02 // 03
I was listening to a conversation (eavesdropping) about inspiration and thought to myself, “Does inspiration happen more frequently when you’re not as experienced at your craft because it’s easy to have lots of bad ideas?” Then, as you grow in experience and craft, inspiration happens less frequently – not because you’re having less ideas, or a decrease in inspiration, but because your brain is less receptive to bad ideas. It filters through the cruft more efficiently and rejects the bad ideas before you’ve had a chance to even register them.
In some ways, this post is definitely a rant. It’s about being frustrated by (what seems like) an industry-wide misperception. As a designer, but my job isn’t to make things pretty. My job is to make sure users are delighted by the product, app, or website that I’ve worked on. It’s to make software that’s humanly relatable.
We’ve all dealt with this: Horrifying password creation experiences. I was trying to set up an account with a service that’s mandatory for me to use… I followed their instructions for setting up a password, but this error message came up each of the 7 times I tried submitting the form:
So a friend and I walk into Press Coffee, which is spectacularly close to the 29th Drive office. While waiting in line, an older gentleman notices my beard, which at this point is long enough to attract attention. Now, it was quite noisy, and this gentleman had an accent which made him hard to understand at first. I’m quite American in that I only fluently speak American English, so accents are sometimes impossible for me to understand (Never mind the fact that my hearing has been damaged from far too many Punk Rock shows in my youth). He commented on my beard, and since I couldn’t quite understand, I replied with “Oh, thank you.”
I’ve decided to start recording all the little UI failures I experience in software. Mostly because they are funny; having a collection of these is also good for teaching myself about patterns to avoid. The first (which I’m sure I sent out to Twitter) comes from Apple’s Messages app: it has to do with poor syncing of the read/unread status of an iMessage. Instead of clearing the unread status of the icon, it displays a negative number. Not sure if this is fixed yet.
I had an interesting dillema pop up while working on some Photoshop comps that were going to be delivered as PDF files. The PDF exports contained bar charts which were easiest to create using vector paths due to their design style; and while Illustrator may have been easier to handle such content, the project required Photoshop to be used.
Today I deployed the newest version of my website to Github. For the past year my site was powered by WordPress; however it was way more firepower than I needed. When all I have is occasional posts and sometimes adding new porfolio/work pages, it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to be maintaining WP updates, etc. Now it’s powered by Jekyll, LESS, and love.
Sometimes I find myself needing to modify the default behavior of Magento’s Add to Cart button. If it’s a Bundled Product, for example, the default Cart button in the Grid and List views will throw an error at the user if the bundle has required options1. It makes more sense for the button to say something like Configure Now, and take the user to the product page.
I was watching the documentary Objectified recently and was struck by Jonathan Ive’s comments about spending a great deal of time designing the processes to make the actual product that they had designed. I realized that I also spend a great deal of time designing processes. Take, for example, designing a website. A website isn’t a static design, such as a poster. It’s an interactive interface to a person or company’s brand (Some have argued that it is the brand). Updating, changing, and adding content to a website can involve multiple processes.
In the nineteenth century, which was a dark and inflationary age in typography and type design, many compositors were encouraged to stuff extra space between sentences. Generations of twentieth-century typists were then taught to do the same, by hitting the spacebar twice after every period. Your typing as well as your typesetting will benefit from unlearning this quaint Victorian habit. As a general rule, no more than a single space is required after a period, a colon, or any other mark of punctuation.Robert Bringhurst, The Elements of Typographic Style