what would take me there. Just as important, I always knew where I’d been.

Sacrificing usability for superficial beauty is the opposite of what good design is all about.

With this in mind, I’ve reintroduced :visited styling for links within the content of posts on this site, and am working on introducing better behavior for post titles that is both functionally useful and visually consistent. (Joel’s localStorage solution is brilliant, isn’t it?)

Incidentally, after a period of dormancy, I’ve finally redesigned this site and will resume posting frequently. It’s now running on Jekyll and hosted on GitHub Pages – more on that another time.

Apr 29, 2015

Beauty, Creativity, and God

The transcript of a talk I gave on the nature of beauty, creativity, and how they relate to the modern Church.
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Mar 24, 2015

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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Jan 26, 2015

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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Jan 22, 2015

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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Jan 16, 2015

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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Dec 12, 2014


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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Sep 30, 2014

“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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Jun 24, 2014

The Robots are Taking Control

I got robo-called recently, but the caller was so eerily human-sounding it took me a few moments to catch on.
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Jun 24, 2014

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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Jun 23, 2014

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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Jun 20, 2014

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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