TAG: Interface Design

The Shaker Design Philosophy

I love this design philosophy of the Shakers…goes for designing anything.

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Bokardo has been cowblogtipped

Did you know that February is Blogtipping month?

I didn’t, but Bokardoan Bill D’Alessandro, who writes the nice blog Ready, Fire, Aim, does. He wrote up Bokardo in his February is Blogtipping post, which from what I can tell is when you do a super quick review of a blog that you read and add a tip at the end (neat idea). Bill does exactly that, and points to probably the weakest part of my interface:

“I’m not sure I’m a fan of the excerpts on the front page. Some of them aren’t long enough to indicate the subject of the article. I’d suggest reducing the number of posts that appear on the frontpage, but including their full text.”

Bill’s right. I have to do something different with the excerpts…

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How to Prevent Valueless Design in Social Web Sites

How an over-focus on technology and visual design can hide the real value of social software.

In a fascinating piece on the amazing growth of the photo-sharing site Fotolog, Jason Kottke clearly articulates a growing problem in design:

Fotolog…relative to Flickr…has changed little in the past couple of years. Fotolog has groups and message boards, but they’re not done as well as Flickr’s and there’s no tags, no APIs, no JavaScript widgets, no “embed this photo on your blog/MySpace”, and no helpful Ajax design elements, all supposedly required elements for a successful site in the Web 2.0 era. Even now, Fotolog’s feature set and design remains planted firmly in Web 1.0 territory.”

How do sites with sub-optimal visual design and technology grow so big and become so successful?

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Josh and Jared Show

Jared and I are trying something new: a weekly (or so) podcast on an informal subject that’s making the rounds in the blogosphere. Here’s the first episode: Josh & Jared Show: Episode #1 In this episode we dig further into my so-called “War on Information Architecture”, and tease out some of the larger questions that […]

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If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m horrible at cross-posting here at Bokardo. Here’s what I’ve been writing over at UIE: Watch and Learn: How Recommendation Systems are Redefining the Web The Freedom of Fast Iterations: How Netflix Designs a Winning Web Site Tips for Designing Powerful RIAs: An Interview with David Malouf and […]

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The Paradox of Choice: What’s Easiest

In his plenary at UI11, Barry Schwartz, the author of The Paradox of Choice, made an interesting remark about how people make choices:

“People choose not on the basis of what’s most important, but on what’s easiest to evaluate”.

In other words, many times we don’t choose what’s best for us, we take the easy way out. This behavior is often called laziness, but I think it’s more than that. As Schwartz pointed out, we simply don’t have time for diligent research on all the choices we make. Most of the time, however, we imagine people making informed decisions. We imagine that if the information is there, then they’ll take advantage of it, consider it, and choose wisely.

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Paul Rand on Design

Paul Rand on Design:

“To design is much more than simply to assemble, to order, or even to edit; it is to add value and meaning, to illuminate, to simplify, to clarify, to modify, to dignify, to dramatize, to persuade, and perhaps even to amuse.”

Note how Rand goes way beyond the common notion of design, incorporating not only the editing of content, but the embellishment of it. I think we need that sort of broad view of Web design, a field that is far too focused on the technical aspect of publishing, and hardly, if ever, focused on the verbs Rand was occupied with…

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Great Designers…

“Treat text as UI”

Cameron Moll

Writing as IT

Ok, so this is something completely different. Instead of the usual joshness, I’ve invited my friend Bill (and my former professor at RPI) to guest post because he’s writing a really cool book and wants to get feedback on some early parts of it. Before I show you the content, however, let me set the stage a bit…

Last week, in part 4 of my discussion with Luke Wroblewski, the topic of writing and design came up. I compared writing to design, because I think there are striking similarities between the two: they each involve the selection and organization of content for effective communication of ideas. I was discussing this later with Bill, and he shared with me an even more extreme idea. Now, if there’s one thing that I know about Bill, it’s that there’s a lot more to his writing than can be gotten in an initial skimming. He’ll send me something, I’ll read it, and then weeks later I’ll realize how it got into my psyche…I’ve assimilated the thoughts almost without knowing it. So, with that, here’s a brief overview of the book he’s working on. And by the way, solid, enlightening feedback is mandatory… 🙂

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The Lifecycle of Design: Part 4

This is part 4 of a conversation with Luke Wroblewski on design lifecycles.

In case you missed them, here are Part 1 and Part 2 on Luke’s site. Part 3 can be found here on Bokardo.

Joshua Porter (me)
Luke, you’re right to ask: “Why not have something that functions well and has great usability?”. We should, of course. I’m talking priorities here, and if we had to put one ahead of the other, that’s where I would put them. There is a parallel in furniture making…the Shakers, who build amazing furniture, have their philosophy built around this same idea:

1) If it is not useful or necessary, free yourself from imagining that you need to make it. 2) If it is useful and necessary, free yourself from imagining that you need to enhance it by adding what is not an integral part of its usefulness or necessity. 3) If it is both useful and necessary and you can recognize and eliminate what is not essential, then go ahead and make it as beautifully as you can…

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