TAG: Interface Design

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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“It is strange to me that in the web design/development world countless hours are spent discussing the wrappers and distribution mechanisms for content but very little time is spent on how to improve the content itself. I think it has become a traditional assumption that crafting good content is best left to the capable hands of our clients or nearly unemployed English majors who didn’t go on to attend law school. Yet, anyone who has ever crafted websites over the years should know better — hell, I should know better — most clients look to their designers and developers for help. From editing to writing the copy from scratch, rare is the project that does not require our involvement with words.”


The Lifecycle of Design: Part 3

This is part 3 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.

Joshua Porter
First off, I think that Craigslist and MySpace exposing their full content is a design decision…maybe one made without much thought but a design decision nonetheless. If *all* sites simply exposed their content to the world like these two sites, we would probably be better off. So many successful things have come from happy accidents that it doesn’t bother me to think that MySpace might be a happy accident…until you read how relentless they are about updating the site with useful things. Kathy Sierra’s talks more to this

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The Lifecycle of Design: Part 2

Luke’s got part 2 of our conversation on design lifecycles up: The Lifecycle of Design: Part 2

In case you missed it, here’s part 1: The Lifecycle of Design: Part 1

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