“Treat text as UI”
TAG: Interface Design
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…
Continue Reading: Writing as IT
This is part 4 of a conversation with Luke Wroblewski on design lifecycles.
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…
Continue Reading: The Lifecycle of Design: Part 4
“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 â€” hell, I should know better â€” 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.”
This is part 3 of a conversation with Luke Wroblewski on design lifecycles.
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…
Continue Reading: The Lifecycle of Design: Part 3
Earlier this summer I got the chance to interview Luke Wroblewski of Functioning Form. Luke’s a great writer and longtime web application designer currently working on Yahoo! Social Media. Following the interview we kept up an informal dialog around the idea of a design lifecycle.
Well, we ended up archiving it in Writely, and filling it out a bit. Luke’s got the first part up now. (I’ll be publishing some parts of it during the week).
Continue Reading: The Lifecycle of Design: Part 1
This past week’s Digg controversy is one in a growing number of incidents that suggest that a small group of users are having an undue influence on the promotion of stories. In response, Digg is changing the way that it handles votes by adding complexity to its ranking algorithm. I think that’s the wrong approach, so here’s another idea: change the actual design of the site…that’s the real problem.
The most recent controversy happened on September 5th, when someone named jesusphreak posted Digg the Rigged?, an in-depth article exposing some of the curious details of recently-popular stories on digg. Many of the stories, jp pointed out, were dugg by members of the Digg Top 30, or the 30 most popular digg members (popular being measured by number of stories submitted that were promoted to the frontpage). The Top 30 includes Digg founder Kevin Rose.
This was not the first time that someone has pointed out this phenomenon. On April 18 of this year Macgyver at ForeverGeek posted Digg Army, which included screenshots of who dugg two recent articles on the site. Each article had the exact same 16 people digging it in the exact same order. Of the first 19, 18 were the same. Included in that list of people was, again, Kevin Rose. ( for an in-depth history see Tony Hung’s excellent: A Brief History of the Digg Controversy)
These incidents, taken together, are more than coincidence…
Continue Reading: Digg’s Design Dilemma
Most books that claim to be about web design aren’t about web design at all. They’re about publishing in HTML and CSS, which by and large has little to do with the problems of the users we’re supposed to be designing for.
I was in a Barnes and Noble this weekend looking at web design books. There were lots of them! I saw old favorites like Eric Meyer’s O’Reilly books and new favorites like Dan Cederholm’s Bulletproof Web Design. I have a collection of these books, and my life has been made easier by them. I’m grateful for that.
But these aren’t really design books, per se. They’re more like books about web development, a similar and related field but not quite the same. They’re books about how to publish web sites in HTML and CSS. That’s publishing, not design…
Continue Reading: 99% of Web Design Books are Not
Accountability is coming to a web design project near you.
Continue Reading: The Business of Web Design